Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday digest

- The three levels of government in the National Capital Region are about to take a look at building more bridges to Quebec, and one of the considerations is going to be how to pay for the new construction. I have an idea - tolls. You use it, you pay for it. Seems only fair to me, and it works just fine when it comes to the Cumberland-Masson ferry.

- I'm pleased that the federal government is withdrawing its support for safe injection sites. Honest, upstanding citizens should not be expected to foot the bill for people who stick needles in their arms, and dirty ones at that. You could make the argument that in a no-fault public health care system, it's better for society overall to fund harm reduction techniques because the cost of treating this destructive behaviour is not based on the lifestyle choices of the individual engaging in it but on the income of his or her fellow taxpayers, but I still don't think it's government's role to be protecting fully functioning adults from the consequences of making obviously stupid decisions concerning their own well-being.

- Environment Minister John Baird is reportedly pleased that the UN has accepted Canada's reasons for not signing Kyoto. Maybe he thinks that this means those environmentally-minded voters who were considering supporting for the Green party, the NDP or Stephane Dion's Liberals are going to come around to the Conservatives.


- Is Jimmy Carter sure that W. is the worst President the United States has ever had?

- The not-exactly-politically-neutral Amnesty International has released its latest annual report on human rights violations, predictably laying disproportionate blame at the feet of usual punching bags the United States and Israel. No word if either uninflated soccer balls at Gitmo or Iranian/Syrian funding of Hezbollah get mentioned.


At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point of a harm reduction strategy. Obviously resources should be allocated to prevention strategies, but what about the people who will not/cannot quit using? Safe injection sites are about reducing the immediate harm to people, as much as possible, while you work out better prevention strategies. But I guess you would also consider prevention strategies to be protectionist, and therefore not worthy of public resources.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Road Hammer said...

Transport Canada, I would argue I in fact *do* see the point but just disagree with it. If they won't quit using, why should everyone else be expected to pay for those consequences? In fact, why did they even start to begin with? We want to discourage such behaviours, not enable them.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Bmac said...

It's a bit odd to get all bent out of shape about safe injection sites as compared to say... cigarettes. In terms of cost to taxpayers, cigarettes are off the charts compared to a few safe injection sites. And not only does the government "enable" users by making them legal, it taxes them - a further endorsement of their acceptance.

Wouldn't it be easier to simply say you have a moral objection to gov funding of safe injection sites and leave the economics out of it?

And in terms of saying government should direct it's resources to harm prevention, wouldn't that be something along the lines of banning trans-fats - which you've argued against?

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Road Hammer said...

One could argue that the tax revenue that smokers contribute offsets their cost to the public health system. Myself, I really don't care about the morality or immorality of shooting heroin until I'm asked to pay for it.

Drinking a Coke now and again isn't quite on the same level as using a dirty needle.

I don't think that policing what kind of cookies one shoves into their own cakehole is government's business, but then again, in terms of one's wallet, our health care system is pretty much consequence-free so perhaps we all do have a stake - in Canada, anyways.

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous webber said...

I just love the fact you mentioned the Masson ferry. A memorable part of my childhood!


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