Tag Archives: rcmp

What’s in a word?


Has anybody else noticed the interesting use of language by the media lately regarding the gun registry debate?

One of my personal favourites that is being bandied about these days is “sniper rifle.”  The media and the Gun Control Lobby are telling us that there will be sniper rifles everywhere when the registry is destroyed.  Too bad there’s no such thing.

A sniper is a person, not a type of firearm.  Simply put, any rifle that a sniper chooses to use, may be called a sniper rifle.   Whether that rifle is a gopher gun or a military rifle, if the person using it is an expert marksman (sniper) then it could be called a sniper rifle.  Similarly, many rifles are designed to shoot over 1km effective range.  That does not mean that they are by their nature a sniper rifle.  It is the skill of the shooter that determines whether it is one or not.

The other term that’s a media favourite is “assault rifle.”  Here’s a nice example for you.  The M16 is a military rifle.  The C8 is a variant of the M16 used by Canadian police forces.  The AR-15 is a civilian variant that is hugely popular among sport shooters.    The M16 and C8 are full-automatic – this means the gun will continue to fire as long as the trigger is depressed (commonly known as a “machine gun”).  The AR-15 is semi-automatic – this means the gun will fire only one bullet when the trigger is depressed.   Apart from this difference, they are all virtually identical.  They all have a very similar muzzle velocity and effective range and all fire the same round.

What’s my point, you ask?  My point is this.  Whenever the media writes about the C8 rifle, they will correctly refer to it as a carbine.  However, when those same media outlets write about the civilian AR-15, they will refer to it as an “assault rifle.”  If anything it’s an anti-assault rifle, but I digress.

You will also see the gun used in the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, the Ruger Mini 14, being referred to as an assault rifle.  It is, in reality, nothing more than a gopher gun.  Why?  Quite simply, the term “assault rifle” sounds scary to the uninformed public.   They want to create an image of crazed gun nuts running around our city streets with machine guns.

As I have illustrated many times before on this blog, the Gun Control Lobby knows they have no facts to support their cause, so they hope to sway people with emotion instead.   It would be nice if the media would remember that they are supposed to be objectively reporting the news, not helping lobby groups to create it.

Hunting ducks, protecting families


Excellent editorial from today’s National Post.

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/Hunting+ducks+protecting+families/3577605/story.html

George Jonas, National Post · Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010

Did Canada’s firearm-phobic urban elites score an own goal? Did they open up a political opportunity for Stephen Harper? Many commentators seem to think so.

I’m not as sanguine as some, but if, by their narrow rescue of the registry, Ottawa’s gunless wonders did elevate a wasteful program of loony liberalism into an election issue, it may open up an opportunity to re-examine the debate about gun control.

The police carry guns for a reason: They’re great tools for law enforcement. Letting firearms become the monopoly of lawbreakers, far from enhancing public safety, is detrimental to it. Canada has gone out of its way to make criminals as invincible, and victims as vulnerable, as possible. This wasn’t the aim of gun control, of course, only the result.

Canada isn’t alone. Two years ago, terrorists in Mumbai, India, claimed some 500 casualties, dead and injured. Among the many questions raised by the outrage, there was a purely practical one: Why was the attack so successful? How could so few terrorists claim so many victims?

One obvious answer, as I wrote at the time, was firepower. Guns were illegal in the hands of both the terrorists and the victims. The victims obeyed the laws, the terrorists didn’t. A Mumbai-type atrocity couldn’t have happened in Dodge City–or in Edwardian Europe, for that matter, where gentlemen routinely carried handguns for protection — but it could happen again at next month’s XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

Some regard carrying guns uncivilized. Would you call an era of legal guns in the hands of Edwardian gentlemen less civilized — or less safe — than our own era of illegal guns in the hands of terrorists and drug dealers? I wouldn’t. The civilized place was turn-of-the century London, where citizens carried guns and the police didn’t.

Society needs crime control, not gun control. Violent crime in America declined in the past 20-plus years after a majority of states enacted “right to carry” legislation. There may have been several reasons, but the “right to carry” was clearly one.

There are Second Amendment absolutists in America, and libertarians elsewhere, who regard a person’s birthright to own/carry a firearm beyond the state’s power to regulate. I’m not among them. Communities set standards for many things, from the possession of exotic animals to the operation of ham radios; why not lethal weapons? But our aim should be to enhance, not diminish, the defensive capacity of the good guys, and increase rather than decrease the number of auxiliary crime-fighters who are available to be deputized when the bad guys start climbing over the fence.

The relationship between citizens and the law is magnificently simple. Citizens are the law. Not the bureaucracy, not the police, not the pundits: Citizens. It’s all right for people to take the law into their own hands because in a free society the law is, in fact, in their hands. It is the people who delegate the power of law enforcement to the police, not the other way around.

The police may think they license citizens to carry arms, but they don’t. It’s citizens who license the police. They license them to carry arms, to enforce the law, to investigate crime, to serve and protect. All power flows from the public to the authorities, not the other way around.

In free societies, that is. There are societies where power flow is reversed. They’re called police states.

Canada isn’t a police state and we don’t want it to become one– not even our gun-shy urban elites, most of them. The police chiefs with their disarming rhetoric aren’t looking for a police state, either; it’s just that “the police-man’s lot is not a happy one,” as Gilbert and Sullivan pointed out, and being the only ones armed would make their lot happier.

Maybe so, except an arms monopoly only serves and protects the police, not the public. While we support our cops, making police work congenial isn’t Canada’s national purpose. Our entitlement to carry arms, unlike our American cousins’, stems from no particular provision of a constitutional amendment, but intrinsically from our fundamental traditions of freedom, subject to whatever conditions we choose to impose on ourselves.

If the gun registry becomes an election issue, it may serve as a reminder that guns aren’t only for hunting ducks, but also to help people safeguard themselves. It’s as proper for citizens to defend their homes in peacetime against domestic robbers as to defend their homelands in war against foreign invaders. People who defend their families act as honourably as those who provide for their families. They must do so within the law, needless to say, providing or defending, in war or in peace, but as long as they do, one type of action is simply an extension of the other.

If someone could persuade criminals and lunatics to obey gun control, it would be a splendid idea. As long as only law-abiding citizens obey it, it amounts to countering stray cats by neutering vets: Showy, but not very useful.

92% of police want registry scrapped!


The September 22 vote is fast approaching and the debate over the long-gun registry is heating up again.  Think that all police officers support the registry?  Think again.  Here’s the latest press release from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association:

http://www.cdnshootingsports.org/2010/08/Press_Release_Police_survey_20100819.html

Officer’s survey finds 92% of police want gun registry scrapped

Veteran police officer says database is dangerous for cops to use

Vaughan ON – August 19, 2010 – A national survey conducted by an Edmonton police officer reveals that 92 percent of police officers in Canada want Members of Parliament to vote in favour of scrapping the long-gun registry in September.

Constable Randy Kuntz, a 22-year veteran with Edmonton Police Services (EPS), says the survey he conducted last year should be embraced by M.P.s when they vote on Bill C-391 that advocates dispatching the registry. Kuntz, an Exemplary Service Medal recipient, hopes to expose the grave mistake that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) is making by supporting the registry.

“The CACP is not some mindless group of misguided men and women who strive to oppress,” says Kuntz. “There are many things they do very well as a unit. They simply have this one matter very wrong. The idea that the firearms registry is necessary and useful is wrong. They claim that they speak for all police officers on this matter. I think I have shown that they don’t.”

Kuntz used a popular police magazine to query officers across Canada if they supported the registry as a useful working tool. While he is first to admit the survey is not scientific, he believes it closely reflects the current climate among his fellow officers.

He expected a couple of hundred replies, but of the 2,631 officers who responded from every province and territory, 2,410 said the registry is useless as a crime fighting tool and many believe it poses a danger to police.
“The firearms database shows registered firearms and their owners,” explains Kuntz. “No telling where those firearms are actually located, it just shows the law abiding citizen who owns legal firearms. There is nothing that says the firearms have to be in the possession of the person to whom they are registered. I can loan a firearm to anyone who possesses a valid license for that type of firearm.

“A person can have a valid possession/acquisition license, but not have any registered firearms in his name,” he adds. “So, no firearms are on the database associated to his address. But, he can borrow a firearm and have it in his possession. What good is the registry, then? In the above example, the police officer checks the person and sees he has no firearms registered to him – so does the policeman think there are no firearms? Probably. It’s a huge mistake on the police officer’s part, relying on a database for your safety. It’s ridiculous.”

Kuntz conducted the survey on his own because he was very concerned that officers could be killed if they relied on the registry data. He also believes the CACP is misrepresenting the facts by continually claiming that a massive majority of police officers support the registry. There is often a gulf between management and employee interests in any organization and police work is no different.

“The CACP tells the public that it is a necessary tool for law enforcement,” says Kuntz. “It is not It just gives the perception of that. It was pretty overwhelming that those who responded (to the survey) were against the registry. Most of the respondents were constables and sergeants/detectives – guys and gals with their boots on the pavement, so to speak. They’re the cops that the public meets and deals with on a daily basis. I respect Chief Rick Hanson of Calgary Police Services. He took a stand against the CACP’s position on the registry. It takes a lot of guts to face others of equal rank and say, ‘you are wrong.’”

While Kuntz suspects the CACP isn’t deliberately trying to deceive the public, he hopes his survey results will send the chiefs and M.P.s an important message. M.P.s are voting on September 22 on an opposition-led motion that is poised to kill Bill C-391 even before it gets to the 3rd reading stage. Many pundits predict that the vote could be very close.

“I believe that the CACP believes they are looking out for us,” he explains “That’s the scary part. The registry was touted as a public safety program. The problem is, the registry does nothing to improve anyone’s safety and it has cost the Canadian public two billion dollars, plus millions per year to maintain. If such a wasteful program was proposed in the private sector, it would have never got off the ground in the first place.”

During debates on Bill C-391, some police services members told the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that police were being warned by superiors against speaking publicly against the registry. Meanwhile, Kuntz’s fellow officers have cautioned him that his stance is likely to have a career-limiting effect. During his 22 years as a police officer, he has worked in the Intelligence Analysis Unit, Cold Case Homicide, Integrated Intelligence Unit with EPS and RCMP, Criminal Investigation Section, Driver Training, and he has been acting Detective/Sergeant.

“I have had an excellent career thus far in the rank of Constable,” he says. “I made it clear to our Human Resources recently that I would not be participating in any future promotion processes. Some things are more important than my personal ambitions. This is one of them. It is something that affects all Canadians as it is our money funding this wasteful program.”
He also provides some sage advice for new recruits: “If you rely on a computer database for your safety, you are an idiot. Learn to investigate using your observation and communication skills. We were pretty successful in doing that for 100 years prior to the registry.”

Women and Gun Control – Part 1


The Gun Control Lobby is working hard to convince the public and our MPs that gun control is a gendered issue, in particular, a women’s issue.  They’re right, but not in the way they would have us believe.

Their angle is that abusive men use firearms to intimidate, threaten and harm women.  While this is true in some cases, it still doesn’t make sense to focus on the gun rather than on the person who is wielding it.  Take away the gun and the abuser will use a knife.  Take away the knife and the abuser will use their fists.  The key is to stop the abuse, not to regulate objects that an abuser may or may not use.

This is where the long gun registry becomes a women’s issue.  By taking away money from programs that could actually help victims of abuse, gun control activists are ensuring that the abuse will continue.

Estimates vary regarding how much money will be saved by scrapping the long gun registry – most are in the neighbourhood of $3-11 million per year.  However, those estimates don’t take into consideration the hidden costs of the registry.  Things like law enforcement, court fees, and endless mountains of paperwork to name but a few.

Looking at law enforcement alone, let’s do a quick run through the numbers.  Taking the RCMP numbers at face value, the registry is accessed 3.4 million times per year.  Assuming each “hit” takes five minutes that works out to 283,333 police hours per year.  At an average work year of 2000 hours per officer that means that 141 police officers do nothing but registry checks each year. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, how about we take it a step further?  Let’s take an average salary of $70,000 per year, plus an additional $30,000 in benefits, giving us an approximate value of $100,000 per officer per year (not taking operating expenses into account).  That’s a total of $14.1 million per year spent, or 141 officers off the streets, without solving or preventing a single crime.

Even with my very low estimates, if you add those numbers up we could save $17-25 million in tax dollars per year!!!!!

Now, let’s go back to the issue of abuse:  there are approximately 10,700 beds in 569 women’s shelters, nationwide.  Those beds accommodate well over 100,000 abused women and children each year.  The money saved from scrapping the registry could fund an additional 550-830 new shelter beds across the country. [Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2009]

The money doesn’t have to go towards shelters though.  Imagine what $17-25 million could do in public awareness or education campaigns to teach young women how to avoid abusive relationships, or what their options are if they are in one.  Imagine what $17-25 million could do for mental health programs that help treat and prevent abusive behaviour.

Over the last fifteen years, hundred of millions of dollars have been funneled into the firearms registry.  According to the Auditor General’s Reports in 2002 and 2006, large sums of that money are still unaccounted for.  What have our tax dollars purchased?  The registry didn’t stop the Dawson College shooting.  It did nothing to save Jane Creba.  Nor did it prevent the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.  There has been no impact on the spousal homicide rates either.  Those have been falling steadily since the 1970s – long before the registry was ever considered.

Organizations like the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC) thrive on women as victims.  In fact, they need victims to support their cause.  They manipulate victimized women and their grieving families, convincing them that they or their loved ones would have been safe if not for the presence of those “evil” guns.  They know there are no facts to support their claims, so they parade these unfortunate people in front of the media in a blatant attempt to influence public opinion with emotion instead.

With the help of many of the organizations that make up the Gun Control Lobby, we have been trained to expect women to be abused.  We have been urged to believe that there is no way to foresee this abuse, prevent it or stop it, even though there are several identifiable risk factors.  The Gun Control Lobby ignores sources like the Department of Justice or Statistics Canada, who point out that substance abuse, particularly alcohol, makes a person six times more likely to abuse their partner.  They neglect to mention that common law couples are four times more likely to experience abuse than legally married couples.  Instead, they loudly insist that the mere presence of a gun in the home leads to intimidation and abuse.  Where are the facts backing up those claims?

For the last fifteen years, despite a complete lack of any data to support their statements, the CGC and their Gun Control Lobby cohorts have been trying to convince us that guns are the problem.  Their inability to look past the object to the person who is wielding it, has caused immeasurable harm to the women they are supposedly trying to help.   Fifteen years and billions of dollars could have made a huge difference in the lives of abused women across this country.  If that money had gone towards even one of the issues mentioned above, countless women and children could have been helped.  It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad, and direct our resources to where they are really needed.

WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 2
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3

Bill C-391 Must Pass


Regardless of personal opinions on gun control, everyone in Canada should be hoping and praying that Bill C-391 is passed.  This Bill was put forward earlier this year by Candice Hoeppner (Portage – Lisgar) before Parliament recessed for the summer.  The aim of this Bill is to dismantle the travesty known as the Long Gun Registry. The Bill is slated for Second Reading in the House of Commons tomorrow, on September 28.

What is the Long Gun Registry?

The Registry is a component of the convoluted Firearms Act.  The Act is so verbose that most Law Enforcement Officers couldn’t even begin to explain it to you, but that’s an entirely different topic in its own right.  By law, all legally purchased firearms in Canada must be registered to their owner.  Information held in the registry includes (but is by no means limited to):

  • Name, address and phone number of firearms license holders (regardless of whether or not they actually own any firearms)
  • Marital status of firearms license holders
  • Make, model and serial number of all firearms registered to a license holder

It has been the law in Canada to register all handguns since the 1930s.  However, it was not necessary to register rifles and shotguns until 1998 when the Firearms Act was created.  This new portion of the registry is what is being referred to when people say Long Gun Registry.  When Bill C-391 is passed (I’m thinking positively!), Canadians will still be required to register handguns; but they will no longer be required to register their hunting rifles and shotguns.

I don’t own any guns.  In fact, I don’t even LIKE guns.  Why should I care about this Bill or the Registry?

I really struggled with how best to answer this question.  There are so many different directions that I could take that I found myself overwhelmed and unsure where to start.  What it all boils down to though, is that the Liberal politicians who pushed this legislation through and the powerful Gun Control lobby who pulled their strings, lied to us all.  The registry does nothing to stop criminals from getting guns and it turns honest citizens into criminals.

The likes of Alan Rock and Wendy Cukier promised us that this registry would reduce gun crime and remove illegal guns from our streets.  They promised us that the database would be efficient and secure and be of minimal cost to the taxpayer.  And they promised us that the registry would never be used to confiscate firearms from private citizens.

Well, the registry is none of these things.  As mentioned in my previous entry regarding the RCMP’s blatant disregard for the security of gun owner’s information, the database is far from secure.  The risk to public safety is immeasurable and could have far-reaching consequences (see this gentleman’s blog for a breakdown of the potential security threat) After more than a decade, it is still incomplete (some estimate that as many as 70% of all firearms in Canada are still unregistered), and it is so full of errors that the information it contains is inadmissible in court.  Additionally, despite what the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) would have the public believe, the overwhelming majority of front line Law Enforcement Officers do not trust the information contained in the registry and think that it should be dismantled.

In fact, the Attorney General conducted two audits of the Canadian Firearms Centre and the registry (in 2002 and 2006) and found the entire thing to be woefully mismanaged.  Not only are there massive cost overruns – the registry was originally estimated to cost taxpayers only $119 million, but has since ballooned to roughly $2 billion – but they could not account for where most of that money was going. In addition, there are absolutely no systems in place to demonstrate how licensing and registration are performing.  In other words, there are no performance standards in place to determine whether or not the program is even remotely effective in its stated aims.

To make matters worse, just this last week, in Toronto, the police have started going door to door confiscating firearms using the flawed information contained in the registry.  They are targeting people who allowed their firearms license to lapse.  These are paper crimes, determined by looking at the information in the registry.  But as we’ve already determined, there’s no way of knowing if the information the police are using is even correct.

Most troubling of all though, is this quote from Wendy Cukier, founder of the Coalition for Gun Control and perhaps the most vocal proponent for gun control in Canada (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003070516_canguns19.html):

“Although it doesn’t directly address the problem of illegal handguns, the registry helps create a culture that believes guns are dangerous and owners must be held accountable.”

Even the Gun Control Lobby themselves admits that the registry does not address illegal firearms.  According to the Gun Control Lobby, the purpose of the registry is to create a culture of fear, not to prevent crime.  They want to hold gun owners accountable…for what?  The actions of criminals?  You see, that’s the thing about professional lobbyists, no matter how emotional their pleas, at the end of the day their only interest is the limelight and their own political careers.  Unfortunately for us, fear is a very powerful currency in the game of politics, and it’s to their benefit to keep the public afraid.

Breaking it down to the simplest idea, the key flaw of this database is that it’s designed to keep track of the wrong people.  Instead of wasting $2 billion and 10 years making a list of everyone who was fit to own a firearm, they should have been making a list of everyone who was unfit to own one.  Wouldn’t that make more sense?  It would definitely be a much shorter list.

I’m not asking anyone who dislikes guns to change their mind.  I’m not trying to convince anyone that guns aren’t used during the commission of crimes.  I am asking that people open their eyes and see that the registry is not the right path. 

Take a moment and just imagine what a difference $2 billion and 10 years of effective crime prevention strategies could have accomplished in our cities.

Please contact your MP and tell them to support C-391.  Tell them that this gross waste of taxpayer’s money and government resources needs to be dismantled.  Tell them that the risk to public safety is unacceptable.  Tell them that if they really want to tackle the issue of crime that maybe, just maybe, they should focus on the criminals.

RCMP Gives Confidential Information to a Private Company


This week the Canadian Shooting Sports Association released an alert regarding a poll that is being conducted by Ekos Research Associates.  This poll is supposedly a “client satisfaction survey” regarding the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC).  The CFC is the call centre that administers the controversial firearms registry.  It is part of the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) which is run by the RCMP.  According to information available so far, this survey was commissioned by the RCMP. In order to conduct this poll, Ekos was granted access to confidential information without permission from the people involved or any type of oversight.

There’s so much wrong with this situation that I’m really not sure where to start.  I guess the RCMP’s own words regarding privacy and sharing of information is as good a place as any:

Does the CAFC share personal information collected for the Firearms Program with other agencies or the private sector?

Relevant Firearms Program information is disclosed only to federal and provincial public safety business partners that have legal authority to collect this information consistent with their public safety responsibilities. Program business partners include local and provincial police, the Canada Border Services Agency and International Trade Canada. The Privacy Act requires that those agencies must have a use consistent with the purpose for which the information was collected. In turn, those non-federal agencies to which firearms information is disclosed are bound by similar requirements under their jurisdictional privacy laws.

Furthermore, firearms information is not shared with any private sector agencies. Some private companies, however, can have access to personal information while under a contracted arrangement for software administration or records management procedures. Under the terms of those contracts, these companies cannot use or disclose information. Also, employees of private companies are thoroughly screened for security clearance to ensure that personal information is protected at the same level as federal requirements.

If someone can explain to me how a “client satisfaction survey” falls under either software administration or records management procedures I would really love to hear from you.  It would appear that not only has the RCMP blatantly violated the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), they have also acted in contravention of their own policy!

To add insult to injury, only 4 of the questions being asked have anything to do with “client satisfaction” (see the end of this entry for the full list of questions).  The remaining questions request information that is: already documented in the registry database, irrelevant and inappropriate, and/or nothing more than a thinly disguised fishing expedition.

Apart from the obvious and appalling privacy issues, one of my immediate concerns is public safety.  What security clearance do the pollsters have?  What type of confidentiality agreements are in place?  Who is accountable if this confidential information ends up in the wrong hands?  You see, we’re not just talking about names, phone numbers and addresses (which is bad enough in its own right!).  We’re talking about names and addresses in conjunction with a list of firearms stored at that address. 

The security of the registry database has been a bone of contention with firearms owners since its inception.  In the wrong hands, the information held in that database amounts to a detailed inventory and shopping list.  Criminal access to the registry database puts the safety of both firearms owners and the general public at serious, and unnecessary, risk.  The registry has, in fact, been hacked more than 300 times in the last decade, with several dozen of those cases still unsolved.

Riddle me this: if the RCMP can’t even keep my confidential information secure in their own databases, why would they think that a private company would be able to?  Or, for that matter, even care to?

If the privacy and public safety concerns regarding this issue weren’t enough, there is a third factor at play here too: politics.  The two points that are catching my attention are:

  • Bill C-391, a controversial private members bill seeking to abolish the long gun registry, is slated for its second reading in two weeks.
  • The Gun Control lobby launched an aggressive worldwide campaign (spearheaded by IANSA) over the summer in which they attempted to link legal firearms ownership to domestic violence.

I just can’t help but wonder at the timing of it all.  Especially when this survey asks questions about things like marital status, children in the home, types and numbers of firearms owned, and plans for future firearms purchases.  Add in the fact that the Gun Control lobby in Canada is funded by tax-payer money (courtesy of the Liberals) and that Michael Ignatieff seems to be hell-bent on toppling the minority Conservative government as soon as possible.  It’s definitely enough to make a person pause.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that there’s no such thing as coincidence, particularly in politics.

While I can only speculate as to the political reasons for this survey, there is no room for debate on the issues of public safety and the RCMP’s violation of the Privacy Act.  The Conservative government has already launched an investigation into the matter, and the CSSA and National Firearms Association (NFA) are contemplating criminal charges against those responsible.  There is even talk of a class action lawsuit, although at this stage that is little more than rumour.

I know that some readers are thinking, “What’s the big deal?  It’s just some innocent questions.”  The issue is not the questions being asked.  The issue is how Ekos came into possession of the list of people to whom they posed those questions.  The bottom line is this:  the RCMP intentionally distributed confidential information to a private company without permission or oversight, and in contravention of The Privacy Act and their own policies.

Given the nature of the information at the centre of this firestorm, and the history of security violations pertaining to that information, it is not at all unreasonable to be concerned about the safety of gun owners and the public at large.  This breach may well result in an innocent gun owner being killed, or his/her guns being stolen to kill someone else.

Someone is purposely playing with life and death, and likely for political gain.  People in positions of authority need to be shown that, even though the majority of Canadians would rather watch Big Brother than stand up to Big Brother, there are still those of us who are willing and able to hold them accountable for their actions.

 

As promised, here’s the list of questions being asked in the poll:

  • How do you contact the CFC?
  • How many times in a year do you contact the CFC?
  • What do you call about?
  • How satisfied were you?
  • What classification is your firearms license? (Restricted/Non-Restricted/Prohibited)
  • Do you own any firearms?
  • What’s your reason for owning firearms?
  • Will you renew your license?
  • When will you renew your license?
  • How do you renew your license?
  • Have you ever had a gun verified?
  • How was it verified?
  • Do you plan on updating your address?
  • Do you plan on transferring firearms in the future?
  • Do you plan on destroying firearms?
  • Do you plan on changing your license status?
  • Do you plan on deactivating a firearm?
  • Do you transport firearms?
  • Do you plan on acquiring more firearms?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with you? (E-Mail, Advertisement, Mail)
  • When looking for information about firearms how likely are you to contact (Between 1-7)
    • CFC, Friend and Club?
  • Are you married, single or common law?
  • Do you have children in the home?
    • How many under 18?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What is your annual income?

62% of statistics are made up on the spot


The title of this entry may be a bit facetious, but there is an element of truth to it.  The written word is often taken as absolute gospel.  That’s because most people, understandably, can’t be bothered to verify the facts themselves.  It’s for this reason that I cite my references and sources whenever I quote anything, be it a statistic or a comment.  And when it comes to statistics, I try to use neutral sources, like Statistics Canada, wherever possible.  This way I get the true numbers before the spin has been added.

I was just re-reading Elizabeth Mandelman’s “An Interview with Wendy Cukier” and I found myself dumbfounded by the first sentence:

“In Canada, 85% of female homicide victims are murdered by their partners and in Ontario, possession or access to firearms is the fifth leading risk factor for femicide.”

Something about that number, 85%, just didn’t ring true to me, so I did some digging.  Lo and behold, it’s a complete fabrication.  The numbers for 2007, according to this document, state:

Total Homicides                                                  594

Female Victims                                                    162

Females killed by spouse                                       51

(legal and common law, past and current)

Killed by boyfriend/girlfriend/intimate                     16

(past and current)

The last number isn’t broken down into male and female victims, so for my purposes, I’m going to assume a worst-case scenario and say that all of the victims were female.  That gives us a grand total of 67 women who were killed by their current or previous spouse or partner (51+16=67).  So with 162 women killed in total for the year 2007 that works out to 41% of female homicide victims being murdered by their partners.  Not 85% as was so sensationally claimed in Ms Mandelman’s blog.

Is that still a horrendous figure? Absolutely.  But at least it’s the real figure and not a fabricated number designed to illicit an emotional response from the reader. 

According to the RCMP, there are about 2 million licensed firearms owners in Canada.  Most estimates place the actual number of firearms owners at around 5 million people.  That accounts for roughly 15% of the population of Canada. 

Call me crazy here, but if you’re heading a campaign to bring in new laws that will have an immediate and direct impact on 15% of the population, is it not too much to ask that you tell the truth?