Silly Socialist Social Engineering

Somebody really ought to ask Councillor Doug Ford, and his brother the mayor, and their official court stenographer, Sue-Ann Levy, to define the term ‘socialism’. I’m beginning to think none of them actually know what it means. It’s just a catch-all phrase they toss around to denigrate those they don’t agree with politically; those who believe in the positive influence government can have on the greater good.

The latest instance occurred at yesterday’s Government Management Committee meeting where councillors debated and then voted down a city staff recommendation to have exclusively healthy options — 2% milk, soy milk, fruit juices, no bottled water – in all city operated vending machines by 2014. “Down here we have a mentality that the government knows best,” Councillor Doug Ford said, arguing against dictating to people what they should be drinking. “We’re big brother, we tell you what to do.”

“This is socialism at its best, it really is,” Councillor Ford continued. Best. Worst. Whatever. Let’s just assume the councillor was speaking derogatorily.

Government certainly doesn’t know best but, according to the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy, the beverage industry certainly does. Why listen to a staff report (which was just “a pile of crap” according to Committee Chair Paul Ainslie) when those who stand to lose most by any change in the current status quo can tell you all you need to know? “Consumers are going to purchase what they want to purchase and if they can’t get it on site they’re just going to walk across the street,” John Challinor, director of corporate affairs for Nestle Waters Canada, said. “We don’t need to be following this sort of Nanny state approach.”

Mr. Challinor went on to tell Ms. Levy that they ‘…do regular opinion surveys and have found the majority of Torontonians do not want bottled water removed from their civic facilities.’ If the people selling bottled water tell us a majority of Torontonians demand bottled water in their civic facilities, who are we to question them? Piles of crap are what governments produce not the private, for-profit sector.

I imagine if the tobacco industry conducted a survey among teenagers asking if they wanted cigarettes back being in sold vending machines, you’d find a majority somewhere saying, hells yeah! How about booze too? All sold in vending machines that don’t ask anybody what year they were born before dispensing their product.

“If they want to have cigarettes in the machines, so be it,” [Councillor] Ford said. “They might even put a shot of rye in there too. Unbelievable.”

Hoo-ray! Let’s hear it for the good guys fighting for the right of Joe Average to consume whatever product they desire wherever they want. Down with social engineering and all those do-goodie, ‘calorie-counting’, ‘eco-obsessed wingnuts’. Attempted behavioral modification by the government is nothing more than socialism and is doomed to failure.

Just take that pesky 5¢ fee the city forces merchants to charge customers for plastic shopping bags for instance. A government money grab, nothing more. Oh, and a business killer. Except the money doesn’t go to the government but to the retailers. So.. just over-reaching, nanny state government with their fingers in consumers pockets for no reason whatsoever.

“The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, which represents the big supermarket chains, said the fee has been a success at cutting plastic bag use by 71 per cent in its members’ stores.”

Five cents might not be a lot of money, but it seems to be enough to make people change their habits,” said Metro [supermarket chain] spokeswoman Marie-Claude Bacon. “People were ready for that.” How ready? According to the company, 1 month after the fee was introduced, demand for plastic bags dropped by 50% and 18 months later, it was down to 80%.

That’s 80% fewer petroleum based products in circulation. 80% fewer bags going into landfills. Environmentally friendly and economically sensible. Like Jim Harris argued in the pages of the National Post a little while back.

Just a little nudge is all people need sometimes. I’m not paying 5¢ for a plastic bag. I’ll bring my own bag. So it begins. No Coke in the vending machine?! Maybe I’ll try a cranberry juice instead. How can that be bad for anyone, for society?

If that’s what Councillor Ford wants to call ‘socialism’, let’s give it to him. Because his world view, his non-socialism is one filled with obese underage smokers and drinkers, and floating islands of unnecessary plastic garbage, where the customer is always right. It’s a cheap imitation laissez-faire attitude that hurls meaningless political labels as insults and that would shock and appall even the staunchest of traditional conservatives whose tattered banner radical right wingers like the Ford Bros. et al have hijacked for their own anti-social purposes.

socialistically submitted by Cityslikr

9 thoughts on “Silly Socialist Social Engineering

  1. I’m sure my local drug dealer (Rob Ford) would also say that people should be able to make their own choices when asked if we should put oxycontin in vending machines too!

  2. Just because Doug Ford says something is socialist, it doesn’t mean it’s true. There are health costs when people get fat drinking all that soda, see super big gulp drinkers…

    Even Doug’s claim that his mom was a victim of stalking! When the truth is that a Jaguar covered with Ford for Mayor decals was watched and the Star writer did identify during the election campaign.

    As for Levy, on day 96 writing about 100 days of Ford claimed that he save taxpayers more money than Miller did in 7 years?! Miller’s low flow toilet rebate program saved over $130 M in pipe construction which Del Grande cancelled…

    Whereas the $67 M Ford claims to save “taxpayers”; $64 M is related to the VRT. Except people born up to Dec. 31 paid it! So those “vehicle owners” born Jan. to Mar. have SAVED(12M) and whoever prepaid for 2011 got their money back.

  3. What I want to know is why Screw-Anne hasn’t gotten an insider seat on Ford’s cabinet with John Tory. Surely she did far more to get him elected than he did. Attention must be paid!

  4. I don’t think Ms. Levy could spell court stenographer… much less act as one! I’ve yet to see any accurate ‘reporting’ (okay, it’s not reporting, it’s typing out loud) from her.

    Remember the joint found in Rob’s pocket when he was arrested in Florida?

    He doesn’t either. Maybe we could put some of those in the rec center machines…

    • Mr. Bastard; I thought socialism is the State owning the means of production! The current City Gov’t can’t even get organized to do a proper budget.
      It looks like Ford will unleash his “Nation” on McGuinty because Toronto & other municipalities did not get much for transit & roads…

      P.S. I like the sound of that anthem you linked to!

  5. The city is not in the minimart business just put in drinking fountains. If the people want something else to drink let them bring it with them. About the revenues, raise ALL the single use beverage container fees to 25cents each.
    “Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant.”

  6. As someone who myself identifies as socialist-libertarian (which sounds like a contradiction, basically means social programs good, personal freedoms just as good), I actually do believe that people should be able to do whatever the hell they want to their own bodies, no matter how stupid it is, just because I don’t think people should be forced to do something or not do something that only effects themselves. It’s not that I think they should do it, just that I feel it should be their choice, even if it’s an obvious choice (and a strong public education system should teach them just how stupid it is, but then that’s a separate matter). However, I can’t help but notice the obvious here.

    It’s a government building! The ban would only apply to machines that are owned by the government. How dare the government try to control… the government? What Mr. Ford and Mr. Ford and The Lawrence Welk-Haired Cheerleader (Levy) seem to be suggesting is that the government shouldn’t be able to control what is sold in the buildings and machines that they own. In other words, the so-called libertarian right is actually suggesting that a particular entity (the government) should not have control over their own property (the machines). Furthermore, they assert that such control should go to the beverage companies. In other words, they’re literally saying that corporations should have control over the government. Not that the government should stay out of the business of corporations, but that they should literally serve them. Fuck that. Rob Ford’s particular brand of libertarianism is anything but. It’s corporatism. He’s literally trying to make corporations run our lives.

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