Friday, April 11, 2008

Stephen Harper Attacks Property Rights

Stephen Harper has taken a page out of the great depression and blocked the acquisition of a Canadian company by a US company. This sends a clear message to foreign companies looking to do business in Canada: get lost. Now, the Tories are trumpeting this as protecting a valuable Canadian asset. Let's get back to first principles here. In a market economy, private property is, well, private! That means that whoever owns the property can dispose of it as they wish. Harper is undermining the basic tenants of our economy. He is telling Canadians, in this case the owners of MDA, that they cannot make a profit on their hard work and investment. We are telling people who are thinking of setting up business in Canada, that their investments may not be as liquid as they think, depending on the whim of the government. The government has no right to meddle in the affairs of a private corporation unless it breaks the law.

We are not talking about selling nuclear secrets to the enemy here. We are talking about a country that is supposed to be our closest ally. We are not selling anything which affects the lives of average Canadians. We are selling a company that does its business almost exclusively with the United States, to an American firm. How can anyone call this free-spending, income trust taxing, trade blocking government conservative anymore?


Anonymous said...

I agree, but, the Conservatives were getting hammered by the press, the NDP, the Bloc and Liberal MP's, supporters and bloggers. Funny, do what you think is right against the will of Parliament and your called a dictator, do what the majority wants and you say he's not respecting Canadians property rights. You cant keep everyone happy I guess. billg

Anonymous said...

Kate McMillan to be dumped by blogging tories.

Scott Tribe said...

The potential is there, Aaron, for the US to refuse the Canadian Government access to its own satellite for monitoring the Arctic - since the US doesn't acknowlege our territorial claims in the waterways.

I don't laud the Cons at all, but they were very smart to block this sale which would have potentially impugned on our sovereignty, friendly nation or not.

That you would decry this on the grounds of property rights distinguishes you little from the "conservatives" out there whose only assessment of things is putting a dollar sign on something. If this doesnt ashow you're on the right-wing of the Liberal Party, I don't know what does.

Aaron Ginsberg said...

While I respectfully disagree about where I fit on the spectrum, that's not really important. If the issue is national security, than that power should not be in private hands, American or Canadian. Instead of blocking the sale, the government should be buying (at market value) the requisite parts of the company and incorporating it into the Ministry of Defense. However, our arctic sovereignty vis a vis the US is limited by our inability to do anything should they choose to violate it not our ability to track their ships. So, I don't really buy the argument.

Scott, property rights are not a Liberal or Conservative thing. They are an important underpinning of our society. No, I'm not a socialist, but that doesn't make me right wing.

Aaron Ginsberg said...

Oh, by the way, I have never called Harper a dictator and can think of no occasion to do so. However, if he were to ever act against the will of parliament, he should, by definition, have his government brought down. As long as he can win votes of confidence, he is legitimate. That's how the system works.

Andy said...

Aaron, very good post. I am certainly left wondering what the point is of voting Conservative. If I were a Canadian thinking about where to establish my technology company, this sort of decision is going to encourage me to choose Texas or California over Vancouver or Toronto, particularly if anything related to the military is involved.

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