A few thoughts on Canadian politics

This past week, various headlines have caught my eye related to Canadian politics. The first was the controversy about Justin Trudeau coming out in support of Quebec sovereignty if Prime Minister Stephen Harper moved Canada backwards in areas such as same-sex marriage and abortion. The second was Vic Toews condemning anyone who opposed the lawful access bill as a supporter of child pornography (then adamantly denying it in the face of video evidence). The third was the long-promised elimination of the long-gun registry. 

Here are my reactions:

1. Justin Trudeau – He has every right to express his disagreement with decisions made by those at the helm of our country. Better to have dialogue and dissenting opinions than have all politicians toe a party line or stay silent on an issue. Mr. Trudeau made use of the subject of Quebec sovereignty to get his point across and, while not necessarily the best choice because it steals focus from his original message, it nevertheless raised the level of debate and I give him kudos for it.

2. The Lawful Access Bill – When did scaring people and treating them as if they were stupid become the norm of Canadian politics? The message (despite stringent denials) was effectively, “if you don’t support warrantless police monitoring of your online activities you may as well line up in support of child pornographers.” Then the attempt came to trick people into supporting the bill by changing its name to the Protecting Children from Internet Predators bill. Jesus, give people a little credit for being more than a bunch of mouth-breathers with two feet and a heartbeat. It’s contemptuous of the Harper government to deliberately mislead and deceive Canadians. And even more so to demonize those who stand up for our right to privacy and protection from unreasonable search. So now the bill will be “retooled” in committee where, with a little luck, it’ll die a quiet death.

3. The Long-Gun Registry – Finally. This money-pit of a program should have never survived longer than the first day it went over budget. Lobby groups have said the registry was vital to saving lives but let’s be honest here: criminals don’t register guns and especially not long guns. This image from Statistics Canada illustrates the trends of gun-related homicides:

Firearms-Related Homicides - Stats Can

As you can see, there is no discernable effect in the reduction of firearms-related homicides where a rifle or shotgun was used based on the 1995 introduction of the long-gun registry; this type maintained its overall downward trend. So let’s all admit the program was a failure and move on.

2 comments on “A few thoughts on Canadian politicsAdd yours →

  1. I have always felt that the long gun registry was a good thing if poorly implemented. However that is not at all what irks me about this post: how you read the statistics is laughably flawed.

    You look at what appears to be a trend and claim that it is not effected by the registry. How do you know? There were some factors which caused a decline in homicides with long guns but you don’t attempt to figure out what they are. The factors might well include the long gun registry. This is a Daily Mail approach to reading statistics. You’ve only looked at the surface and read the statistics in a fashion designed to support your argument.

    I would also argue that homicides are only a small part of the issue with guns. Some people must have been injured by long guns. Where are the statistics on that? What about penetration of long guns? Were there the same number of firearms per 100 000 people for this entire graph?

    I am saddened the need for such a trite statement as follows, but: Dude, come on.

  2. I make my statement based on the 15-year decline prior to the introduction of the gun registry and the continued decline at the same pace. Yes, I illustrated this with firearms-related homicides so let’s talk about firearms-related robbery data: it shows a downward trend since 1977 (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/tbl/tbl02-eng.htm) with no clear acceleration in 1995. A Stats Can report from 2008 on Firearms and Violent Crime (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/10518-eng.htm) speaks to an overall downward trend of firearm-related violent crime in the past two decades. Given this, I stand by my argument that Canada was already experiencing a reduction in violent gun crime and the long-gun registry didn’t play a major role in that.

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