25 MEPs support brand freedom

Consumer Choice Center presents signatories of “Brands Matter” pledge

Brussels, BE – The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) has revealed the names of the 25 signatories of the “Brands Matter” pledge. The CCC is aiming to gain support for the cause of brand freedom in the European Parliament, and get clear responses from lawmakers on this vital consumer issue.
Commenting on the pledge, Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center, said that one of its key objectives of “Brands Matter” is to emphasise a strong link between brand freedom and innovation, and how it can help embrace entrepreneurial spirit to the benefit of consumers.
“One example is the recent emergence of local and slow food cultures and the success of craft beers which would not be possible without local branding and novel marketing techniques. Consumers benefit from innovations of local and novel brands,” said Bertoletti.
“The CCC is using this pledge to raise awareness of brand freedom’s role in protecting and advancing consumer choice in the EU. Brands enhance the customer’s ability to interpret and process information, improve confidence in the purchase decision and affect the quality of the user experience. They achieve this in a variety of ways, including reducing decision-making time, providing safety, adding value to the product, or shaping local identity,” added Bertoletti.

Our signatories are:

Lara Comi, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia, vice-chair of the EPP)
Renate Sommer, MEP (Germany, CDU/CSU)
Patrizia Toia, MEP (Italy, Partito Democratico)
Stefano Maullu, MEP (Italy, Fratelli d’Italia, chair of the Brands Matter Working Group)
Salvatore Cicu, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Angelo Ciocca, MEP (Italy, Lega)
Jiri Payne, MEP (Czech Republic, Strana svobodných občan)
Amjad Bashir, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Fulvio Martusciello, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Daniel Dalton, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Joachim Starbatty, MEP (Germany, LKR)
Hans-Olaf Henkel, MEP (Germany, LKR)
Massimiliano Salini, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Paul Rübig, MEP (Austria, Österreichische Volkspartei)
Daniel Hannan, MEP (United Kingdom, The Conservative Party)
Nathan Gill, MEP (United Kingdom, UKIP)
Robert Iwaskiewicz, MEP (Poland, Nowa Prawica)
Seán Kelly, MEP (Ireland, Fine Gael)
Raffaele Fitto, MEP (Italy, Fratelli D’Italia, vice-chair of the ECR)
Alberto Cirio, MEP (Italy, Forza Italia)
Christophe Hansen, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Frank Engel, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Georges Bach, MEP (EPP, Luxembourg)
Christofer Fjellner, MEP (EPP, Sweden)
Rays Fernando, MEP (EPP, Portugal)
The CCC and the signatories of this pledge want to put forward legislative action to protect brands in the European Union, and oppose legislation that reduces the right to freely brand products or market them through advertising. We will work hard to extend the number of parliamentarians who sign this pledge during the upcoming legislature.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Northam Working to Increase Affordable Housing Options, GOP Support Remains Unclear

But throwing more money at a problem isn’t always the best answer, says Jeff Stier at Consumer Choice Center.

“More crony capitalism that goes to developers who know how to game the system isn’t going to bring people out of generational poverty, and that’s what I want as an advocate for affordable housing,” says Stier.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Intel Visa tech can be used by hackers to read data from memory

Consumer Choice Center’s senior privacy fellow Mikolaj Barczentewicz said the defects in Huawei software publicised today “are significant and stem from Huawei giving insufficient weight to the security of their products by delivering good and safe code”.

“Consumers cannot know if European and American manufacturers are doing better than Huawei in that respect, because manufacturers other than Huawei are not subjected to the same kind of public scrutiny.

“The Huawei case is an opportunity to introduce effective security certification of all critical equipment used in telecommunications infrastructure. The standards should be equally rigorous irrespective of who is the manufacturer. Bad code may be vulnerable no matter who wrote it,” said Barczentewicz.

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Time to get serious about protecting 5G networks

The British Huawei oversight body published today a scathing report documenting vulnerabilities in Huawei’s equipment. Here, the Consumer Choice Center’s Senior Privacy Fellow Mikołaj Barczentewicz has commented on policy conclusions to draw from the report.

“The defects in Huawei software publicised today are significant and stem from Huawei giving insufficient weight to the security of their products by delivering good and safe code. Consumers cannot know if European and American manufacturers are doing better than Huawei in that respect, because manufacturers other than Huawei are not subjected to the same kind of public scrutiny.

“The Huawei case is an opportunity to introduce effective security certification of all critical equipment used in telecommunications infrastructure. The standards should be equally rigorous irrespective of who is the manufacturer. Bad code may be vulnerable no matter who wrote it.

“A ban on the use of any product or service, including Huawei’s, has to be on the table because without such threat manufacturers will lack sufficient incentive both to treat security seriously and to show that they are doing so.

“Huawei promised to improve security in three to five years. This is not good enough. All manufacturers should be made to feel real pressure to deliver secure products now, not in some distant future.

“Of course, there is a risk that the Chinese government could influence Huawei to act in ways that would undermine the security of European users of Huawei products and services. This is a reason to be cautious about Huawei, but is not sufficient to justify banning it altogether.

“We need to be careful to do only what is needed to safeguard security, without unnecessary protectionism. Trade wars hurt consumers.”

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Huawei oversight body slates Chinese manufacturer’s equipment

The Consumer Choice Center’s Senior Privacy Fellow Mikołaj Barczentewicz commented on policy conclusions to draw from the report.

“The defects in Huawei software publicised today are significant and stem from Huawei giving insufficient weight to the security of their products by delivering good and safe code,” said Barczentewicz.

“Consumers cannot know if European and American manufacturers are doing better than Huawei in that respect, because manufacturers other than Huawei are not subjected to the same kind of public scrutiny.

“The Huawei case is an opportunity to introduce effective security certification of all critical equipment used in telecommunications infrastructure. The standards should be equally rigorous irrespective of who is the manufacturer. Bad code may be vulnerable no matter who wrote it,” said Barczentewicz.

“A ban on the use of any product or service, including Huawei’s, has to be on the table because without such threat manufacturers will lack sufficient incentive both to treat security seriously and to show that they are doing so.

“Huawei promised to improve security in three to five years. This is not good enough. All manufacturers should be made to feel real pressure to deliver secure products now, not in some distant future,” said Barczentewicz.

“Of course, there is a risk that the Chinese government could influence Huawei to act in ways that would undermine the security of European users of Huawei products and services. This is a reason to be cautious about Huawei, but is not sufficient to justify banning it altogether.

“We need to be careful to do only what is needed to safeguard security, without unnecessary protectionism. Trade wars hurt consumers,” concluded Barczentewicz.

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Are excise taxes killing Canada’s cannabis market?

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center.

Much has been said about Canada’s roll-out of legal cannabis. The system thus far has been riddled with hiccups, supply shortages, prohibition-style penalties and significant limitations on consumer access. All of that aside, one of the most glaring issues with Canada’s cannabis framework is the way in which it is taxed, specifically, the excise taxes that are applied to medical and recreational cannabis.

Currently, both have a 10-per-cent excise tax, or $1 a gram, whichever is higher. The first major problem with the tax amount is that it is applied to medical cannabis, meaning patients are paying sin taxes on their prescribed medicine. Deliberately making medicine more expensive is disastrous public policy and categorically unfair.

On the recreational side, the excise tax has the immediate effect of inflating the price of legal cannabis. For recreational consumers, legal cannabis has federal and provincial sales taxes (upward of 15 per cent in some provinces), the 10-per-cent excise tax and local boutique taxes such as Manitoba’s 6-per-cent social responsibility tax. It becomes increasingly harder for the legal market to crowd out the black market when consumers in some provinces face a tax rate of 29 per cent. To achieve the goal of beating the black market, the legal market has to be able to compete with black market prices. Adding 29 per cent to a consumer’s bill certainly isn’t going to help in that regard.

The Trudeau government’s most recent budget did address the issue of cannabis excise taxes. Unfortunately, it didn’t reduce the excise tax on recreational cannabis, or remove it from medical cannabis. Instead, it announced that edible cannabis will be taxed based on its THC potency, at a rate of $0.01 per milligram of total THC in the product. This is yet another blow for medical patients. New research on cancer patients who use cannabis shows that they prefer oils and extracts, as opposed to dried cannabis, and that the most effective for relief are products with high THC potency. The new taxation for edibles, extracts and oils directly targets these patients, and makes their preferred form of medicine more expensive. Medical cannabis shouldn’t be taxed, but if it is, it certainly shouldn’t be taxed for potency.

In addition to the effect the excise tax has on recreational affordability and medical treatment, the system also causes logistical problems. As noted from a variety of licensed producers, the excise tax sticker process has led to numerous headaches. Producers have reported that some excise stickers weren’t adhesive, while others noted that sizing wasn’t appropriate. In addition, the simple process of automating the stamping of products has been complicated. U.S. companies that make the machinery to automate the process have been reluctant to sell to Canadian companies because they fear their own governments will reprimand them for entering the cannabis market. These issues inflate costs, which are then shouldered by consumers and patients, and limit access.

Excise tax stickers are certainly a pain for licensed producers, but a much larger and significant problem is how the stickers are administered, and the consequences on legal sale. The producers pay excise tax when the products they package are delivered to the point of sale (a licensed retailer). From that point on, the product bears the excise tax stamp of whatever province the retailer is in, and cannot be sold in other provinces. This means the legal recreational market will continue to struggle with fluctuations in demand, because once a product is available in one province, it can’t be sold anywhere else.

For example, if the government retailer in Nova Scotia wanted to buy excess product from the Ontario Cannabis Store to help meet consumer demand, it could not because of excise stamps. The same goes for private retailers. An owner of a private outlet in Alberta could not move excess product to a storefront in Manitoba, even if the same person owned both stores. In fact, Alberta takes this insanity one step further and prohibits the movement of products between stores within the province. The issue of landlocking legal product means the market can’t correct for misallocations, and that retailers, whether government or private, can’t properly react to shifts in consumer preferences. Excise taxes make cannabis more expensive, but they now make it less available, which is a double-whammy in favour of the black market.

Cannabis legalization is catching fire throughout the United States, emerging in Europe, and even taking hold in South America and Africa. Canada could be a global player in the internationalization of cannabis, but that is only possible if the industry and Canada’s domestic market aren’t being forced to function with their hands behind their back. Excise taxes and the way they are implemented are creating immense hurdles, all of which disadvantage recreational consumers, the domestic industry and medical patients, and prevent Canada from flourishing in the emerging global cannabis space.

Originally published at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-are-excise-taxes-killing-canadas-cannabis-market/

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

Engelske sikkerhedschefer finder sårbarheder i Huaweis udstyr

Sikkerhedsekspert kræver højere sikkerhed fra alle leverandører

Sikkerhedsekspert ved Consumer Choice Center’, Mikołaj Barczentewicz, vurderer dog på baggrund af rapporten, at Huawei ikke tager sikkerheden seriøst nok, men siger samtidig, at offentligheden ikke kan viser, om europæiske eller amerikanske netværksleverandører klarer sig bedre end Huawei, da de ikke er underlangt samme krav og overvågenhed som Huawei, når det gælder sikkerhed.

Huawei-sagen er en mulighed for at introducere mere effektive sikkerheds-certifikationer i al kritisk teleinfrastruktur. Standarderne bør være lige strenge uanset producent. Dårlig kode er sårbar uanset hvem der skriver den”, siger altså Barczentewicz i en mail til mobil.nu.

Forbud mod at bruge udstyr hvis sikkerheden ikke er god nok

Han vurderer, at forbud mod at bruge udstyr, der ikke har høj nok sikkerhed, bør bringes i spil, da netværksleverandørerne ellers ikke har nok incitament til at fokusere mere på sikkerheden.

“Huawei lover, at de vil forbedre sikkerheden inden for de næste 3-5 år. Det er ikke godt nok. Alle producenterne skal mærke et reelt pres til at levere sikre produkter nu, ikke i en fjern fremtiden”, siger Barczentewicz.

Selvom han vurderer, at der altid vil være risiko for, at den kinesiske stat kan påvirke Huawei på en måde, der kan underminere sikkerheden i Europa, så er det ikke grund nok til fuldstændig at forbyde brugen af deres udstyr og produkter.

“Vi skal være opmærksomme på, at gøre det, der skal til for at højne sikkerheden, men uden unødvendig protektionisme. Handelskrige skader forbrugerne”, konkluderer Barczentewicz til sidst.

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« Le consommateur sera toujours plus malin que le législateur. »

Bill Wirtz est policy analyst au Consumer Choice Center. Il dresse le bilan de deux ans d’actions auprès des bureaucrates. Avec toujours le même message : cessez de croire qu’un consommateur est un être irresponsable.

Contrepoints : Bill Wirtz, cela fait deux ans que le Consumer Choice Center protège les consommateurs non pas contre les entreprises cherchant à maximiser leur profit, mais contre les bureaucrates qui cherchent à imposer leurs vues.

Bill Wirtz : Je considère qu’il y a deux sortes de lobbies : celui qui défend son business et celui qui tente de limiter l’expansion de ses concurrents. Dans le premier cas, il s’agit de défense de la liberté d’entreprendre ; dans le second, on parle de crony capitalism. Chez Consumer Choice Center, nous défendrons Uber parce qu’il permet au consommateur d’obtenir, dans les grandes villes, un service concurrentiel à celui des taxis. Nous cesserons de le défendre s’il venait, un jour, à nous demander, par l’entremise d’une loi ou d’une règle, de limiter les parts de marché de Taxify ou de ses concurrents VTC. Idem si les cigarettiers nous demandent demain d’interdire la cigarette électronique.

C. : Quels avantages le consommateur européen peut-il retirer de cette mise en concurrence ?

B.W. : Il faut une libéralisation totale et des règles claires pour tout le monde, à chaque niveau de pouvoir. Exemple : l’Union européenne veut libéraliser le marché des bus. On a vu les conséquences de cette ouverture à la concurrence, en France et en Allemagne, sur les tarifs (Flixbus, etc.). Des lignes d’autocars à bas prix sont devenues rentables. L’UE a dit « si on a un marché intérieur, on doit pouvoir aller de Lisbonne à Zagreb sans restrictions ». Mais le diable est dans les détails. Si le maire de Zagreb dit qu’il veut protéger ses entreprises locales, il peut décider de créer une taxe locale (en croate) pour rendre les choses administrativement compliquées, et pour protéger les autocaristes locaux. C’est un frein à la libéralisation uniforme. Nous voulons, chez CCC, une transparence totale là dessus. Le petit autocariste de Zagreb n’a pas les mêmes armes que Flixbus pour se renseigner sur les réglementations. La simplification administrative totale est donc aussi un atout pour les petits entrepreneurs.

C. : Autre aspect de votre lutte : les lois paternalistes.

B.W. : Ce sont les taxes spécifiques sur des produits considérés comme malsains, et qui n’ont d’autre but que de réglementer ou interdire leur usage, restreindre les heures et les lieux de consommation, etc. Au Royaume-Uni, l’État veut interdire la publicité pour la malbouffe. Comment peut-on à ce point considérer le consommateur comme non responsable, comme influençable, alors qu’en même temps, on lui fait assez confiance pour voter pour un représentant qui décidera à sa place. La déconnexion de la classe politique avec le consommateur est flagrante. Prenez un autre exemple : le foie gras compte deux fois plus de calories que le Big Mac. Or, c’est ce dernier qui est catalogué au rayon malbouffe. Les erreurs commises avec la pyramide alimentaire, qui jugeait le gras responsable des maladies coronariennes et qui ont amené les gouvernements du monde entier à lutter contre le gras, n’ont-elles donc pas suffi ? Le meilleur juge, c’est le consommateur informé. La force bureaucratique n’a pas à inciter la consommation dans un sens ou dans l’autre. L’État n’a rien à faire dans nos assiettes. Ni dans notre lit, ni dans notre vie privée.

C. : Nous sommes à 2 mois des élections européennes. Le grand combat pour la liberté du consommateur, quel sera-t-il ?

B.W. : On parle beaucoup de climat, de protection de l’environnement. Avec pour but, à chaque fois, de limiter la consommation (les vols en avion ou la viande, par ex.). La proposition de taxer les transports aériens (poussée par les Pays-Bas, supportée par la Finlande, la France et la Belgique) vise à réduire les vols low cost. Mais elle portera préjudice aux pays de l’Est, à moindre pouvoir d’achat. Les Roumains, les Bulgares ont aussi le droit de voyager et pour eux, une taxe même minime représente un grand montant. En plus, les alternatives de trains rapides, à l’Est, n’existent pas. Le démocratisation des transports se fait par les prix, générés par la concurrence. Le consommateur sera toujours plus malin, en général, que le législateur. Les Pays-Bas ont taxé les vols au départ de leur pays. Ils ont arrêté car les voyageurs préféraient partir de Francfort ou Bruxelles. L’idée, alors, a été de se dire que la taxe sera efficace si elle est appliquée à toute l’Europe. Donc, quand on parle de climat il faut entendre, dans la tête des législateurs, « taxes » et « assainissement des finances publiques ». Les opinions bien tranchées de nos dirigeants sur les voyageurs en avion sont, en outre, d’une condescendance inimaginable, lorsqu’on sait qu’ils empruntent régulièrement l’avion. La rentabilité se calcule dans un marché libre. Construire un tunnel entre Helsinki et Tallin, vu les densités de population de ces deux villes, c’est impayable ! Il faut donc se tourner vers des alternatives, dont l’avion fait partie.

DES ÉLUS EUROPÉENS DÉPENDANTS DE LEUR PROPRE OPINION PUBLIQUE

B.W. : Pour les élections européennes, on essaie d’interpeller les parlementaires à enrayer le flot de mesures liberticides. Mais dans bien des cas (à l’exception des politiciens les plus fédéralistes), ils défendent les intérêts de leur propre État pour prendre des mesures protectionnistes. Ils savent que cela peut avoir des conséquences sur leur réélection (ils craignent le backlash électoral). Un exemple, c’est celui des taxes sur le riz importé du Myanmar ou du Cambodge. Pour compenser les pertes dues aux riziculteurs asiatiques, l’Europe leur accorde des subventions au développement !

C. : Il existe quand même des avancées positives, au sein de l’Union.

B.W. : Oui. Le Luxembourg sera le premier pays européen à légaliser complètement le cannabis(cela fait partie du programme de gouvernement). C’est un signal important, venant d’un pays fondateur de l’UE. Cela peut servir d’exemple à la France ou à la Belgique. Mais après des décennies de répression, les mentalités ont du mal à changer. Encore une fois, laissons au consommateur responsable le choix d’ingérer ce qu’il veut !

C. : L’UE est-elle libérale ?

B.W. : Le message des pères fondateurs était basé sur le libre-échange et l’abandon du protectionnisme. On en est encore loin, en cette ère de commerce international : l’Europe veut protéger ses entreprises aux dépens des autres. Et souvent, cela coûte plus cher aux consommateurs européens. N’oubliez jamais que ce sont eux qui paient, en dernier ressort.

Originally published at https://www.contrepoints.org/2019/03/28/340194-le-consommateur-sera-toujours-plus-malin-que-le-legislateur

Europe Is Not an Example for the Green New Deal in Practice

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” suggests replacing air travel with high-speed rail connections.

But the comparisons drawn with Europe ignore that despite massive investments on the Old Continent, prices remain non-competitive with air travel and that state-run rail crumbles under its own inefficiency.

In a piece for Vox, Umair Irfan writes “High-speed trains already compete with planes in many parts of the world. They also have far lower carbon emissions.” The article compares the ambitions of AOC with existing examples in Japan and Europe.

“The prices are comparable too, with train tickets actually coming in cheaper for routes like Paris and Lyon or Seoul and Busan. The Paris-Lyon train fare is about $75, while the flight is about $115. Both trips take about 2.5 hours door to door.”

The price for Paris-Lyon by high-speed rail is indeed correct, but Umair Irfan doesn’t mention that the only carrier operating that route is the state-run carrier SNCF.

SNCF currently carries a debt of a staggering €55 billion ($62.3 billion). In fact, the yearly deficit and debt increase of the train company is so bad that France had to revise its annual debt by 0.1 percent of total GDP in 2016 and 2017.

This makes every ticket you buy in France highly subsidized, while air travel actually pays more in tax than it receives. Slate suggests that French engineers should have helped built high-speed rail in California. That would probably have been the only way to make it worse.

The choice of Paris-Lyon is also very convenient, since it’s number one and three of the largest cities in France, therefore benefitting from regular and highly used high-speed rail connections. The only air travel between those two cities is ensured by AirFrance and its subsidiary HOP!, in which the French government is a minority shareholder. Every other connection in France would be connected both quicker and cheaper by air travel.

Let’s try Paris-Nice (the fifth largest city of the country, in the South of France). High-speed rail would take you a total of 6 hours, at a cost of $90 (with highly subsidized state rail), while British low-cost airline EasyJet gets you there in 1 hour, 30 minutes for only $56. That is probably the reason why France is currently supporting an initiative in the European Union which would add an additional tax of $8 per flight segment. Smart move: if you tax airlines into higher prices, your case for “cheaper” train travel will be self-fulfilling.

It becomes even more interesting if you consider other travel itineraries. Paris-Nice is only about 600 miles. If you wanted to get from Greece’s capital of Athens to Madrid, which is a European equivalent of a “cost-to-coast,” your distance would be almost 2,000 miles, which is still less than a connection between New York and San Francisco (2,800 miles). However, Athens-Madrid by train, ferry, and bus would take you between 3 and 4 days, and cost about $340, while a direct flight would be $140 and about 4 hours.

That wouldn’t even account for the fact that the train connections are indebted, and thoroughly unreliable.

In Belgium, a structural rate of more than 10 percent of trains are late.

In Germany, a quarter of trains operated by “Deutsche Bahn” experience delays, which has brought the operator to change the definition: a high-speed train delay of less than 15 minutes is simply not counted as a delay.

You’ll also notice that Central and Eastern European nations, which have suffered historically from communism until the early 1990s, have no high-speed rail connections whatsoever, and are completely reliant on air travel to connect cities. AOC: collective ownership or fast trains, you can’t have both.

In fact, the only countries in Europe where high-speed rail starting from 165 mph — which is the speed needed to reduce travel times competitively enough to challenge air travel — are France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. In total, they have a network of about 4,600 miles of high-speed rail connection, and not even remotely close to anything the U.S. would need in terms of connection.

High-speed is no solution for passenger transport in the United States, it’s a fantasy that has paid out badly for the wallets and travelers in Europe.

Bill Wirtz is a political commentator currently based in Belgium. His articles have been published by Newsweek, The American Conservative, the Washington Examiner, Le Monde, and Le Figaro. He is a Young Voices Advocate, a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education, and works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center.

Originally published at https://www.newsmax.com/billwirtz/europe-green-new-deal-trains/2019/03/27/id/908966/

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

All 25 Ontario pot shops won’t be ready to open April 1

One consumer advocacy group said stores not being ready to open in time exposes weaknesses in the government’s pot plan.

“What this shows is that the lottery process was probably a mistake,” said David Clement of the Consumer Choice Centre. “It would have been much better for the province to simply uncap the licence process from the start so that as many well-prepared retailers as possible could open up shop.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario. David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.