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Rob Anders

Rob Anders: Where do we aim our guns now?

The repeal of the gun registry is expected to go from a Senate standing committee to third reading in the Senate within the next two weeks.While the ineffective and expensive long gun registry will have been repealed there still remain issues with Canadian gun laws.We still need to make the regulations more straight forward and more common sense.Why should a gun license have a constantly expiring date that the owner has to track? Once you buy the gun it doesn't dissappear nor should the license. The current system imposed by Allan Rock means that once you obtain a Possession and Acquisition License you have to keep renewing it, paying more money each time or be deemed a criminal when the time frame expires. If your automobile license expires you don't become a criminal by merely owning the vehicle.I remember taking Hunter Education in junior high school and applying for my Firearms Acquisition Certificate at the local police station. In the good old days there was no differentiation about whether I wanted to acquire or merely possess a firearm. A pretty lame distinction in my mind. Who wants to track all that paperwork and incur the costs of constant renewals? In 1993/94 the cost of administering Canada's gun control regime was just $15.5 million while the over two billion dollar gun registry has provided no measurable improvement in public or police safety. The old FAC system worked so why complicate it?Furthermore, I believe in the castle defense. A man's home is his castle. If someone breaking into my house has a gun then I support the old common law rule that I can defend my house with equal force. Farmers are allowed to have firearms and ammunition readily available to protect livestock from wild predators. We should exempt home owners from… Read More

CPAC 2012

Another Conservative Political Action Conference has just wrapped up in Washington DC. As always I come away infused with conservative ideas and a duffle bag full of books and videos. In time I hope Canada's Civitas or Manning Centre conferences match the size and scope of this annual Washington event.Rick Santorum, Newt Gengrich, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and many others spoke in the Marriott Hotel ballroom. Rick Santorum spoke about his values with conviction. Newt Gengrich listed off executive orders like a 12.5 percent flat tax and the elimination of the capital gains tax. Mitt Romney won the delegate straw poll with his front runner status, money and organization. Sarah Palin was a muse extolling the virtues of traditional small town patriotism. CPAC is a great way to sample the conservative movement over a weekend.There were over 140 groups with booths in the exhibition hall. You could feel the Tea Party's populist message of fiscal restraint in the air. The National Rifle Association had an indoor gun range and other gun groups sold hardbound histories of founding father arguments about the right to bear arms. In the theatre there was never seen before moving footage of the Pope's visit to Poland in 1979 that Polish bishops had been keeping in storage. European Conservatives flew across the Atlantic to share their thoughts on the EU debt situation and their personal anecdotes about Margaret Thatcher. Men in uniform played bagpipes and there were many pledges to buy Canada's ethical oil via pipeline. Hundreds of college women in formal dress rallied for Ann Coulter. As always, CPAC was the fix conservative political junkies look for.This year was special for how many Canadians were present at CPAC. Easily over two dozen Johnny and Janie Canucks came to take part in this conservative movement gathering.… Read More

US protectionism is bad economics

I recently read that the US Congress passed a “Buy American” bill. This act of protectionism, more than anything else, made me fear a double-dip recession. History may not repeat itself, but it certainly echoes.Most are familiar with the 1929 Wall Street Crash. On 24 October, also known as Black Thursday, the market dropped 11%. Upon reopening on 28 October, Black Monday, the market dropped 13%. Then on 29 October, Black Tuesday, the market dropped another 12%. Unemployment peaked at 9.3% but settled back at 6.3% by June 1930.The stage was now set for this bubble crash to become the more menacing Great Depression. Rather than letting the market correct itself, politicians wanted to look like they were doing something, so they intervened. Protectionists thought that if people were encouraged to buy domestic goods over imports, local jobs would be restored.Few know much about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley raised tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels on 17 June 1930. Unemployment reached 11.6% by November 1930. Canada responded by imposing tariffs on 16 products, accounting for for 30% of US exports to Canada. Germany developed a system of autarky or self-sufficiency that inspired synthetic oil and blitzkrieg (lightning war). US imports decreased 66% and exports decreased 61%. Unemployment crept to 16.3% in 1931, 24.9% in 1932 and 25.1% in 1933.Not until the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944 and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the 1950s was protectionism rectified. The market hit a nadir in July 1932, but the 1929 peak was not matched again until November 1954.Henry Ford was right to call the Smoot Hawley tariff “an economic stupidity.” Raising tariffs erodes purchasing power. Raising the tariffs on wood from Canada means there are less dollars to… Read More

Alberta needs more conservative, less progressive

If Alberta is conservative country, how does the Progressive Conservative leadership result make sense? Gary Mar, who campaigned for Alberta Liberal Harvey Locke against Blue Tory Pat Black, led the pack. Doug Horner and Alison Redford, a feminist divorce lawyer, filled out the top three spots to replace Premier Ed Stelmach. The more conservative Ted Morton placed fourth. Doug Griffiths, who once advocated eliminating provincial income tax, and Rick Orman came at the bottom of the list. Can Alberta still be the beacon of conservatism in Canada?Only half as many Albertans came out for this race as the previous contest where Ed Stelmach squeaked up the middle. Many conservatives just chose to stay home.I attended the Ludwig von Mises Institute inaugural gathering in Calgary a couple weekends ago. Serious talk over the global debt crisis and the gold standard whetted the appetites of the economic libertarians in attendance. There were four Wildrose candidates there and no Progressive Conservatives to be seen.Two days before the leadership vote I attended a Wildrose Annual General Meeting for the Calgary West constituency. In a room of 25 people I think I was the only Ted Morton voter. Other right-wingers were talking about voting Redford to push the PCs left or Horner to contrast with the less bland Danielle Smith. Wildrose supporters had given up hope that Ted Morton could return the PCs to their Steve West deficit and tax reduction roots.The PC drift to the centre failed to motivate the conservative base. Economic libertarians, social conservatives and cultural conservatives were taken for granted. A candidate promising to cut income tax even one percentage point could have fired up the tax fighters. Had taxpayer subsidy of abortion been an issue, church goers would have attended the gathering. Had radar cameras been blown out, muscle motor… Read More

Rob Anders: Reflections on 9/11

I attended the recent memorial service for the victims of 9-11. Many memories came back to me. One month after the terrorist attacks I and my staff drove from Ottawa down to New York and Washington to spend money. All part of the “Canada Loves New York” injection of much needed tourism dollars in the aftermath of the attacks.The experience at Ground Zero will be burned in my memory forever. Those Twin Towers were 16 times the size of the largest building in Calgary's skyline. When they came down they sheared down whole streets around them with the falling debris. No vehicle traffic was allowed within 5 blocks to the north, south, east or west of Ground Zero. That made for a 10 by 10 or 100 square block shut down of vehicular traffic. The equivalent of all downtown Calgary was closed to traffic, from Bow River to Beltline, from East Village to the western car dealerships.We walked to police tape lines 3 blocks from the World Trade Centre. Past there only emergency personal on foot were allowed. A pile of rubble several football fields big was venting smoke. One month after the attacks there were still fires raging underground at 1000 degrees due to ruptured gas lines.The steam, smoke and soot were everywhere. Massive metal garbage bins lined both sides of the streets in all directions as far as the eye could see. They were nearly touching each other and all heapingly filled with concrete, metal, glass and ash.Many of the bodies never identified were part of those ashes. There were thousands of photographs, notes, wanted posters and flowers from loved ones. The hardest to read were those from children leaving notes for missing parents. I stood there soaking it all in - never forget.Then we drove down to… Read More
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