Notice: Happy Festivus (for the rest of us)!



On behalf of consumers across Canada, I feel safe saying that we certainly have grievances to express to Canadian politicians.

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The holidays are upon us, and one party in particular is my favorite. No, not Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, but Festivus.

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What is Festivus, you ask? Festivus was invented in the 1960s by the father of Dan O’Keefe, a screenwriter for the 1990s hit comedy Seinfeld. It has become a tradition of the O’Keefe family, and in an episode of Seinfeld in December 1997, the show’s main grumpy man, Frank Costanza, George’s father, introduced this glorious holiday to the world.

Every year on December 23, the family gathers around an unadorned aluminum pole and enjoys dinner accompanied by feats of strength, like wrestling. But it wouldn’t be a true Festivus without the annual “grievance broadcast,” the tradition of telling those around you how they’ve disappointed you over the past year.

On behalf of consumers across Canada, I feel safe saying that we certainly have grievances to express to Canadian politicians. In fact, after two years of dealing with pandemic restrictions, this Festivus is particularly sour. In the words of the inimitable Frank Costanza: “We have a lot of problems with you, and now you’re going to hear about it. “

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At the federal level, there are a lot of grievances to go around. First of all, shame on the federal government for continuing to have an excise tax on medical cannabis. When recreational cannabis was legalized, Ottawa imposed a 10 percent excise, even on prescription products. We do not tax any other drug in this country. Charging medical patients more for their drugs is something even Scrooge himself would find cruel.

And this is not the end of the fiscal insanity for sin that our federal government is imposing on us. It still maintains its excise tax, albeit at a low rate, on non-alcoholic beer. It’s madness (to say the least). Excise taxes may be justified as a way to recoup the health costs associated with alcohol consumption, but what are the health costs of non-alcoholic beer? There are not any. It’s just a drain on consumers – ironically (and silly) primarily on health-conscious consumers.

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Not all grievances against the federal government have a partisan connotation. Every year we have the same grievance with every MP. Shame on you for having bent your knee in front of the dairy lobby and for continuing to defend supply management! Support for supply management is still unanimous in Ottawa, despite the fact that it inflates prices, cheats the poor and constitutes a permanent obstacle to trade negotiations. It is a sad day indeed when President Joe Biden appears to be the only elected politician who seeks to free Canadian consumers from this outdated protectionist racketeering of tariffs and quotas.

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On this holiday, Ontario consumers may be wondering why they still can’t purchase the alcoholic beverage of their choice at their local convenience store? Everyone can agree that being able to buy a six pack on the way to your Festivus dinner would be a huge win for consumers. Although he campaigned to liberalize the alcohol market during the prohibition era in Ontario, Doug Ford has yet to decide to do so. Ending this archaic system would greatly expand consumer choice and ultimately end the province’s bizarre practice of allowing a foreign conglomerate (The Beer Store) to control its beer market.

On the east coast, the other Festivians of Newfoundland and Labrador have also fallen under the thumb of overzealous regulators. Their province has moved forward with a soft drink tax that is expected to reduce calorie intake by a huge 2.5 calories per day. Worse yet, $ 5.6 million of the $ 9 million the tax is expected to generate will come from low-income households. A tax that is both inefficient and regressive gives every consumer something to complain about this Festivus.

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Finally, at the local level, Toronto City Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam deserves a generous contribution out of contempt for Festivus. She wants to ban the issuance of new carpooling licenses. In addition to tipping the scales in favor of the taxi industry, it would inflate costs, increase wait times and, according to research, increase cases of impaired driving. Limiting carpooling isn’t only irritating for those who enjoy faster, safer, cheaper options for getting around town, it’s also a risk to public safety, which is why Mothers Against Drunk Driving and CrimeStoppers both spoke out against the advisor’s bizarre crusade. against carpooling.

The. With our grievances aired, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Festivus, for the rest of us.

David Clement is Director of North American Affairs at the Consumer Choice Center.

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