How will they know how many boaters to harass? -

How will they know how many boaters to harass?


In the name of reducing government intrusion in people’s lives, the Conservative government is proposing to abolish the mandatory long-form census (it would become voluntary), a vitally important source of data that only applies to one-fifth of the population, once every five years.

At the very same time, the same Conservative government is proposing to tighten the requirement that every one of Canada’s 7-million or so boaters obtain an operator’s licence and carry it with them every time they get in a boat, on pain of a $250 fine — an utterly needless piece of bureaucratic busywork whose sole defence is that it is ludicrously unenforceable.

Sigh. Could we make up our minds, please? Doctrinaire libertarianism, nanny-state paternalism, whatever. But both at once is just too much to bear.


How will they know how many boaters to harass?

  1. How will they know how many boaters to harass?

    That's easy!


    • God will know his own.

      • You know, I'm not sure I've ever actually read the original version of that famous phrase, or known the specific original context, so thanks for giving me a reason to Google!

        Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius in the original Latin is super cool, but I think I still prefer the more colloquial modern version – "Kill 'em all, and let God sort it out!".

        It just sounds… meaner.

        • Glad to be of service. That's one of the good things on these comment sections – learning what certain references mean. Almost makes putting up with the con-bots worth it.

          I guess in this case God being able to recognise his own would be Harper, thanks to the Conservative party information-palooza,….

          • Actually, I think in this case "God's own" is only Harper if he's a boater with a license. Or is it a boater without a license?

            I wonder if the Vatican has ever pronounced an opinion as to God's view of utterly needless pieces of bureaucratic busywork?

          • They seem to like it enough.

    • The long-form Census will tell them!

      Oh wait…

      • Wait…a boat registry?
        You can take my canoe when your pry it from my cold, wet, j-stroke calloused hands!

    • The coast guard does not have enough money in its fuel budget to leave the dock except for emergencies and showing off. It is rather an insult for those of us that grew up on the coast to be forced to take a boating test devised by a nameless bureaucrat that has never been in a boat. The cost of a license isn't high enough to be a tax grab even. More like a make work project for bureaucrats that would otherwise be on welfare.

  2. But they've always been like this. A sop to this group, a goodie to that group, candies or growls to others.

    And MOST of their initiatives have been contradictory.

    Starting with wanting smaller govt….but an elected Senate….down to wanting law-and-order….but no gun registry or census forms.

    • Nonsense! Ever see a criminal commit his crime with a registered gun? Side arms yes, long guns hardly evert. Where do criminals get their unregistered gun? Across the border, of course. The big argument for is the police who say how much they use it, quoting huge frequencies of usage. BS. Every to CPIC and similar databases are AUTOMATICALLY referred to the registry.. And what's wrong with having elections for senators. It sweep out the party hacks for one thing. And what's wrong with making the lonf form voluntray? It's an intrusion into personal privacy mainly to get a compulsory database for commercial purposes.

  3. Kudos for Konsistancy. I expect & hope this will be an annual rant against the clogging of our waterways with useless bureaucracy.

    Some unasked for, but potentially useful advice on your quest. Drop the harassment charges, describe it as coercion instead. If you note Clementweet, he always uses that phase. To be clear, the new Conservativish government of Canada is firmly against coercion of citizens but has not yet taken a position on harassment.

  4. and cyanide remains illegal for purchase! driver's licenses not only exist but are based on an arbitrary age requirment rather than solely ability!

    Will this left-wing nightmre ever end?

  5. And more on Conservative (in)consistency: Perhaps Mr. Harper would like to explain how a boat registry is different than, say, the long-gun registry?

    • It's a boat operator's license, not a registry for boats themselves.

      • Yes, because nobody can count licenses….or know who owns a boat.

      • Sorry, perhaps I should have said "boat license registry" and "long-gun license registry". Still hard to tell the difference really…

        • Not to get all hair splitty about this, but a boat operator's licence is closer to the FAC that allows you buy guns. Forc ing me to register my canoe would be more like the long gun registry.

          It's a matter of ensuring competence and restricting access on that basis (for buying guns or operating a boat), versus mandatory registration of physical objects (one already has to register boats exceeding 10 h.p., which is why 9.9 h.p. engines are so popular).

          • Bolats don't kill people – people without lifejackets kill people.

  6. an utterly needless piece of bureaucratic busywork whose sole defence is that it is ludicrously unenforceable.

    Hello, Do-Not-Call Registry.

    Hello, Coyne's mandatory voting proposal.

    • But on transportation issues Coyne is King. Against boat licences, against trains.

      • Against massive knock-the-lights-out robbery of the public treasure for trains, Stu…

        • If you want big, shiny trains that go fast ya gotta spend at least a little money, honey

          • Monorail! Monorail! Monoraaaaaaaaaaiiil!!

            (which isn't very apt,b ecause high speed rail would be awesome. Please have it installed by next Saturday for Bluesfest).

          • Fine. Spend your own.

          • I want old, dull, lumbering trains. How much for those?

            The death of trains has been a boon to the trucking industry. Not sure if gas taxes and road tolls entirely cover the cost of road building and maintenance or not.

  7. I don't know that you should expect any different from this bunch Andrew, while they have a minority government.

    This is definitely policy and ideology on an issue-to-issue basis. More or less the strategy seems to be to put out enough policies that appeal to their Tea Party-like base (ie the census), but do enough other things in the name of safety or whatever, so that the rest of the population doesn't turn on them as being too far out of the mainstream.

  8. In principle, a boat operator's license isn't a bad idea. Parents with no clue about boat safety often take children out onto the water, and a crowded waterway (plus the high speed possible with modern boats) is made more dangerous by operators unaware of the basic rules.

    That said, one would need to see data on current boating accidents and fatalities to demonstrate that training would have a noticeable effect (and thus be justified). It may well be one of those things that feels right, but has no objective benefit.

    And I doubt we'd ever be willing to commit the same resources as we do for automobiles – in terms of testing and enforcement – to make it worthwhile.

    • Hubby wanted to buy a boat several years ago. He studied, wrote and passed an exam. A bro and his wife bought a small sail boat last year. They took a 6 wk course and my bro then took another course. I can't believe that some of the MSM and, ,IIRC, that one can go online and just answer a few questions while being able to get the answers on another website. Not in our province. Just another of Harper's issues that make them look they want to protect the public.

      • Don't answer if you don't want to, but what province do you live in?

  9. This just punishes fisherman and family boaters!

    Criminals won't register their boats anyway?

    This is a billion dollar boat boondoggle Mr Speaker!

    The Boat Registry has never a single life!

    • But police are able to know how many boats somebody has when they receive a call to go their house. If their house is near water.

      • Wrong. They will only know how many registered boats somebody has. They will know absolutely nothing about the unregistered boats, and they run the dangerous risk of making assumptions based on the information provided by the registry.

        • Outlaw boats, and only outlaws will have boats!

    • What is it with you people and your irresponsible desire to own boats? Don't you know that boats kill people? Most boating deaths are due to the owner's own boat….did you know that?? And what about kids who get a hold of their father's boat and hurt themselves! This isn't the US, you know, where practically everyone owns five boats and people are constantly drowning. It just takes one nut with a boat to do a lot of damage, and people can't be trusted with that kind of responsibility.

      I think boats should be banned entirely. But if we can't do that, at least ban small boats and force longboat owners to pay a substantial fee and register their names in the boat database.

      • You can come and take my boat from my cold, dead hands, you pinko commie…

        • We don't want to take your boats away. Really. Nothing to worry about. That's just paranoia from racist Rovian raft-revering rednecks. We just want you to let us know exactly how many boats you have, who you are, and where you live so that we can, you know, keep track of these things.

          • Sure. That's what you're telling us boat-users and freedom-lovers. But look two comments higher at what you told your power-hungry socialist tyrrany-fest crowd. We're on to you.

            First they came for the watercraft, and I said nothing…

          • tyrrany?

            Conan. Clearly you are not well today.

          • Whoopsie.

  10. Yet another example of Harper making up policy out of yesterday's headlines. What leadership.

    • “A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour.”

      – G I Gurdjieff

      • Awwww, man. I had been having a Gurdjieff free year so far. Just got through with deorogramming a couple of friends from that guy's mumbo jumbo.

        • Every path has its suckers.

  11. Sigh. Could we make up our minds, please? Doctrinaire libertarianism, nanny-state paternalism, whatever. But both at once is just too much to bear.

    The Conservative Party of Canada is such a big, welcoming tent of Hayekians, reluctant Keynesians, and most recently, proud Keynesians, and most most recently, reformed Hayekians. Why can it not be a big tent of doctrinaire libertarians and nanny-state paternalists?

    • And then, their conversion to the dark side will be complete, the apprentice will have become the Master, and Harper will start speaking with a Shawinigan accent, and choking people who get in his way…

      (shakes fist) VADER!!!!!

      • I've been calling him The Right Honourable Stephen Brian Jean Harper for years already.

        And this photo (second one) seems to put that beyond any reasonable doubt.

        • The official PMO photo also speaks volumes as to the spin they are constantly putting out.

    • madeyoulook – why are you targetting Tony Clement?

  12. The long term goal of this nation should be to have no GG. In the the short term this is not possible, but the long term goal should be to rid ourselves of this ultimate welfare appointment.

    I would be happy, if, along with appointing a useful GG such as this man, the PM greatly diminished the budget of the position and constrained his role to settling constitutional questions that inevitably land on his(the GG) doorstep. Cut the extravagance and waste of money that currently dominates the role

    • And by doorstep, I take it you don't mean Rideau Hall?

  13. I write this as both a past Commander of the Canadian Power Squadron and someone loosely associated with the Liberal party.
    This fisaco was started – under a Liberal government that wasn't paying attention to what the bureaucrats were telling them. I wish I could remember who was the Liberal Transport minister back then – but he should fall on his sword!
    Not that Johnny Baird is much better..if the other team f*cked up Johnny – you could have and should have fixed it – and yes – even I would have applauded you – but I can't because you were on Deputy Prime Minister duty – and mere rules and regs. about protecting Canadians on the water – plus some other serious ommissions like protecting lighthouses – seemed to have escaped your notice! Serious business being Deputy Prime minister – isn't it?

  14. I've been waiting for a column out of you re the census, as you are the only journalist in Canada that understands basic mathematics. But this is pretty weak. Can't you throw in something about how your precious private sector will get screwed by this blatent appeal to backwoods hick-ery? Because they will (me included).

    In any case: welcome to the fray. In real terms, this is probably the most important issue to emerge this year out of Ottawa.

  15. But they won't have to register if they're GUN-boats.

  16. Won't change a thing. The idiot boater will always be an idiot boater. The safe boater will stay the same. Just another conservative tax grab. So let them catch me. Same chance at getting caught as winning the lotto.
    PS Think they are going to check me out on my 55 foot ketch? I think not.

  17. Clearly this country needs a boat registry…

  18. Oh horror of horrors…someone is planning on enforcing the law!?!?!?! Next thing you know, if you want to check out a library book, they will want to see your library card…ooohhhh…this isn't the Canada I grew up in…

    Seriously, having your family die in a fire is 'too much to bear'. Having to carry your license with you when you go boating is, like, the law or something.

    Now, creating a boat registry…that would be something else…

    • I think you're misunderstanding Coyne's argument. He's not arguing that the law shouldn't be enforced (though he does think it's ludicrously unenforceable). He's arguing that the law SHOULDN'T EXIST. I don't think Mr. Coyne would necessarily have a problem with the law being enforced, given that it is the law (though he'd probably laugh out loud at the suggestion that it will be!), he's saying that this shouldn't be the law at all.

      In other words, it's not that he doesn't think you should be forced to have your license with you while boating; he doesn't think you should have to be licensed to go boating at all.

      For me, I think I'm even more with Coyne on this one than on the bike helmets. Something like 100 years of pleasure boating in Canada with motorized boats and suddenly we all need licenses???

      Mark my words, in a few decades pedestrians will have to carry a walking license with them wherever they go to prove that they've completed the necessary hours of in-class and on-sidewalk training in safe walking.

      • Nope. We'll just all be required to use the floating pillows and bumper-bubbles that will have been invented by then. It will be an offense subject to a harsh fine if anyone ventures outside without this protective force-field. And it will be entirely justified, given the socialized medicine we will continue to, um, enjoy. Why should the taxpayer be forced to endure the sprained ankle of your recklessness?

  19. Wow….I have no idea how to argue this logic. So, according to you, Coyne doesn't believe that this law should exist (though he doesn't say that), but he would have no problem with enforcing this same law that he says shouldn't exist? This is why I can't argue with left-wingers…to paraphrase PJ O'Rourke, how can you argue with people who are pro-abortion but against the death penalty for convicted murderers?
    Also, the enforcment of this 'law' comes from Transport Canada in order to complete a 10 year process, which means it was started under Cretin and the Liberals. Transport Canada does not = government. The 'government' is no more responsible for this program than the 'government' is responsible for Little Mosque on the Prairie. Unless, by 'responsible' you mean 'controls their budget'. I can only imagine the howls of protest from the left if the Tory's cut the budget for the CBC or Transport Canada though…

  20. Not so. Driver's licenses are in the provincial jurisdiction and so they vary. BC has a compulsory driver's test ab initio and whenecer recommended by evidence. Also, there is a medical exam at 80 and every two years thereafter. Persons at risk medically and must have a practical test and if they don't make it their driver"s licence is lifted. And awful tragedy and a blow to independence but it gets a lot of p[otential heart attacks and strokes off the road.

    I think boat driver's licences are a good idea as long as it is compulsory to have taken and passed a boater's course such as the one I took voluntarily when I got a sailboat. (Cal25)

    There are more yerks on the water than you can count – a hazard to themselvbes and others, particularly when they are boozed up. All measures require enforcement and the officers to do it. Get real: you sound like a libertarian.

  21. >vitally important source of data

    "Vitally"? A little less hysteria, please.