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Posts tagged ‘Canadian Politics’

Election Day Today

Election day is today.

Make sure you vote.

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Election day tomorrow

Voting day is tomorrow in British Columbia. Make sure you vote.

Based on the polls and predictions, it seems likely that NDP flags will fly in enough ridings tomorrow to give them a narrow majority government. It was a lot bigger margin weeks ago, but after Christy Clark’s performance in the leaders’ debates, her party acquired a big jolt of momentum, causing the gap to narrow. Frankly, the election can’t come soon enough for Dix and the NDP. Part of me is happy that there won’t be a Liberal wipeout. First, a strong opposition is always necessary, and second, the strength of the Liberal showing will have a large influence on whether Clark stays on until the following election. This means that we British Columbians still have a chance to end our perverse political “tradition” or streak of putting women in charge of political parties in ruins.

I am glad that the Liberals will be out of power. But I am not particularly thrilled that the NDP will be taking power; for various reasons, I believe that Dix will be a disastrous premier. And it is a sad reality of a two–party system that only the Liberals and NDP have a realistic chance of forming government. And furthermore, although exceptions exist, in general, only those two parties manage to recruit knowledgeable and qualified people who can bring their expertise to government.

For the above reasons, I explicitly refuse to endorse any party. But there are indeed a number of individual candidates I’d like to see elected, such as Weaver in Oak Bay–Gordon Head, and a number I’d like to see defeated, in particular Polak in Langley. Please, elect him and throw her out.

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.

On the Saskatchewan decision

Recently, a court in Saskatchewan ruled that marriage commissioners there are not allowed to refuse to marry same–sex couples due to religious objections.

This is the correct decision. No one forced you to become a marriage commissioner. You knew going into it that you might have to marry same–sex couples. Since you chose to enter it you should face the consequences of your actions. To do otherwise is disrespectful as it tell you that you are not a rational person who is responsible for their actions. To insist that you should not be forced to do your job goes against the principle of personal responsibility. Why do conservatives hate personal responsibility?

Religion is a choice. Absolutely no one is forcing you to follow a religion that requires bigotry against gays and lesbians. And if you truly believed that marrying a same–sex couple would send you to hell, well guess what. There is no way that losing your job could possibly be worse than that. To act otherwise is to betray a serious lack of conviction. Why do conservatives have such weak convictions?

There is no way that grandfathering in bigots who were marriage commissioners before same–sex marriage was approved is a good move. Suppose that at one time, the age of consent was fourteen. Suppose further that it is raised to sixteen. The idea that we should allow those who previously had sex with fifteen–year–olds continue having sex with fifteen–year–olds is an idea that ain’t gonna fly.

If you can’t be forced to do your job, other people should not be forced to employ you. To insist otherwise, you are forcing the government to hire extra marriage commissioners, thereby wasting taxpayers’ money. Why are conservatives in favour of big government?

If you think that you shouldn’t be forced to do the job you signed up for if you are a marriage commissioner, you undoubtedly take the same view of a Friend or Jain (these are Pacifist faiths) joining the military but refusing to fight, claiming freedom of religion. Any argument that would apply to marriage commissioners would also apply to military deserters. Why do conservatives hate the troops so much?

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