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Oh deer! Government paying non-Canadians to hunt

Like many Canadian regions, Sidney Island has a deer problem. The small island, not far from Victoria, BC, is home to European Fallow deer, whose growing numbers are hurting the native vegetation and trees.

And though local hunters are able to take care of the problem, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) obtained documents that reveal the government-approved solution involved hiring foreign snipers from the US and New Zealand, armed with restricted rifles, and flying them in helicopters, to take shots at the deer. Phase one of the operation resulted in 84 deer killed at a cost of more than $800,000, which works out to about $10,000 per dead deer.

Eighteen of these ended up being the wrong type of deer, something that would be illegal if it were done by law-abiding hunters.

In contrast, local residents organized their own hunt last fall, killing 54 deer without any cost to taxpayers.

But this was just phase one. The CTF also obtained a detailed project budget that revealed plans by Parks Canada to spend $11.9 million for this effort.

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How much government is too much government?

In its recently released The Size of Government in 2022 report, the Fraser Institute detailed the levels of government spending across the country as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or how much the country produced including both goods and services). Canada overall – counting all three levels of government, municipal, provincial, and federal combined – spent just under 41% of the country’s GDP. This is down from the 52% they spent during 2020, which was higher because of both the COVID spending that took place that year, as well as the 5.5% drop in GDP that occurred due to the lockdowns. The Fraser Institute report also broke things down by province… and the range was enormous. In three of the maritime provinces, the three levels of government combined to spend more than half of GDP – Prince Edward Island (58%), Nova Scotia (63%), and New Brunswick (58%) – while on the other end, Alberta’s spending was 6 percentage points lower than anyone else at 27% of GDP. So what’s the right size of government? The Fraser Institute suggests that the optimum level is somewhere between 26% and 35% of GDP, basing that on studies that say that gets you the most economic bang for the buck. However, the prophet Samuel, in his “warning against kings” (1 Sam. 8:10-18), cautioned that the king might presume to demand the same percentage as God Himself required, 10%. Our governments presume much more, starting with more than double that. Presumption is evidenced also when our government recognizes no boundaries on their involvement. Sometimes their overreach is enormous, as when they run education, a parental responsibility. And sometimes it is just ridiculous, as was on full display south of the border this last month, when the White House announced it was going to investigate the problem of “out of order” soft serve ice cream machines. Ironically, it might be a good thing for the government to look into this, as they may be the source of the problem. Government rules seem to be blocking anyone but the manufacturer from repairing the machines. When the government is involved in everything, then whenever there is a problem it’s almost certain they are a part of it. So whatever the right size of government might be, it’s smaller and less presumptuous than what we currently have....