Thursday, October 31, 2019

SC judge rules civil forfeiture unconstitutional

South Carolina Judge Declares Civil Forfeiture Unconstitutional - Nick Sibilla, Forbes:

October 22, 2019 - "Letting South Carolina police and prosecutors seize and keep cash, cars, and other valuables and use the proceeds to pad their budgets violates the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, a circuit court judge in Horry County, South Carolina ruled. In a 15-page decision, 15th Judicial Circuit Judge Steven H. John declared that South Carolina’s civil forfeiture laws, which let the government 'seize unlimited amounts of cash and other property when no crime has been committed,' run afoul of the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions’ guarantees of due process and bans on excessive fines.

"The court’s decision comes on the heels of a wide-ranging, multi-part investigation into civil forfeiture by the Greenville News. Across the state, South Carolina agencies seized $17.6 million between 2014 and 2016. More than 1,500 individuals (or roughly 40% of all forfeiture cases in the state) had their property taken, despite never [being] convicted of a crime. Their reporting further found that '65 percent of all money police seize is from black males' (like the defendant in the Horry County decision, Travis Lee Green), even though African American men account for a mere 13% of the state’s population.

"Galvanized by the investigation, South Carolina lawmakers, led by Rep. Alan Clemmons, backed legislation that would completely abolish civil forfeiture. Unfortunately, the bill ... stalled. A fully revised version is expected for next year’s session....

"This past February, in a landmark case litigated by the Institute for Justice, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on 'excessive fines' applies to cities and states, not just the federal government..... Following the decision, Judge John asked attorneys for the Solicitor’s Office and Green to each 'submit a brief outlining the constitutionality of the South Carolina civil forfeiture statute.' Fully briefed, in August, Judge John excoriated South Carolina’s civil forfeiture laws, which 'place the burden on the property owner to prove their innocence' and grant the government 'unfettered authorization to seize unlimited amounts of property from citizens without regard to the proportionality of the offense committed'...

"Under state law, the seizing agency gets the first $1,000 of any cash seized, as well as 75% of the remainder. Prosecutors receive 20% of the proceeds, with the remaining 5% sent to the state’s general fund. Law enforcement agencies can then use forfeiture proceeds to cover program expenses (like salaries for forfeiture officials). According to Judge John, 'South Carolina forfeiture programs have de facto power over their own spending' [which] creates 'an institutional incentive for forfeiture program officials to vigorously pursue forfeitures' that violates the constitutional right to due process."

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mexican Senate delays cannabis vote

Mexican Senate Committees Agree To Comprehensive Marijuana Legalization Bill | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

October 28, 2019 - "Several Mexican Senate committees have agreed to a marijuana legalization bill that they are submitting to the full body. But while lawmakers initially said a floor vote would come this week, the proposal is now being referred to a multi-party panel for consideration as leaders work to build a consensus around its provisions.

"Text of the legislation, which was released on Friday, outlines the proposed regulatory model, under which adults 18 and older would be allowed to use, possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. Individuals could also grow up to four plants for personal use. The Justice, Health, Legislative Studies and Public Security Committees gave the legislation their approval....

"Sen. Ricardo Monreal, the ruling MORENA party’s leader in the Senate, said on Saturday that the legislation 'will be analyzed and deliberated' after the chamber passes a budget package this week. But on Monday, several Mexican news outlets reported that the bill will first go to the Senate Political Coordination Board, a body that’s designed to coordinate inter-party consensus on legislative proposals. Monreal, who serves as president of the board, said there will be a delay, but the intent is to create a 'finalized' product that puts 'economic and social interests' first. It’s not clear how long the panel will take to advance the bill to a floor vote....

"The bill as proposed by the joint committees includes restrictions on advertising and penalties for marketing marijuana to youth. Businesses could not sell cannabis products that contain tobacco or alcohol under the proposal, and packaging would have to be standardized and generic. Committee members agreed that an independent body, called the 'Cannabis Institute,' would be ... charged with issuing licenses for marijuana businesses, which would fall into one of four categories: cultivators, manufacturers, retailers and exporters/importers. Businesses could not hold more than one type of license. In order to repair the harms of prohibition, the committees agreed that 20 percent of licenses would have to go to low-income individuals....

"The draft measure also clarifies the legality of the use of peyote and psilocybin mushrooms in tribal ceremonies.

"The legislation was submitted nearly one week from the anniversary of a Supreme Court ruling that deemed the country’s prohibition on personal possession and cultivation of marijuana unconstitutional. Lawmakers have worked throughout the year to develop a policy that provides for cannabis regulation in a way that promotes public safety and mitigates the influence of cartels....

"It’s not clear exactly when the legislature will act on the committees’ agreed-upon legislation.... Sen. Margarita Valdez of the MORENA party said on Saturday that the Senate will discuss the legalization proposal this week but did not indicate a specific day."

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Monday, October 28, 2019

US libertarian news site dumps on LP of Canada

Canada's Rhinoceros Party Is the Real Anti-government Party · 71 Republic - Ryan Lau, Editor in Chief:

October 26, 2019 - "On Monday, the people of Canada turned up in droves at voting stations across the country to choose who will rule them for the next several years. Though it was a tight race for several hours, Justin Trudeau eventually won a second term. Deservedly missing the news, however, was the Libertarian Party of Canada. Earning a paltry 8,281 votes, the Libertarians received less than a fourth of the support they received four years ago. It gets worse, though: the satirical Parti Rhinoceros Party ranked just above the Libertarians....

"This year, the Rhinos pulled together 9,408 votes, many of which came from Quebec. On the contrary, the Libertarian Party was lucky to pull 0.1% in Ontario; they did not meet the mark in any other province or territory....

"We’re all-too-familiar with the Libertarian Party of the United States’ awkward moments. The Canadian counterpart, though, makes them look impeccable by comparison. Their candidate for prime minister, Tim Moen, is a talented renaissance man, but his social media presence is lacking, to say the least. Did 8,000 people even see his name before the election? If anyone remembers him in a decade, it won’t be for his politics.

"The national party’s presence is even more abysmal. Their last tweet, nearly a month ago, was an awkwardly professional admission that they couldn’t scrape together one candidate in an Ontario district with more than 100,000 residents....

"The embarrassment doesn’t stop at social media; the official webpage leaves much to be desired. On the front page, an uncaptioned picture of Moen scrolls beside a grainy quote and the ever-hip #WeAreLiberty. If this is the best that Liberty has to offer, big government isn’t going anywhere for Canadians.

"Looking at the platform and confusing bylaws, the majority of points don’t stand out much. Though the party clearly attempts a serious tone and wants recognition as a political force, they should probably first make sure that they use proper punctuation on formal pages. Dull, uninspiring, and amateurish, the Libertarian Party of Canada was lucky to perform as well as they did this October. They can’t play the part of another political cog and that of a unique new voice at the same time.

"With a few keystrokes, Cody Wilson did more for liberty than the Canadian Libertarian Party ever will. If the party really wanted to make a difference, they would stop creating bylaws and regulations, stop becoming the very bureaucracy they claim to oppose, stop believing in the system that causes so much harm. They can’t be truly, radically anti-government while accepting the political landscape the State imposes.

"If they focused their efforts on proactively eliminating the demand for a strong government, rather than passively rebuking it after the fact, they would have much more success. Find something the State does and do it better, without stealing from people for revenue. It’s not that hard; governments are notoriously and inherently inefficient. Start an underground market. Educate others on the harms of war. Create a competitor to the post office or the police or the unemployment office."

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Ford government scrapping Ontario Film Authority

Doug Ford government scrapping agency that rates films | CBC News:

September 27, 2019 - "The Ford government is dissolving the independent agency responsible for classifying films screened in Ontario movie theatres. The Ontario Film Authority (OFA) will no longer issue film ratings ... according to a Ministry of Government and Consumer Services memo obtained by CBC News.

"'The Ontario Film Authority will be winding down its operations and the ministry will look to the industry to consult on ways to better reflect today's film market,' says the memo from Michele Sanborn, the assistant deputy minister.

"In the short term, says the memo, films screened in Ontario theatres must use the rating issued by British Columbia's film classification body. Longer-term changes are expected next spring. Dissolving the OFA will save the industry $1.5 million to $2 million a year in licensing and classification costs, according to the memo.

"Films that go straight online and are never shown in cinemas don't require a rating from the OFA. The trend toward streaming means the agency approved 1,000 fewer films in 2018-19 compared with the previous year.

"The OFA was designed to operate on a cost-recovery basis, charging filmmakers fees for issuing ratings such as PG, 14A or Restricted.... [T]he agency brought in $2.2 million in revenue, but ran a shortfall of $130,000 ... 'primarily due to the 20 per cent decrease in minutes viewed for English/French language films; and 35 per cent decrease in minutes viewed for adult sex films,' the agency's 2017-18 annual report said.

"A spokesperson for Government and Consumer Services Lisa Thompson confirmed Friday the agency is being scrapped, with a 'rapidly changing film market' as the reason.  'The major shift to digital platforms and streaming services has significantly changed viewers' behaviour and impacted the OFA's business and revenues, making it unsustainable,' said Thompson's spokesperson in an email to CBC News."

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Canada shows world how not to legalize cannabis

How not to legalize weed - - Kate Robertson:

October 17, 2019 - "When I ran out of cannabis on Thanksgiving Day, I had a few choices. I could halt dinner prep for eight guests to visit a downtown Toronto store where I would line up to buy some crumbly, expensive bud from a licensed shop. Or, I could continue mashing the squash after placing a delivery order from my friendly, local unlicensed shop. They take credit card payment at the door, I can redeem loyalty points, it’s less expensive, and the weed? Well, it’s dank. I'll let you guess which option I chose.

"The first year of cannabis legalization has been ... an utter disappointment for many of us who do consume cannabis: we were looking forward to safer, better access; a vast array of employment opportunities; the decriminalization of a drug within a legal system that unfairly targeted minorities and the vulnerable; quality products and increased dignity for medical consumers. And while I am fiercely proud of the direction we’ve taken and I’m not proposing we go back to pre-legalization days, I do feel let down by how we’re doing so far.

"[L]et’s talk about the 'black market,' or as many of us in the weed world prefer, the unlicensed market.... Statistics Canada has reported steady sales declines and claim about half of the cannabis sold currently is illicit (in other words, $4.16 billion of the industry’s estimated GDP of $8.26 billion is unlicensed). But an RBC Capital Markets report cited by the Globe and Mail puts the regulated market at just 12 per cent of cannabis sales....

"[Toronto Liberal MP Nathan] Erskine-Smith acknowledges there is more work to do, particularly in Ontario. 'An incredible idea — the legal market provides what people want and people don’t go to the illegal market,' he jokes. 'Consumer demand will push governments in the right direction'.... [C]an this consumer demand that we design some elements for actual cannabis consumers? How about lower prices, less packaging and better pot?...

"Are we treating Canadians like responsible adults?... [K]ids aren’t allowed in a lot of shops across this great nation, unlike most booze shops where they can accompany their parents running errands. In some provinces, those responsible adults have to find somewhere to put their kid if they want to grab some pot.... Surely we can trust them to decide how to talk to their kids about the regulated products they’re buying....

"[M]edical cannabis consumers are being left behind ... access to medical cannabis, which is a constitutionally protected piece, isn’t being honoured — it’s taxed, it’s prohibitively expensive, it isn’t covered by most drug plans, and it’s inconsistent and onerous for sick people.... Private cannabis clinics are often contractually obligated to refer patients to specific cannabis cultivators who pay kickbacks for new patients. That means a medical cannabis consumer can spend months researching where to find the types of products they need only to be denied that access because their clinic won’t receive a payout.... And there is still an excise tax on medical cannabis, a very strange rule intended to keep recreational consumers from infiltrating the medical system. So much for treating us like adults....

"Look, no one was more excited about legalization than I was. But we’re talking about average price differences of $10.23 per gram for regulated versus $5.59 per gram for unregulated products, according to the latest survey results — I can’t afford it! And it’s too inconvenient, and the products are inconsistent.

"In September, Global News reported that only 44 Canadians have been able to clear their criminal records through the pardons program, for something that never should have been illegal in the first place. We’re still treating people like criminals — or at least sometimes, anyway.

"On this one-year anniversary of legal cannabis, and with more edible and topical products on their way, I’m managing my expectations. I’ll be skipping the anniversary events."

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Friday, October 25, 2019

98% of Canadians voted for more of the same

Canadians Demonstrate Rare Show of Unity: 98% Vote for Bigger Government, Higher Taxes, More Debt - Peter Diekmeyer (24/10/2019) | Sprott Money:

October 24, 2019 - "Mainstream media pundits, as usual, missed the key message when analyzing the results of Monday’s election, which returned Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to power. On paper the country was divided as never before, with no clear winner. The Conservatives, who won the popular vote, picked up a meagre 34.4% of ballots cast.

"Yet while Canadians can’t agree on a leader or how to divvy up the loot, they were unanimous on one important issue: they trust government, and they want it to do more.... [T]he Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Greens, and the Bloc (who gathered a combined 98% votes) all put forward platforms that would increase overall taxes, spending, borrowing, and regulations during their mandate....

"During the past three years we have highlighted growing danger signals that politicians are essentially flying blind and that due to vast bureaucracy, conflicting interests, and use of misleading data points they couldn’t stop the country’s downward spiral even if they wanted to. Productivity is collapsing throughout the system and gross domestic product hasn’t grown in major economies such as the U.S. in more than a decade (as calculated on a debt-adjusted basis, using a realistic deflator).

"Canadian public sector debts, when combined with the country’s private, household and financial debts (much of which are de facto government guaranteed) now total an unbelievable $8.3 trillion. That works out to nearly $1 million in debt for each Canadian under the age of 19, making the country’s youth the functional equivalent of debt slaves.

"The results of the recent election suggest that either Canadians aren’t concerned with any this or that they trust future governments to do better.... Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, the only major party that could credibly promise to reduce the scope of government, got a meagre 1.6% of the vote.

"The only positive sign for advocates of sound public finances came from the Libertarian Party of Canada. Party leader Tim Moen — who advocated elimination of all taxes (except the GST), the privatization of the Bank of Canada, and a return to the gold standard — managed to keep the party on its feet, despite being banned from the debates and deprived of media coverage from all major outlets.

“'We are in a battle of ideas,' said Moen. 'Right now even if a free market-oriented party won power, they would not be able to accomplish much. Things will not change unless we change the culture, and that process takes place one vote at a time.'”

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Can People’s Party survive election shutout?

Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say | National Post - Douglas Quan:

October 22, 2019 - "In the lead-up to this week’s federal election, media outlets around the world wondered whether right-wing fringe candidate Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party represented an expansion of the populist, nationalist and anti-establishment sentiment sweeping the United States and Europe. 'A "Mad Max" candidate offers a far-right jolt to the Canadian election,' read a headline in the New York Times. 'Can populism become popular in Canada?' asked the BBC.

"Judging from Monday night’s results, the answer appears to be a resounding no. The dismal outcome — the People’s Party clinched zero seats and less than 2 per cent of the popular vote.... While Bernier, who lost in his own riding of Beauce, Que., insisted in a concession speech that the movement was 'only getting started,' experts said the People’s Party likely would not survive.

“'The PPC is rather easily seen now as a vanity project of Bernier’s, and as a very ineffectual attempt to come up with a latter-day Reform Party challenge to more moderate conservatism,' said David Laycock, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University.

"Bernier, who held the Beauce riding since 2006, had served under the Conservative banner until last year when he narrowly lost the leadership contest to Andrew Scheer and then formed his own party. On Monday night, he garnered 28 per cent of the vote and placed second to Conservative Richard Lehoux.

"Some of the party’s other higher-profile candidates, such as Renata Ford, widow of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Lee Harding, former Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, barely made a dent — coming in fourth in their respective ridings of Etobicoke North and Cypress Hills-Grasslands and capturing only 2.8 per cent of the vote.

"Bernier blamed 'nasty and shameless attacks' from opponents for the PPC’s poor showing. (Late last week, The Globe and Mail reported that strategist Warren Kinsella and his firm Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservatives to 'seek and destroy' Bernier’s party and portray its supporters as racist. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny the allegation. Bernier filed a complaint with Elections Canada over the affair.)...

"The People’s Party ... is 'probably' dead, Laycock said. Bernier’s poor showing in Quebec indicates there isn’t a regional base for his conservative alternative. Furthermore, 'it is very hard to attract media attention without any MPs, especially when your leader can’t win his own seat.'”

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Libertarian Little sees campaign as base-building

Local candidates celebrated win or lose | Owen Sound Sun Times - Scott Dunn:

October 21, 2019 - "Less than an hour after local polls closed in Owen Sound, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP, Green, People’s Party and Libertarian candidates celebrated their achievements, win or lose. About 10:10 p.m., CBC declared the Liberals would win the election nationally, though most of the rest of the country’s results had yet to be tabulated and local results had only just begun to come in....

"Libertarian candidate Dan Little said he wasn’t surprised with the results in Eastern Canada which were strongly Liberal and was buoyed when a supporter told him he was leading local People’s Party of Canada candidate Bill Townsend. That was with too few polls reporting to celebrate yet and as this story was being filed, Townsend was well ahead of Little.

"Little said if he got 300 votes he’d be happy with the result. [He received 306 according to election-night reporting - ed.].... 'But then that just builds the base and we can expand from there.'

"That would be one more vote than Jim Turner got in the riding of Bruce-Grey in 1980 while running under the Libertarian banner. That represented 0.8 per cent of the vote. In 1993, Ralph Hanke received just 152 votes or 0.3 of the vote....

"Little mostly campaigned outside the liquor store in Owen Sound, favouring that method over door-knocking, which he said he finds too intrusive. He mostly talked about taxes being too high, that we’re not properly represented and monetary system faults.

"He’s a marine engineer who works on ships and so only started campaigning in person 10 days into the campaign, once he returned to his home in Owen Sound. He campaigned here, Meaford, Wiarton, Markdale, Flesherton and Hanover."

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Monday, October 21, 2019

12 Ontario Libertarians running federally

Ontario Libertarian Party, Facebook:

October 20, 2019 - The Ontario Libertarian Party would like to take the opportunity before voting day this federal election, to recognize the hard work of all the men and women within our membership who have taken it upon themselves to carry the torch of liberty high within federal politics, and give the constituents of their ridings a liberty minded choice on the ballot.

  • Patrick Bernier - PPC [People's Party of Canada] - Kitchener Centre - @ppcpatrick
  • Jacques Boudreau - LPOC [Libertarian Party of Canada] - London West - @voteboudreau
  • Coreen Corcoran - LPOC - Ottawa Centre
  • Darcy Neal Donnelly - LPOC - Glengary-Prescott-Russell
  • John Kitteridge - LPOC - Don Valley West
  • Keith Komar - LPOC - York-Simcoe - @libertykkomar
  • Serge Korovitsyn - LPOC - Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill
  • Dan Little - LPOC - Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
  • Michael Staffieri - PPC - Eglinton-Lawrence - @staff_ieri
  • Richard Styve - LPOC - Elgin-Middlesex-London
  • Sabile Trimm - PPC - Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry - @sabiletrimm
  • Markian Wojo Wrzesniewski - LPOC - Etobicoke Centre

"Ontario Libertarian Party would like to applaud your efforts federally, and appreciates your continued support fighting for liberty provincially.

"Good luck to you all!"

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Conservatives secretly funded project to 'destroy' People's Party, CBC reports

Kinsella consulting firm worked to 'seek and destroy' Bernier's PPC party, documents say | CBC News - Jeff Yates, Kaleigh Rogers, Andrea Bellemare:

October 19, 2019 - "Warren Kinsella's Daisy Group consulting firm was behind a social media campaign to put the People's Party of Canada (PPC) on the defensive and keep leader Maxime Bernier out of the federal leaders' debates, according to documents provided to CBC News. The documents outline the work done by several employees of Daisy on behalf of an unnamed client. A source with knowledge of the project told CBC News that client was the Conservative Party of Canada....

"According to a source with knowledge of the project, who spoke to CBC News on condition they not be named, the objective of the plan, dubbed 'Project Cactus,' was to make the Conservative Party look more attractive to voters by highlighting PPC candidates' and supporters' xenophobic statements on social media.

"Repeatedly asked to confirm or explain his party's involvement during a campaign event in Toronto on Saturday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to answer. 'As a rule, we never make comments on vendors that we may or may not have engaged with,' he said repeatedly....

"Documents seen by CBC News outline a plan to 'seek and destroy' the PPC and prevent Bernier from getting into the leaders' debates. The project was designed with three phases, according to the documents. The first involved research and branding in March and April. The second was identified as a 'launch phase' known as "seek and destroy," running from April 16 through to June 30.... The third phase, to run 'July 1st 2019 to TBD' was called the 'full steam ahead phase,' where the team would 'push Maxime Bernier and the PCC off their messages — forcing them, instead, to defend instances of hate speech and sympathy for racism.'

"Portions of a WhatsApp Chatroom set up by Daisy for Project Cactus and shared with CBC News show Daisy employees workshopping tweets critical of PPC candidates or supporters before asking Kinsella's approval. The tweets were then published on STAMP Out Hate, a Twitter account set up April 24 for an existing anti-racism nonprofit run by Daisy...

"In the documents seen by CBC News, drafted prior to the launch, STAMP is described as a screen for the project and its client. 'Daisy will create an arm's-length organization that cannot be linked to the client or any participating organization ... to shine a light on the prejudice and hate that is associated with the PPC,' a Daisy consultant writes....

"The STAMP Out Hate account lambasted the PPC, its candidates and its supporters right up until June 29, a day before new election rules regarding third-party advertisers came into effect. The account has since stopped attacking Bernier's party but has continued to tweet anti-racist messages. There is no indication whether any further work was done after June 29."

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Carlson & Graham: libertarians run Washington

The bizarre fiction of libertarians' control of Washington - Bonnie Kristian, The Week:

October 9, 2019 - "It is with great pleasure that I announce to my fellow libertarians: We have won.

"We thought ourselves the acolytes of a largely ignored vision for American governance. We saw a $22 trillion national debt ... while both major parties bailed out big business, using tax dollars to paper over the consequences of bad policy calls. We watched the rise of the post-9/11 security state — mass digital surveillance, the terror watchlist, the TSA.... We wondered if these numerous and apparently permanent wars, with their deplorable carelessness about civilian casualties, war crimes, and due process, would ever end. We objected to the brutality and militarization of American law enforcement.... We talked about abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending the drug war, eliminating entire federal departments, and more, all with relatively little reason to believe our goals would ever be realized on any mass scale....

"But we were wrong! We didn't realize it, but we controlled Washington this whole time. This is big news for us, and I think we owe Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) a huge thanks for letting us know.

"Carlson was the first to give us an inkling of our true power. 'The leadership class is resolutely libertarian,' he revealed in early June, bemoaning Washington's plentiful 'libertarian zealot[s] controlled by the banks, yammering on about entrepreneurship and how we need to cut entitlements.' Later that month, he indicated this dynamic exists because the Koch brothers are 'libertarian ideologues, passionate and inflexible' who 'run the Republican Party,' dictating the GOP platform on key issues including immigration, drug and prison policy, and free speech.

"You may find this surprising — I know I did! — as it seems to bear little resemblance to the actual state of Republican policymaking in 2019. On immigration, for example, the bulk of the GOP has followed Trump into calls for strict border security and limited refugee and immigrant admissions ... but the Koch brothers' perspective Carlson decries includes support for DACA and liberalized immigration policy more generally.... Carlson correctly noted Koch support for the First Step Act, but libertarians like yours truly deemed it a limited achievement. Is backing it anyway what it means to be ideologically 'inflexible'?.... And as for free speech, we do tend to be passionate about the First Amendment.... Rising GOP stars like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), by contrast, back proposals that would, as National Review's David French put it, 'invite an enormous amount of bureaucratic meddling online'....

"Even more surprising for me was Graham's disclosure this week that we libertarians also control America's foreign policy. 'The Obama-libertarian foreign policy does not make America safe,' the hawkish senator tweeted Monday in response to Trump's reshuffling of U.S. troops in Syria. 'If ignoring radical Islam made America safe, there would NOT have been a 9/11.'

"I never would have guessed libertarians dictated U.S. foreign affairs not only from 2008 to 2016 but also in the run-up to 9/11. I thought we were very angry about American foreign policy in those years, always complaining about the blowback, the drone strikes, the unconstitutional executive war-making, the attacks on innocent civilians, the costly and incompetent nation-building efforts, and so on. I thought we were always raising objections to former President Barack Obama's foreign policy on pretty much every possible basis.... Little did we know we were Obama's puppet masters all along!...

"I jest, obviously, but only because it is enormously bizarre to find oneself attacked in wildly inaccurate effigy. The most plausible explanation I can muster for this fiction of libertarian power is that libertarianism is in broad strokes the opposite of the Trumpian GOP's ... current mood of state-enforced social conservatism and what Carlson has dubbed 'economic patriotism,' which we would call protectionism, corporatism, and rank profligacy....

"Libertarians may sometimes punch above our weight in national debate, but when it comes to effectively wielding power in Washington, we're weaklings. I wish Carlson and Graham were right about us running the country. The reality is they're wrong."

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Lystang runs for Libertarians in Yellowhead AB

Meet the candidate: Cory Lystang, Libertarian Party of Canada | rdnewsNOW | Red Deer, Central Alberta | News, Sports, Weather, Obituaries, Real Estate:

Oct 18, 2019 - "Brought-up as a Conservative supporter, the Libertarian Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Yellowhead, says it was the Conservatives Party not doing what they said they would do that prompted him to run in this year’s federal election. As a result, Cory Lystang says he became disillusioned with government and got into politics while fighting for the rights of firearms owners.

“'The Libertarian Party is a good fit because I definitely believe that government is too large,' he explains. 'We pay way too much tax and it kind of ticks all the boxes. Once you get over the idea that you don’t have a right to tell other people what to do, as long as they’re not damaging anything of yours, or yourself, it all kind of works for me.'

"Lystang describes the Party as being based on the ‘Libertarian ideal’. 'Which means basically government should be restrained and smaller and taxation should be kept to an absolute minimum, if at all,' he explains. 'We would be happy to see government become voluntary, instead of a paid position. The basics behind the Libertarian platform are less government, lower taxes and more freedom, that’s the basis behind everything that the Libertarian Party stands for'....

"[P]ipelines are the biggest issue Lystang hears about on the campaign trail.... 'We believe the pipeline should be able to go through, so long as all of the people have come up with contracts with the companies,' says Lystang. 'We don’t believe that the government should have been involved in buying the pipeline'....

"In terms of climate change ... 'We would like to look at more of a market approach, than a government regulation approach,' says Lystang. 'It could be argued that a regulation could stand in the way of the next creative energy source because we’re focusing on ethanol let’s say for an example, and not on clean, nuclear energy'....

"Lystang says he and the Libertarian Party of Canada make a great choice for undecided voters. 'We speak to people that just want to be left alone and go to work every day,' he explains. 'That’s our average person, and that’s our average candidate as well'.... The oilfield supervisor and business owner says if elected, [he] would represent the voters, even if he didn’t personally agree with their position. 'As long as it’s not increasing government, increasing taxation or decreasing freedom.'"

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Georgia Libertarians appeal ballot access ruling

Georgia Libertarian Party appeals ballot restriction ruling | Georgia | - Nyamekye Daniel:

October 15, 2019 - "The Georgia Libertarian Party ... and other plaintiffs in a case against the state have appealed a federal judge’s ruling to uphold current election qualifying law for third-party candidates. The law requires U.S. House candidates who are not Democratic or Republican to file a petition with signatures from 5 percent of the voting population to appear on the ballot. U.S. District Judge Leigh May ruled in favor of the state being able to maintain the restrictions....

"'Georgia’s ballot barriers are so strict that no independent or third-party candidates have qualified for U.S. House general elections since their passage in 1943,' said Bryan Sells, an attorney for the plaintiffs. Georgia has the strictest ballot regulations in the nation, ballot access expert Richard Winger told Politifact.

"There are similar restrictions for countywide and statewide races. To get on the ballot for state government position, a third party candidate must collect signatures from 1 percent of the voting population. County seats also require 5 percent of signatures....

"About 40 percent of state lawmakers had challengers in the 2018 elections. Two independent candidates made it on the ballot for congressional seats during the primary election, but they didn’t make the cut for the final election. Half of the Congressional districts had write-in votes from the Libertarian Party and Independents....

"House Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D–Lithonia, attempted to change the law during the 2019 legislative session. Kendrick filed House Bill 19, which would have required candidates in any election to get 200 signatures to appear on the ballot. The bill stalled in the House after its second reading in February.

"The Supreme Court has found legal grounds to overturn similar restrictions in Illinois. The court ruled in 1979 that a law, which required candidates to obtain more signatures to run for a city seat than a statewide seat, violated equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. A second case in 1990 successfully challenged the same law."

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Protesters harass PPC event-goers in Hamilton

Woman with walker, called 'Nazi scum' by protesters at Bernier event, speaks out | CBC News - Dan Tekerna:

October 2, 2019 - "Dorothy Marston says it was curiosity about Maxime Bernier's platform that brought her to Mohawk College in Hamilton on Sunday, but when she tried to get inside the venue where he was speaking, she and her husband found their way blocked by a line of protesters.

"The row of people standing between the 81-year-old using a walker and the political fundraiser had their faces covered. Some shouted "Nazi scum off our streets" as she tried to pass and, Marston says, one person intentionally put a foot in front of her wheel, forcing her to stop.

"They were in a lineup … and treating me like I'm a criminal," she said during an interview at the Hamilton-area retirement residence where she lives. 'If I moved, they moved and they would not allow me through. They were hollering "Nazi" and "racist" and all this nonsense. It was more than nonsense, it was frightening in my country."

"The showdown between the senior and the wall of protesters was captured in pictures and video that have been widely shared on social media, especially by People's Party of Canada (PPC) supporters decrying 'Antifa' — anti-fascist protesters — for their actions....

"That confrontation was just one of many outside the PPC event as people attempting to attend were met with a large group of protesters condemning the event with signs calling for immigrant rights and denouncing those heading inside. Four people were arrested for 'breach of peace' before being released without conditions, according to Hamilton police, who say more arrests are possible.

"Investigators specifically pointed to the video of the protesters yelling at Marston, saying while officers didn't witness the initial confrontation once police saw what was happening they got involved and helped the couple into the building.... Marston's husband, Brian, said he went and got the police after one of the people blocking the couple's way intentionally walked into him as he was trying to free the wheel of his wife's walker. Once police showed up, the protesters disappeared and they were able to make it inside."

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Meriden CT Libertarians win fight to get on ballot

Libertarian candidates win fight for ballot access in Meriden - Mary Ellen Godin, Meriden Record-Journal:

October `4, 2019 - " Libertarian candidates Roger and Ellen Misbach settled a lawsuit against the Secretary of the State, and their names will appear on the November mayoral and City Council ballot. Roger Misbach sued the Secretary of the State’s office and Secretary Denise Merrill for denying ballot access to the Misbachs over filing requirements.

"The parties settled the matter the day before an Oct. 10 court hearing. Roger Misbach will appear on the ballot as the Libertarian Party’s mayoral candidate and Ellen Misbach as the City Council Area 4 candidate. A post on the Meriden Libertarians’ Facebook page thanks the state 'for doing what parties ought to in litigation — try and resolve their differences.'

"The husband and wife were originally named as placeholder candidates for the purposes of generating enough signatures to meet the state’s filing deadlines, according to the lawsuit. Third parties often run placeholder candidates to allow time to get signatures before a party’s nominating convention, they said.

"After submitting the required number of signatures to petition for a spot on the ballot in August, the state Libertarian Party nominated its candidates: Roger Misbach for mayor and Ellen Misbach as a City Council candidate in Area 4.  According to the lawsuit, the party sent the Secretary of the State’s office notification of its slate of candidates after the convention and before the Sept. 4 deadline. But the information did not match the earlier placeholder information and the state denied them ballot access over the discrepancy.

The lawsuit outlined the difficulties third parties face to gain ballot access, calling the petition process “arcane and outdated.” Candidates can’t use online resources and must seek invasive personal information from signers. The process poses an arbitrary burden and cost on town clerks and election officials and introduces unnecessary and costly delays into all steps of the electoral process, the lawsuit stated....

"The Libertarians wanted a mayoral candidate to challenge unaffiliated incumbent Mayor Kevin Scarpati, who they accuse of blocking ballot access to third parties.... Scarpati and the city settled a lawsuit with the Libertarian Party for $37,000 for their roles in preventing Libertarian and other third-party candidates from collecting signatures at the city’s Daffodil Festival in Hubbard Park in 2018. In addition to the costs, the city agreed not to interfere in ballot petition drives."

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Minor parties marginalized in Canadian election

They might never win an election — so what keeps a fringe party alive? - National | - Rachel Browne:

October 14, 2019 - "Four rescue cats roam the offices of the Animal Protection Party of Canada ... one of more than a dozen registered political parties in Canada running this election against the established parties like the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP. But the odds are stacked against them and they likely won’t win. Some have been around for more than 30 years and have never come close to winning a single seat....

"There are currently 21 federal political parties registered with Elections Canada — the highest number ever. Eight became registered this year in time for the election, including the more well-known People’s Party of Canada (PPC), and other much smaller ones such as the Stop Climate Change party and Canada’s Fourth Front. The emergence of the far-right National Citizens Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Nationalist Party, both of which became registered this year, has prompted criticism from anti-hate groups who say this points to the problems with letting anyone register a federal party, regardless of their ideology....

"The PPC, led by former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, calls itself the fastest-growing new political party in Canada with more than 300 candidates running in the 338 federal ridings in just a year since it was founded. Bernier also got himself into the federal leaders’ debates, after initially being rejected, due to the high number of candidates running and after successfully arguing that at least more than one had a reasonable chance of winning.

"Coreen Corcoran, president of the Libertarian Party of Canada who is running in the Ottawa-Centre riding last held by Liberal MP Catherine McKenna, said the popularity and ideals of the PPC resulted in the loss of many potential candidates for her party. 'A couple years ago, our plan was to run 388 [candidates] in this year’s election,' she said in an interview. 'Then the PPC came on board. They had a direct hit on our party, absolutely a direct hit. Because Maxime Bernier was, to many libertarians, a libertarian guy.' Corcoran said that the draw of Bernier coupled with the way his ideas encompassed some libertarian values made it appealing to a lot of those who had previously allied themselves with her party.

"She added that this election will be important in determining the future of her party, which is running a couple dozen candidates this year on a platform that champions a 'free market economy where entrepreneurs and employees can flourish.' A lot depends on the success of the PPC. 'If they do well, then it may hurt us again. If they don’t do well, I think it could end up helping us,' Corcoran said. 'It could have people coming back to us, people finding us. Who knows.'

"But the growth and momentum seen by the PPC is rare for a new party..... A significant barrier for smaller parties is Canada’s first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral regime, in which the candidate who gets the highest number of votes wins the right to represent that riding in the House of Commons. But candidates do not need an absolute majority — more than 50 per cent of votes — in order to win. FPTP can also encourage strategic voting, where voters may cast a ballot for the candidate who is more likely to defeat another candidate they dislike, rather than cast a ballot for the candidate they would actually prefer....

"As for the potential to end up with a seat in the House of Commons, Carleton University political science professor Jon Pammett said the Green Party can serve as a model. Though the Green Party was registered in 1984, leader Elizabeth May secured the party’s first seat nearly 30 years later in 2011. Paul Manly secured its second seat in May, along with significant gains made by the party’s provincial counterparts.... Pammett added that ideologies held by the parties like the Greens can also be taken up by the bigger parties ... depending on how popular they are among voters."

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Five John Lennon songs for libertarians

Five John Lennon Songs For Libertarians on His Birthday - Caleb Shumate, Libertarian Republic:

October 9, 2019 - "On October 9, 1940, John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. While the legendary Beatles frontman wasn’t a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination, there are many themes in his music that we who believe in limited government can empathize with. Keeping this in mind, here are five songs from the pen of Lennon that libertarians can enjoy.

1. "Revolution ... [from] the end of The Beatles Erea. ... talks about the importance of peaceful, non-violent resistance in the late 1960s – a time when the world was on fire due to people tiring of the Vietnam War and the social change that was taking place as a result of the Civil Rights Movement. The song also ... strongly puts down the Communist regime of China, 'But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.'

2. "Give Peace a Chance ... became an anti-war protester’s anthem. It is no secret that Lennon was a very outspoken critic of the war in Vietnam.... As libertarians, we advocate for a peaceful, non-interventionist foreign policy which is clearly the theme of this song.

3. "[Happy Xmas (War is Over)] ... Lennon’s popular Christmas song was yet another musical jab at America’s hawkish foreign policy. John asks his audience what they have done to better humanity at the end of the year and reminds us all that war can be over if we as a people stand up and declare enough is enough! The song also makes mention to that all men are equal regardless of ethnicity. Equality in the eyes of the law was a key issue that was still being fought for at the time this song was written.

4. "Give Me Some Truth.... In the lyrics of this song, Lennon tells our elected officials they can keep the hope and change, and calls them out for continually lying to the people. He takes stabs at the war on drugs and America’s attempts to use our military to police the world. As libertarians, we can surely echo John’s bold declaration that 'All we want is some truth!'

5. "Power to the People ... reminds us that the government works for 'We the People' and the only true change will come from us. If we want to restore the balance of power, we must remind our elected officials that they are our employees and we aren’t their serfs... This is the reality of the situation and not a politically charged talking point. The only lasting revolution is a revolution of thought....

"Happy Birthday, John! Thanks for the music!"

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Canada's real gravy train

The Gravy Train: Canada’s Government Employees — DrSQ - Dr. Saqib Iqbal Qureshi:

"October 10, 2019 - "We’ve been using the term ‘the gravy train’ for a century to describe jobs with good pay with little work. Nowadays we use it especially for the rich and wealthy who we often accuse of earning far too much, for being far too lazy.

"The problem with this expression is that it misses the big picture. In Canada, the largest group of gravy train riders isn’t the elected politicians at the top of the government tree, or the CEO’s on Bay Street, but the 99.5 percent of government which is unelected – I am talking about ordinary civil servants.

"A record 18,300 people applied for the 14 vacancies on NASA’s astronaut program for 2017 – that’s 1 in 1,307 applicants. In contrast, in 2006, the federal government of Canada employed 380,700 people – of whom 127 per year were fired between 1999 and 2009 for misconduct or poor performance.... That’s 1 in 3,000. The chances of being fired for poor performance or misconduct from the federal government is twice as hard as it is to qualify for NASA’s astronaut program....

"Lest you’re wondering, it’s hard getting fired from provincial governments too – one Ontario teacher who made lewd remarks to female students, drank alcohol at parties with students, used profanity in the classroom and slapped female students on their buttocks received a month suspension from the Ontario College of Teachers – they didn’t even deregister him.

"Not only is it impossible to get fired by Canada’s government, but its employees are much more ‘sick’ than in the private sector. In 2018, the public sector, nurses, police, et al. took off on average 12.2 days per year for being ‘sick’.... In contrast, private sector employees took only 6.9 days off. Quebec’s civil servants might be amongst the most ill in the world - they had to take off 13 days per year....

"[W]hat more could there be? Well, you get paid more too!... In 2015, public sector employees got paid between 18 percent and 37 percent more than did their private sector counterparts. 80 percent of public sector employees had a defined pension benefits scheme, in contrast to 10 percent of the private sector.

"The next time we see the expression ‘gravy train’ we might think a bit about where the problem lies."

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Bans are the wrong answer to vaping crisis

Legalizing Cannabis Is The Answer To Vaping Concerns - Kris Krane, Forbes:

October 7, 2019 - "Over the past few months the media has been awash with reports of people getting sick from vaping.... In response, politicians have been taking action to get ahead of the problem, with most relying on some form of vape ban. A handful of governors and President Trump have proposed banning all flavored vape cartridges, while Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and banned the sale of all vape products in the state for four months.

'While these actions may be well meaning, they are likely to only exacerbate the problem.... To date, 805 cases of people suffering from vape-related illnesses and at least 12 deaths have been reported.... Despite the relatively small number of vape-related illnesses and deaths, the nation seems to be amid a media-fueled hysteria around the issue of vaping.....

"But the reaction to ban all vape sales, as they have in Massachusetts, may have hugely negative public health consequences. After all, people who use nicotine vapes are generally addicted to nicotine.... Without access to legal and regulated vape cartridges they will face two options: obtain illicit-market nicotine vape cartridges produced in an unregulated facility ... or go back to smoking cigarettes.....

"On the cannabis side of the equation, banning legally produced cannabis vape cartridges could be the most counterproductive response possible. Of the vaping-related illnesses, the vast majority appear to be related to counterfeit illicit market products that contain pesticides, additives and cutting agents dangerous to human health. By eliminating access to licensed and regulated products, states like Massachusetts may be inadvertently driving these customers and patients to the illicit market that’s causing these problems in the first place.

"In response to the wave of vape-related illnesses, NBC News took cartridges ... to CannaSafe, an accredited testing lab..... All the illicit-market products contained dangerous substances like pesticides and hydrogen cyanide.... None of these contaminants were found in the legally produced products that CannaSafe tested....

"Another problem arises from the fact that producers of illicit-market vape cartridges often cut their cannabis oil with thinning agents to decrease potency and increase profit margins. Then, to increase viscosity back to the level consumers expect to see, they add thickening agents, the most popular of which is Vitamin E acetate....

"The most effective way to combat these illicit-market products is for every state and the federal government to legalize cannabis so that vape production can be regulated under a uniform set of rules. With cannabis legal nationwide, there would be little reason for producers to bootleg legal products to ship out of state, since these products would be available to any cannabis consumer anywhere in the country.... Regulators could and should ... ensure that all products are being tested not only for pesticides, but thickening agents like Vitamin E acetate....

"Prohibition only drives consumers to the illicit market where more dangerous products are rampant, and results in negative public health impacts. As the country continues to wrestle with how to handle vape-related illnesses, we would be wise to heed the lessons of the past and recognize that the most effective remedy is legalization, regulation, and education."

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Argentina must reform economy, libertarian presidential candidate says

Argentine libertarian running for president says country must ‘detonate’ political past | Vancouver Sun - Nicolas Misculin, Walter Bianchi; Adam Jourdan, Grant McCool, Reuters:

October 9, 2019 - "Argentina needs to make radical changes including trimming back big government and freeing international trade to avoid slipping into disaster, presidential candidate and libertarian economist José Luis Espert told Reuters. The fringe runner ahead of the Oct. 27 election, who won around 2% of the vote in an August primary, said Argentina needed to replace what he saw as a broken political and economic system over the last half century.

“'If Argentina doesn’t detonate what it has done in the last 50 years and do something radically different, then there is no economic plan that will work. Everyone will fail, everyone,' Espert said at Reuters’ office in Buenos Aires.

"Argentina, in and out of recession for decades, is battling an economic crisis amid steep inflation, a volatile currency and mountainous debts that threaten to tip the country into default. Poverty levels, meanwhile, stand at above 35%.

"As elections near, Peronist center-left candidate Alberto Fernández is the distant front-runner ahead of conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri, whose administration has been hit by the economic woes as voters face rising hardship.

"Espert believes that both Fernández and Macri represent parties that have not implemented sufficient structural reforms that the economy needs to get out of its slump. His Awakening Front party has 13 proposals to drive 'real change,' including total free trade, a much reduced state spending to help cut the fiscal deficit, an education overhaul and labor reforms taking power away from powerful unions.

"Espert said that even though he’s likely to make little impact on the final vote this year, it has helped put him on the map and he will run again for a Congressional role in 2021 and in the next presidential election in 2023.

"His prediction for the vote this month?...  'The most likely scenario is that we have a new president on Oct. 27 and that it will be Alberto Fernández,' he said. 'But let’s see'"

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Endless war continues under Trump, says Amash

Amash on Syria: Trump's not ending anything | TheHill - Zack Budryk:

October 9, 2019 - "Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) blasted President Trump on Thursday, saying he isn't 'ending anything' with his decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria.  Amash, a former Republican who left the party in opposition to Trump earlier this year, said the president isn't really bringing American troops home, and that he has done little to end U.S. involvement in foreign wars.

"'Despite President Trump’s bluster about ending endless war, he’s not ending anything. Our troops aren’t coming home; a small number were moved so Turkey could escalate the war,' he said in a tweet. 'And the president has expanded our role in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and kept us in Afghanistan and Iraq.'

"Turkey launched an offensive on northern Syria on Wednesday, days after Trump said he would remove U.S. troops from the area. Turkey is attacking a Kurdish militia force allied with the United States in the fight against ISIS....

"Amash left the Republican Party and the House Freedom Caucus, which he co-founded, earlier this year after he said special counsel Robert Mueller’s report led him to conclude Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

"Amash has frequently criticized Trump’s moves on Syria from a libertarian perspective, tweeting earlier this week, 'U.S. forces should not even be in Syria without congressional approval. Regardless, Turkey would not take this action without the express consent of the White House. It’s disingenuous for President Trump to suggest it’s all about "ISIS fighters" when the target is Kurdish forces.'

"'Endless war continues,' the Michigan congressman tweeted Monday."

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Greens vow to decriminalize drug possession

Green Party would decriminalize all drug possession if elected | CBC News:

September 21, 2019 - "The Green Party would decriminalize all drug possession if elected in October, leader Elizabeth May said Saturday on the campaign trail in Winnipeg. May said it's a necessary step to curb the opioid crisis in Canada.... May delivered the announcement in Manitoba, which is dealing with a major drug problem.

"As part of their effort to lower the rate of overdose deaths, the Greens are also committing to declaring a national health emergency, increasing mental health and addiction programs, and funding community organizations. The party said it would also ensure kits with Naloxone, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids, are widely available to treat overdoses.

"The issue is personal for the Green leader. Her sister-in-law, entertainer Margot Kidder, died in 2018 after battling drug addiction.

"Much of the Green Party's current support comes from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and Vancouver Island, areas hit hard by the opioid problem, which led to the deaths of nearly 4,000 Canadians in 2017.... May said her party would consider lifting the decriminalization in the future if the drug crisis subsides....

"People on the front lines of the crisis have long said creating a supply of clean drugs and removing the criminal element would cut down on the number of overdose deaths.

"The Liberals have rejected calls to decriminalize all drugs, sticking instead with the legalization of marijuana — a 2015 campaign promise that was fulfilled last year. Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have released their 2019 platforms, including on what they would do in the area of illicit drugs and how to reduce death rates.

"The NDP's platform says the party would 'commit to working with all levels of government, experts and Canadians to end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction.'"

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Donnelly explains libertarianism to the voter

Less government is main focus for Libertarian candidate Darcy Neal Donnelly: James Morgan, The Review:

October 1, 2019 - "The best government is very little government, according to Darcy Neal Donnelly. The Libertarian Party of Canada candidate in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell has been part of a combination of three federal and provincial elections in the past.

“'There’s only so many laws our country needs,. said Donnelly. He explained that the only necessary laws are for protecting individual rights, freedoms, and markets. The Libertarian Party supports having police, courts and the military for the purpose of protection, and not control....

"Donnelly explained that the government has given big corporations the right to pollute and that property rights should be the basis of environmental protection.  He said that the environment would be better protected by private owners who had to take responsibility for it, including for environmentally significant places like national parks.

"When asked about ethics issues like the SNC Lavalin scandal, Donnelly said problems like corruption occur when governments and corporations are too big.  He ... strongly criticized the spending of taxpayer dollars on 'corporate welfare.'  As an example, he referred to the $18 million in support the Trudeau government announced over the summer for Heico, the American parent company of Ivaco Rolling Mills in L’Original.

"According to Donnelly, Canada has a mixed economy containing some free markets.... The Libertarian Party wants a free market for everything....

"Donnelly said the Libertarian Party would end the federal income tax for everyone and the government’s sources of revenue would be through trade and voluntary gifts.  Health care and social services for the less fortunate could be provided through benevolent organizations.  He highlighted how successful private institutions such as Shriners Hospitals are, as an example.

"Libertarians see themselves as influencers on other parties, said Donnelly.  He said the party is not totally dedicated to some day governing, but tries to influence existing candidates and parties with its ideas.  He said the People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier has ideas that represent 80 per cent of what the Libertarians have been recommending, and he is pleased that they have had that influence on Bernier’s party."

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

55% of Americans want to decriminalize all drugs

Majority Of Americans Support Decriminalizing All Drugs, Poll Finds | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

October 2, 2019 - "A majority of Americans are in favor of decriminalizing all drugs, according to a survey by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute.

"The poll, which involved phone interviews with 1,700 adults, showed that 55 percent of Americans want to treat drug offenses like civil infractions that don’t carry jail time, as opposed to the current criminalization model. While numerous surveys have found majority support for marijuana legalization, few if any polls have previously shown such strong support for a wholesale overhaul of American drug policy.

"Participants were asked to answer whether they’d 'favor or oppose re-categorizing drug offenses from felonies to civil offenses, meaning they would be treated like minor traffic violations rather than crimes.'

"Democrats were the most likely to support drug decriminalization, with 69 percent in favor and 30 percent opposed. A majority of those who identified as independent also embraced the policy, at 54 percent. Forty percent of Republicans said they want to lower criminal penalties for drug offenses, while 59 percent in the GOP said they opposed the proposed change.

"Interestingly, people who self-identify as libertarian were ten percentage points less likely to support decriminalization (59 percent) than Democrats, despite the hands-off policy fitting squarely within a libertarian ideology. Those most aligned with Cato Institute’s libertarian perspective are even less embracive of lifting criminal penalties for drug offenses than are respondents who identified themselves as very liberal, with 75 percent of that group in favor.

"There was majority support for drug decriminalization among men (55 percent) and women (53 percent) in the poll, which was conducted from March 5-8 and released last week. A majority of people from all age groups and racial backgrounds, except Latinos, back the policy.

"Drug decriminalization is gaining traction as more people view addiction as a public health, rather than criminal justice, issue.... Twenty U.S. prosecutors visited Portugal to learn about the country’s drug decriminalization model in July.... Also this summer, a Canadian House Committee recommended that the country decriminalize all drugs, and shortly thereafter a lawmaker filed a bill to do so, though it didn’t receive a vote."

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Commons health committee: Decriminalize drugs

Key Canadian House Committee Recommends Decriminalizing All Drugs | Marijuana Moment - Kyle Jaeger:

June 14, 2019 - "A House of Commons committee in Canada is calling for the government to decriminalize the simple possession of all drugs in an effort to address addiction as a public health issue. In a report released this week, the Standing Committee on Health described what its members learned on a tour across the country to examine the impacts of rising rates of methamphetamine addiction....

"The panel recommended that the government “'work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities and law enforcement agencies to decriminalize the simple possession of small quantities of illicit substances.' Further, it advised the government to 'undertake an evaluation of Portugal’s approach to the decriminalization of simple possession of illicit substances and examine how it could be positively applied to Canada.'

"Conservative members of the committee disagreed with several recommendations, the report stated, including the expansion of safe injection sites where people can use illicit substances in a medically supervised environment. However, the opposition party did not outright oppose decriminalization; instead, its members argued that such a policy must have 'the fulsome measures taken in countries like Portugal.'

"Witnesses told the panel that those measures include 'a scaling up of treatment programs and the creation of diversions programs for offenders who commit crimes related to their substance use disorders,' the document notes.

"The report also details how committee members encountered a pervasive negative attitude toward people with addiction, including from health professionals. Removing criminal penalties associated with drug use would be one step toward destigmatizing the health conditions, they argued.

"Members of the country’s ruling Liberal Party passed a non-binding resolution in support of decriminalization in April. But while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on marijuana legalization, he shut the idea of broader drug decriminalization down, stating that 'on that particular issue, as I’ve said, it’s not part of our plans.' Nevertheless, some lawmakers from his party have expressed interest in reviving efforts to pursue decriminalization through legislation....

"Meanwhile, 20 U.S. prosecutors from major cities ... embarked on a trip to Portugal [in May] to see the impact of the country’s decriminalization policy firsthand."

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Friday, October 4, 2019

BC judge returns forfeited $2 million to accused

Court ruling releases $2 million back to accused in B.C.’s biggest money-laundering case | Vancouver Sun - Gordon Hoekstra:

September 13, 2019 - "A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that an interim freeze of assets in B.C.’s biggest money-laundering case was done improperly, and has ordered the release of $2 million in cash to the accused.

"In a ruling released Friday, B.C. Supreme Court associate chief justice Heather Holmes concluded the Civil Forfeiture Office did not provide a fair and complete legal basis to consider the need for an urgent freeze on the cash, a $2-million house, casino chips, gift cards and jewelry. Providing a fair and complete legal basis was particularly important, according to Holmes’ ruling, given that the decision took place in an ex parte hearing, where the defence lawyer was not present.... Holmes agreed to another freeze order on the other assets, but excluded the cash.

"In the civil forfeiture suit, Caixan Qin and her spouse Jian Jun Zhu are accused of running an underground bank in Richmond, called Silver International, that allegedly laundered as much as $220 million a year. The pair have denied any wrongdoing and said that search and seizures violated their Charter rights....

"The ... civil forfeiture case ... was launched immediately after criminal money-laundering charges were stayed against Qin and Zhu in late 2018. The threshold for proving a civil claim is lower than for a criminal conviction, a balance of probabilities rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. Provincial prosecutors were hoping to hit the accused in the pocketbook....

"Holmes noted that the lawyer for the civil forfeiture office allowed no room for opposing views of law, made no apparent effort to put forward the position the defendants’ lawyer would have taken, and also misstated the law on one foundation point that favoured the civil forfeiture office’s position.

“'The court must take the misconduct very seriously, because misleading statements in an ex parte hearing undermine the integrity of the process, and may even obliterate it,' wrote the judge.

"Following the stay in the criminal case, Holmes, who also presided in that case, had ordered the cash be returned to Qin and Zhu.

"The civil forfeiture office has 30 days to appeal the decision."

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

U.S. House passes SAFE Banking Act

Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate | TheHill - Sylvan Lane & Alex Gangitano:

October 1, 2019 - "The House in a strong bipartisan vote last week passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow banks and financial institutions to work with cannabis businesses. The bill now faces an uncertain future in the Republican-held Senate....

"The unusual coalition of financial sector lobbyists, progressive lawmakers, law enforcement officials and cannabis businesses backing the bill cheered the House vote ... which saw 229 Democrats, 91 Republicans and one Independent back the bill....

"Advocates for legalization and a financial services sector eager to tap a fast-growing industry have united behind the SAFE Banking Act. The bill would prohibit federal regulators from penalizing banks or credit unions for serving cannabis businesses that comply with state laws. It’s a top priority for a cadre of powerful financial services lobbying groups, including the American Bankers Association (ABA), the Independent Community Bankers of America and the Credit Union National Association.

"The focus is now on the Senate Banking Committee and its chairman, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who has pledged to take action on the issue. While Crapo is personally opposed to marijuana legalization, he told CQ last week that his panel will consider the SAFE Banking Act or a similar bill 'as soon as we can'....

"But ... GOP senators have shown little interest in grappling with the controversy over cannabis. Only two GOP senators attended a July Banking panel hearing on the bill: Crapo and Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), one of only five Republican co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill....

"Bill supporters have taken steps to win over Republican backing, in particular from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The House version included a measure to ease regulations on hemp businesses, a crucial industry in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. McConnell, who could make or break the measure, helped secure a provision to lift federal penalties on hemp production in the 2018 farm bill. But McConnell ... has also spoken out against legalizing marijuana and called cannabis hemp’s 'illicit cousin.' A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment."

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Balfour backs Bernier in Haliburton

Balfour backs Bernier, runs for PPC - Chad Ingram, Haliburton Echo:

"September 17, 2019 - "Gene Balfour says his decision to run for the People’s Party of Canada in October’s federal election has a lot to do with the party’s leader, former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier.

"Balfour’s name may be familiar, as he ran in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock for the Ontario Libertarian Party during the 2018 provincial election. This will actually be Balfour’s seventh run in the political realm, having run as a Libertarian candidate five times [at] the provincial and once previously at the federal level in 2015.

"'I was fully planning to run for the Libertarian Party of Canada,' he says. However, Balfour was in attendance at a Libertarian conference, “and the night before the conference kicked off, I met Maxime Bernier.' 'It seemed to me that Maxime Bernier was very much like me,” Balfour says. “He was a Libertarian conservative.'

"Bernier lost the bid for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership to Andrew Scheer in 2017, and quit the party in August of 2018, vowing to start his own party [s]aying he would run a candidate in all of the country’s 338 ridings.... 'I’ve never seen a leader like this in my life,' Balfour says. 'Here’s a man who goes from zero and he’s got 320 candidates registered. Who does that?'

"Balfour is a retired professional recruiter who worked in the IT industry and resides in Fenelon Falls. He promotes libertarian philosophies such as personal freedoms, fewer regulations, less taxation and smaller government....

"Balfour says that while knocking on people’s doors, 'the first thing they’re going to ask you about it is immigration. They feel the Liberals, they’re looking after other people, they’re not looking after Canadians.' 'We can’t help our veterans,' Balfour says, adding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to have money to give other nations for climate change initiatives. 'There’s a lot of anger out there against Justin.'

"On climate change, Balfour is opposed to any form of carbon pricing or carbon taxation. He says there are essentially two things any government can do. The first is pass legislation.
'The other thing they can do is ... throw money at the cause.' Balfour says the issue of climate change is too complex and far-reaching to be solved in this manner....

"In terms of himself, 'I have a background in economics,' Balfour says. 'All politicians must, in my view, look through the lens of economics.'

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

2 Meriden CT Libertarians cut from ballot

Two Libertarian candidates in Meriden denied ballot access - Mary Ellen Godin, Meriden Record-Journal:

September 25, 2019 — "Two Libertarian candidates won’t be on November’s ballot after the Secretary of the State’s office rejected their state party’s endorsement letters.

"According to Roger Misbach, the Libertarian party had gathered enough petitions to put a placeholder, his wife Ellen Misbach, on the ballot for mayor. Roger Misbach originally intended to run for a City Council seat in Area 4, but after learning that incumbent Mayor Kevin Scarpati was running unopposed at the time, he decided to run for mayor. Scarpati, who is not affiliated with any party, has since been challenged by Republican Ernestine Holloway, a petitioning candidate....

"The state Libertarian Party sent endorsement letters to the Secretary of the State’s office for Roger Misbach for mayor and Ellen Misbach for Area 4, different than what the submitted petitions had read. 'We didn’t put that one candidate (Ellen) was ‘withdrawing’ and ‘replaced with’ in there,' Misbach said.

"The Misbachs were approved to appear on the ballot, but on Sept. 18 Party Chairman Dan Reale received an email from the Secretary of the State’s office saying the names on the petitions differed from the state party’s endorsement letters and they would not be on the ballot....

"Misbach and the state Libertarian Party intend to challenge the decision, despite it being too late for November’s election, he said. 'There is no statute we can find that says the letter has to be drafted that way,' Misbach said. “Obviously it’s somebody’s interpretation. This happens to the Independent and other third parties'....

"A spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s office said the office received petitions for one candidate and endorsements for another. A withdrawal in writing or even crossing off one name and adding another before the deadline would have sufficed....

"The party's position is that we have used placeholder candidates for decades and had no issue doing so,” Reale said in an e-mail. 'What was done — arbitrarily denying any Libertarian Party candidate ballot access for either position, is downright arbitrary and unconstitutional. The party has adopted a zero tolerance policy for these sort of things because they have continued to waste valuable resources and time we could otherwise spend campaigning and giving the voters a choice they want and the relief they desperately have waited for.'

"Libertarian candidate Richard Cordero is on the ballot in the Area 1 City Council race."

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