Privatize profits, socialize Costs

On opening day, the Toronto Blue Jays had a complete sell out.
On the sidelines CBC and the Toronto Star were following the sale and re-sale of every ticket.
They found 230,519 tickets or 45 per cent of the total were immediately scooped up by on-line resellers to be re-sold on average 105 per cent above face value.
One of the larger re-sellers then confessed on camera that the Blue Jays baseball organization took a cut on their gain.
I remember when scalpers were considered illegal but now with lax regulations and virtually no government oversight, fans are really getting hosed.
Not only are Bots able to scoop up thousands of tickets in seconds from law-abiding citizens, but the Club is getting a financial kickback from selling one seat twice.
A W5 investigation found that for generic drug companies to get access to Costco pharmacies, they are asked for million dollar corporate kickbacks.
In 2017, the generic drug industry in Canada was worth $6 billion dollars. Our generic drugs are priced 19 per cent to 30 per cent above prices in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Although two Costco executive plead guilty before the Ontario College of Pharmacists for professional misconduct, no criminal charges were brought by the Crown.
Such kickbacks are illegal in Ontario, but in all other provinces, including Alberta, it is perfectly legal.
Costco says these kickbacks help lower the cost of everything for Costco consumers.
If I believed that story, which I don’t, I take no solace in knowing I’m getting my booze, cigarettes and junk food cheaper while one in 10 Canadians cannot afford to fill their drug prescriptions.
A little known slight-of-hand change to bankruptcy laws in 1997 by Stephen Harper in one of his omnibus budget bills will do more to bankrupt this province than any NDP government.
Before Harper, oil companies that went bankrupt had to set aside enough value from the good wells to pay for the cleanup of their bad well inventory before creditors were paid out.
No more, the changes in 1997 dropped that requirement, creditors get paid first and all non-economic wells are turned over to the Orphan Well Association (OWA). Because of the growing volume of abandoned wells and the insufficient funds available through the industry-funded OWA, it will be taxpayers left holding the bag.
The government of Alberta isn’t lily white in this mess either.
We are the only jurisdiction in North America without regulations defining time limits for the cleanup of abandoned wells and pipelines. Most jurisdictions give two years.
A change here would stop the behaviour of majors selling almost-kaput-oil producing assets to smaller companies who are much more likely to go bankrupt.
Politicians today across all party lines are not actually representing ordinary people, but rather the elite.
Populist leaders have been able to identify the depth of dissatisfaction by the masses, but for all their bluster, they aren’t getting to the root problem.
The root problem is too often multi-national and large Canadian corporations are being allowed to privatize profits and socialize costs.
Ordinary Canadians, including Conservatives, need to stop blindly buying into the mantra ‘regulations and governments are bad’.
Until we do, powerful corporations and their executives will continue to take all of us for a very costly ride!

B.P. Schimke
ECA Review

 

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