November was like a bullet train for us at Consumer Choice Center: we’re very excited to publish our annual Sharing Economy Index, and our North American Affairs Manager David Clement was invited by the ECR party to present to MEPs and stakeholders in Brussels on the topic of PFAS and what smart regulations look like.
The CCC was *very online* this month. We had successful media hits on Orban’s price controls in Politico EU, Brussels Report, and Libération, and some stellar podcast episodes on Maltese cannabis and healthcare competition with Emmanuelle Faubert!
Also, don’t forget to check out our social media campaigns against the EU’s myopic agricultural policies and higher taxes for nicotine products. While you’re at it, don’t mind us asking for some love on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Let’s move on to our top picks for the month!
|Getting Sustainability Right |
“Paper or plastic?” It’s often hard to make the right choice for your pocketbook and the environment. Looking at the facts, we discover that plastic has many benefits. Its invention has been a revolution in many areas: from medical equipment to cleaning gear, from packaging to extend shelf-life to containers keeping our food intact for delivery.In many cases, plastic is in fact the more sustainable choice for consumers. Organizations such as Greenpeace pretend to have the moral high ground without having the facts: single-use plastic shopping bags outperform all its alternatives when it comes to the environment.
Our own Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz points it out here: “Any rule or regulation that restricts the choices of consumers is bad. However, it somehow is even worse when the suggested rule does not even achieve the results it intended. Banning plastics would not just deprive us of products we need but also increase our carbon footprint in many sectors.”
|Open Skies for All |
Is there anything more related to freedom than flying? For birds, maybe. Not necessarily for visitors of Ottawa. It is very strange that still, in 2022, the federal government decides how many flights can land in Canada from a certain country based on… a document called “Open Skies Agreement”. The agreement applies to 24 countries and EU member states, and allows consumer choice to prevail when it comes to traveling there and back. For others, there seems to be an unwanted tariff.
As our North American Affairs Manager David Clement says: “If a market-based approach is good enough for 24 countries plus Europe, why isn’t it good enough for all countries? We should let the market decide where Canadians want to travel to, how often and with what carrier.” Preach!
|Crypto in Europe after FTX Collapse |
Is there anyone who hasn’t yet heard about FTX and modern villain Sam Bankman-Fried? It’s been an interesting couple few weeks for crypto-nerds out there while many are just struggling to keep up with the latest crypto terms. On top of all that, the EU is crafting its own regulatory scheme in the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) to supposedly avoid such an FTX in Europe–more confusion.
Fret no more! Our Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski has the perfect piece for you to make sense of it all and he really leans into the principle behind decentralized technologies: “It would benefit us all if rules help bring regulatory clarity, keep shady actors at bay and provide financial transparency. If we want to craft the future of decentralized digital money, it will mean smarter rules that punish bad actors while promoting financial sovereignty.”Added to that, in the US many progressive legislators want to do everything to keep Bitcoin and its crypto offspring from reaching Americans’ hands. Yaël writes up an article pointing out the many progressive tenants of the Bitcoin and crypto economy. Must share with your bleeding heart friends!We’ll also be meeting with regulators in both the US and Europe to discuss the best path for consumer-friendly policies on cryptocurrencies. Keep an eye out for our thoughts afterward!
|That is all from us this month! We hope you stay tuned our great work around the world, and please reach out if there are some pressing consumer issues we shouldbe covering.|