Column: Picky about revenues

Far be it from me to argue with political leaders over whether or not Canada is in a recession ...

Far be it from me to argue with political leaders over whether or not Canada is in a recession, but there are some economic issues I wonder about.

It seems we do anything, well, almost anything, to “grow” the economy and create jobs. We exploit our resources or give control of them to foreigners. We barge ahead with whatever might make a profit without considering the consequences.

Anything seems to be OK in terms of resources, but we’re picky about some enterprises. Like liquor revenues are good, marijuana money is bad.

Case in point. B.C.’s profits from alcohol sales dropped from $929.6 million in 2013 to $877 million in 2014. Is it a coincidence that the Province has gone all out to make it easier to buy booze?

Does anyone know why revenues were down? Does anyone know how the cost of dealing with the crimes, health and social problems resulting from alcohol abuse balances with the benefits from liquor sales?

According to a recent report, Washington state’s revenue from its first year of marijuana sales was $70 million. That’s expected to grow, especially if the excise tax is lowered. It’s a piddling amount compared to B.C.’s liquor profits, but how much did Washington state save by not having to police pot sellers and users? Interesting to note the marijuana dispensers say there is a wide variety of customers, many of them respectable people from the neighbourhood — “good” people who enjoy a puff or two. Sounds like the same folks who drink in moderation.

***

The long running Chretien and Mulroney governments were brought down by scandals. Will the Harper government be brought down by the Duffy affair? Or are we so inured to what used to be considered scandalous that we think anything goes providing it doesn’t hurt the economy?

***

Question: Why don’t the incumbents in any election run on their record instead of bribing voters with goodies?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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