Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Could Obama have done better? He could learn from Canada’s success

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Here’s an editorial from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Away from the low growth and high regulation of an America under Washington’s thumb, our northern neighbor is economically strong. As 2011 ends, Canada has announced yet another tax cut — and will soar even more.

The Obama administration and its economic czars have flailed about for years, baffled about how to get the U.S. economy growing.

In reality, the president need look no further than our neighbor, Canada, whose solid growth is the product of tax cuts, fiscal discipline, free trade, and energy development. That’s made Canada a roaring puma nation, while its supposedly more powerful southern neighbor stands on the outside looking in.

On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that he will slash corporate taxes again on Jan. 1 in the final stage of his Economic Action Plan, dropping the federal business tax burden to just 15%.

Along with fresh tax cuts in provinces such as Alberta, total taxes for businesses in Canada will drop to 25%, one of the lowest in the G7, and below the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development average.

“Creating jobs and growth is our top priority,” said Minister Jim Flaherty. “Through our government low-tax plan … we are continuing to send the message that Canada is open for business and the best place to invest.”

It’s not just that Canada’s conservative government favors makers over takers. Harper’s also wildly popular for shrinking government. “The Harper government has pursued a strategic objective to disembed the federal state from the lives of citizens,” wrote University of Calgary Professor Barry Cooper, in the Calgary Herald.

Harper also has made signing free trade treaties his priority. Canada now has 11 free trade pacts in force, and 14 under active negotiation — including pacts with the European Union and India, among others.

“We believe in free trade in Canada, we’re a free-trading nation. That’s the source of our strength, our quality of life, our economic strength,” Flaherty said last month.

Lastly, Canada has pursued its competitive advantage — oil. And it did so not through top-down “industrial policy,” but by getting government out of the way.

Harper has enacted market-friendly regulations to accomplish big things like the Keystone Pipeline — and urged President Obama to move forward on it or else Canada would sell its oil to China.

These policies have been well-known since the Reagan era. But in a country that’s been institutionally socialist since the 1950s, Harper’s moves represent a dramatic affirmation for free market economics.

For Canada, they’ve had big benefits.

Canada’s incomes are rising, its unemployment is two percentage points below the U.S. rate, its currency is strengthening and it boasts Triple-A or equivalent sovereign ratings across the board from the five top international ratings agencies, lowering its cost of credit.

Is it too much to ask Washington to start paying attention to the Canadian success story?

These sound principles work every time they are tried, and they have led to a transformation in Canada.

Although this article doesn’t mention it, Stephen Harper is also the most solid statesman on foreign policy issues as well.

And here’s a view from up north from Canadian journalist Brian Lilley.

Excerpt:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has put out his own list of accomplishments for the year that just ended but here are a few of the key conservative minded actions that spring to mind for me.

  • Ending political welfare. The per-vote subsidy that made political parties lazy and unresponsive to the voters of this country and insulated them from angering their core supporters will be gone by 2015-2016. Legislation ending the subsidy has already passed but the parties are slowly being weaned off the money and will get smaller amounts each year until the subsidy is gone.
  • They saw the light of common sense and released the names of those on their wanted list of suspected foreign war criminals. These were people that officials admitted should not be in the country, had been ordered out but that were still in Canada. At first officials would only admit there was a list of suspected war criminals but not say who they were. After much pressure, common sense won the day.
  • Ending the insane rules that would see farmers from certain provinces jailed for daring to sell their wheat to the customer of their choice. The Canadian Wheat Board still exists for those that want to use its centralized system. For those that want freedom, they now have that choice.
  • While much attention has been paid to Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, the government has passed C-2 (the mega-trials bill), this bill will make it easier to conduct the mega-trials now associated with organized crime without infringing on the right to a fair trial.
  • While the bill to end the gun registry has not been passed yet, it has been introduced and will pass early this year.
  • Immigration. On this file the Conservatives continue to push for ever higher numbers of newcomers while keeping those skeptical of high immigration onside by cracking down on fraud, cleaning up the system and putting Canada first.

Another thought for those, often myself included, that like to say this government is not conservative enough.

Lilley also notes that electing Harper presented a national day care program (which punishes families with stay-at-home), increasing unemployment benefits (which encourages people not to work), etc.

 

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Will the Conservative Party omnibus crime bill contain restrictions on free speech?

Map of Canada

Map of Canada

Several Canadians wrote to me about this story from the Ottawa Sun.

Excerpt:

The Conservatives plan on introducing an omnibus crime bill when the House resumes that wraps all of their previous legislation into one.

The bill is promoted as allowing police to track and prosecute the perverts passing around child pornography and allows them to update their monitoring techniques to deal with the ever-changing computerized world we live in.

Sounds fine. What could be wrong with that?

In fact, there’s nothing wrong with that part, but there is plenty to worry about in what they propose to do regarding hate crimes.

The bill plans to make it a crime to link to any website that promotes hatred.

Here’s what the Library of Parliament says about the bill on its website: “Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed by any means of communication and include making hate material available, by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted, for example.”

For simply posting a link to a website that has material someone else deems hateful, you could go to jail for two years and be branded a criminal.

The Internet police. Only in Canada.

The problem with these laws, as the article notes, is that they never apply to certain special interest groups favored by the secular left elite. Instead, they are commonly used to punish those who disagree with the opinions of the secular elite. I am ashamed that the Conservative Party, which I wrote favorably about prior to the election, could consider passing restrictions on speech. I expect this sort of thing from secularists and collectivists, but not from free market capitalists. Where is their love of F.A. Hayek now?

To my Canadian readers: you should immediately write to your Conservative Party MP and tell them that you do not want restrictions on free speech.

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Members of Canadian socialist parties oppose child sex-trafficking crime bill

Here is the story from the Winnipeg Free Press. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

Manitoba MP Joy Smith’s quest to have child sex traffickers hit with mandatory minimum sentences survived a challenge Tuesday when a Bloc Québécois amendment to her bill was defeated.

[...]The legislation creates a new offence for trafficking of people under 18 and sets five years as the mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction. The bill sets six years as the minimum sentence for trafficking minors with aggravating factors such as sexual assault.

Currently convictions of human trafficking don’t separate victims by age. The maximum sentence is 14 years (life with aggravating factors) but there is no minimum.

Smith says too many convictions under the law since it came into effect almost five years ago have seen sentences far shorter than five years.

Joy Smith is a Conservative Party MP. Here is the roll call of people who voted against protecting children from sexual predators. 46 MPs from the two socialist parties (the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrat Party) voted against the bill. The NDP is the English socialist part of Canada, and the Bloc Quebecois is the French socialist party of Canada.

Socialists receive lots of votes from criminals and are generally soft on crime, because they believe that law-abiding victims of crime are actually responsible for criminal behavior, and that criminals are the real victims of crime. That is how people on the left think. Good is evil. Evil is good. Does this remind anyone of the ACORN story?

Conservative MP introduces pro-life petition

In other news, Andrew notifies me that my favorite Canadian MP, Maurice Vellacott, has recently introduced a petition to recognize that abortion causes pain to unborn children.

Excerpt:

Liberal MP Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Lachine) this week put forward a petition calling on the government to adopt effective animal welfare legislation because of the fact that animals feel pain and suffering.

In response, pro-life Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott noted before Parliament that preborn human children also experience pain. However, this fact is not recognized in Canadian law, which allows for legal abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

Presenting his own petition, Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) stated, “Mr. Speaker, as a follow up to that series of petitions in respect of the pain that animals feel and in view of the fact that babies in the womb for the entire nine months feel some considerable pain caused by the abortion procedures that are used in this country, these petitioners in the country of Canada note that in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms everyone has a right to life, freedom from pain and freedom from the kind of assault fetuses experience in the womb…”

Again, the left-wing Liberal Party MP is terribly concerned about animal pain, but not concerned at all about allowing innocent unborn children to be killed. On the other hand, Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott is a solid social and fiscal conservative. He is especially active on men’s rights issues like shared parenting. He has an earned doctorate from Trinity International University in Chicago.

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