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Ignorant, Arrogant and Dangerous

Dave 07

July 24, 2015

Ezra Levant is in trouble again. This time it’s for suggesting that the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is “crazy” for ordering Alberta’s engineering profession to lower its standards so that a wannabe Alberta engineer could pass its qualifying test.

Apparently a Czech immigrant failed the Alberta engineering exam three times, so he complained to the AHRC that he was being discriminated against. They agreed, and according to Levant, ordered that engineering standards be lowered. Ezra opined that the AHRC was crazy.

Ezra was wrong; the AHRC isn’t crazy. Humans can be crazy, the rules they make can be absurd, ill-conceived, and dangerous, but they can’t be crazy. And if Levant was implying that the humans that made the ruling are crazy, I think he’s still wrong. Imputing actual craziness to the people at the AHRC would suggest that they had a valid excuse for making the ruling.

If in fact they actually did rule that the Alberta engineering profession must lower its standards of admission, on their say-so, then I’d suggest that what they are is ignorant of the importance of standards in the engineering profession, and consequently, they made a dangerous ruling.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (great organization at ) is currently fighting a battle on behalf of a sheep farmer in Ontario whose flock the provincial authorities suspected of having a disease. The owner disagreed as the sheep exhibited none of the symptoms. Nevertheless the authorities ordered that the flock be seized and slaughtered, but before that could happen, the flock disappeared. Eventually it was found, 35 miles away at another farm.

The authorities moved in, slaughtered the flock, and found that, as the farmer had insisted, there was no disease present. Nevertheless the bureaucrats have charged the owner with obstructing the actions of a government agency. Now, addition to loss of her flock, she faces jail time. This is example of bureaucracy run completely amok, and if you’re in their way, it’s got to be frightening.

One of the most outrageous examples of bureaucratic overreach that we now have in Canada, is the supply management system for dairy and poultry products.

Supply management as it applies to the dairy industry means that a farmer must buy a license for each cow that he or she wishes to milk. The current price for the license, per cow, is over $30,000. Farmers then have to buy the cows, the machinery, the land and the buildings before they are in business.

So a farmer that wishes to set up relatively small dairy with just 100 cows will spend over $3 million just to buy the pieces of paper that give them permission to milk the cows and sell the milk. Of course this drives the price of milk through the roof. Today, July 24, 2015, in Calgary, a litre of whole milk costs an average of $2.54. In Denver Colorado it’s $1.07. Adjusting for currency differences, that’s still nearly double. And the politicians all say they want to do something for young families?

This bureaucratic boondoggle is clearly just a left over from an decades ago exercise in vote buying. But now it poses a clear danger to the economic security of low income Canadians. Unfortunately, supply management is supported by all federal parties, even the Conservative government.

The Canadian Wheat Board was a federal bureaucracy established in the 1930s, a time when you had to take whatever the local elevator would pay you for your grain. Now of course, you can get on your smart phone and sell your grain to whoever in the world offers the best price.

I am personally acquainted with an Alberta grain farmer who has spent time in jail, and up until a few years ago had a criminal record.  His crime? About 20 years ago he and a number of other farmers hauled wheat to the United States, and sold it there, rather than selling it to the Canadian Wheat Board. They were charged, and eventually handcuffed and jailed.

A few years ago the Canadian government ended the Wheat Board monopoly – over the strong objections of the left wing parties – and pardoned those evil farmers who had the nerve to sell their own product. The Week Board was a clear danger to freedom, yet many left-wing Canadian politicians will still defend it.

lemonade115There are endless examples of ignorance in bureaucracies being dangerous, but sometimes they are simply absurd. A recent article in the Economist magazine reported on Texas entrepreneurs, Zoe and Andria Greene who went into business selling lemonade and popcorn. They were only in business about an hour when the bureaucrats moved in and shut them down. It turns out they needed a $150 “peddler’s permit”, a kitchen inspection, refrigeration etc., and being severely undercapitalized, they could afford none of it.

But the sisters are smart as well as entrepreneurial, and they discovered that they could set out a jar for tips, give away their product, make even more money, and it would all be perfectly legal. Zoe and Andria are seven and eight years old and were raising money for a Father’s Day gift. Good thing the little criminals were caught before they became hardened!

Examples of bureaucracy run amok would fill a library, and while bureaucracies are rarely staffed by genuine crazies, many are run by those that are ignorant and arrogant, and therefore, potentially dangerous. Doesn’t that describe far too many bureaucracies across Western societies, at all levels of government?

It’s time to get organized and push back strongly against this nonsense. You can do that at  Conservative individuals and organizations need to come together and work as one.

Otherwise bureaucracies will continue to grow; freedoms will disappear; and our lives will increasingly be run by the… well, maybe Ezra’s right – the crazies.

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