Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Well, that's it for the great gun registry debate of 2009 - 2010. Bill C-391 was just defeated by 2 votes, thanks in large part to the NDP and the whipping of the Liberals.
I'd like to take just a quick last look at the issue.
Canadians have been conned by our elected ones into believing that the vote on Bill C-391 was split along rural-urban lines with John Baird even summoning the ghosts of the “urban elite”. By feeding us that line of propaganda, it made it appear that there was little support for the Bill among those in urban settings. Nothing could be further from the truth. An EKOS poll from November 2009 found that the societal fracture in the issue was along several lines:
1.) Only 46% of Canadians felt that all Canadians should have a legal right to bear arms with 54% feeling that gun ownership should be outlawed completely except for law enforcement officials. The split was along provincial lines with a poll showing that only 41% of Ontario residents and 36% of Quebec residents felt that it should be legal for ordinary citizens to own guns of any type compared to 62% in Atlantic Canada, 64% in the Prairies and 69% in Alberta.
2.) Supporters of the gun registry tended to be university-educated with 38% supporting the registry compared to 31% who supported abolishing the registry.
3.) Supporters of the gun registry tended to be Liberal or BQ supporters.
4.) Supporters of the gun registry tended to live in Ontario and Quebec.
5.) Supporters of the gun registry tended to be under 65 years of age.
6.) Supporter of the gun registry tended to be female.
7.) A majority of all Canadians (64%) believe that guns should be banned in urban areas.
From the responses, it appears that Canada is very divided on the gun registry issue, but definitely not only along rural-urban lines. Why didn’t Conservative politicians bring up the issue that 47% of male respondents wanted to abolish the gun registry compared to the 30% of women surveyed? Why didn’t they focus on pitting the 45% of Canadians 65 and older who favoured abolition versus the 29% of Canadians under 25? Why exactly did our politicians focus on the rural-urban issue? I honestly cannot answer that question except to say that perhaps the issue something visceral and historical but relatively harmless compared to pitting seniors against the younger crowd and men against women (and we all know that's a no-winner).
Interestingly enough, a very large 31% of respondents to the poll had no opinion suggesting that there is more ambivalence toward the issue than the media or our politicians would have us believe. It’s apparent that all of the talking points about the registry over the past 10 months have been just that; talk.
As Canadians, we have to be careful about what we believe, especially when we are using politicians as our source of information. Their primary goal is to get re-elected, nothing more and nothing less. If in the process they divide Canadians, sadly, that seems to be of little concern to them.
One last point. If the Harper government was convinced that it was a good idea to get rid of the gun registry, why did they let Candice Hoeppner introduce Bill C-391 as a private members bill rather than introducing it on the floor as a bill that could have been subjected to a vote of confidence? Or, was it that the Harperites knew that getting rid of the registry was a very divisive issue that was only going to split Canadians roughly in half and so they had it introduced as a weaker private members bill because they didn't want to trigger an election over an issue that was so contentious and probably a non-winner.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
"In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month. A recession is a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. The trough marks the end of the declining phase and the start of the rising phase of the business cycle. Economic activity is typically below normal in the early stages of an expansion, and it sometimes remains so well into the expansion.
The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession that began in December 2007. The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date." (my bold)
Here are the indicators NBER used to define the economic trough:
BLS defines persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, part of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.
Here are the latest statistics from the BLS website:
Monday, September 20, 2010
Despite more than 7300 appeals to stop the execution, Teresa Lewis was executed by lethal injection and died at 9:13 p.m. tonight according to authorities. Her last words were to her stepdaughter Kathy "I want Kathy to know that I love her and I'm very sorry."
On Thursday September 23rd, the state of Virginia is set to execute its first woman prisoner since 1912. Teresa Lewis, 41, was found guilty of arranging to have her husband and step-son murdered by two men on October 30th, 2002 while they were sleeping in their trailer. The lives of Julian Lewis aged 51 and his son Charles aged 25 had been threatened in an earlier incident arranged by Ms. Lewis. Ms. Lewis has admitted to the crimes which she planned with the goal of collecting $250,000 in insurance money. One of the men who killed the Lewis's, Matthew Shallenberger who was Ms. Lewis's lover, was found guilty of the crime and committed suicide three years later while incarcerated. It is interesting to note that Mr. Shallenberger had an IQ ranging from 113 to 120. His intelligence level may have led him to use Ms. Lewis as a pawn to gain access to the life insurance payoff. Mr. Shallenberger apparently admitted in a letter that the only reason he had sex with Ms. Lewis was so that he could collect his portion of the insurance money. The other man convicted in the case, Rodney Fuller, admitted guilt and was spared the death penalty and given multiple life sentences.