Category: Government

How a Pizza Helped Rod Understand Democracy and Freedom

Many people believe democracy and freedom are the same thing. Actually, they’re not. Democracy refers to a decision-making process that involves three or more people, maybe even millions. Freedom has to do with the ability an individual has to make a choice, and then act upon that choice. (Often, although not always, the expression of freedom is reflected in our economic choices. Freedom also implies the right to not be discriminated against.) The idea that Canadians, and Albertans, should use a democratic process to decide our own fate on key political issues is certainly more favorable towards promoting freedom...

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Legislative vs. Executive, and Politicians Who Don’t Get Paid

The United States and Canada each have three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature passes the laws. The executive branch administers the laws. The judicial branch enforces the laws. In the U.S., 49 states have bicameral legislatures where laws are debated and passed. It means they actually have two legislative assemblies. One is called a House of Representatives, or a lower house, the other is called a state senate, or upper house. In a state like Wyoming for example, there are 60 people elected to the house of representatives and 30 people elected to the State...

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Bill 2, and the Alberta Government’s Continuing Challenge to Landowner Rights

The Alberta government has churned out a parade of anti-property rights laws these past few years. Bill 19 originally gave government the power to put development decisions about private property under the control of a Cabinet Minister.With Bill 24 the government seized control of privately-owned pore spaces. Pore spaces are sub-surface hollow spots, like the holes in a sponge. In Ontario, landowners lease pore spaces to utility companies for more than $100 per acre per year. In Alberta, as a result of Bill 24, these condominium-like storage spaces now belong to government and are controlled by politicians. Bill 36...

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How Taxpayer Cash Rewards Bad Fiscal Policy

Imagine you are from a family of ten. You and your nine siblings grow up and leave home. Then the three or four who are most industrious have to send money home each month so Mom can give it to the three or four least industrious. Mom calls it “equalization.” Those who get up early and work the longest never enjoy the fruit of their own labour. Rather than having cash available to build a new house, start a small business, or otherwise invest, they find their money drained off by the “equalization.” The less disciplined of the ten...

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Incentives, Disincentives, and What the Bureaucrats Did to Mother Teresa

A wealthy businessman became overwhelmed with the desire to have grandchildren, wanting to enjoy their company before he died. The man had two sons and two daughters. All were married. None had shown any interest in children. At the family’s annual Christmas dinner that year, the elderly fellow gently scolded his children for not giving him any grandchildren, then added: “Last week I went to my lawyer’s office to set up a $100 million trust fund that leaves almost all my fortune to the one of you that is first to produce a grandchild. Now let’s bow our heads...

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