Ontario Government Changes its Mind

Ontario hasn’t been a beacon of liberty as of late.

One day they’re giving you an exemption for a right you already have, the next day they’re taking it away.

Ontario‘s plan to allow smoking and vaping of medical cannabis anywhere, anytime has been recalled after backlash from concerned busy-bodies.

Indeed, what was once a prosperous industrial economy has degenerated into post-industrial green fascism, where the government works out exclusive contracts with multinational corporations to build wind turbines and sell off hydro plants.

It isn’t just Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s fault, but she certainly has put her foot on the gas.

And while the economy has worsened, Wynne’s government continues to treat grown adults like children.

She instituted a provincial-based pension plan on top of the federal one Ontarians already have – all because you’re not smart enough to save for your own retirement.

And she’s banned flavoured cigarettes – even menthols – because they might appeal to children.

Smoking is banned in all public places, even private commercial establishments like bars and restaurants.

Unless, of course, you are a medical cannabis user.

Wynne’s government originally had enough sense not to provoke a constitutional battle with patients over where they are allowed to medicate.

But the language coming from the Wynne government is typical. First they take away your rights, then they give them back to you under the guise of an “exemption” to legislation.

Then they take them away again.

Associate Health Minister Dipika Damerla said, “We’ve heard about the concerns around this regulation and we’re going to take this feedback and see if this regulation is the best way to move forward.”

The day before, the Wynne government had had enough sense to give private commercial enterprises the final say.

Damerla said business owners and employers could “override the exemption” because, “as an employer and a restaurant owner, you can say that there is no vaping, no smoking of medical marijuana.”

She also told reporters that if medicating was, “bothering somebody, find another place to go and smoke.”

It’s a shame Ontario‘s bureaucrats didn’t stick to their guns, and it’s a bigger shame they didn’t extend this logic in the other direction.

As in, if you are an employer or restaurant owner, you can say that there is smoking, whether it is tobacco or marijuana, because it’s your private property.

And, as I’ve pointed out in several other posts, the common law of tort internalizes the externalities people often object to when public policy is rooted in protecting the rights of private property owners over the vague concerns of “the children” or the “public good.”

When Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath was asked how she would react to someone smoking cannabis in a restaurant, she told the reporter, “I’ll probably eat more.”

But she added that her party – far from protecting the rights of individuals – will look to Health Canada since the federal bureaucracy warned about the dangers of exposing “young people to the smoke and vapour of medical marijuana.”

This “danger” of second-hand cannabis smoke was the raison d’être the Ontario government back-peddled.

If only private property rights were in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then we might have avoided the whole e-cigarette law to begin with.

Or, if Canadians had stuck with the Canadian Bill of Rights, which recognizes, among other things, “the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family,” and, “right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property.”

If this were the case, politicians, instead of giving us exemptions for rights we already have and then taking them away a day later, would be forced to prove that their legislation is consistent with the philosophy of liberty.