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Meet the Man Responsible for the Death of Canada’s Gun Registry


This article is from a few months ago, but I thought it well worth posting.  Thank you Garry for all of your tireless work for the citizens of Canada!!!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankminiter/2012/02/29/meet-the-man-responsible-for-the-death-of-canadas-gun-registry/

 

Frank Miniter, Contributer
I expose the excesses of the bureaucracy

Looking north across the border, American gun owners may well see the fall of Canada’s long-gun registry with relief. This, after all, lessens the odds that the anti-gun movement will be successful in its attempt to install a gun-owners database in the U.S. However, before American gun owners forget about Canada all over again, there’s an incredible story here not being told outside Ottawa political circles that needs to be heard by every American who cherishes their freedom.

The way the press is telling it, the Conservatives finally gained control of the House of Commons and the Senate and then used, as they said they would, their majorities to begin the repeal of Canada’s long-gun registry. Their first big step, taken on February 15, was the House of Commons vote to kill the long-gun registry. They accomplished this by 159-130. Next up is Canada’s Senate, where repeal is inevitable because Conservatives also have a majority there. Finally, it’ll make its way to the Governor General of Canada where it will receive Royal Assent and be passed into law. So sometime this spring law-abiding Canadians will no longer have to fill out forms and pay fees in order to keep authorities aware of what’s in their gun cabinets.

All that seems to say that the political winds simply shifted and blew over the registry. The problem with that assumption is it isn’t quite true.

The true story is actually much more interesting; in fact, it needs to be heard by every American, as the arguments used by the anti-gun groups in Canada are the same ones being promoted in the U.S.

The story begins on an evening in January in 1994 in a little town called Preeceville, Saskatchewan. Garry Breitkreuz (pronounced Bright-Krites) was then a new member of Canada’s Parliament. He had been elected in October of 1993. Preeceville has about 1,000 residents. Garry was excited. This would be his first town-hall meeting. The topic was about a new gun-control bill, C-68, brought in by the then Liberal Government. It included the creation of a long-gun registry. “I’ll never forget that first meeting,” says Garry. “Even though it was 39 degrees below zero outside the place was packed and the people heated.”

Now it should be noted that Garry was hardly a gun-rights activist. Not yet anyway. Sure, he grew up in a rural Saskatchewan home and had a .30-30-caliber rifle he used to hunt deer with. “But when it came to the gun issue,” says Garry, “I was very naïve.”

Naïve indeed. Garry started the meeting off by saying to the crowd that “this long-gun registry seems to make sense. Maybe it’ll catch a few criminals….” He barely got started in this manner when his constituents made it clear they didn’t agree.

“They challenged me,” says Garry, “to do some research to find out if forcing people to register their guns will really save lives.”

Garry shut up and listened. Before a few more minutes passed he promised to do some research to find out if requiring people to register their guns really reduces crime.

This is where the story behind this repeal takes a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” shift. Garry set out to learn if making citizens register their deer rifles with the police really prevents homicides. “After just a few months of digging into it I did a 180,” says Garry, who soon hired a researcher to help. The researcher’s name is Dennis Young. Together they started asking the government from the inside how much the gun registry was costing and whether it was really reducing crime. The bureaucracy began stonewalling him, so he started filing “Access to Information” requests (the American equivalent of “Freedom of Information Act” requests). By 2002 he’d filed more than 500 such requests.

He learned that the Canadian government was horribly underestimating the costs of the long-gun registry. In 1995 Canada’s Department of Justice told Parliament that the Canadian Firearms Program would cost $119 million to implement and that this cost would be offset by $117 million in fees; however, by 2000 Canada’s Department of Justice was already estimating that the long-gun registry would cost over $1 billion.

Meanwhile, the gun-owners database wasn’t reducing crime rates. In fact, John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, looked into Canada’s long-gun registry recently and couldn’t unearth one murder the registry solved. Lott says, “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.”

Canada’s Public Safety Minister agrees with Lott. On the day of the vote to repeal the registry the National Post reported that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the long-gun registry “does nothing to help put an end to gun crimes, nor has it saved one Canadian life. It criminalizes hard-working and law-abiding citizens such as farmers and sport shooters, and it has been a billion-dollar boondoggle left to us by the previous Liberal government.”

Now, back in the 1990s Garry wasn’t getting any traction politically or with the press, so he took his research to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. The government agency agreed to review his data and to do its own audit. The auditing agency agreed with Garry. In 2002 the agency reported: “The Department of Justice Canada did not provide Parliament with sufficient information to allow it to effectively scrutinize the Canadian Firearms Program and ensure accountability. It provided insufficient financial information and explanations for the dramatic increase in the cost of the Program.”

“This report blew the lid off,” says Garry.

He says that before the Office of the Auditor General report made headlines even many Conservative politicians wouldn’t touch the gun-registry issue. They thought it was a losing battle. They said the facts didn’t matter, just the demagoguery they’d surely receive. They were afraid of the big media in population centers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver—sound familiar?

“But the public was ahead of the politicians on this issue,” says Garry. “In meetings all over the country I was telling people that with what they were spending on the registry we could hire five or six thousand police officers.”

This resonated.

The exploding costs of the registry made headlines even in the city papers. Gary A. Mauser, a Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, has also looked deeply into the costs. He says, “John Lott and I added up the costs and found that, in total, the Canadian government spent about $2.7 billion on this failed experiment.” That’s more than 20 times what it was forecast to cost.

Even after the 2002 report from Office of the Auditor General came out Garry kept traveling around Canada speaking about the costs of having the government invade law-abiding Canadians’ gun cabinets. He also kept citing the crime statistics, which clearly weren’t being affected by this massive invasion of Canadians’ civil liberties. Criminals, as it predictably turned out, weren’t registering firearms they were using for crimes.

Nevertheless, some Conservative politicians still didn’t want to tackle the issue. So Garry looked for a new way to pull them together. In 2006 he learned that the U.S. has a Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC). Nearly 300 members of the U.S. Congress are members of the CSC. Started in 1988-89, the CSC is supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), a group that fights for sportsmen’s rights, including wildlife conservation issues and gun rights. (Full disclosure: I do contract work for the CSF.) Garry hopped on a plane bound for Washington, D.C.

According to Phil Morlock, who is the director of environmental affairs for Shimano American Corporation/Shimano Canada and who is a CSF board member, “Garry couldn’t believe the U.S. had this large caucus fighting for hunting, fishing and gun rights. He was even more astounded that the caucus is bi-partisan. He met with CSC congressional leaders. He found himself talking to Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the CSC and asked them how they get along in such a partisan and politically charged atmosphere. The American politicians laughed and said that sometimes they think all they really agree on are sportsmen’s rights, including the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Garry flew back to Ottawa and, with the help of Morlock and others, started a nonpartisan caucus called the Canadian Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus. This caucus now is one of the largest on Parliament Hill. “The caucus helped get the information out to Members of Parliament and Senators that the long-gun registry was intrusive and ineffective,” says Garry.

At the time Garry wrote an op-ed for various newspapers in which he said, “[We] need to become proactive in protecting our outdoors heritage from an increasing number of large, well-funded, international groups who want to shut down hunting, fishing, trapping and sport shooting. Rural and urban Canadians of all political affiliations, backgrounds, ages and abilities contribute over $10 billion annually to the national economy through these industries. These traditional activities are a key part of Canada’s culture and an important component of our history as a nation.”

Sportsmen and those who just wanted to protect their families without government interference now had a caucus working for them.

Then, also in 2006, Stephen Harper, a Conservative, became prime minister of Canada by forming a minority government. Harper didn’t have the votes then to tear down the registry, but over the next few elections the Conservatives gained more seats. Finally, in 2011, with the caucus, the government, the facts and the public on their side, the Conservatives had the votes and the will to move against the long-gun registry.

Garry says the caucus, along with the blatant fact that the long-gun registry was costing a fortune without solving crimes, even had support from politicians in other parties. Nevertheless, when the vote came only two New Democrats—John Rafferty and Bruce Hyer—broke from their party and voted to repeal. “They’re now being punished by their party for doing the right thing,” laments Garry.

Then, when the vote came on February 15, something unusual took place. In the Canadian House of Commons members of Parliament stand to signify their votes. After Garry stood to vote to repeal the long-gun registry, they broke into a cheer: “Garry, Garry….” This just isn’t done in the reserved atmosphere of the Canadian Parliament. But repealing a government program—no matter how onerous and costly it turns out to be—is a rare thing. It’s especially rare to see a database of gun-owners repealed. Throughout history many governments have created gun registries—most recently in Australia and England. Gun registries often end in gun confiscations—again, this has occurred in Australia and England—but as far as Lott knows no registry has ever been repealed.

And the moral of the story is that Canada’s experiment didn’t end with the government disarming its citizenry because the people stood up and challenged a statesman to represent them by searching out the truth—this, in a nutshell, is what the Tea Party has been advocating in the U.S.

In fact, I asked Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action how this might affect Americans and he said, “Gun registration in the United States has always been the political fantasy of the gun-ban lobby. The clear lesson from Canada is that registration did not and does not reduce crime; in fact, since Canada’s long-gun-registration law went into effect, the U.S. murder rate has dropped almost twice as fast as Canada’s. A gun registry only infringes on privacy and has led to the confiscation of law-abiding citizens’ firearms in countries around the world, and even here in the U.S. That is why the NRA will fight any registration effort in the U.S. with every fiber we have.”

Indeed, Americans should be thanking Garry, too. He showed how to use facts, tenacity and a democratic process to overturn bad policy by convincing the government to stop making criminals out of law-abiding gun owners.

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Gun control in one sentence


A good friend of mine had an epiphany a couple of days ago while pondering the global gun control issue.  He found a way to summarize the entire gun control debate in one sentence:

“If all the AK47s in Libya were licensed and registered, Muammar Gaddafi would still be alive today.”

Do you like it?  I do.  In fact, I like it so much that I’m dedicating an a blog entry to it.  It’s amazing how much meaning can be crammed into a single sentence!!

First point: the AK-47. 

The most quoted and, apparently feared, firearm on the face of the planet.  The Avtomat Kalashnikova selective-fire, gas operated, 7.62 x 39mm rifle was officially adopted for use by the Soviet Army in 1947.  Since then, it has become a favourite for military forces around the world, due to its robust design, reliability, low cost and ease of use.  AK-variant rifles are, in fact, the most widely produced assault rifle in the world [Source: Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles; Killicoat, Phillip; WPS4202; April 2007].

The AK-47 is also incredibly popular among gun control advocates.  Every time a government suggests relaxing gun control laws, the cries of “Assault rifles will be easier to get!!” are heard from coast to coast.  They intentionally invoke images of madmen running loose with AK-47s, shooting anyone who happens across their path.  In the minds of gun control advocates, the AK-47 is the most dangerous gun ever made and nobody should ever own it, or anything like it.  They rely on the average person’s ignorance about firearms to create a state of fear and further their cause.  The bottom line is that a gun is a gun is a gun.  All are inert objects, the only danger comes from the person behind the trigger.  

Second point:  Libya.

The Arab Spring:  a string of revolutions throughout North Africa and the Middle East.  To mention but a few highlights, it began in Tunisia in December 2010, led to the overthrow of the Egyptian government in February 2011, and 9 months of bloody civil war in Libya.  The fighting has calmed in most affected countries, but still rages unchecked in Syria.

The protests, demonstrations and revolutions that rocked the Arab world were widely hailed as positive by the Western World.  They were seen as pro-democracy, the will of people, and the start of a positive new future for citizens of oppressed nations. 

The hypocrisy of it all is that, while groups such as Amnesty International supported these uprisings against oppressive regimes and dictators, they continued to try to disarm the very citizens they were supporting!  Now that the war has ended, the UN has become very vocal about disarming the people of Libya.  They are actively working towards preventing any future generations of Libyans from having the means to fight for their freedom if the need arises again.

Libya is a fitting example for the gun control issue on another front as well.  They have some of the strictest gun control laws in the world.   Civilian gun ownership is entirely prohibited and it is also illegal to privately sell or transfer them.  Despite gun ownership being illegal, civilians own nearly twice as many guns as the military and police.  Civilian firearms are numbered at about 900,000, military firearms at 535,200 and police firearms at 22,000.  The rate of civilian firearms ownership is 15.5 per 100 people.  In comparison, in Canada, the rate of civilian firearms ownership is 23.8 per 100 people [Source:  Small Arms Survey, 2007].

Let me say that again.  In a country where civilian ownership of firearms is completely outlawed, the citizenry still outgun the military and police by almost 2:1!!!  

To summarize, while organizations like Amnesty International fully support the revolutions of the Arab Spring, they are doing everything in their power to ensure that the people revolting are denied the very tools that they need to succeed. 

Third point: Licensing and Registration

Oh boy, where do I even start on this one?  This topic has been done to death so many times, I’m not sure I even want to address it again.  These vary between countries, but here’s the nutshell version for Canada:

Licensing.  This is the process through which a government body determines an individual’s fitness to own firearms.  It essentially states that firearms ownership is illegal unless you are granted an exemption from that law by means of a license.

Registration.  This ties a firearm to its owner by means of a registration certificate.  The certificate contains information regarding the type of firearm (make, model, serial number, etc) and that certificate is linked to a specific firearms license holder.

They seem innocent enough on the surface, but these two puppies have been the cause of much death and destruction throughout history.  Put simply, every major genocide of the twentieth century was preceded by civilian disarmament – Ottoman Turkey, USSR, China, Rwanda, Guatemala, Uganda, Germany.  These confiscation schemes were all aided through systems of licensing and registration.  It’s common sense really – you can’t take a gun away from a person if you don’t first know that they have it. 

In some cases, Hitler and Mao for example, the introduction of the gun control laws was very methodical and a strategic part of their plans.  In other cases, Rwanda and Guatemala, the existing laws were a simple and convenient means to a horrific end.

The bottom line is that the intentions of the people who enact these laws are irrelevant.  What’s important is the potential for abuse and misuse of these laws in the future.  Simply put, if the potential for misuse exists, it’s a bad law.

Putting it all together

Muammar Gaddafi was one of the longest reigning and perhaps one of the most well-known dictators in recent history.  The reason that Muammar Gaddafi is dead is because the people of Libya had the resolve to rebel against him.  The means of their rebellion was their ability to fight for their freedom through the use of privately owned firearms.  The people of Libya were still armed, despite prohibitions on firearms ownership, simply because the country did not have a system of licensing and registration in place that would have allowed for wholesale confiscation.  If Gaddafi had gun controls in place, he would have confiscated firearms prior to viciously crushing the resistance, making many pay the price so that he could remain alive, unchallenged and in power.

Civilian gun ownership is not about hunting or target shooting or even home defense.  It is about freedom and democracy.  Many gun control advocates imagine a world where only the police and the military own guns – a police state.  Others imagine a world of peace where nobody needs guns.  While this is a noble goal, it is not the world we currently live in.  Until the causes of violence are addressed, guns will continue to be a necessary tool in our lives.

Gun Toting Liberals


I was shown this video today and found it to be a very powerful and well thought out argument.  It needs sharing with everyone you know.

There is a misconception all over the western world that guns are a “right-wing” issue.  The topic of gun control has been framed as a left vs right argument, with gun control supporters on the left and gun owners on the right.  This is far from the truth.  The gun debate does not fall strictly within party lines.  History shows that gun control can be introduced from either the left or the right, but that it always has unintended negative consequences. 

Outside the western world, the truth of the gun control argument is obvious. 

Disarming the harmless doesn’t reduce crime, it reduces freedom


George Jonas hits one out of the park with this excellent Op Ed piece on gun control.  I only wish our lawmakers had such a solid grasp on common sense.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/01/18/george-jonas-disarming-the-harmless-doesnt-reduce-crime-it-reduces-freedom/

It was predictable for anti-gun activists to surface after the Tucson tragedy of Jan. 8. Some are the same opportunists who tried blaming the attempted assassination of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, but others aren’t political. They’re simply gun-shy. It’s a condition, I suppose, or at least a phobia, beyond the reach of reason.

Gun-shy folk have this much in common with gun-enthusiasts.

Guns are loved and hated irrationally. Some people admire firearms, collect them, fondle them, all but have sex with them. Others abhor guns, consider them pornographic, react to them as Victorians did to risqué remarks. Both types are equally alien to me, but they aren’t equal.

Former Toronto mayor David Miller was gun-shy. (I imagine he still is.) He tried making Toronto a gun-free zone, or said he would. He wanted Torontonians to have no guns, gun clubs, gun collections or shooting ranges within the city limits. He himself had no guns, presumably, or any interest in shooting.

Had the former mayor been a gun enthusiast, much as he may have collected guns and visited shooting ranges himself, I doubt if he would have tried obliging his fellow Torontonians to do so.

Here’s the difference. Those who love guns rarely demand that you share their admiration, but those who hate guns demand that you share their aversion. Firearm-philiacs make no attempt to persuade, let alone oblige, anyone to have a love affair with guns, but firearm-phobiacs use the law at every turn to make their hatred obligatory. Gun-lovers understand something about freedom; gun-haters understand only coercion. In the gun debate, the peaceniks are the bullies.

What about the merits of the debate? Immaterial. Love and hate are beyond debate. Ex-mayor Miller, for instance, used to talk about public safety. He and I may not have shared many soft spots, but I’d defy anyone to have a softer spot for public safety than me. I pose no threat to my townspeople and I prefer my townspeople to pose no threat to me. Yet the same goal — public safety — would lead Miller and me to entirely different policies. His instinct would be to control guns; mine, to control crime.

Gun-control advocates would disarm the harmless, and leave them defenceless against the harmful they can’t disarm. If I couldn’t disarm the harmful, which would be my first choice, my second choice would be to arm the harmless, or at least encourage them to arm themselves.

Disarming the harmless is easier, of course. Passing a law is all it takes. People who don’t much shoot people pay attention to laws. Many even pay attention to bylaws. Pass a bylaw that says “give up your guns, please” and by golly, they’ll give ’em up.

In contrast, disarming the harmful may be impossible. They’re scofflaws. They don’t obey.

Politics, as they say, is the art of the possible. Mayors are politicians, practical people, favouring practical solutions. Passing laws for the law-abiding is practical because they’ll generally abide by them, while passing laws for the lawless is impractical for they will rarely do so.

For politicians, the matter seems simple. Only impractical people advocate measures that depend for success on compliance by the lawless — they say — when with the same effort they could put laws on the books that depend for success on compliance by the law-abiding. What’s the use of passing laws that people don’t obey, such as “thou shalt not kill?” We’ve hundreds of such laws on the books. “Don’t carry illicit handguns; don’t peddle illicit drugs; don’t shoot up the neighbourhood.” They’re all laws that cost a mint to enforce, to little avail. The practical thing is to pass laws that people do obey, such as “no shooting ranges within Toronto city limits.” Switching from low-compliance-rate laws to high-compliance-rate laws is the ticket.

It’s a ticket, all right — but a ticket to what? If the destination is public safety, gun collectors aren’t in the way, either in Toronto or Tucson. Citizens using guns in self-defence aren’t in the way, either. They aren’t making our cities unsafe. What makes our cities unsafe is drug-dealing youth gangs shooting at each other and hitting passers-by. Or deranged individuals hearing voices that urge them to shove people in front of subways. Or the authorities defending shoplifters against shopkeepers more keenly than shopkeepers against shoplifters, as they did in Toronto last year.

Outlawing shooting ranges within the city limits won’t change that. No passer-by has ever been shot at a Toronto shooting range. Threats to public safety don’t come from insufficient laws but insufficient people: teenage mothers, drug culture, youth gangs, mental illness. The problem? Try political correctness, self-censoring politicians, irresolute courts, hamstrung police. People obeying good laws reduces crime; good people obeying bad laws reduces only freedom.

One cannot restrict the defiant by constraining the compliant. A law that obliged everybody within Toronto city limits to breathe would bring 100% compliance from the living and no significant change of behaviour from anyone else.

National Post

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation


I stumbled upon this article today and thought it worthy of being re-broadcast.  Enjoy!

Gun Control: The Ultimate Human Rights Violation
by A.W.R. Hawkins
Posted 06/03/2010 ET

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37303

Lucid students of the political sphere have certainly noticed that liberals are now using the phrase “human rights” even more than they once used their old standby, “civil liberties.” Of course they rarely define human rights, and even when they try, the definition varies depending on the goal of the person that’s using the phrase.

But this doesn’t stop them from having international conferences on human rights, dumping money into organizations like Human Rights Watch, and allowing surviving members of the Woodstock crowd to charge America’s military with violating human rights while simultaneously giving Iran a seat on the U.N.’s Women’s Rights Commission.

Perhaps the two clearest threads in all the human rights jargon are the focus on international law coupled with a potent strain of anti-Americanism. This is a combination that can be deadly when accurately aimed at national sovereignty or individual rights.

The most telling aspect of the left’s obsession with human rights is not so much what its proponents claim to defend but what they would be happy to sacrifice. And one thing all human rights activists are perpetually ready to jettison is the right Americans enjoy in keeping and bearing arms.

Ironically, this right, summarily stated in the 2nd Amendment, should be the lynchpin of any honest pursuit of human rights. Thomas Jefferson made this clear when he equated a government-backed prohibition against defending one’s self with a government-backed denial of “the most basic of nature’s rights.”

When one reads Jefferson’s statement in light of his many writings on nature’s laws and the benefits of private gun ownership, it’s clear he was implying that the denial of the right to self-defense with a firearm is essentially a denial of one of the core aspects of what it means to be human.

In other words, gun control actually steals part of our humanity.

How much worse of a human rights violation can exist than one that actually separates the “human” from the “rights”?

None of this is hard to understand if we just imagine a woman who lives alone, and is being stalked by a dangerous man. She goes to a gun store to buy a handgun with which to protect herself, but because she lives in Chicago, Mayor Daley will not allow her to purchase a gun. Thus she goes home, and hopes the lock on her door will hold.

When he’s ready, the stalker becomes an intruder who breaks the door open, assaults the woman, and then leaves with a smile on his face. After reflecting on the matter he realizes the woman has no means with which to defend herself, so he goes back for more, and in time, as his callousness increases, he goes back more frequently. He knows the woman is helpless to stop him because she has been denied that “most basic of nature’s rights.”

In this scenario, how long would it be before the woman felt less and less like a woman and more and more like a dog? How long would it be before she had a thorough understanding of what Jefferson meant when he coupled gun control with the denial of a core aspect of what it means to human?

America remains a shining city on a hill in this dark world, partly because we still have the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of our lives and property. In light of Jefferson’s writings, I don’t think I go too far in saying that this one freedom goes a long way in keeping our humanity intact.

If you ever doubt the degree to which private gun ownership and the freedom to use those guns for self-defense upholds our humanness, just head on down to El Paso, Tex., where the murder rate is around 23 victims annually. Then lock up your gun in the United States and cross the border into Juarez, Mexico, where the natural right to keep and bear arms has long been suppressed and where the murder rate, at 2,500 to 3,000 annually, is startling.

Once you get to Juarez, it won’t be long till you feel like the woman who sat in her apartment staring at the door, hoping the lock would hold up under pressure because it was the only line of defense she had against her assailant.

Gun control could just be the ultimate human rights violation.

And if we ever give up our guns in this great nation, we will ultimately give up our humanity.

HUMAN EVENTS columnist A.W.R. Hawkins holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University. He will be a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal during the summer of 2010.

Women and Gun Control – Part 2


As public debate over the long gun registry heats up, the Gun Control Lobby is continuing to push their stance of gun control being a women’s issue.  In particular, they are claiming that it is a rural women’s issue.  I decided to take a look at this stance in a three part series.

In Part 1, I discussed how the current system of gun control in Canada is diverting money away from programs that could help women who are victims of abuse.  In Part 3, I will be dealing with self defense.

In this part, I’m going to break down the numbers regarding violent crime, family violence and homicide in this country.  Where does it happen, who are the victims, and what are the causes.

Causes

Contrary to what gun control and feminist advocates would have us believe, guns are not a risk factor for domestic violence.  According to the Canadian Department of Justice, the major risk factors for spousal violence are

  • being a young person
  • living in a common law relationship
  • having a partner who periodically drinks heavily
  • emotional abuse in the relationship, and
  • marital separation

Statistics Canada also adds being Aboriginal to that list.  20% of the Aboriginal population has reported being victims of family violence compared with 7% of the non-Aboriginal population.

A journal article, National Trends in Intimate Partner Homicides: Explaining Declines in Canada 1976-2001 made some more interesting points.  I would especially like to point out the date range of this study, 1976-2001, and remind my readers that the long gun registry did not come into force until 2001.

Over the time period studied, spousal homicide rates had declined by about 50%, falling from 8.5 (per million spouses) in 1976 to 4.2 in 2001.  Spousal homicides using a firearm had declined by 81% over the same time period. 

For those who like to make comparisons with the United States, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1976-2000 our “gun loving” cousins to the south saw a decline in spousal homicides of 45%.  Keep in mind that gun ownership in the US of A increases by about 4.5 million guns per year.  Allow me to repeat that: over a 24 year period, as gun ownership increased spousal homicide decreased.

According to the National Trends article, the reasons for these declines in both countries were

  • male to female employment ratios (more women had jobs)
  • higher education levels for both men and women
  • marrying later in life
  • starting a family later in life and having fewer children
  • social programs which make it easier for victims to leave their abusers

I hope my anti-gun readers have noted how guns and gun control are not mentioned anywhere as either a cause or a solution to the issues of domestic violence.

Where does it happen?

There is definitely some truth to the claim that rural Canadians are more at risk of spousal violence than their urban neighbours. 

  POPULATION SHELTERS SHELTERS PER 100,000 RATE OF SPOUSAL VIOLENCE*
Canada 33,739,900 569 1.7 188
Nfld & Labrador 508,900 15 2.9 123
PEI 141,000 5 3.5 128
Nova Scotia 938,200 16 1.7 145
New Brunswick 749,500 22 2.9 84
Quebec 7,828,900 126 1.6 241
Ontario 13,069,200 160 1.2 141
Manitoba 1,222,000 29 2.4 215
Saskatchewan 1,030,100 24 2.3 329
Alberta 3,687,700 50 1.4 249
BC 4,455,200 110 2.5 124**
Yukon 33,700 5 14.8 421
NWT 43,400 7 9.3 1,605
Nunavut 32,200 2,472

* Rate per 100,000 population
** Incomplete data for British Columbia

There is little data available on the reasons for the greater incidence of abuse in rural areas.  One thing that is known is that there is less help available to victims of spousal violence in rural Canada.  Even though the territories have a high per capita number of shelters, those shelters have very limited services available.  Additionally, because of the vast distances involved in all rural areas, it is not always possible for victims of abuse to reach help when it is available.  Other factors like education levels, financial dependence and divorce rates also play a role in this urban/rural divide. 

While spousal violence may be a bigger issue in rural Canada, there is no clear divide when it comes to violent crime and homicide.  Large and small communities are affected equally in this regard.  There are many socio-economic factors that come into play.

Who are the victims?

Here’s where the numbers become interesting.  There are about 330,000 victims of violent crime in Canada each year.  If we believe our misandrist lobby groups, the number of female victims should far exceed the number of male victims.  Right?

Wrong.  In 2007, 50.04% of the victims of violent crime were female.  Basic math tells me that 49.96% of the victims were male.  Hardly a staggering difference.  In cases of domestic violence, 7% of women and 6% of men have reported violence at the hands of their partner.  Again, hardly a noticeable difference. 

Specifically regarding family violence, the numbers are still not so different, with 63% of female victims and 61% of male victims suffering from common assault (Level 1).  However, the results are not always so balanced.  Men are twice as likely as women to be the victim of a serious assault (Level 2 or 3 – assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm). 

Common assault has been declining steadily since the 1970s, however serious assault has been increasing for the last 25 years, falling for the first time in 2008.  It’s no large stretch to see that violence against women is on the decrease, while violence against men is on the increase.

Let’s take a similar look at homicides in Canada.  In 2008, the lowest rate (24%) of female victims since 1961 was recorded.  Conversely, the rate of male homicide victims has been rising steadily for the last 10 years.  In terms of spousal homicide, women are 4 times as likely as men to be killed by a current or former intimate partner (51 vs. 14 for 2007).

To summarize all those numbers and add a couple of new ones:

  • men are twice as likely as women to be assaulted with a weapon
  • men are three times more likely to be the victim of a homicide
  • all forms of violence against women have been falling since the 1960s
  • all forms of violence against men have remained stable or have been increasing
  • spousal violence and homicide has been falling since the 1970s
  • women are four times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner
  • homicide by long gun (rifle/shotgun) has been falling steadily since the 1970s
  • homicide by handgun has increased by 24% since 2002

Putting it all together

Well, now that I’ve bamboozled you with statistics, what does it all mean?

It means that violence in our society is not a simple issue.  Gun control advocates and feminist groups would have us believe that women are always the helpless victim at the hands of Neanderthal men. 

What I have attempted to show you with all these facts is that, while women are more often the victim in specific circumstances, the same holds true for men.  Guns are not a gendered issue any more than drunk driving is a mother’s issue.  Violence in our society affects everyone and the divisive tactics employed by groups like IANSA and the Coalition for Gun Control do little to help anyone.

Guns are not the problem in our society, nor are they the solution.  Until the real problems are addressed, weapons – including guns – will always have a place in our world. 

Sources

WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 1
WOMEN AND GUN CONTROL – PART 3

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.