Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still Kicking


Just a quick update to say that I haven’t abandoned this blog.  Life has gotten in the way of writing over the last few months, but I’m hoping to start posting again soon.  With everything happening around the world these days, I’ve definitely got lots to write about!!

Research Updated


I’ve finally updated the links to Statistics Canada reports in my Research & Contacts section.  Let me know if you find any errors, broken links or would like to see anything added.   I’ll eventually compile a similar list for other countries as time permits 🙂

Healthcare: Drawing the Line


I read with a combination of interest and dread, the news story on couples petitioning to have In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) covered under Ontario’s health plan.  Interest to see what the outcome is; dread because I’m already fairly certain what the outcome will be and where that will lead us.

Socialized healthcare is a complicated issue that raises difficult moral and ethical questions.  What should be covered and what shouldn’t?  Who do you treat and for how long?  Where do you draw the line?

I work in healthcare in a major hospital that has one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the country, seeing over 200 patients per day.  The majority of these patients aren’t ill enough to even justify a visit to their GP, let alone make use of a hospital ER.  So why do they come?  Because it’s free.

Our healthcare system has bred a generation of hypochondriacs who go to their doctor or their local hospital for things as innocuous as a mild cold or a papercut or just because they’re lonely and want to chat.  They insist on being checked out for every minor ache or pain – just because they can.

Add in the growing culture of entitlement and you now have a recipe for disaster.  As it is, our healthcare system can barely cope with medically necessary procedures.  If we start adding in frivolous procedures like IVF, our system is destined to collapse.  I fully understand that to a couple struggling to conceive, IVF is far from “frivolous”, but there is no question that it is not a medically necessary procedure.

We simply cannot afford to go down the route of catering to everyone’s needs.  The role of the government is to maintain order, not to spoon feed a population that is unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives.

By no means am I advocating a US-style system of healthcare.  They have a completely different set of problems to deal with.  There has to be a blending of private and public healthcare systems, or at the very least, instill some sort of “user pays” set-up in Canada.

There are many options.  It could be as simple as charging a nominal $10-20 fee for a doctor or hospital visit.  That alone would eliminate much of the abuse on our system.  Then there’s Germany’s model where those who lead a healthy lifestyle receive a refund from the government, while those who actually use the medical system pay top dollar.  Personally, I like Australia’s private/public system – it encompasses the best of both worlds.  With the number of bright minds in our country, I’m quite certain that they could come up with something workable.

The bottom line is this: with a decreasing tax base and aging boomers putting more and more pressure on our healthcare system, our current model is unsustainable.  If we want to continue to have socialized healthcare in this country, the people in charge need to start making some of those difficult moral and ethical decisions that they have been avoiding for the last 40 years.  If they are unwilling to make those decisions, they had best come up with a new healthcare model.  Fast.  If we continue on our current course of including everything and denying nobody, there is no question that we will bankrupt our country.

As a population, we need to take off the blinders and be realistic.  We can’t have it both ways.  If we want the government to be responsible for our health and well-being, then we have to allow them to make the tough decisions required to maintain that system.  If you don’t trust them to make those decisions, then socialized healthcare can never work.

To a Mouse


A happy Robbie Burns day to one and all.  May all your best laid plans come to pass! 🙂

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle.

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An’ fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s win’s ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Stay tuned…


I’ve been feeling particularly uninspired on the writing front of late, but rest assured this blog has not been forgotten 🙂  I have many ideas rattling around my wee brain (Haiti being at the forefront at the moment) I’m just lacking the motivation to write them these days.

I’ll have at least one new entry up by the end of this weekend though.  So thanks for checking in, and stay tuned…

Bill C-6: Enough is enough!


The problem with a government passing laws in the “best interests” of its citizens is that there is the presumption that the government actually knows what is in the “best interests” of its citizens.

This new Bill was passed by the House of Commons and had its first reading before the Senate in June of this year.  Debate in the Senate is slated to continue when Parliament returns this month.

So what is it?  Bill C-6 is meant to strengthen our consumer safety and protection laws.  The intent is to increase powers granted to Inspectors to prevent unsafe products from being sold to consumers.

Sounds okay to me.  What’s the problem?  In its current form, the Bill is so poorly worded that it gives Inspectors the right to enter a person’s home and seize any consumer product that it deems “unsafe”. 

For the full text of Bill C-6, look here.  Read on to find out which parts I find most worrisome.

Consumer Product is defined as: a product, including its components, parts or accessories, that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging.

Under Schedule 1 of the proposed bill, consumer products include: explosives, cosmetics, food, pest control products, vehicles, fertilizers, vessels, firearms, ammunition, cartridge magazines, cross-bows, prohibited devices, plants, seeds, controlled substances, aeronautical products, and animals.

I’d wager that there isn’t a household in Canada that doesn’t own at least one of those consumer products.

20. (1) Subject to subsection 21(1), an inspector may, for the purpose of verifying compliance or preventing non-compliance with this Act or the regulations, at any reasonable time enter a place, including a conveyance, in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that a consumer product is manufactured, imported, packaged, stored, advertised, sold, labelled, tested or transported, or a document relating to the administration of this Act or the regulations is located.

What household doesn’t “store” or “transport” one of the consumer products listed above?

Under what circumstances would a product be deemed “unsafe”? As defined by the Bill, a Danger to Human Health or Safety” means any unreasonable hazard — existing or potential — that is posed by a consumer product during or as a result of its normal or foreseeable use and that may reasonably be expected to cause the death of an individual exposed to it or have an adverse effect on that individual’s health — including an injury — whether or not the death or adverse effect occurs immediately after the exposure to the hazard, and includes any exposure to a consumer product that may reasonably be expected to have a chronic adverse effect on human health.

I have a very huge problem with the word “unreasonable”.  It’s vague.  Its meaning is variable depending on the circumstances and the person interpreting the law.  Call me silly, but when a law is going to infringe on my Charter Rights, I’d really rather not have any “gray areas” included in it.  Ambiguity just makes it that much easier for the law to be abused.  This is, of course, not touching on the fact that if a law infringes on our Charter Rights it shouldn’t even be a law at all.

Here’s a few more relevant sections for your reading pleasure:

20.(2) The inspector may, for the purpose referred to in subsection (1),

(d) seize and detain for any time that may be necessary

            (i) an article to which this Act or the regulations apply that is found in the place, or

            (ii) the conveyance;

20.(4) An inspector who is carrying out their functions or any person accompanying them may enter on or pass through or over private property, and they are not liable for doing so.

21. (1) If the place mentioned in subsection 20(1) is a dwelling-house, an inspector may not enter it without the consent of the occupant except under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (2).

(2) A justice of the peace may, on ex parte application, issue a warrant authorizing, subject to the conditions specified in the warrant, the person who is named in it to enter a dwelling-house if the justice of the peace is satisfied by information on oath that

(a) the dwelling-house is a place described in subsection 20(1);

(b) entry to the dwelling-house is necessary for the purposes referred to in subsection 20(1); and

(c) entry to the dwelling-house was refused or there are reasonable grounds to believe that it will be refused or to believe that consent to entry cannot be obtained from the occupant.

23. An inspector who seizes a thing under this Act may

(a) on notice to and at the expense of its owner or the person having possession, care or control of it at the time of its seizure, store it or move it to another place; or

(b) order its owner or the person having possession, care or control of it at the time of its seizure to store it or move it to another place at their expense.

What does all this legal mumbo-jumbo mean? In plain English all of this means that Government Inspectors can arbitrarily deem a consumer product “unsafe”, enter your home with or without your consent, seize your property, and make you pay for the privilege of having it seized.

I had hoped that a Conservative government in this country would (at least temporarily) put an end to the Liberal tendency to Nanny Statism.  Unfortunately, it seems that my hopes were in vain.  It would appear that Canada has been set on a path that it cannot (or will not) deviate from. I can only ask: how much longer before stories like V for Vendetta are more truth than fiction?

A Valid Point


Here’s a comment that didn’t make it past the censor.  Mr Dusablon raises the very valid point that without training, it is almost impossible to disarm a person who is pointing a gun at you.  Kinda puts a dent in that argument that if a person is armed, the gun is more likely to be used against them…

Ms. Mandelman,

In addition to my last, would you please tell me how someone would disarm you if you had a gun held on them, let alone use that gun against you?

Let me tell you that with a modicum of training, far less than what I have received over the years, and unless facing against someone who has been extensively trained otherwise, one cannot have their gun ripped from their hand without being able to fire a shot first. In fact, aggressively reaching for the gun in someone else’s hand is tantamount to suicide.

Criminals have no such training. Most spousal abusers have no such training. As such, the whole “the bad guy will just take it from you and use it against you” line is a pure fallacy.

Also, the fact that you do not think a gun would have made that victim safer is no surprise to me as it has become clear that you are of the clear opinion that guns are inherently evil and cannot be used to preserve life, only take it.

And once more, in the interest of shedding as much light on the issue as possible, this will be sent to multiple sources in case you see it fit not to publish this comment.

10 Myths of the Long Gun Registry


Taken from the CSSA website

Myth #1: The Gun Registry is a valuable tool for the police and they access it 6,500 times per day.

False. The “6,500 hits” figure for the Canadian Firearms Registry On-Line (CFRO) is misleading per the Public Security Ministry’s website of May 17, 2006 (Ques. 18).

  • Whenever police officers access theCanadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) for any reason, such as for a simple address check, an automatic hit is generated with CFRO whether the information is desired or not. This is the case, forexample, with the Toronto Police Service (5,000 officers), the Vancouver Police (1,400 officers), Ottawa Police Service (1,050 officers) and the BC RCMP (5,000 officers).
  • Additionally, every legal purchase of a firearm generates three administrative hits to the registry; for the buyer, for the seller and for the firearm. These changes to the computer records are conducted by police agencies and are counted in thetotals. Given the seven million firearms registered in the system, legal transfers must account for the majority of “hits.” Clearly, a hit on the Registry does not denote legitimate investigative use.

Myth #2: The registry provides police officers information on the presence of firearms when they respond to emergency calls

Maybe. The Firearms Registry only provides a list of the legal guns, the very guns an officer is leastlikely to be harmed by. The truth is, very few legally owned guns are used in the commission of crimes. The latest report shows some 7% of firearm homicides were committed with registered firearms in the last 8 years. The elimination of the registry will only eliminate the useless lists of lawful guns. The fact an individual has a firearms licence will still be known to the police. They will know whether a legal firearmis at a particular location by virtue of the fact that an individual has a licence. The abolition of the long gun registry doesn’t affect that. Even so, it is the illegal firearms that police are usually the most concerned about (93% in the last 8 years). No police officer would rely on the inaccurate registry data to dictate how they approach a domestic or emergency call. They would approach all calls with anappropriate measure of safety.

Myth #3: Firearms related deaths have been reduced due to the long gun registry.

False. Reduction in firearms deaths started in the mid 1970s, well prior to the introduction of the registry in 2003 (StatsCan) and mirrors a proportionally greater reduction experienced in the United States, where firearms laws are being loosened. There is no evidence to link the reduction in deaths with the registry and it has far more to do with the aging demographic that anything else.

Myth #4: Police investigations are aided by the registry.

Doubtful. Information contained in the registry is incomplete and unreliable. Due to the inaccuracy of the information, it cannot be used as evidence in court and the government has yet to prove that it has been a contributing factor in any investigation. Another factor is the dismal compliance rate (estimated at only 50%) for licensing and registration which further renders the registry useless. Some senior police officers have stated as such: “The law registering firearms has neither deterred these crimes nor helped us solve any of them. None of the guns we know to have been used were registered … the money could be more effectively used for security against terrorism as well as a host of other public safety initiatives.” Former Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino, January 2003.

Myth #5: The registry protects women in violent domestic situations.

False. Registered long guns were used in (all) homicide only twice in 2003 (Public Security Ministry website), and a total of 9 times from 1997-2004 (Library of Parliament). The registry of 7,000,000 firearms did not prevent these deaths. Given the extraordinarily low rate of misuse of some 7,000,000 registered firearms, it is unreasonable to believe that maintaining a registry of long guns could have any effect on spousal homicide rates. Moreover, the vast majority of violent domestic assaults are preceded by a lengthy, police recorded history, effectively denying abusers a firearms licence. This should address their access to legally acquired guns.

On an average day, women’s shelters referred 221 women and 112 children elsewhere due to lack of funding. Clearly, there are better uses for the money than registering duck guns.

Myth #6: The registry helps track stolen guns and forces firearms owners to be more responsible in storing their firearms. Over 50% of firearms used in crime are stolen from gun owners

False. Past Department of Justice studies found that among homicides where details were available, 84%of the firearms used in the commission of the crimes are unregistered and 74.9% are illegal guns smuggled into Canada, not the 50% some claim. Recently, Canada’s National Weapons Enforcement Support Team reported that 94% of crime guns were illegally imported into Canada. Vancouver Police report 97% of seized firearms are smuggled. Other government sources show between 9 and 16% ofcrime firearms originate in Canada. That figure is speculative as the vast majority of firearms used in crime are never recovered and most recovered guns cannot be identified as the serial numbers areremoved.

Myth #7: The information on the registry database is secure and cannot be accessed by the criminal element.

False. There were 306 illegal breaches of the national police database documented between 1995 and2003, 121 of which are still unsolved. Many police investigators have publicly voiced their concerns that the gun registry has been breached and become a “shopping list” for thieves.

Myth #8: The money has already been spent to set up the registry. It is foolish to dismantle it now.

False. The gun registry is by no means complete. Only 7 million of the 16.5 million guns that are in Canada (according to government import and export records) are registered. More than 300,000 owners of previously registered handguns still don’t have a firearms licence, more than 400,000 firearm licence holders still haven’t registered a gun and more than 300,000 owners of a registered handgun still have to re-register 548,254 handguns (Canadian Firearms Registry). Based upon precedent, it will cost another billion dollars to complete the registry.

Myth #9: Rifles and shotguns are the weapon of choice for criminals and are the most used firearms in crime.

False. Where firearms were used in a violent crime, 71.2% involved handguns (but it is estimated that over 1/3 involve replicas or air guns), only 9% involved rifles or shotguns (of which 2.1% were registered) and 6.5% involved sawed off-rifles or shotguns (already prohibited).

Myth #10: The recent deaths of 6 RCMP officers at the hands of criminals with rifles proves the needfor the long gun registry.

False. The registry’s monumental failure to prevent the tragic deaths of these police officers underscores the folly of registering the firearms of the law abiding. All the criminals who committed these crimes were in illegal possession of unregistered guns, despite the presence of the registry. These events prove,beyond a shadow of a doubt, the ineffective uselessness of the long gun registry in protecting our society.