Provinces should follow the lead of Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia and reduce their needlessly heavy regulatory burdens. They should do so for the sake of all Canadians, from the owners of businesses large and small, on down to little girls who just want to run a lemonade stand without being harassed.
Like many diagnoses of slow growth, the effects of bad government policies often get overlooked. This matters because unlike commodity swings or global forces, governments can actually influence the direction of policy. But in recent years, we've seen an onslaught of growth-hindering policies in Canada such as spending-induced debt increases, higher taxes and increased regulation.
Despite criminal prohibition and the prospect of becoming ill or even dying, people still do drugs. So we are faced with a wrenching dilemma: Do we, as a society, take over and regulate the supply and quality of drugs or do we leave these issues to the forces of an unbridled market operating in a dark underworld?
Over the last few years, triclosan has been the subject of much debate. Those in favour of these products hail their ability to keep bacteria at bay. Those against suggest there is no real benefit in everyday consumer home use whereas the risks -- both to humans and the environment -- are too great.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which is tasked with enforcing counterfeit food laws, has not historically punished violators to the full extent of its powers, instead frequently choosing to work alongside Canadian food businesses to help them get back into compliance. But, a recent high-profile prosecution involving food fraud has demonstrated that this permissive and reconciliatory approach to regulatory breaches may have come to an end.
The LCBO is hoping to cash in on marijuana sales. The dubious reasoning being that they, and only they, are capable of handling the burdensome task of quenching the insatiable thirst of millions of Ontarian adults -- so obviously they and only they are responsible enough to distribute marijuana. Too bad Ontarians don't view it this way.
Access to the Internet and its economic ecosystem increases productivity in virtually all sectors of the economy. Not only does it provide small and medium enterprises with access to the global marketplace, it also gives them access to the back office, shipping, tracking logistics, and other support capabilities that were once restricted to large corporations.
Fitness trainers, coaches and instructors are the front line in the health industry for preventative care. There is more ability in the health industry to change the population for the better than in any other aspect of health care. Yet, it is the wild west of the health. If you are going to be a fitness professional, you must be held to a higher standard of accountability.
Cities and states around the world are engaged in hand-to-hand combat with mobile tech upstart Uber, a company that is rapidly disrupting the traditional taxi business everywhere. Viewed from an impartial distance, it is pretty clear that, whatever it is, Uber is providing a service traditionally provided by taxis. Complicating matters is that many cities have a chaotic and nonsensical approach to regulating public taxis. Before trying to make sense of where Uber fits into the chaos of its taxi ecosystem, cities such as Toronto would be smart to consider why it regulates the industry in the first place.
There's good news and bad news about smoking. Recent statistics reveal that consumption rates are at record lows and appear to be dropping even further. And, as those rates fall, the menace of second-hand smoke also recedes. But these positive developments come at a time when new evidence warns that cigarettes are even more hazardous than we have thought. So to end smoking and the many costs it imposes on this continent, let alone elsewhere in the world, much remains to be done.
Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and -- because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector -- we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets. Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health. That's according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December's UN climate summit. Developed countries around the world -- with the exception of Canada and Japan -- are unveiling their individual climate plans, which were due yesterday.
Basic regulation makes sense. But regulations often proliferate to unnecessary extremes, helped along by special interests that want less competition. The effect of this regulation reality is obvious once again with Uber's entry into the city transportation market, and with predictable opposition from taxi cartels.
The method's goal is to help people make better choices in a variety of areas without removing their right to choose. Researchers claim that individuals select more wisely when provided with a clear set of options. The method may be able to curb problems such as smoking, intemperate drinking, and problem gambling.
The tendency for governments to increasingly regulate the advertising industry, whether in the name of consumer protection or for health concerns, is already on full throttle. After cigarette packs, don't be surprised if sooner or later you see plain bags of chips on the shelves of convenience stores, or plain-packaged chocolate bars. Politicians stand on a steep, slippery slope that could lead to private property and intellectual property violations, and destruction of brands. The economic consequences should be weighted carefully. And such policies backed by solid empirical data, not merely good intentions.
It is true that smoking is a major public health concern, and one might be tempted to say that the change in behaviour is desirable, whatever the effect on government revenue. Again, Laffer tells us that things are more complicated than it seems. While it is true that some people are deterred from smoking by tax increases, this is not the case of all smokers.
School might be out but that doesn't mean we (and our politicians who make the rules) can't learn a thing or two on our summer vacations, be it taxis, airline travel or on convenience in shopping for beer, wine and spirits. Can Canadians learn from the rest of the world? We'll find out in September.
Kevin O'Leary has created an entire persona around a sort of modern-day Gordon Gekko. O'Leary is fond of and famous for employing phrases like "it's all about the money," "people only care about money," and "money makes the world go round." To put it mildly, this is a superficial, even one-dimensional understanding of markets.