Time to have a adult conversation about pot

Yes pot, or marijuana or whatever you want to call it. It’s time we have a adult conversation about this issue and finally come to a decision on whether to legalize or to keep fighting.

Pot has been controversial and been seen as a gateway drug to other harder drugs like cocaine or heroine. To this fact, governments have spent billion in policing costs, court costs and prison costs all to keep people from producing or smoking the ‘drug’. In this blog I will lay out some of the pros and cons and what we can do.

There are a number of pro’s to legalization that have been pushed hard by people who think that is a good idea. Things like taxing pot, economic stimulus and addressing it as a health issue could all address dependency. Pot revenue from tourism, sale, taxes, reduction in time spent by police jailing and going after these people.

Pro) In the 20’s the government of the United states dried things up and disallowed the sale and possession. This created an underground mafia which moved and sold booze. Realizing that they weren’t going to stop people from drinking they decided to allow it and sell it again with a tax. This is something that could be done for pot, to stem the sale of illegal pot by dealers and organized crime. Creating a organization like the LCBO would allow for a new revenue and reduce the burdon on taxpayers. Countries like the Netherlands have legalized pot and have 2.3 billion in pot related revenue to play with. They have it regulated so that it can only be smoked in certain areas (like cafe’s) and bringing it outside is illegal or growing yourself is illegal. Portugal has taken a even different approach that all drugs are legal and instead of throwing people in jail they have addressed the issue as if it was a health problem. Money spent by police agencies fighting to stop this was put into health care and allowed to be spent to fight addiction. If the government took control of the pot trade it would reduce the organized crime income, create numerous jobs and allow for more purchase power for people.

People who are against legalizing pot bring forward some interesting points as well. If pot was legalized people would be less productive cause they would be eating or lying around more. Government pot isn’t as good because its straight plant where the stuff purchased from the street is added with herbicides and other stuff to make it better. Roads are filled with drunks anyways why do we want high drivers.

Con) Now, I’ve never heard of someone smoking to get high so that they could do better in a marathon and this may have some merit to it. Workers who smoke are less productive then there non-smoking counterparts and they generally take more breaks then people who don’t. Adding pot to this could reduce workers production and make working unsafe for themselves and others. Would employers want people who smoked pot in there facilities or would that end up on the ‘no ask’ list. You can get pot if you want it from the government already but its for medical purposes only and it said to be less potent then street pot because its strictly the plant. All the people who are pushing for this would you be willing to buy government pot if it lasted you less time and wasn’t as good? Drunk driving in certain areas of the country is an epidemic and adding legalized pot to the roads is a bad idea. Its harder to tell if people are high then a drunk and it affects motor skills.

In the end, we need to have a conversation about this and decide whether to attack this or legalize it. Come in with an open mind and look at all the facts. More and more people are coming out in support of legalizing pot and seeing that there are benefits for governments there.

So what did I miss? What do you think? Should we legalize or no.

Just a extra piece. Portugal and the Netherlands have about the same or lower crime rate as Canada after having legalized pot.

 

Voter Fraud

In Canada we span about 3-4 different time zones and on election night you cannot see the results of the Ontario seats if you live in BC and so on. It’s a crime and you can and will be charged with election fraud if found to be passing on numbers from another part of the country.

Which leads me to my current blog, the robo-call scandal that is plaguing the government. People in riding’s that were previously held by liberal or NDP party members, who were traditionally party voters were told there voting station had changed by a prerecorded elections Canada voice mail. The problem is that elections Canada didn’t send out these messages and the voting stations hadn’t changed. This caused confusion for these people and some of them missed out on voting because of this problem. Other people who were party faithfuls (liberal and NDP) were also called a random hours of the day telling them this and other incorrect information. The one problem that has come from this that seems glaring is that no conservative riding’s had this happen to them and no conservative faithfuls in these riding’s received these calls.

Some initial investigation has show that the suspected company behind these calls in one that the conservative party has used multiple times to get recorded messages across to voters. While the government has said multiple times that they have no clue where these phone calls have come from the picture isn’t being painted well for them. None of conservative riding’s received these calls, the company that these likely originated from are from a trusted conservative company. Sound kinda fishy to you?

In my mind whoever is responsible for this should be charged and face a trial for this. Someone held the Canadian voters from doing there democratic right and if we accept this, then bribery and ballot stuffing is next. We might as well trade places with Karzai and Afghanistan.

Not all doom and gloom in Thunder Bay

If you read the comment section on the local news paper you will see a large gathering of people with negatives views of Thunder Bay. If you were to base the situation in Thunder Bay off of them then you would think that Thunder Bay is dying, taxes are the highest in the world, there are no jobs and nothing is happening in Thunder Bay. The stuff that is happening is a waste of tax payers dollars and bad for the city.

I guess its a good thing that we can think for ourselves now can’t we. Now, this blog may change your idea of may not but knowing both sides is the best way to make an informed decision.

Thunder Bay has undergone a transition in the past decade, it has seen the collapse of the forest industry and the birth of the knowledge based industry. While the mills and wood land jobs left the city, both MPP’s and the city worked to build a newer more sustainable economy for the city. The transition was rough and still is for many people. The Christmas cheer’s numbers of user have continued to rise and the number of citizens living in the city has dropped to some of the lowest numbers in a long time. But with all bad news there is good.

The hospital has helped to increase the presence that Thunder Bay has in the medical field. Along with a influx of cash from the City of Thunder Bay there has been a number of jobs moving into the city that are extremely well paying and have helped the local economy. Most of these jobs are in the health research sector and have come to Thunder bay after being influenced by the Thunder Bay regional health sciences center and the Thunder bay regional research institute. The number of jobs created is somewhere in the upper hundreds closer to 1,000 of extremely well paying jobs. These jobs have helped to stem a net loss of jobs but there is more to do.

One of the growing fields in Thunder Bay is education. Both Confederation College and Lakehead University have seen a rise in student population year over year. Last year the college completed the 25 million dollar expansion of there main building to house the health sector courses and they have also started working on an wood pellet project to heat the school. There has been an expansion of courses in both campuses and has lead to a increase in the number of professor jobs available. There has also been an increase in high school and elementary positions and a new high school was recently completed to the tune of 33 million. Thunder Bay has been a boom in the education field and the growing aboriginal population and retraining workers likely account for a large number of the increase in students. This will likely continue in the future and see more funding heading to these campuses.

Thunder Bay has also been a house building boom in recent year. Both 2011 and 2010 were record setting years for Thunder Bay and way above normal. In total around 450 houses were built and housing prices skyrocketed in town around 8-10% per year. Thunder Bay is still the cheapest place in Canada to live and has been for many years. There is a large number of new houses being built in different area’s of town. Houses are available in town, just outside and a little more rural feel. The average house last year was around 133,000 dollars.

Thunder Bay has experiences a building boom in recent year. Starting around the same time the economic action plan started kicking in the permits received by the city to build has exploded. The regular amount of construction in a year might be 90-100 million a year (which isn’t chump change) but this number has expanded to well over 180 million in the past couple years. Designers and contractors are saying that this has been the busiest they been in a long time and its expected to continue. Last year saw the biggest increase in building permits in its history to the tune of 230 million. Some of the projects included a new courthouse – $400 million, DSSAB – $13 million, EMS – $11 million. Just to name a couple different projects going on in the city.

Thunder Bay is also tackling it infrastructure deficit which is good for citizens (Happier) and for business because they become more productive. The deficit stood at 15 million before the city put an extra 1.5 million into fixing the problem. That includes roads, parks, arenas, other services, sewers all things we use daily that have fallen into disrepair finally getting a lift. Administration along with city council have come together to bring this down by adding 1.5% yearly into the fund to bring infrastructure spending to where it should properly be. While people will hate the increase in taxes the saving to vehicle repairs will be worth it.

 

Anything I missed please be sure to add them to the comments below.

Negativity

Thunder Bay is full of it and it seems to have spread (well if you believe the news comments). I feel bad sometimes when I read the comments that people post and wonder what made them so angry in the first place and what is fueling there negativity towards the city. If its a negative story then the comments bring it down to another level of low and if its positive or even simply a news release then its brought down as well. I also find that a difference in opinion leads to attacks by multiple other people because you disagree with that opinion. That’s the worst part is that someone else is allowed to have an opinion but disagree with there and you shall be banished. In Canada, we have freedom of speech and someone hampering mine or someone else’s is wrong.

Thunder Bay is not perfect but it has been hampered by people who dislike change and liked it in the 70’s. These are the same people who are arguing that taxes are going up and the city is doing nothing to attract visitors and business people. If someone wanted to gauge the city and used the news comments as any indication then it wouldn’t be a good thing for us.

How do you deal with people’s negativity and what do you think fuels it?

Winter

Old man winter has come again and is coming with a vengeance. Snow has been falling and blowing all day and looks like it will continue for a while. The visibility is bad and the roads are slick. Please stay in your house and keep any trips out for tomorrow. Road crews are working hard!

Thunder Bay transit has announced they are cancelling bus routes until the weather gets better.

Start Road Construction Early?

Many years the city and its contractors start working the road reconstruction business after the may long weekend. This allows for the earth to unfreeze and allows contractors to get there stuff prepped and ready to go. With the unseasonably warm weather I would purpose that the city invites its contractors to start working earlier.

Last season, with the added money put into roads there was a huge final push to get projects done and a couple did not get done. 3 streets in total slated to be worked on didn’t get touched and other parts of projects were left to still be done. Again the city has put more money into roads and if the weather holds I would ask that council and administration start the construction season earlier and allow for the projects to be done with more care. This could also be a good year for the city to get its detour plan is place, one of the biggest issues that citizens bring up time and again is that the detours posted by the city bring them to another construction site or signs are no where to warn drivers of the impending construction. Having a better plan could alleviate some of the stress drivers get while being detoured or sitting in traffic and give the city one less headache to deal with.

One thing we don’t get to enjoy for all that long is a nice smooth surface. With the current schedule many projects aren’t completed until late in the year closer to winter. Many times we drive on the finished surface for a couple weeks and then we are worried about the snow on the ground instead of enjoying the road. A earlier start would allow people to enjoy the road, I know I’m a happier person when i drive over fresh asphalt instead of the potholes and cracks.

So my proposal is this (weather pending)

Start construction 2-3 weeks earlier, allow for more time to do a good job (some work was sloppy), introduce a better plan to warn drivers and detour them better. Let the citizens enjoy the roads before old man winter gets them.

Is Anonymous the biggest threat to western governments

Well I would have to answer yes. As a country there are things that governments do and pass that doesn’t sit well with the general public. SOPA, PIPA, C-30 are 3 big things that dealt with the internet, had a huge backlash and due to public pressure have been changed. One such hacker organization has taken it to what seems another level but attacking government agencies and other groups. The Canadian public took to fighting Bill C-30 by doing what the bill wanted in giving information to Vic Toews. Information that was truly Canadian like “I split milk on the counter at work and left it for someone else” or “I drank underage when I was a kid”. This along with petitions helped to fight this bill and it was unnecessary for anything further other then continued support for scrapping the bill.

Anonymous is a collection of hackers from all over the world who connect together under the leadership of an ‘unknown’ to work against companies, organizations or governments who decisions they disagree with. As of yesterday, they took down a the Ontario police chiefs associations website and placed the log in information for all the chiefs up, available to anyone who was looking. They did this because they said they supported any new laws that could help them fight cyber crime in the 21st century. While I disagree with Bill C-30 and invading people’s privacy there needs to be an update to the tools that police officers use to fight cyber crimes like this and information theft.

So what have we learned from the attacks that have come in the past couple months or year. Well the government agencies are extremely vulnerable and need to undergo a huge security screening. Governments who have huge numbers of secret plans, information and more are now vulnerable and the Chinese or Russian hackers may not be the biggest attackers. If a semi-organized group like this one can hack police websites, FBI+CIA websites and post the information contained in them to the world then what are the organized cyber spies stealing and what is the government doing to protect itself.

We may not want the government to take any more information then they already have but as a society we have put a lot of information out to websites and other organizations that if they can’t get it then almost anyone can from somewhere else. As a society we need to be smarter with our private information.

Now Anonymous has done some good things to make the internet and people in general a safer place. They have taken down child porn websites and hacked into the servers where they have been held but they have gone after people, organizations who they disagree with and cause a lot of harm. This organization is likely to be listed on the terrorism chart that countries have. While they do some good they also have done a fair bit of bad. Its hard to support an organization like this and I feel that they could be a bigger threat right now to governments in Canada and the US then even the outside spies.