Pubdate: Thu, 06 Apr 2006
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Bruce Ketchum


Re: Harper's John Wayne stance dated, Ian Mulgrew, April 5

Thank you to Ian Mulgrew for his careful analysis of Stephen Harper's 
misguided crime rhetoric. Even the premise on which the PM bases his 
stance is flawed. For example, in that same recent speech Mulgrew 
referred to, Harper said that our way of life is "threatened by 
rising levels of crime." Statistics Canada, in its latest crime 
statistics report, released last July, states that "the crime rate 
has generally been falling since 1991" and that the 2004 rate was 
12-per-cent lower than a decade ago.

Harper went on to say that "the homicide rate is on the rise as 
well." What he should have said is that, again quoting the same 
StatsCan report, "Canada's homicide rate rose 12 per cent in 2004 
after hitting a 36-year low the year before."

In discussing crime in cities, the prime minister clearly wanted to 
leave the impression that it, too, is on the rise, "especially in the 
city of Toronto" as "witnessed by growing media reports." Instead of 
relying on tabloid journalism as the basis for federal government 
decision-making, Harper should refer to his own statistical agency 
which reports for 2004 "large decreases in reported crime in the 
census metropolitan areas of Toronto, Hamilton Ottawa and St 

It is apparent that Harper's propensity for hyperbole and unseemly 
partisanship was not entirely left behind when he assumed the role of 
prime minister. We expect better.

Bruce Ketchum

White Rock
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