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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Why Trump Won

Let me say first of all I totally get it. All those once middle class white and blue collar workers in the US, watching their incomes stagnate, barely holding on after the recession took their job and their family and the recovery gave them a McJob that they can't survive on. The US government took $700 billion of their tax dollars and bailed out Wall Street so that the high rollers there still got their multi million dollar bonuses for tanking the economy, and the average American still got a foreclosure notice on their home.
Barack Obama was elected with a clear mandate for change. But instead of delivering change he tried to compromise with the Republicans who had no interest in working with a black President. So in the first two years when he could have and should have made changes while he had a legislative majority he wasted that time.
As a result, the progressives that had been so excited by Yes We Can stayed home in the 2010 election year. Meanwhile the GoP was able to fire up its base over the temerity of having a non white as President of the USA thus giving the GoP the numbers to thwart much of Obama's cautious agenda. The result was a recovery that benefited the wealthy and did nothing for the average person.
Two candidates offered a way out from the status quo in a nation desperate for change. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump. The DNC in it's arrogance knew it was Hillary Clinton's turn and did their best to ensure her coronation, thus undermining the legitimacy of Hillary's candidacy.
So after she secured the nomination did Hillary move to secure those that had supported Bernie? Did she pick him as her VP? Nope, he was too socialist and scared the big money backing her. Well what about U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren? Nope, instead she went with Tim Kaine. Then she pivoted not to disaffected Bernie supporters, but to Wall Street and Republican establishment who were horrified that Trump had secured their party's nomination.
I have never been more grateful to be Canadian right now. Trump's victory speech was better than I expected. He talked about rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, which is needed and will put Americans back to work (assuming it isn't outsourced to Temporary Foreign Workers).
Meanwhile the desperate in the decline will wait to see if Trump rips up the trade agreements that took away their jobs and their dignity. And as bad as these white folks may have it they also hope and expect that Blacks and Hispanics plus of course the LGBT community and Muslims will have it much worse in Trump's America and thus the god given order of things will have been restored.
The GoP congress will continue to put forward tax cuts for the 1% and Trump will gladly sign those into law. He is after all still a member of that 1%. Meanwhile to help get the deficit under control there will have to be cuts for social services and the like, thus once again doubling down on socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.
I was not a fan of Hillary. But I did come to understand how a society as sexist as the United States forced her to be someone she wasn't. She tried being herself years ago as Hillary Rodham and that went over like a lead balloon with the electorate thus she had to become Hillary Clinton.
Trump may do some good but the odds are is that he will do much that is awful. Time will soon tell. Good luck America you are going to need it.

Why Trump Won

Let me say first of all I totally get it. All those once middle class white and blue collar workers in the US, watching their incomes stagnate, barely holding on after the recession took their job and their family and the recovery gave them a McJob that they can't survive on. The US government took $700 billion of their tax dollars and bailed out Wall Street so that the high rollers there still got their multi million dollar bonuses for tanking the economy, and the average American still got a foreclosure notice on their home.
Barack Obama was elected with a clear mandate for change. But instead of delivering change he tried to compromise with the Republicans who had no interest in working with a black President. So in the first two years when he could have and should have made changes while he had a legislative majority he wasted that time.
As a result, the progressives that had been so excited by Yes We Can stayed home in the 2010 election year. Meanwhile the GoP was able to fire up its base over the temerity of having a non white as President of the USA thus giving the GoP the numbers to thwart much of Obama's cautious agenda. The result was a recovery that benefited the wealthy and did nothing for the average person.
Two candidates offered a way out from the status quo in a nation desperate for change. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Donald J. Trump. The DNC in it's arrogance knew it was Hillary Clinton's turn and did their best to ensure her coronation, thus undermining the legitimacy of Hillary's candidacy.
So after she secured the nomination did Hillary move to secure those that had supported Bernie? Did she pick him as her VP? Nope, he was too socialist and scared the big money backing her. Well what about U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren? Nope, instead she went with Tim Kaine. Then she pivoted not to disaffected Bernie supporters, but to Wall Street and Republican establishment who were horrified that Trump had secured their party's nomination.
I have never been more grateful to be Canadian right now. Trump's victory speech was better than I expected. He talked about rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, which is needed and will put Americans back to work (assuming it isn't outsourced to Temporary Foreign Workers).
Meanwhile the desperate in the decline will wait to see if Trump rips up the trade agreements that took away their jobs and their dignity. And as bad as these white folks may have it they also hope and expect that Blacks and Hispanics plus of course the LGBT community and Muslims will have it much worse in Trump's America and thus the god given order of things will have been restored.
The GoP congress will continue to put forward tax cuts for the 1% and Trump will gladly sign those into law. He is after all still a member of that 1%. Meanwhile to help get the deficit under control there will have to be cuts for social services and the like, thus once again doubling down on socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.
I was not a fan of Hillary. But I did come to understand how a society as sexist as the United States forced her to be someone she wasn't. She tried being herself years ago as Hillary Rodham and that went over like a lead balloon with the electorate thus she had to become Hillary Clinton.
Trump may do some good but the odds are is that he will do much that is awful. Time will soon tell. Good luck America you are going to need it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Is a cash strapped Ontario about to screw up Marijuana for all Canadians?

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn has made no secret of the fact she wants marijuana in Ontario sold exclusively through government liquor stores, or the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) as they are known there, when the Trudeau government gets around to legalizing weed next year.

As the Toronto Star reported a a few weeks ago:  "Ensuring recreational marijuana sales are restricted to the LCBO is a key priority for Ontario as the legalization of weed looms," says Premier Kathleen Wynn.

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with marijuana knows that combing alcohol with weed is a terrible idea.  If cannabis and alcohol are used at the same time there is a greater chance of negative side effects including greening out as well as panic and anxiety.

Worse still is the anti nausea effects of marijuana when combined with alcohol.  One of the ways your body tries to protect itself from alcohol poisoning is by making you puke when you have drunk too much alcohol.   Marijuana shuts down this reflex turning a bender with booze into a potentially life threatening overdose.  But none of that matters because Ontario needs money.

With twice the debt of California, Ontario is now the world's most indebted sub-sovereign borrower.  Worse still Ontario has only one third the population of California.  That is why Ontario has been casting a covetous eye on the tax revenue Colorado has been collecting from its legal marijuana sales with a goal of going one better by cutting out dispensaries and having the province collect not only taxes from the sales but 100% of the retail profits as well.

 Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, has been tasked with shaping the form Canada`s marijuana legalization will take, has made it clear his priorities are getting marijuana sales out of the hands of organised crime as well as protecting kids from marijuana.

I had the opportunity to meet with Minister Bill Blair in May of this year at the federal Liberal convention in Winnipeg.  It was shortly after Toronto police had engaged in a massive raid on Toronto dispensaries seemingly at the behest of Toronto Mayor John Tory.

As I said to Minister Blair if whatever system Canada comes up with does not provide Canadian consumers with the quality, variety and price they expect then the black market will continue to thrive.

  A couple of weeks later I was in Ottawa where I had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the same subject.  I made it clear that many British Columbians want dispensaries and that tourists visiting our province are expecting a Colorado type experience.  Trudeau was unequivocal that those folks setting up dispensaries prior to legalization could expect a visit from the police but that the final form it will take will be up to the provinces.

Fortunately for residents of Victoria and Vancouver, who have their own municipal police forces, the Mayor and Council of those two cities seem reticent to send in the police.  As Toronto is discovering conducting such raids leads to expensive litigation from medical marijuana patients and dispensaries alike, it drives consumers back into the hands of street dealers and it would undoubtedly cost them votes.

But costing votes should not just be a concern for municipal politicians.  As was the case right across Canada, the Liberals made tremendous electoral gains in British Columbia.  Among those elected was someone I highly regard and that is the Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson Raybould.

  Although she handily won her riding in Vancouver Granville, a badly handled marijuana legalization that shut out BC dispensaries could place her re-election in question as well as dash current hopes by the Liberal Party of Canada to make further gains in British Columbia in the next federal election.

Besides the needs of consumers and the fate of politicians, there is another aspect at play here and that is economic.  According to industry sources 60 per cent of the marijuana consumed in Ontario comes from British Columbia.  A Fraser Institute study from 2004 suggests the pot industry was worth $7 billion annually to British Columbia and was the third biggest economic driver after forestry and tourism.  It is no exaggeration to say that as wine is to France weed is to B.C.

If Kathleen Wynn gets her way there will be billions less in British Columbians' pockets and billions more in Ontario's provincial treasury.  But the other problem with Wynn's LCBO model is that in British Columbia we have both private and public liquor stores and in Alberta they privatized their liquor stores.  Already liquor store owners in B.C. are teaming up with the BCGEU to see if they can get in on this lucrative retailing opportunity.

This then creates the farcical situation where the federal government is going to be shutting down private retailers, who are in many instances extremely knowledgeable about marijuana the different varieties and their effects, in order to hand it over to other retailers who may know the difference between a cab sav and a merlot but haven't got a clue about the difference between an indica or a sativa or the difference between THC and CBD.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be wise to resist Premier Wynn's siren call.  Yes I understand that there are those who feel that Wynn played a key role in helping vault the Liberals from third place back into government, but on this issue she will do far more to damage rather than help Federal Liberal fortunes.