Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More on why not to raise the drinking age

Like with most contraband, you limit it by law and it goes underground. Something that's taboo becomes an exciting novelty. There really isn't a lot of binge drinking going on amongst the 18 year old crowd on campuses and in the fraternity houses. How do I know? I was 18, then soon in a fraternity, and a responsible adult, learning from mistakes early on.

And there's a professor guy who agrees. h/t to Vitor for this study...

"McCardell thinks that, on campuses, a drinking age of 21 infantilizes students, encouraging immature behavior with alcohol and disrespect for law generally. Furthermore, an ``enforcement only'' policy makes school administrations adversaries of students and interferes with their attempts to acquaint students with pertinent information, such as the neurological effects of alcohol on young brains. He notes that 18-year-olds have a right to marry, adopt children, serve as legal guardians for minors, purchase firearms from authorized dealers, and are trusted with the vote and military responsibilities. So, he says, it is not unreasonable to think that they can, with proper preparation, be trusted to drink."
Perhaps this is why when a group of us Albertan Canadians would go to the U.S. at 21, we were also able to not only handle our alcohol much better than Americans, due to already having 3 years experience, we were more responsible with it because we knew the consequences already. I even noticed a difference between the 19 year olds in Alberta compared to BC where the legal age is 19.

Why do I keep posting about this subject? Well, the Alberta government is looking into it and in my opinion, if implemented, the law would fly in the face of freedom, as a continued war against fun. So I ask Ted Morton (someone whom I supported in the PC leadership race actually), is there a study on drinking problems "in the high schools"? Because I haven't heard or known there was one.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A View from the Right on his view of the left wing media

Fellow Blogging Tory, Zednik at "A View From The Right" provides a scathing review of the leftist Canadian media's response to the recent G8 summit, which our Prime Minister attended and accomplished many-a-thing, despite reports by U2's Bono.

So within a week Harper and his Tories helped create a framework for a
greenhouse gas agreement that includes both the United States and Russia, and
gave us four more viable trading partners in Europe, as well as helping form a
huge aid package to Africa.

Yet all that was reported was that he refused to meet Bono and therefore hates Africans, and he is “really mean” to the Maritime Provinces, and is “Anti-Environment”

But I wanted to further comment and say that Conservative media relations therefore need to improve somehow, because even when our Prime Minister does good things, it doesn't translate into good vibes for Canadians and their view of him, although he still leads the leadership pack.

I, for one, did not realize any of these things were accomplished at the G8 summit. Not at all.

But I did know and was also quite happy that Mr. Harper actually turned down an unelected non-politician such as Bono. As much as Stephen Harper and I like U2's music (more of the old stuff though), he thus spent his time more wisely with actual national leaders in putting together a big African aid package. And Bono turns around and cuts him down. Maybe Bono needs to find another "good" cause rather than up his ego with the media. How about writing better songs?

Anyway, in summary, Harper better than you think, CBC bad, and Bono Vox? Well he's just all bad talk now.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What Alberta owes taxpayers

They predicted $4 billion.

But now it's over $8 billion.

Good estimating there!

Why is it called a surplus though? Why can't we call it "the overtaxed amount"? Sure, you could say, "It's everyone's surplus!". Yeah, but it depends what it's spent on. And I think a lot of you can agree that this is the problem.

The Alberta government is raking in the dough, not just from oil revenues (which went down from the previous year), but from income taxes, gambling, and other sin taxes. This is due to the enormous growth and immigration to "Wild Rose Country".

With more people, there's obviously more of a demand on health and other services.

About one billion bucks of that revenue though is from health care insurance premiums, which is a fancy name for "the tax to remind you that health care is actually not free". But as I've said before, these premiums hit lower-mid income single parents over 25 and families pretty hard, and for folks going back to school or training. Those who can't, get collection agencies after them which then hurts their credit (although no credit was really applied for and issued).

As they did with the seniors, now is the time to get rid of it. What's nutty is that you can't even claim it on your income tax, so you're being taxed on it as well.

Politicians are so out of touch with this because they don't see the monthly bill.

After that "health tax" is gone, then we should look at lowering provincial income taxes even further as well as building more schools and hospitals (which I guess they've started doing).

But Alberta roads aren't looking so good lately. Our infrastructure deficit is massive. The QEII main artery highway is in bad shape, not to mention a lack of a ring road around Calgary and Edmonton's being way behind.

But worst of all is the lack of a good highway to Ft. McMurray, where the revenue generated from fuels these surpluses. How about some payback Ed?

I sure miss those $400 Ralphbucks. Edbucks just doesn't sound right.

Age of reason...

It's not only me who feels the way I do about why we don't need to raise the drinking age.

Banning 18-year-olds from legally drinking could just push their habits underground to bush parties or house basements, in places where they're not supervised and pose just as severe a threat, argued Shirley Lowe, executive director of the Old Strathcona Business Association.
Hmm, isn't that what I said in my previous post?
"They also recognized that raising the legal drinking age might simply displace the problem of violence: underage drinkers might do their drinking at bush parties instead of bars," the roundtable report said.
Mo Blayways, a bar owner and president of the Old Strathcona Hospitality Association, said upping the policing levels in busy districts should be the top priority. But he reasoned that a higher drinking age, along with a barrage of other measures like drink-price minimums, might have some effect on violence levels.
Police! Who would've thought? But my friend Mo runs Devlin's Martini Bar where the age requirement is 21 years.

Granted, there are some bars on Whyte that attract that 18 year-old triple highballs for half price crowd. But what's need is more security and bar staff to handle these situation promptly.

Drink price minimums to a point are good because you don't and can't have a bar giving out free or dirt cheap drinks, but there's a line somewhere. Maybe a $1/ounce. But that's it.

Staggered bar closings is the dumbest idea. Hello more lineups and frustrated folks who'll fight even more.

As I said, how about no closing time?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Alberta Tories look at raising the drinkin' age ... again

$650,000. What a freakin' waste of money. The Alberta government is implementing a "Cage Your Rage" campaign to curb fighting in bars.

Alberta has been growing like crazy lately and has been getting many under 30 folks coming here from other provinces to work. This has definitely raised the number of patrons at local waterholes.

But raising the drinking age won't do a thing to stop fighting. The under age crowd will find a way. They'll have more house parties when the parents aren't home, or in their aparments, at bush parties, illegal hall parties, and they'll find the booze. There has been a bit too much violence at house parties in the Greater Edmonton area over the last few years. Raising the age just might increase that.

I can see it now, they'll announce when the drinking age will be raised, to even 19, and you'll see a slew of 18 year old guys stocking up at the liquor stores and having their own parties after that date.

Actually, what should happen and what will solve a lot of problems (especially on Whyte Avenue) is to allow bars to stay open as long as they wish (like in Vegas) if they can afford to, while at the same time stop serving over-intoxicated patrons. People in Alberta work really weird hours, why should they be denied these freedoms?

The problem starts when all the bars close and drunk patrons pour out into the street all at the same time looking for cabs, food, etc. Now that bouncers and bodyguards will soon have to be trained like real security guards, they will be better enabled on dealing with and be responsible for handling situations inside and outside their establishments.

Telling an 18 yr old that he can vote, smoke, fight in a war, but not have a beer slaps in the face of liberty. The clear large majority of bar patrons are responsible.

All these regulations on bars, patio sizes, drink prices, closing times, blah blah blah, do NOTHING.

After the freak Canada Day riot on Whyte Avenue way back (which was actually started by out-of-province hoodlums in their mid-twenties), I wrote to the Edmonton Journal saying that we simply need a patrol car at each major intersection on the popular strip and more beat cops. Well, they finally did it and violence on the avenue has dropped dramatically (as long as the Oilers don't make the playoffs, but they had the whole works of cops out for that one eventually).

What's also stupid is how the city hasn't increased the number of cabs allowed in six years! It has become very difficult to find a cab once the bars all close at the same time. Again, stupid regulations.

Now you may think I'm contradicting my libertarian principles due to my strong stance on no smoking in bars. It's simple. In a bar, when someone is drinking, it doesn't affect me at all. If someone is smoking, even at the other end of the room, it does, especially the bar staff who are subjecated to it on a daily basis. There's a big difference there.

If that $650,000 should go to anything, it's more cops who can actually enforce the existing laws, not bureaucratic pet projects that will likely do nothing to change someone's behavior (in some cases, might actually cause a backlash).

Welcome to the new nanny state.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Interesting Parallel - Reaching Zen in Canadian Unity

The Dalai Lama renewed pleas for Tibet's autonomy after meeting with New
Zealand's prime minister at an Australian airport yesterday, the latest in a string of meetings with dignitaries that have drawn condemnation from China.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's 11-day tour of Australia has created a furor in Beijing, which regards the 71-year-old Buddhist icon as a beacon for pro-independence sentiment in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he seeks only autonomy for the region, which China rules by military force.

Read on...
"China should give Tibet meaningful autonomy, because we have different language, with that rich different culture and heritage and rich Tibetan Buddhist tradition," he said, echoing earlier comments. "Intentional or unintentional, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place."

For Canadians, that language sounds familiar doesn't it?
"Canada should give Quebec meaningful autonomy, because we have different
language, with that rich different culture and heritage and rich French-Quebecois tradition... Intentional or unintentional, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place."

From this, if you sympathize with Tibet over China, for the same reasons, perhaps you should sympathize with Quebec over Canada. Yeah, yeah, it's not like the English took over Quebec by brute force or anything (lol).

Of course there are differences between these situations, but the parallel is interesting in trying to understand where a Quebecois is coming from and why perhaps it is noble for Gilles Duceppe to push for sovereign independence and Mario Dumont preferring autonomy.

But I have to ask, are Quebeckers really that oppressed?

Or do they tire of simply being dependent on the rest of Canada economically, not necessarily be independent of Canada, but contribute to the greater good, and in exchange, grant them more autonomy?

Sounds like how some Albertans feel, where Europe is possibly headed, what Ireland and Scotland wanted and got, and what the United States of America has been since its formation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Conservative Spin

With the help of the Atlantic premiers in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the Liberals appear to have been successful in the latest round of spin as regards the recently passed federal budget first reading in the House of Commons.

What doesn't make sense is that the budget deal offered these provinces the option to stay in the current Atlantic Accord or a one-year trial in the new provincial transfer equalization formula which considers the off-shore oil revenue generated by these provinces.

Because of this, the Conservative caucus was right to kick out Nova Scotian MP Bill Casey, not necessarily voting against the budget, but for flip flopping on the issue.

But it hasn't been properly spun that way by the Conservatives. A poll targets this misconception.

The latest Decima poll has the Conservatives at 29% and the Liberals at 32%.

Overall, I'd say Prime Minister Harper and the Conservatives need to do a much better job at promoting their agenda to the public and get into the living rooms of the average Canadian again like they did in the election. Sadly, the best way to do this is through the TV media.

I'm afraid that most Canadians just don't know our Prime Minister. I continually have to tell people that he's actually a personable guy with a keen sense of humour and a passion for this country and its people. What a contrast to when I met him over 10 years ago at Ezra Levant's Christmas party in Calgary.

However, they have been doing a good job in attacking Liberal leader Stephane Dion, as another poll suggest that a clear majority of Canadians don't want Stephane Dion as Prime Minister.

It appears all the pandering to the middle and to Quebec was all for naught, or are the Conservatives following the notion that when Canadians vote in an election, the majority vote against the leader they don't like?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quebec budget update

Well, the Quebec budget passed with the ADQ voting against it and the PQ caucus abstaining with only a few who voted against as part of a negotiation between Charest and the interim PQ leader.

As you can read from my previous post, I would be in total agreement with blogger Adam Daifallah as regards to the ADQ.

"For months, I've been telling anyone who would listen that the ADQ is not an
ideologically consistent conservative party. "
I'll say this again, and probably again later. Lowering taxes will eventually increase revenue for the government to enable it to pay off the debt, then it can reduce taxes further by using the money saved on interest payments.

So why the inconsistency from the ADQ? If they want to govern, they'd better get their so-called conservative act together.