LPgate: The scandal of Canada’s so-called ‘legalization’ process

Before Trudeau’s Liberals corrupted the word, legalization meant “free the weed.” It meant free and fair markets where farmer John could trade with consumer Jane and no federal, provincial or municipal bureaucrat had any say in the matter.

Unfortunately, Canada has come a long way from the time when the words legalization, decriminalization or liberalization were interchangeable.

Nowadays, legalization means conforming to the state apparatus. As Benito Mussolini said, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Since Parliament can’t keep up with the proliferation of legislation they’ve created, subordinate bodies have been established to carry out the details of every statute.

Unlike MPs, we don’t elect these people. And unlike the private sector, we can’t stop paying their salaries by patronizing competitors. Performing good or bad work isn’t a criterion imposed by the end user. A hierarchy of commands rule the day, and sufficient political capital or budgetary crises are needed before anyone even risks losing their jobs.

Because technology and capital have increased and become more complex, because cannabis legalization must respect “public health and safety,” it follows that the legislative response must be complex and nested in technical language, covering a wide range of activities. That’s why the Liberals have been dragging their feet on legalization.

But does this argument follow? Must government grow larger and become more of a tax burden? Because people want to grow, buy, sell, invest, refine and consume cannabis?

They’ll say, because there is no area of human life and affairs not covered by law, we need laws in order to maintain our free and civil society. So when a problem arises, politicians and/or the public demand legislation in order to solve it.

Yet, as Upton Sinclair famously said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Ergo, the more problems governments can contrive, whether real or imagined, the better off they are. It doesn’t need to be nefarious, it’s just human nature. That’s why the real liberals are government skeptics, not its cheerleaders.

#LPGate demands that we ask ourselves whether legislation and the resulting branch of administrative law are really the best means to resolving our complex social problems.

Since World War II, and definitely after the 1960s, a proliferation of legislation at federal and provincial levels have delegated authority to inferior tribunals that set policy, enforce and render decisions.

Budgets sufficient for permanent staff are provided, as well as for their pensions, in addition to funds for hiring outside consultants and experts. It’s little wonder that taxes and government borrowing have trended upward with no end in sight.

How does one make an argument for government intervention when medical cannabis, one of the most restrictive and onerous regulatory regimes in the country, can’t even pass a basic quality test?

What kind of regulations allow people with zero growing experience to open million-dollar facilities while locking out the “criminals” who have the knowledge and expertise?

State intervention, with its ethical and financial costs, have crowded out the spontaneity of regulatory rules and customs that once flourished in private life and business.

The state mediates to an increasing extent in regulating private conduct and the ramifications are detrimental to liberty and prosperity.

Despite cries of “deregulation” by some of the same people who believe defending Western culture and traditions is “racist” and an example of “white privilege,” the fact that we remain a society heavily taxed and regulated by various levels of government run counter to ideas of freedom Canadians lived with 150 years ago.

The 19th century was an age of political deliberation when politicians and the public had confidence in the power of words.  Today, the strong monarchical element in our system has been displaced by a populist PMO. And in the post-modernist tradition, words and definitions no longer describe real things, they have become arbitrary proposals for the use of a term.

Therefore, it’s not surprising when Health Canada fail miserably at providing any regulation whatsoever, allowing Canada’s 38 LPs to police themselves, feeling that revoking their license would act as a good enough deterrent.

So goes the thinking of Ottawa’s civil servants, not recognizing that revoking a license is also a good incentive hide illegal pesticides above a ceiling tile.

After harping about how safe and regulated the LPs were compared to free market alternatives, I expect no less from our democratic institutions and apologists.

After all, many still dispute the universal truth that “every step that leads away from private ownership of the means of production and the use of money is a step away from rational economic activity.”