Jeremy Maddock is a freelance writer, webmaster, and libertarian-conservative thinker from Victoria, Canada.


The Solution to the Fee-For-Carriage Debate…

December 21, 2009 | In Politics, Technology | No Comments

I just sent the following to the CRTC’s “Online Consultation” regarding the fee-for-carriage debate…

The solution to the fee-for-carriage debate is less regulation, not more. Rather than setting the price that cable companies must pay broadcasters, the CRTC should encourage a more direct business relationship between consumer and broadcasters, with cable companies acting as an intermediary.

Broadcasters should be able to set a monthly price for access to their channel and consumers should be able to choose which channels they wish to pay for on an a la carte basis. Consumers should not be forced to subsidize broadcasters that cannot attract enough subscription and/or advertising revenue to remain profitable.

Why Canada Needs Constitutionally Entrenched Property Rights

April 17, 2009 | In Law | 2 Comments

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld provincial asset forfeiture laws in a unanimous decision today, rejecting a lawsuit filed by an Ontario university student whose car and money was seized by Toronto police in 2003.

The student – Robin Chatterjee – was found in possession of various pieces of equipment known to be useful in marijuana grow operations, as well as more than $29,000 in cash, all of which was seized by the provincial government.

The police determined that Mr. Chatterjee was probably involved in marijuana cultivation. However; he was never proven guilty. In fact, prosecutors decided not to file charges, due to a lack of evidence. Given these circumstances, it’s hard to see how his right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty was respected.

But this state of affairs cannot be blamed on today’s Supreme Court ruling. Chatterjee’s argument that provinces have no jurisdiction over criminal law issues was weak to say the least, and the Court really didn’t have much else to go on.

As of now, there’s nothing in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to prevent government (federal or provincial) from seizing property whenever they feel like it. Under Ontario law, prosecutors had only to demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that the accused might be involved in criminal activity. They could not have put him in jail on this basis, but there is nothing to prevent the seizure of property.

Think about it. If the government can demonstrate that you have probably broken the law, they can take your house or empty your bank account, without so much as holding a trial.

The only way to correct this frightening threat to liberty is an amendment to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 (which currently protects “life, liberty and security of the person”) should be modified to read:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, property and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Canadians generally accept that individuals should not be jailed unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, we hold it to be a principle of fundamental justice. But in order for our society to be truly free, we must apply this principle to property as well.

Auto Bailout Sets Stage for Subprime Car Loan Crisis

January 2, 2009 | In Business, Politics | No Comments

Just hours after receiving $5 billion in bailout funds from the U.S. government, General Motors’ financing division, GMAC Financial Services, announced a thoroughly unimpressive plan to “facilitate the purchase of cars and trucks in the U.S.” by easing its lending standards.

Rather than striving to cut costs and regain financial sustainability, North America’s biggest auto company will use its newfound taxpayer-funded slush fund to offer loans at below-market interest rates – as low as 0% in some cases. So even if you can’t afford a new car, GM will bend over backwards to make sure you get one…

It all sounds eerily similar to what subprime mortgage brokers were doing a few years ago. And once again, governments (both U.S. and Canadian) are pumping money into the system to encourage it.

Human Rights Tribunal Hears Case of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

December 25, 2008 | In Humour | 1 Comment

The Globe and Mail published some great Christmas satire earlier this week regarding the activities and mandate of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions.

Apparently, Santa Clause discriminated against Rudolph the Reindeer, on the basis of a “facial disfigurement,” and only intervened to correct this discrimination when “motivated by a venal goal.” Sounds like a good time for the CHRC to step in and dole out $18.5-million worth of “social justice.”


Conservatives Approve Free Speech Resolution in Near-Unanimous Vote

November 16, 2008 | In Politics | No Comments

Conservative activists sent a strong pro-freedom message to their party leadership yesterday, voting some 99% in favour of a resolution to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its ability to regulate and prosecute politically incorrect speech.

Even Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, who has been conspicuously absent from the the HRC vs. free speech debate up until this point, supported the resolution at yesterday’s policy convention.

Although I have some concerns about the wording of the policy motion (which doesn’t explicitly call for the repeal of Section 13, but rather the removal of the CHRC’s authority on the matter), there is no denying that this is a big step towards restoring free speech rights in Canada. A year ago, most Canadian politicians were completely ignorant of this frightening threat to freedom. Now, Canada’s governing party is making it a priority to fix this problem.

Congratulations to all Conservatives who worked on (and voted for) this policy initiative.

If you support the restoration of freedom of expression in Canada (regardless of your political affiliation), please take a moment to contact the Prime Minister and encourage him to act on this important matter. Be sure to mention that repealing Section 13 of the Human Rights Act is the only sure way to protect the free speech rights of Canadians.

Anti-Gun Zealots Jump to Irrational Conclusions About Toronto Shooting

October 28, 2008 | In Politics | No Comments

This weekend saw a tragic shooting outside a Toronto bar, where innocent by-stander, Bailey Zaveda, was shot dead by a known violent criminal.

Torontonians are understandably upset about the high rate of violent crime in their city. But, predictably enough, the city’s left-wing political machine is aiming its rage in all the wrong directions. Liberal Party strategist, Warren Kinsella, invoked this weekend’s unfortunate violence as an excuse to renew calls for a nationwide ban on handguns.

But as any sane freedom-loving Canadian should understand, Kinsella’s position laughably illogical. Before you start blaming handguns for this murder, consider the suspected shooter:

Police have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for second-degree murder for Kyle Weese: a 25-year-old man considered “violent and extremely dangerous” with a long criminal record. They released his photo and vowed to track him down, in a case police say is reminiscent of the death of Jane Creba, a bystander killed in a crowd of Boxing Day shoppers in 2005. Mr. Weese is under a weapons prohibition. (source)

It’s pretty clear that Mr. Weese wasn’t supposed to be carrying a handgun. But that didn’t stop him. Criminals get their hands on illegal weapons no matter what, and a handgun ban would not have prevented this tragic event.

But if Kinsella believes that changing laws would have prevented this crime, I’ll play his silly game.

In the moments before she was killed, Ms. Zaveda was standing just outside the door of a bar smoking a cigarette, which would have been illegal inside. If it weren’t for the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which infringes on property rights by prohibiting smoking in private business establishments, Baily Zaveda would probably be alive today.

If government simply respected individual liberty, would this murder have been more or less likely to happen? Think about it rationally for a moment.

Barack Obama Hates the U.S. Constitution?

October 27, 2008 | In Politics | 1 Comment

I was quite stunned yesterday when I came across this story citing a 2001 radio interview, in which Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama rails against the U.S. Constitution for protecting negative liberties but not laying out “what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf.”

Obama laments that the U.S. Supreme Court under Earl Warren “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” which limits the jurisdiction of the courts, preventing them from redistributing wealth. Acknowledging that such a fundamental change of course in American jurisprudence is highly unlikely, Obama suggests that politicians and community organizers should establish a “coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Take a look at this video for the relevant part of the interview:

There is little doubt in my mind that Barack Obama will work fervently on establishing a socialist coalition in the Democrat-controlled Senate and House of Representatives. He’ll also appoint Supreme Court Judges who share his dream of judiciary which ignores the Constitution and redistributes money.

In recent months, many Americans have been unnerved by Obama’s personal ties with people like Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. But those links were largely circumstantial – maybe just cases of innocent bad judgment on Obama’s part. This latest revelation, however, is a clear and unambiguous promotion of socialistic principles in politics and in the judiciary.

Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and all other Americans who believe in what the Founding Fathers stood for should think long and hard before voting for Obama…

Harper Blames “Unfettered Capitalism” for Economic Crisis

October 19, 2008 | In Business, Politics | 1 Comment

Just before last week’s federal election, I predicted that Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, would fall short of his coveted majority, but still win more seats than he deserved given his lack of principle during a campaign that he himself triggered

Now, with a stronger minority government (143 seats), Harper is doing more of the same, claiming that “unfettered capitalism” is the cause, and more international government the solution, of the current global financial crisis.

Does he really believe this? I prefer to think not (especially given that I voted for the guy). But he’s going along with the crowd of misguided European leaders who believe that “laissez faire is finished,” and the public will be better protected by more government intervention in financial markets.

Austrian economists, who have been predicting a major economic correction for some time now, know that it is over-regulation of the macroeconomic sphere that has caused most of the financial problems of the last 100 years. They know that when government inflates the money supply and suppresses interest rates, people will borrow more, save less, and make unwise investments that they can’t really afford.

The naïve (and somewhat socialist) idea that everybody “deserves” to own a home regardless of their financial situation, and that government has some natural power to print money out of thin air to help them achieve this end, is a recipe for recession.

And yet, politicians continue to pretend that they can solve the problem with bigger government and more regulation, not to mention foolish and unsustainable bank bailouts.

Too bad we don’t have a political party in Canada that will stand up for economic reality.

No Clear Momentum on Eve of Canadian Federal Election

October 13, 2008 | In Politics | No Comments

Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party had strong momentum going into this election season, but appears to have lost its edge over the past couple of weeks, as Tory fortunes slump in Quebec and Canadians everywhere panic over the ongoing financial crisis.

But as I alluded to earlier in the campaign, it is largely a lack of decisiveness and principle that has caused the Conservatives to lose their momentum, and prevented any other party from picking it up.

Take the issue of arts funding for example. While in power, Harper’s Conservatives cut back on government grants to arts programs, triggering a small wave of anger in arts communities across Canada, but leading to lasting resentment in Quebec where “culture” reigns supreme. Bloc Quebecois leader, Gilles Duceppe, capitalized on this sentiment perfectly, painting the Tories as anti-Quebec culture, and presented himself as the candidate to prevent Harper from gaining a majority and gutting the province’s unique heritage.

Harper responded by backing off, explaining that he wasn’t really “against the arts,” but just reevaluating spending. But instead of being all apologies, he should have said something along the lines of:

“Our party believes in the ability of Quebecers to preserve their own arts and culture without handouts from a centralized federal government. We will reduce taxes across the board and put Quebec culture back in the hands of Quebecers where it belongs.”

Although somewhat risky, a statement promoting decentralized federalism and economic self-determination could have paid off big time for the Tory leader, as it would have demonstrated that he was being true to his principles, rather than simply “hugging the center” and declining to take a stand.

Freedom of speech is another vital issue where Mr. Harper could have stood up for what is right, while gaining votes at the same time. Most Canadians who have heard about Section 13 of the Human Rights Act (which makes it a quasi-criminal act to say anything “contemptuous” against certain groups of people) realize that this sort of legislation is a very dangerous attack on liberty.

Even immigrants and racial minorities, who supposedly benefit from this “right not to be offended,” have every reason to be skeptical of such laws. Why, after all, do new immigrants bother traveling all the way to Canada, if not for the fundamental freedoms that our country offers? And with the mainstream media firmly on side, how could the Tories go wrong with a proposal to scrap Section 13?

On economic issues, Harper may have redeemed himself to a point, but only by proposing less than the other leaders. Dion wants to experiment with a reckless carbon tax (punishing Western Canadians, and making Canadian products less competitive in the global market), while Layton wants to hike taxes on businesses, which would likely increase unemployment and further erode the pensions and investments of Canadians.

If a recession is unavoidable, Harper will ride it out, where Dion or Layton will make it much worse. As the soundest economist, Harper has likely captured enough respect to squeak through with another minority government. And with the opposition split between four parties, he might even do a little better than he deserves.

World Markets Suffer Post-Bailout Hangover

October 6, 2008 | In Business, Politics | No Comments

George W. Bush bribed investors throughout America (and the world) last week with a $700 billion+ plan to buy up bad mortgage assets and put global markets back on the right track.

American taxpayers were skeptical, but Congress finally caved in to partisan pressures on Friday and passed the bailout bill. Today’s result suggests that the main argument used to justify such a move (a return to market stability) might have convinced Congress, but has failed to convince the market itself. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed almost 370 points lower today.)

The reality is that investors are smarter than politicians. They understand free market economics, and they understand that big government can’t solve economic problems.

I expect that many investors were hoping for a post-bailout surge in the markets, allowing them to regain lost ground, sell out quietly, and break even on their investments. But that’s not how markets work. So long as intelligent investors are playing the market, its value will reflect all information that is known by said investors.

Congressman Ron Paul argued on Friday that the bailout plan would only prolong the upcoming recession, while continuing to overextend an unsustainable credit-based economy at the expense of taxpayers. Paul blames the Federal Reserve and its manipulation of interest rates for the current crisis, and believes that the only way out of this mess is a painful free market correction (the sooner the better)…

Today’s response to the bailout (by intelligent investors) only demonstrates that Ron Paul is right.

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