The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
A Piece of the Action
Brian Lilley on Amazon coming to Canada:
The idea that Amazon would promote Canadian authors and books on its Canadian website only makes good business sense and in fact is something the company already does. Where the extortion comes in is the demand that Amazon set aside $1.5 million for cultural events and awards as part of their $20 million investment in Canada. The deal also calls for an unspecified number of jobs to be created specifically to deal with and promote Canadian content.
Consulting the Publius Political Lexicon (not available on Amazon.ca) we find this definition:
the policy of implementing, or expanding, statist intrusions in the economic and social life of Canada, under the pretence of advocating conservative policies or principles.
bait and switch, evasion, obturation, conflation, misrepresentation
Canada's aging Conservative government has in one stroke appeared to welcome freer trade, by graciously allowing Amazon.com to purchase property and hire Canadians, while at the same time extracting a financial concession to help bribe the arts lobby. To the inattentive members of the Canadian Right this is another way the Harper government is better than the Liberals, by being all free market and stuff. To the arts lobby it's 1.5 million reasons to be less obnoxious come the next election. To those who believe in small and limited government, it's plain old fashioned extortion. Canadians complain about taxes to their heart's content. It's our second nation sport. Yet taxation is only one way in which the state limits our freedom. More insidious, because it is less obvious, is the network of what can be termed "legal corruption," a blatant attempt to subvert the basic function of government in a perfectly legal way. The particular hurdle Amazon had to jump was due to its status as a foreign corporation trying to enter a "protected" industry. It may not seem that a government has the duty to defend the rights of foreigners, yet the rights of Canadians are being undermined as well. The right of Canadians to sell to whom, and buy from whom, they choose, and not have such contracts declared void because the other party has not received permission to operate in Canada. Amazon can't set up shop until the federal government says so. Yet Amazon has violated no one's rights in trying to open a business in Canada. It has harmed or threatened no one, except the quasi-monopolist Indigo.
Posted by Richard Anderson on April 20, 2010 | Permalink
This is disappointing - indeed it smells of extortion. However, it means that Amazon will operate in Canada, a major step forward. It means Crapters-Indiblow now faces direct national competition. They may even go out of business. Good, because they're the worst bookseller EVER. Moreover, it means Amazon will have directly contributed to Canadian culture - something that the other guy never could do because "Canadian content" is a protectionist measure.
A definite A- for Mr. Harper.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-04-20 6:40:44 AM
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