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Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ Category

Election Day Today

Election day is today.

Make sure you vote.

Some speech that should be banned

On the day the Supreme Court ruled incorrectly by failing to completely strike down hate speech laws, I think that there is a form of speech that should be illegal nationwide: partisan government advertisements. Is it just me or is there really a whole spree of them going on right now? I’ve seen ones from both the federal government (it’s action plan, etc) and from the provincial government (especially the one with the cell phone dominoes). Now, these ads aren’t technically partisan, as they aren’t explicitly promoting any political party. But, still, if you read between the lines, you’ll see that they intend to show you how the government (the party currently in power) is doing X (low taxes, action plan) to help you. Hence, since these are supposed to remind you of what the current party in power is doing, they are still partisan, even if not explicitly so.

Partisan government ads are nothing more than legal propaganda. They should be banned, for all levels of government.

Any problems arising from people not being informed of necessary government functions (which advertising is in part supposed to deal with) can be handled by requiring the official opposition to agree to those advertising expenditures as well. This way, partisanship is avoided.

We could get billions in revenue

A new study has determined that more than 366,000 British Columbians use marijuana, with the market value of their purchases being about half a billion dollars a year, According to the study, taxing it (the same as with alcohol or cigarettes) would bring in billions in new revenue (links removed):

The researchers also point to data from Washington, which recently held a successful referendum to legalize pot, that suggests the same number of pot smokers in that state could bring in $2.5 billion in taxes over five years in a regulated system.

This is one of the reasons why marijuana should be legalized. It would free up money spent prosecuting and incarcerating non–violent criminals who harm no one other than themselves. It is especially important, as the legalization in Washington state could cause a grey market of British Columbians going there to get their marijuana. Completely legalizing it here would prevent such an event. As it stands, a potential boost to ours (and more diffusely, the Canadian economy) is being lost and undercut.

And this study shows yet again why socons should never be allowed to control the public purse. Given the chance, they’ll always deny revenue and blow the budget on puritanism, going after people for doing something they probably do themselves.

Study: crime bill to make reintegration harder

A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports that the Reformatory crime bill (C–10) will lead to difficulties in integration of released prisoners. From a newspaper report on the study (since I can’t find an abstract):

Canada’s omnibus crime bill will lead to more physical and mental “degradation” among prisoners and risks their reintegration back into society, warns an article in Canada’s leading medical journal.

[…]

Without more resources, more prisoners will overwhelm already overburdened prison mental health services, he said, “and that continues to be an issue after someone is released from jail.

But remember, the Reformatories and Harpercons are Tough on Crime™. Wait, actually, they aren’t. What they really are is tough on criminals, which is not the same thing as being tough on crime. By making reintegration harder it makes them more likely to become career criminals

And many people in jail are for non–violent victimless/consensual crimes, like drug use and possession. If we ended the War on (some classes of people who use some) Drugs, if we quit wasting money punishing people who harm no one but themselves, and if we treated drug addiction like the medical problem it is, we’d do far more to save money and prevent crimes. That way we can get around to punishing real criminals who really do harm others and are a threat to society.

A good ruling from the Supreme Court

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that Vancouver’s safe injection site, Insite, can stay open indefinitely. It also ordered the Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, grant the site an exemption from Canada’s drug laws. The specific legal rationale was that the failure to grant an exemption violated Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is the correct ruling. Harm reduction, which safe injection sites are part of, and the general practice of treating drug addiction as a medical problem than a legal problem, has been far more cost–effective than the failed War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs. In addition, harm reduction and the liberalization of drug laws are far more effective at reducing crime, improving public health, and reducing drug use than caving to the appalling prison–industrial complex.

What is the point of voting out a future appointee?

The Prime Minister has appointed three new senators. All three of them ran for the Conservative Contempt Party and lost in the recent election.

Two of the new senators aren’t really new, as both Larry Smith and Fabian Manning had resigned their senate seats before unsuccessfully running in the recent election. In other words, so much for personal responsibility. The last new senator is Josée Verner, who lost her seat to the Orange Crush. Manning will represent Newfoundland and Labrador, while Smith and Verner will represent Quebec.

Besides merely being an affront to the electorate who rejected them, the appointment of these two senators from Quebec is especially insulting. Contrary to every other province, Section 22 of the Constitution Act, 1867, requires that the senators representing Quebec represent special “electoral” (sic) divisions in the province, rather than merely being resident as is the case elsewhere.

In other words, two politicians who couldn’t even muster a plurality of people in their ridings to support them, have now been appointed to represent other “electoral divisions”.

Clark elected

Just as I and pretty much everyone else predicted, Christy Clark has won the by–election in Vancouver–Point Grey. She will officially take her seat later this month. This also ends a streak of governing parties losing by–elections that stretched back to 1981.

Amongst other things, Clark only got a (large) plurality of votes. I was expecting her to get a majority, and therefore this by–election was closer than I thought it would be.

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