09.18.2010 09:17 AM

Last Saturday of the Summer bits and pieces

  • Leitch in, Guergis out: I worked with Dr. Kelly in the 2003 John Tory mayoralty campaign.  She’s brainy, driven and intense: I don’t recall her being much of a social conservative, either.  She’ll be a formidable opponent, to be sure, but with Guergis running as an “independent conservative,” you can easily formulate a scenario where the Liberal candidate comes up the middle in what is a traditionally yellow-dog Tory seat.
  • Apology and retraction: Res ipsa loquitur. As a matter of law, such retractions/apologies may mitigate damages, but they don’t necessarily always extinguish same.  Stay tuned on this one.
  • Power and Politics: I’ll be on Evan’s show on Monday, which will be a lot of fun.  With my friend Tom Clark gone – and with my other friend, Kory Tenecyke, also gone from the political scene for the time being –  Evan’s show will dominate political TV for the foreseeable future.  Tune in if you can.
  • When in a hole, stop digging: One of the things that drives me bonkers is the won’t-die notion that Stephen Harper is The Master Strategist©.  He isn’t. He isn’t! To wit: he needs women voters to get his lusted-after majority.  So what does he do?  He persists in bitterly flailing away at the long-gun registry, thereby reminding women – urban and rural – why they should never, ever vote for him.  To suggest that he always shoots himself in the foot is obvious, metaphor-wise. But it fits.

23 Comments

  1. Will M. says:

    Couldn’t agree more on the Harper strategist myth. The guy is a tactician 24/7. He has no concept of strategy and it’s all small ball with Harpo. Stumbling from mess to mess is not the action of any strategist.

    “If we were going to have a recession, we would have had it by now”

    Hey, there’s some vision for ya.

  2. Paul R. Martin says:

    Travers just isn’t worth reading. I was planning to avoid his column, until you mentioned it. It was unintentionally funny, I think.

    As far as female voters are concerned, I doubt that they vote in a block. A woman living in the suburbs or a small town probably has a very different life and different opinions than a woman living and working in downtown Toronto. I am not a supporter of the US Tea Party movement; however, I find it interesting that many of the leaders of the movement including Palin are women.

    • Jan says:

      Domestic violence is an important issue amongst the women I know. And women like Palin who don’t believe in birth control are pretty rare.

      • Paul R. Martin says:

        You are generalizing based on your specific experience.

        • Jan says:

          And you are a social scientist? Keep telling women what they think, it’s a real vote getter.

          • Paul R. Martin says:

            With all due respect, only you have indulged in specifically saying what women think. All I have said is that all women do not think alike. Your reference to domestic violence is rather obtuse. I am guessing that you are associating the long gun registry with domestic violence. If so, it is a complete non sequitur. The two issues are not related.

          • Namesake says:

            Jan’s being “obtuse” to link the long gun registry to domestic violence? It’s “a complete non sequitur…the two…are not related”?

            Hmm, nothing like a little old-fashioned denigration, patronization, and gaslighting to tut-tut the issue and tell the little dears to not bother their pretty little heads, and leave the politics to you more logical men, eh?

            Keep it up… I hear the PMO/QMI is hiring. “Cock the Vote!”

            Well, let’s see if you can get _your_ big head around these various facts from StasCan’s “Family Violence in Canada” & Homicide Survey which show the two _are_ connected:

            Back in 1999, the Chapter on the subject of spousal homicides reported,

            “Spousal homicide accounts for a substantial proportion
            of all homicides in Canada. From 1978 to 1997, spouses
            represented 18% of all victims of solved homicides and
            48% of family-related incidents. Over the two decades, [3.35] times more wives than husbands were killed by their spouses (1,485 women and 442 men)….

            Firearms were the most frequent means of spousal
            homicide, accounting for more than one in three cases
            (37%) from 1978 to 1997. This was primarily due to the fact that husbands, who made up the majority of accused, tended to use firearms [on 40%, or 593 of their victims over this interval], followed by knives (25%). In contrast, …firearms were [the second most often used weapon by women] at 25% [110]. These differences between men and women in their relative use of weapons have been consistent in Canada over time.

            …the most common types of firearms used in spousal homicides [in 1997] were rifles and shotguns (63%) followed by handguns (30%) and sawed-off
            rifles and shotguns (7%). [And “In 1998,” the next year’s edition reports, “they were rifles and shotguns (63%) followed by sawed-off rifles and shotguns (21%) and handguns (16%).” As we’ll see, that hasn’t really changed since then.]

            A decade later, after Bill C-68 had been implemented starting in 1998 and the LGR was assembled mostly between 2001 and 2003, the 2009 edition reported a major improvement:

            “Over the past decade, the rate of firearm-related
            spousal homicide decreased three-fold, declining
            from 1.7 per million spouses in 1996 to 0.5 per million spouses in 2007. In 1996, there were 27 firearm-related
            spousal homicides compared to 9 in 2007.”

            That’s the good news:
            – Both the spousal homicides by firearms (an ave. of 30 per year ID”d from 1978-1997, vs. 17 per yr. b/w 1998-2007); and
            – the total spousal homicides by _all_ methods went down: from 1,901 ID’d from 1978-1997: an ave. of 96 per year; and, depending on the source (they get rvsd. from yr. to yr), either 744 or 750 b/w 1998-2007, for an ave. of 64 or 75 a year.

            But it’s still a gender issue w/r/t firearms & long-guns
            in particular:

            Overall, again, on just the solved crimes alone (a surprisingly large proportion of homicides go unsolved), an ave. of 17 women were shot & killed by their male partners* over the last decade, while only 2 men a year on average were shot dead by their spouses.

            (*incl. common-law, sep’d, and divorced; but none of this data includes same-sex couples, cuz, yes, the Census doesn’t have good enough data on that to compare the rates over time.)

            And if we look at the nitty gritty of the actual classes of weapons in those years:

            Of the 165 female spousal homicide victims felled by firearms b/w ’98-’07, 59% (98) of those involved rifles or shotguns (i.e., unrestricted long guns), and 12% (18) were sawed-off rifles or shotguns, for 71% of those types of weapons combined. The remaining 29% were handguns.

            Mind you, long guns are equal opportunity lethal weapons, insofar as 76% of the male victim spousal homicides in that interval were by long guns (but only 13 altogether: i.e., about one a year); with the remainder being by 2 sawn-offs & 2 handguns (12% each).

            That’s why people see a link between domestic violence & long guns: because women are three times more likely to be killed by their partners than the other way ’round, and because men are more likely to use the more-likely-to-be-lethal guns as their preferred weapon (and, like women, are far more likely to use some form of long- than hand-guns), such that:

            The victims of 88% of the 111 homicides over the last decade that the police identified as being perpetrated by the victim’s spouse, using a long gun, were: women.

            And that’s even with Bill C-68 and the LGR in place, which hasn’t changed the proportions that much within ‘the types of firearms used’ category (which suggests that most of these spousal homicides are in rural and small urban areas, not large urban, where more of the handguns are!), but _has_, it seems, both in terms of bringing:

            – the relative proportion of _all_ shootings down (a big, 12 pt. drop, from 36.7% of all spousal homicides from ’78-’97 to 24.5% and them from ’98-’07: that’s a 33% decrease in relative terms); and,

            – (arguably, because of a combination of the licensing, storing, registering, revoking & seizing factors involved in C-68 which have dropped both the total no. of firearms & their propensity to be used by unbalanced persons),

            the _total_ homicides, thanks to those fewer shootings, such that:

            there are 14 fewer female spousal homicide victims a year on average now than there were 20 years ago, and 7 fewer male victims a year… even though there’s a lot more people.

            When we take that into account and compare the annual rates of spousal homicide, it averaged 10.7 wives and 3.3 husbands per million couples in Canada for those first two decades, and dropped to an average of 7.1 out of every million wives and 1.8 per mil. husbands, from 1998-2007.

            Those are 34 and 46% drops, respectively.

            And a lot of women — and not a few men — quite rightly don’t want to see important parts of the Firearms Act dismantled, since that could very likely reverse that trend.

          • Paul R. Martin says:

            The essence of the gun registry is that paperwork is filled out. Filling out paperwork is not going to reduce domestic violence. Any claim that filling out paperwork will reduce family violence is complete balderdash. On the other hand, filling out paperwork creates jobs at the expense of the taxpayers. Liberals seem to enjoy expensive taxpayer paid symbolic gestures that have little practical impact.

          • Namesake says:

            “Balderdash.” Figures you’d say that: the “board game of bluffing and trivia.” Of course it’s not the “paperwork” that saves lives. I told you what did: the Firearms Act led to a million guns being taken out of circulation in the first 8 years when people who weren’t really using them for hunting anymore turned them in for export or destruction rather than get licensed & registered: that greatly reduced the likelihood of their being used in drunken arguments & jealous rages (the two main motives of family homicides). And the ongoing monitoring of license holders on criminal & mental health issues, and the police responses to doctors’ and crisis counsellors’ reports of suicidal ideation or threats of violence leads to the police seizing all (or hopefully at least most of) the weapons they know these people have, thanks to the registry. And the ‘paperwork’ — an electronic database, actually — lets them do this in real time. While morons like you pretend it’s all a big joke.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Jan,

        Some people don’t believe in using a brain, either. God Bless Canada!

        • Paul R. Martin says:

          Namesake’s amazing rant is rather bogus and lacking in logic. Registering firearms does not prevent domestic violence. The firearm registry was designed by a Liberal government as an attempt to pretend that they were doing something about crime. It does not prevent registered and non registered firearms from being used in violent criminal acts. For example the shooter in the Dawson College rampage used registered firearms. The man who shot an innocent passerby on Yonge Street when he was aiming at a strip club bouncer had a registered gun.

          • Namesake says:

            Well, that’s progress, I suppose: at least you’re not denying they’re unrelated, anymore. Now, to your claim that it has no preventive value because of, um those two incidents.

            Well, since you like logic so much, you’ve probably heard, “The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data.'” As of last spring, there were over 7 million firearms registered. And 2 were used in homicides! Gasp!

            Meanwhile, a large scale study that looks at _all_ the police-reported homicides and suicides in Canada over a 30 year period (1974-2004) in relation to the three gun-control laws introduced in those times has found a statistically significant reduction in the 1998-2004 period which translates to an average of 250 fewer suicides and 50 fewer homicides per year, while controlling for other variables, including the substitution of other methods of killing; and another one which looked at the Quebec data alone found a statistically signficant, gradual reduction in just the number of long-gun homicides from 2001 on, which was attributable to the LGR. Those two authors (Gagne and Linteau) have co-authored a paper on this with their thesis advisor Etienne Blais of U. Montreal which is to appear very shortly in the peer-reviewed journal, the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

            But in all fairness, here, let me help your case a bit: those 2 graphic cases you cited can be bumped up a bit with some tables from Charlton Breitkreuz’ site,* which show that after the LGR was actually built, there were about 15 (14 one, 15 the next) registered long guns among the firearms-related homicide weapons the police recovered in each of its first two years of full operation (2004 & ’05). (And there were an ave. of 7 registered handguns ID’d in the homicides the police investigated each year, in the 9 years this data covers).

            And here, I’ll even throw in that, in the disappointingly small number of homicide cases that the police actually found enough evidence to accuse somebody in their first year of investigation (just 23% of those cases!), um, gee, 31% of them had valid firearms licenses at the time. And if we just look at the first few years of the LGR’s op. (2003-2006), “Among persons accused of homicide, 27% were found to possess a valid firearms license.”**

            Sounds awful, re: the whole of C-68’s effectiveness, doesn’t it, but here’s a little context: the police had only accused / charged an average of 40 people a year during those initial years of investgation (out of an ave. of 175 cases/yr.!), and there were only 12 cases a year where the suspected doer had a firearms license (some of whom had allegedly used handguns). And, oops, Chuck’s site also had another archived document which shows that half of those (an ave. of 6/yr.) were spousal homicides (which involved long guns half the time).

            So let’s sum up: we know (or at least, the police have formally charged) that at least 15 registered long guns a year are used in homicides since the LGR was up & running, and about 12 people a year have valid firearms licenses.

            (And before you object, those two figures don’t have to match, because some ‘doers’ use stolen or even borrowed guns. In fact, there is a Table on the gun’s ownership, which shows that of the 118 known-to-be-registered guns in total that were used in those (um, 1572) homicides over those 9 years, over half (63, or 53%) were known to be registered to the accused: which, gee, I bet is a handy little fact to use when it came to _prosecuting_ said individuals, which I kinda suspect would have a preventative value on homicides, at least in the short term. But I digress.)

            So, since the Firearms Program has registered, um, wow!, nearly 7 million (6,829,885) Non-restricted firearms (long guns), now, and has licensed nearly 2 million (1,830,542) people,*** those demonstrable failures of 15 ID’d reg’d LG’s/yr and 12 accused a year with valid firearms licenses**** represent a failure rate of:

            um, 0.0008% of the registered long guns being implicated in homicides per year, and 0.0002% of the valid firearms license holders. Holy Moly.

            Well, if that’s grounds for scrapping it, then I guess we might as well abolish condoms as a waste of money, too, since they have a demonstrated failure rate of, what, 2%, re: preventing pregancy, acc. to some reports (ok, wiki), which is, like, (many) _thousands_ times worse.

            Or even if we compare it with the proverbial “99.9% effective in preventing pregnancies” stat, condoms’ demonstrated failure rate is 122 times worse than the LGR in preventing homicides, and 569 times worse w/r/t the Firearms Licensing (& monitoring) Program in trying to keep firearms out of the hands of homicidal people.

            Look, it’s hard to prove a negative — the deaths that didn’t happen because of this thing. And it’s even harder when there are obvious privacy laws gagging disclosure of the actual interventions.

            But the deaths that are being prevented come about (or rather, don’t) as the result of several factors related to Bill C-68 and the LGR:

            – reducing the total number of guns, and thus the temptation & opportunity of using them, both because people turned thousands of them in rather than bother to license themselves & register them, and because several hundred are denied licenses every year, and because many more aren’t bothering to even try to get them, anymore, cuz of all the rigamarole;

            – reducing the number of especially risky guns, in particular, via seizures when there are report of suicidal or homicidal ideation (by doctors & womens’ shelters, e.g.) or there are other legal causes to revoke a license

            – plus there are cases where the LGR is instrumental in tracking down the the killer (by working backwards to where a stolen gun came from, eg), obtaining warrants, thereby facilitating arrests, and actually securing convictions, all of which get criminals off the streets and prevent crimes (at least while they’re incarcerated).

            * (the data I used on for this were prepared for Breitkreuz in 2006 by Lyne Casavant of the Parliamentary Library in special tabulations of the Homicide Survey, one entitled: “Firearms Homicides by Owner, Licence and Registration Status, 1997-2005,” and the other, Firearms Related Spousal and Non-Spousal Homicides by Possession of Valid Firearms Acquisition Certificate or Firearms Licence, 1997-2004.”

            ** (That little factoid’s buried in a Juristat article on Firearms Crime: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008002/article/10518-eng.htm )

            *** http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/facts-faits/index-eng.htm

            **** (incl. both FACs and two other types (Possession & Minor): Breitreuz’s data covered all types of license)

          • Namesake says:

            Update: so, I just backed up thru the Firearms Centre’s ‘Quick Facts’ archives and found that it was actually a _million_ guns this program took out circulation b/w 1998-2007,* which was about 1/8th of all the known guns at that point (yeah, I know the gun nuts like to say there’s twice as many as that floating around, but that’s based on some very old, incomplete surveys.)

            Plus they revoke a couple thousand licenses a year (and seize the guns), for various reasons, incl. when other criminal charges or mental health issues come up, and, yes, when they appear to be public menaces when they adopt a scofflaw attitude by refusing (or ‘neglecting’) to renew their license to wield lethal weapons.

            Thus, this program — both the licensing screening & monitoring protocols and the req. to reg. all the indiv. weapons & the attendant accountability involved in being tied to them if they’re involved in incidents (I’ve got a whole rap on accidental deaths, too) — has actually been functioning a lot like:

            The ‘Safety-ing’ program for motor vehicles in some prov’s & states, where, in only to be able to license, register, insure, &, um, legally drive it, it has to be inspected & certified as being safe by a recognized independent mechanic.

            That screening & reg. program results in a lot of very unsafe & potentially lethal vehicles either getting repaired to become more safe (cf. the firearms training program & storage & handling req’s), or being taken off the road (cf. surrendering the guns for destruction), and, depending on the jurisdiction, this either has to get redone every few years, or just when the ownership is transferred again.

            Now, if/when the incovenienced people complained about that, that, “Come on, it doesn’t stop drunk-driver deaths,” or, “It doesn’t stop people from stealing those ‘safe’ cars and joyriding & killind pedestrians with them, now does it… so it should be scrapped!”

            — we’d say: “Huh? Where’s the logic in that?” as Mr. Martin above might say. (or more colloquially, WTF?!)

            *(at bottom of
            http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/facts-faits/archives/quick_facts/2006/2006-12-eng.htm

  3. Ian says:

    Leitch vs Guergis, … It’s going to be fun watching this race, and even more so if the LPC can run a dynamic candidate up the middle. Guergis gave an interesting interview on Power & Politics this week in which she quoted some interesting numbers on the votes she gained in the last two elections. There may be some major discontent amongst voters in Simcoe-Grey. What are they going to do with those votes?

    There was a great Power & Politics moment this past summer when Rosemary Barton told Rick Dykstra, to his face, that he was a liar.

    The member from Calgary Southwest is going to keep on digging. A leopard cannot change his spots.

  4. Anonymously Posted says:

    “Stephen Harper is The Master Strategist

  5. A. says:

    Interesting that while the Sun has issued a grovelling apology and retraction on behalf of itself and Levant, the man himself has only removed the anti-Soros screed from his blog without explanation, let alone an apology. Is Ezra just too immature to admit it when he’s fucked up? Obviously, the Sun apology was issued over Levant’s objection or, at best, with his reluctant consent. Can’t be long before the Sun and Levant part ways entirely, if it hasn’t already happened.

  6. VH says:

    “Master Strategist?” Feh.

    But, just like the old two-people-in-the-woods-running-shoes-bear joke, Harper doesn’t have to be a master strategist, he only has to outrun his opponents.

  7. Robbie says:

    As a man, a father of three boys, and a citizen of Pitt Meadows, I am sickened, shocked, disgusted and grieved over this despicable atrocity. Please show your support for the victim and her family by posting something good on the following Facebook page. Show her that she is not to blame, she didn’t ask for it, and, that in her hour of greatest need, instead of someone standing up for what was right, she was totally abandoned to the degrading actions of a group of animals and gutless cowards. The problem is not when good people do good but when good people do nothing.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-for-16yr-old-victim-in-Pitt-Meadows/160149580664328?v=wall#!/pages/Support-for-16yr-old-victim-in-Pitt-Meadows/160149580664328?v=info

  8. Ottlib says:

    The notion that Stephen Harper is a political genius is a construct of our MSM, with Mr. Travers being one of those who has made such statements in the past.

    It is just further proof to me that political pundits make lousy political strategists.

  9. allegra fortissima says:

    “[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” ~ Pat Robertson

    Yeah, Mr. Robertson, we are a bad, bad bunch here Up North…

    http://youtu.be/o5BOd6ZNX60

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Allegra,

      Maybe the “bad bunch” will have something significant to say about the manner in which a woman was summarily shunted aside — in a typically male cavalier manner in a certain riding.

      You think?

      Some fools actually believe that women as MPs are merely interchangeable…should have checked with “The Master Strategist”, I guess.

      • allegra fortissima says:

        The “bad bunch” would sing a William Faulkner quote in allegro fortissimo:

        “I’m bad and I’m going to hell, and I don’t care. I’d rather be in hell than anywhere where you are.”

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