Monday, July 4, 2016

Democracy in Ontario

Not only did Ontario residents vote for the Liberals again in 2014, there's good reason to believe that Kathleen Wynne's government will win the next election in 2018.

Is such a thing even possible?

Yes, despite Wynne's 20% approval rating, the Liberals could win again.

For starters, the Progressive Conservatives are managed by a bunch of pragmatic statists. In 2007, John Tory actually campaigned on funding all religious schools with taxpayer money, instead of the obvious solution which would have been to stop funding Catholic schools.

But you know how it is, having to appeal to the electorate instead of sticking to conservative principles.

Then, Tim Hudak said he'd downsize the "public" sector by 100,000 jobs. For reasons we'll get back to, this sound campaign promise wasn't well-received and Hudak lost.

Now, instead of giving the PC leadership to Jim Flaherty's widow and having a woman run against whatever species Kathleen Wynne is, the PCs are trying again with a white old male and promises of a carbon tax.

That's right, instead of acknowledging pollution as a private property issue, the PCs have adopted the socialist premise that pollution is a problem that can only be solved by giving the government more money and power.

Democracy really is one of the dumbest political philosophies out there... But here's why Ontario is a prime example of why democracy doesn't work.

Ontario's public sector unions have a lot of power. They represent 1.1 million workers, nearly 10% of the province's population. Think of how much attention Quebec gets federally, and they only represent 10% of the country. Or, think about what it would be like if 10% of Americans were radical Rothbardians. A libertarian future may be closer than you think...

But back to Ontario - the public sector and its unions are a powerful voting bloc and with lots of cash to boot.

Never mind that Ontario is heavily indebted and should probably cut 100,000 government jobs, if not more. The province's public sector went nuts last election, going on a 20-city "Stop Hudak" tour.

In every election since 2003, public sector unions have spent millions on coordinated attack ads against the Progressive Conservatives.

Even Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essena has said enough is enough, calling for capping third-party election advertising, with warnings that it's creating an uneven playing field.

Under public pressure, the Wynne  government was forced to legislate new rules limiting ads and banning corporate and union donations, but with tons of loopholes and no consultation with opposition parties. It is unsurprising that the legislation favours the Liberals.

Not that it matters too much. After 13 years in power, the Liberals have solidified their base of "green" crony-capitalists, insurance companies, teacher unions, Bay Street, and other sectors that benefit from Liberal rule.

The Liberals rake in donation money like no other party. Since January 2015 the Liberals have raised $11.3 million, compared to the $3.9 million for the PCs and $2.4 million for the NDP.

As Lorrie Goldstein wrote for the Toronto Sun, "Anyone who thinks money and networks of political influence don't affect elections, doesn't understand politics."

Or, like the great Ludwig von Mises once wrote, "Representative democracy cannot subsist if a great part of the voters are on the government payroll. If the members of parliament no longer consider themselves mandatories of the taxpayers but deputies of those receiving salaries, wages, subsidies, doles, and other benefits from the treasury, democracy is done for."

Hence, Ontario is an example of why democracy doesn't work.

But not all is lost, for, if we follow philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe's advice, Ontario can take concrete steps to put its financial house back in order and have a society based on peace and mutual exchange.

Unfortunately, the advice is radical -- far more radical than Hudak's plan to fire 100,000 bureaucrats.

First, as an initial step, and I’m referring now to what should be done on the local level, the first central plank of one’s platform should be: one must attempt to restrict the right to vote on local taxes, in particular on property taxes and regulations, to property and real estate owners. Only property owners must be permitted to vote, and their vote is not equal, but in accordance with the value of the equity owned, and the amount of taxes paid. [emphasis mine]

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