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April 22, 2015


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I would argue the high price tag was also a big part of what sunk the gun registry. Although the left favoured it and right opposed it, the divide amongst individual Canadians was more urban vs. rural as opposed to right vs. left. David Herle mentioned when the Liberals brought it in, they expected to be unpopular in rural Canada, but popular in urban and suburban Canada and off course more people live in the latter. But when the cost spiralled out of control suburban Canada (which is where elections are won and lost) turned against it.

As for not giving up, I agree anyone who is passionate about ideas should follow through on them, but there also needs to be a sense of realism. As much as I hate to admit this, support for smaller government and lower taxes isn't as strong as it was in the 90s. In many ways what allowed people like Mike Harris and Ralph Klein to win as well as the Liberals big cuts in the 90s was a backlash to swinging too far to the left in the 60s and 70s, but the 60s and 70s are now a distant memory never mind the left has made income inequality a big issue and I hate to admit it, it's striking a chord with a lot of Canadians. Therefore the right needs to using facts show that things aren't as bad as some people think they are as well as emphasize over and over again we are not like the US in inequality. In fact the right should focus its attention to income mobility where Canada scores as higher if not higher than the Nordic Countries (while the US is near the bottom) and use that is the differentiation. Otherwise the right believes in equality of opportunity, while the left believes one equality of outcome. Unfortunately too many Canadians assume the two are the same when they are not.


Cincinnatus, very good post. Fight for what you believe in should be - as conservatives - our mantra. Does that mean that we should fight against the garbage argument of income inequality? Of course it does, because it disconnects inputs and outcomes, which is wrong. It doesn't matter that the idea is unpopular right now, if our principles dictate that we support that idea, we fight for the idea.
Realism is another word for defeat.
Historically speaking, many countries won wars because they simply refused to stop fighting. Vietnam is a perfect example. Others come to mind, like the Peninsular war against Napolean or when Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany in WWII. The significance of this is that nobody thought they could win except them, and they never stopped trying.
We must do the same.

Dan Mancuso

I thought a re-read of your two pieces, of JULY 25, 2012
"The way to prevent spree killings: shall-issue concealed carry", and the DECEMBER 15, 2012
"How to stop killing sprees: armed citizens" as well as a re-visit of that great
John Orth piece, "Self Defence" A Pro-Gun Strategy", which has the right idea, would help illuminate this piece.
There are many more similarities between Americans and Canadians than differences. I wish we had a 2nd Amendment...


Autoguy - I think the right should fight against income inequality but do it using facts not emotional arguments. When you put all the facts on the table those complaining how bad Canada is doing are patently wrong. I would probably take about five pages to list them all but here is a couple of pointers, Canada has one of the highest median incomes anywhere in the world, poverty is at an all time low, and for income mobility we are 3rd out of 34 OECD Countries. Even when you compare to the Nordic Countries which the left often does to show socialism works, we do quite well. Never mind the Nordic Countries in the last decade have elected more centre-right than centre-left governments and are moving away from socialism to more market based solutions. So I am not saying stop fighting, I am saying be strategic on how you do it. Think about the long term goal not the short term.

Dan Mancuso - I would disagree with the idea Canadians and Americans are quite similar. If you look at viewpoints on issues there are some pretty stark differences. I guess you could say we are more like Americans than anyone else but that's only because the differences are even starker looking elsewhere. If we were so similar there wouldn't be a border between the two countries. Off course I would argue a big reason for the difference is Quebec has had a strong leftist pull on Canada, and do to language obviously they are quite a bit different than Americans whereas in the US the Southern US has had a strong right wing pull on the country and being geographically and culturally the least similar to Canada those two probably explain a big reason of our differences. Had the Confederate states won the Civil War and Quebec separated in either referendum, the differences probably would be much smaller. As for that we should have 2nd amendment rights, I strongly disagree. I am all for freedom, but only so much as one's freedoms don't infringe on others and because guns are primarily used for killing and because US murder rate is more than double any comparable country in standard of living (I use Canada, all Western European countries, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand as comparisons) I think it would be a dumb idea to allow Canadians to own guns. More importantly making it a constitutional right means it cannot be easily repealed even if the overwhelming majority want it repealed so for those who favour such gun laws, better to just advocate it as a law and then any future government has at least the ability to repeal it. Never mind all Conservative leaders want to win and they all know such policies just wouldn't ever fly politically. Considering the US is the only such country with such right, it probably should be viewed with skepticism, whereas most other rights like the 1st and 4th amendment are common rights in pretty much every liberal democracy.


Hi Monkey, fun to debate you again. OK, we agree on income equality with one important exception - I believe that we must attack the idea itself. This means we shouldn't say "we aren't as bad as the US" because that gives the idea legitimacy. Income equality is Communism dressed up in current fashions, and it is as dangerous as communism itself.
I'm going to weigh in on the gun thing. I believe that every citizen on the planet should be able to own a gun unless they disqualify themselves (convicted violent felon, mental health issues, etc.). There are literally dozens of large, well-respected studies that clearly show NO LINK between violence and gun ownership. To name a few countries that have similar gun laws/gun ownership... Switzerland (militia keep automatic weapons at home), Finland, New Zealand and Israel. Those countries don't have massive gun violence; ergo, the problem in the US is based on something else. The studies I mentioned agree.
All restrictive gun ownership laws do is take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens; felons can use them with impunity, knowing they are the only armed people out there.
Besides, why shouldn't a person be armed? My 72 year old mother would be an easy mark for a mugger - unless she had a Beretta .22 automatic in her purse. Then the playing field is leveled. Should she be denied the ability to defend herself because somebody else did something wrong with a gun? My answer is NO. Our society and every society fathered by the Brits is based on individual rights. Those rights end when you negatively affect others. Ownership of a gun does NOT negatively affect others, improper gun use does. But its the criminals who do that, not regular folks.
Over the last 10 or so years, the US has gone through something they call the "will-carry revolution". Essentially states (and they have jurisdiction in this) started to give people concealed carry permits unless they had compelling reasons not to (see above, mental health etc). The immediate and undeniable impact of this change in policy was a significant drop in violent crime. The "will-carry revolution" has spread throughout most of the states, even to deep blue states, because it works.
Gun ownership should be a fundamental right.
Lastly, I have some anecdotal evidence for you on the US/Canada thing. I work in the US, and have worked there off and on for my entire career. I was brought up in and still live in a Canadian border community.
To be clear, I work in Detroit, and I have worked in some of the very worst areas of Detroit.
My personal experience is that we aren't very different. I would compare Canadian big cities to US big cities and rural US to rural Canada to gauge differences. If you did that, I believe that you might change your mind on how similar we are.

Dan Mancuso

What I actually said was, "There are many more similarities between Americans and Canadians than differences." There is a Big difference there, and misquoting is a typical lefty/liberal tactic!
I had to read your post several times to discern if it was merely intellectually challenged anti-American/anti-gun-nut doctrine and rhetoric, typical of the indoctrinated left here, or some kind of not very sophisticated sophistry - given your willingness to use the oft disproven lies you cite as 'statistics', what I like to refer to as, 'Twits Retweeting Tripe', and your line, " I think it would be a dumb idea to allow Canadians to own guns.", and the sad fact that only the Constitutional Republic of America has a 2nd Amendment in all the world is NOT to be "viewed with skepticism", but for all sovereign nations to aspire to - Of The People, By The People For The People...
Your words tell me you're either some kind of anti-gun-nut mentally disordered lefty/liberal, collectivist troll, or I didn't get your point...


Dan, Monkey and I have debated a couple of times here. My read on him is that he is a principled, fiscally conservative/socially 'sort of liberal' person. He holds some opinions that don't track with most posters here, but makes a pretty cogent argument for his opinions. I don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, but I certainly respect his opinion. Furthermore, I REALLY respect his willingness to support his opinions on this site. Going against the flow can be tough.
Your statement about "anti-gun-nut mentally disordered lefty/liberal" isn't debate, isn't fact based and hurts the dialogue. We should win the debate with a cogent argument. Name calling won't make that happen, it will only alienate someone to no gain.


Autoguy - I am only against income inequality when its based on heredity which it isn't in Canada, I am fine with it if based on merit and how successful one is. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority want the government to take strong action so I think arguing taking action would cause more problems is a better way to prevent more left wing policies from being implemented than saying its okay. Otherwise focus on the end results, not the process.

As for guns, Israel only allows it because its surrounded by several hostile nations that want to drive the Jews out to sea and you can only use 100 bullets during your life. In Switzerland gun ownership is only allowed after mandatory service in the military and is done because Switzerland has no standing army. They do not allowed concealed weapons. As for it making people safer, the reality is 1/5 have some mental health issues and while the vast majority are not going to use it improperly some will slip through the cracks. In addition if someone has a gun and loses their temper, there is a risk they might use it such as in a spousal argument or after an evening at the bar and getting drunk (drinking reduces inhibitions) so based on weighing all evidence, I do not support the right to keep and bear arms. Besides if someone tried to mug your mother and she used deadly force and the person was unarmed she could be charged with murder in Canada. Self defence is only permissible if force is proportional. After all, every Canadian is entitled to certain inalienable rights and right to life is one, owning a gun is not.

As for Canada and the US being essentially the same. It depends on the issue. On some issues I can attest Americans are quite different than Canadians. Universal health care is a classic example as almost no Canadian supports getting rid of it. The debate is rather should we ban all private care like the left advocates or should we allow a parallel private system to operate along side a public one which many on the right including myself favour (and note this is what they have in most European countries not the US). By contrast the majority of Americans are opposed to universal health care. There are also other differences as church attendance in the US is more than double what is in Canada so they are a lot more religious. In addition the GOP generally sits to the right of the Conservatives and its probably fair to say anyone who doesn't vote Conservative in Canada would vote Democrat in the US and even some swing or moderate Tories would too. The Conservatives in Canada have a floor of 30% while GOP their floor is 45% while the ceiling for Conservative support in Canada (unless they make a big breakthrough in Quebec like Mulroney did in the 80s) is 40%, while in the US its 55% for the GOP. So yes there is a fair bit of overlap, but if you take the median voter, the median voter in Canada clearly sits clearly to the left of the median voter in the US. It's true we have similarities in the sense downtown areas tend to tilt leftward, suburbs are bellwethers, and rural areas lean to the right, but in terms of what is winnable or not there are some strong differences. Hudak ran on a campaign not too dissimilar to the GOP in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin which are all swing states that Obama won, yet the GOP won in all three cases while Hudak lost despite a divided left and only got 31% of the popular vote while the other three governors mentioned all got over 50% of the popular vote.

Dan Mancuso - I am a proud Canadian and while I think there are certain things Americans do like leadership in innovation, sciences, arts, business etc. which would should aspire, they are other areas like their gun laws we should not copy. John Howard who was Australia's PM from 1996-2007 was a strong conservative yet unlike American Conservatives he clearly favoured gun control. Even Stephen Harper back in 1995 voted in favour not against the gun registry and only changed his tune when the huge price tag came about. You can call me a lefty all you want, but using your definition, I guess over 90% of Canadians are lefties then.


First off, income inequality - I dispute your claim that there is an overwhelming majority in favour of it. Even if there was, we should still fight it on principle. We might not win right away, but I believe that people are smart (leftys don't, IMO) and will come to understand that dangers of that idea.
Guns, guns, guns... First off, self defense is an 'inalienable right'. Effective self defense for a large portion of the population means the right to bear arms. My 72 year old mother might get arrested for shooting a mugger, but she would win the court case in a walk. She might not even get indicted. And you can site the 'you have to do X to own a gun here' all you want, but the fact is that the guns exist in those societies and they don't lead to gun violence. You also cannot refute the facts of the will carry revolution in the US. It has dropped gun violence dramatically. If gun ownership caused gun violence that would not be the case. Furthermore, ask yourself; is it right to take something away from a citizen because they MIGHT do something bad with it? That is not reason enough. If it was, nobody would drive a car.
Also lost in all the rhetoric is how many people are saved by guns. Yes, saved - the media don't report on it because they advocate for the left, but there are clearly many people every year saved by the gun they carry - at least in the US. The overarching principle here is personal responsibility; police aren't there to protect you because there aren't enough of them. You are supposed to protect yourself. For the majority of citizens, a gun is necessary to do that effectively.
Once again with the similirities/differences between the US and Canada - I think the funamental disconnect between your position and mine is that you are looking at political trends and I am looking at my coworkers. From your perspective you are right, but from my perspective so am I. Also, what scale are we 'calibrated' to? How do you measure the differences between two different countries? Politics, religion? Or is it the social memes that we deal with every day?
Canada and the US are both societies that believe in the rule of law, believe in representative democracy and have high social cohesion. That means that you can probably lend your lawnmower to your neighbour and expect to get it back in good shape. The majority of the world doesn't have the rule of law, doesn't have democracy, and works on the basis of 'amoral familialism'. That means don't lend anything to a neighbour unless he's your cousin. The US and Canada treat women as well as or better than anywhere else in the world. Not so in the majority world.
On the basis of religion and politics you have a minor point - even there we are somewhat alike. On a larger, worldwide scale we are practically identical.


Autoguy - On income inequality, I think Canadians like to think of themselves as being a fair society and thus you need to shift the idea that fairness means equality of opportunity not equality of outcome. Also here is another tidbit, the top 10% pay half the total tax revenue so if you are in the bottom 90% you likely use more in programs than you pay in taxes thus if you are looking at short term self-interest it would make sense to favour those who want to reduce inequality. Where it becomes problematic is high taxes drive businesses and the wealthy away thus harming the others in the long-run, but unfortunately people tend to be short-term thinkers.

As for guns, the fact the US has a murder rate 3x that of Canada per capita and is more than double any country with a comparative standard of living is strong evidence against the idea. Never mind if you take murder out of the picture, their crime rate for other crimes is not much different than Canada further strengthening the idea tougher gun laws work. Yes murder rates have fallen dramatically since the 90s despite laxer gun laws, but Australia who went in the opposite direction has seen an even bigger decline in murder rates so a more logical argument is that as the baby boomers age crime rates should fall as crime is highest amongst young adults and lowest amongst seniors and the former are declining in numbers while latter growing. As for self defence, it may be a fundamental right, but all rights have limits and involve proportionality. For starters the chances of getting murdered are extremely low so other than paranoia there is absolutely no reason to carry a gun. It's as silly as saying one won't fly on an airplane because it might crash. In addition in Britain which has really tough gun laws, 90% of murders are with knives not guns and the chances of surviving a knife attack are significantly higher than a guns one. Otherwise I see the lost of any life as wrong and so I look at the overall stats realizing you cannot get a perfect world and since with more guns it means higher murder rates on average I believe they should be tightly controlled like they are in Canada, although not banned outright as I do support the ability of people to hunt.

As for US and Canada being different, in terms of basic culture and general values you are right, but on policies that governments win or lose on, there are some pretty strong differences as mentioned above. Also most of the values we share in common with them, you could also say the same thing about most European countries, Australia, New Zealand and most established liberal democracies. Where such views are not widely held are mostly third world dictatorships or recent democracies.


OK, I think we are actually pretty closely aligned on income inequality and the differences between the US and Canada. I like your line on changing the idea of fairness - equality of opportunity is fair, equality of outcome isn't.
Guns - a couple of things about your take stick out. You say that a citizen doesn't need a gun unless they are paranoid. My response is that I don't need a reason to have a gun; government needs a reason to take one away.
This is critical.
The underlying thought process is what matters here. If the government 'allows' people in society to have things, do things, form associations etc. then government by definition controls society.
If government is only authorized to 'take things away, restrict activities and/or associations' - like gun ownership - and must show cause, then citizens control society.
I know that Canadian jurisprudence, which springs from English common law (thank you English Barons that forced this on a bad King!) is based on the fact that government must show cause to take something away.
Frankly, I don't want to live in a society where the government 'allows' things.
So now we come to the idea of showing cause for taking away the simple ownership of guns. The murder rate in the US, once again, is NOT due to gun violence. Again, over the last 20 years, gun ownership in the US has risen and gun violence has dropped. That absolutely refutes the position that gun ownership leads to violence. I will once again quote the studies done by respected sources that refute the link between gun ownership and gun violence.
Lawful gun ownership does not lead to gun violence.
Monkey, think about this for a minute; do you believe that no studies have been done to investigate this issue? You may doubt the studies that I'm quoting, but it is almost incomprehensible that there has been no research into the subject. OK, so it seems reasonable that studies have been done. How do we know the results with looking into it - by inference. I posit that if ANY serious study showed that gun ownership lead to gun crime, it would be TRUMPETED on multiple MSM news outlets. Left wing pundits would be calling for another amendment to the constitution.
This is not the case, ergo these studies support lawful gun ownership.
Lastly, if there is an attack/mugging/crime involving violence, my best chance of surviving is if I'm carrying a gun. My concern for the perpetrator of the crime is much less than my concern for fighting off the attack.


Thank you Autoguy. You nailed it.

Guns are not the problem. Criminals are.


Autoguy - It's true that in Canada and any democracy, anything which there is no law against is permitted, however absence of gun laws while undesirable is much different than a constitutional right. A constitutional right basically means any future government couldn't legislate against it. True our constitution isn't the same as the US constitution since we have section 1 which allows for reasonable limits as well as section 33 known as the notwithstanding clause could allow a future government to override it.

Nevertheless guns are dangerous products whose main purpose is to kill and therefore should be regulated heavily, but not banned. In some US states they are fewer laws for guns than cars. Driving is in many ways considered a right by some, yet you need a licence, must have insurance, and have to follow the rules of the road. And you can have your licence revoked so if we can regulate driving why should guns which unlike cars are meant to kill be regulated. While there are many cases when governments over-regulate, certain things do require regulation.

As for studies, excluding those from the gun lobby which make up the vast majority, most show while there are many factors that affect murder rates, there is a correlation between gun ownership and murder rates. Even in Canada, provinces with higher gun ownership rates do on balance have higher murder rates although there could be other reasons for this.

As for using a gun during a mugging, the problem is all too often it may be used inappropriately never mind as mentioned the mugger has the same rights as you do so you do not have the legal right to use deadly force unless its the only way to save one's life.

I am not suggesting we should ban guns outright, I fully support the right to own rifles for those who wish to recreationally hunt as well as target shooting, but I think automatic weapons as well as semi-automatic weapons with large cartridges (I think 15 is the limit in Canada) should be banned outright while carrying a loaded gun should be forbidden in all areas except target ranges or when outside populated areas (i.e. wilderness). While you point to lower crime rates in recent years in the US as proof gun ownership works, I could point to Australia as proof how gun control works who have seen an even more dramatic drop in murder rates and this was due to gun laws brought in by a right wing prime-minister. I will admit though I don't like guns and while that is not a reason to ban them, based on the fact US has a much higher murder rate than we do you are not going to convince me easily that laxer gun laws are the solution.


OK Monkey, on this one I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

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