Nice Canadians.

Recently, I’ve seen a series of fb memes from my friends in Nova Scotia. They say, basically, don’t be rude to retail employees enforcing Covid19 rules, because they didn’t make them – they are just doing their jobs.

I’ve been on both sides of the counter, and each time I read one of these I thought yes, please. But at the same time, something was bugging me.

I reflected on our 5 weeks stay there this summer. During the 100 or so possible opportunities for retail rage, there were 3 mild occurrences. All directed toward us, and unprovoked. Two at Wal-Mart, and one at The Big Stop. The latter was unpleasant enough that we didn’t eat there again, despite it being one of the better restaurants in the area and a long favorite.

Then I reflected on 35 years of spending summers there. Ignoring  Air Canada, which is a really just an example of why monopolies are horrible for everyone,  there were perhaps 10 retail rage incidents, all minor, and all directed toward us. It’s a polite place.

Each day, about 100 million people trust the auto shutoff on gas pumps to work correctly. Because it does. But try to lock the handle in Nova Scotia and you will be harassed – immediately – by a kid behind the speaker. Object to this, even politely, and the RCMP will be called. You won’t be charged, just threatened. Now, perhaps that’s how it should work. You are breaking the law, after all. But ask that kid or the cops why the law exists, and they won’t have a clue. Because they never thought about it. They just do it.

Ask why this seems to be OK everywhere else on the planet, and people defend the system reflexively.

Over 35 years, we’ve watched as the province, country or town passed seemingly minor laws, no single one being much to get worked up about. Some were silly, like solving the problem of rising gas prices by restricting changes to once a week. Making opaque garbage bags illegal so people could (and did) make sure you were recycling was a little creepy. So creepy that you eventually got a budget of how much trash you could dispose of in secret, and  how much was public. Many were expensive and ineffective, like requiring liability insurance for ATVs as a solution to crash injuries. Lots of new training, permits, inspections, gear – all in the good cause of safety but somehow becoming a powerful tool to cause harm to competition. Plastic bags, straws…

As far as I can tell, most folks there see this as good and natural progress. I think the cumulative effect of all these laws on freedom is under-appreciated.

It has been good for the governing class, with enforcement workers growing in number and wealth. Good work if you can get it.

But it seems to have created a sort of militant busybody army of people who not only enforce the rules, or turn you in, but that seem to love it.

Too much.

But maybe it’s all just very progressive, as the entire rest of the world has adopted the same model during the Covid19 years.

I guess maybe that’s what is bothering  me.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s