Canadians held captive by inept government and ruinous policies


January 5, 2003

Ever since Pierre Trudeau became prime minister in 1968, Canada has become an increasingly French-style, over-regulated, high-tax, low-productivity, anti-innovation, anti-competition, free-market-fearing socialist country run from behind-the-scenes by kleptomaniac unions and bloated-rent-seeking Crown corporations or their proxies.

Canadians can't eat, drink or use the washroom without Orwellian government oversight and taxation; smugness and subconscious envy of Americans has replaced their entrepreneurial pioneer spirit.

Implementation of the Kyoto accord will simply add another layer of subsidies and central planning to the dismal situation.

Every time a Canadian boards an airplane he overpays to prop up a banana republic-style airline monopoly that would instantly collapse if it ever had to face real competition.

A Canadian can't buy eggs without paying through the nose to bolster the egg producers' protection racket.

His milk and grain (yes, the most basic items) are similarly overpriced by "marketing boards" that protect the interests of wealthy producers, not the public.

Thus, a major Canadian beer company imports its barley from South Korea because it's cheaper than buying at home!

Politicians fall over themselves subsidizing uneconomic crops and farms that should have ceased operation decades ago, because of emotional appeals from the powerful farm lobby to a mythic agricultural past.

Many farmers are now among the biggest welfare bums in the country and their sense of entitlement would have made their forefathers ashamed.

Yet Canadians must eat and pay.

When a Canadian attempts to drink or smoke away his sorrows, he grossly overpays for highly taxed beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes -- all perfectly legal products.

When he turns to TV or radio to temporarily escape his hectored existence, he encounters the unaccountable CBC and its mediocre programs.

Worse, the nanny-state PR instrument uses its tax-favoured status to compete unfairly with better private sector media, and brainwash Canadians that social programs alone define their national identity.

Most of a Canadian's taxes pay for a collectivist educational system whose graduates can't name their national heroes, locate their city on a map, or even guess at the spelling of "illiterate".

And they fund a competition-free medical system in which anyone who needs an MRI scan or other added-value service must flee to the United States.

The poor simply die waiting in line.

A Canadian can't drive his car without overpaying for gasoline, which is taxed as though the use of private transport in this vast country is some kind of sin.

A Canadian is typically unaware of the complex subsidies and tax-exemptions that make Canada's lumber, steel and other commodities artificially cheap for consumers in other countries but expensive for him.

The forest product companies don't pay market-rate stumpage fees, uncompetitive steel companies are bailed out over and over, fishermen are paid to sit about for half the year even as the cod stocks declines to zero.

The list goes on and on.

Every time a Canadian opens a kitchen tap or flushes the toilet, he participates in the vast protected, inefficient (and polluting) water and sewage monopoly that he pays for via municipal and provincial taxes.

When a Canadian turns on a light or heats his stove or home, he pays too much for electricity and gas because of state-subsidized hydroelectric and nuclear power monopolies and gas pipeline cartels whose manipulation of public policy would have made Joe Stalin blush.

Adding insult to injury, after the government takes away half his earnings, or more, in direct and indirect taxes, a Canadian finds he can't invest more than a third of his registered retirement savings in another more productive economy (assuming he can save anything after the Canadian banks -- another cartel -- take a pound of his flesh in the form of mortgage or inflated credit card interest).

His dollar is worth only 63 American cents.

Atop all this, the federal government signed a Chicken Little agreement to prevent the sky from falling (it isn't, but their computer simulation says it might) and ratified the Kyoto accord our main trading partner has wholly rejected.

The government tells the Canadian that compliance will be achieved by the use of more of his tax money (they call it "the surplus") to further subsidize industries that were subsidized all along.

He is offered his own tax money to retrofit his house to become more energy efficient, and is told grants, interest-free loans and rebates will be given to hair-brained wind farm, solar and ethanol fuel schemes that studies after studies have demonstrated won't work as advertised and will never offset more than a fraction of the country's energy needs, which will now grow at greater cost.

And the Canadian accepts this because after enough time, hostages become enamoured of their captors and will even fight for them on the barricades.