Archive | Canada

Canada Day

Since today is Canada Day, this is an appropriate time to thank that nation for giving us most of the greatest Boston Bruins players, including Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque, and Rick “Nifty” Middleton (my favorite player when I was little). I even rooted for Canada more than the US in the 1984 and ’87 Canada Cup tournaments, because Bourque and other Bruins stars were on the Canadian team (also because the US had no chance of winning).

On a (slightly) more serious note, Canada also deserves credit for surpassing the United States on both the Cato/Fraser Institute and Heritage economic freedom ranking. This is partly due to serious backsliding by the US over the last decade. But it is also the result of Canada’s impressive success in getting its government spending under control in the 1990s and early 2000s. Canadian-born economist David David R. Henderson tells the story of that achievement here. Hopefully, the United States can imitate Canada’s achievement in this field, though I’m not optimistic it will happen quickly.

Despite some ongoing problems and periodic secession crises, Canada is also a good example of the use of federalism to reduce ethnic conflict and empower ethnic minorities.

None of this will prevent me from hating the Montreal Canadiens when the next NHL season starts. But in the meantime, Happy Canada Day! [...]

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A True Heroine

From the Times of Israel comes the inspiring story of Judy Feld Carr: “For nearly three decades, Feld Carr [a musicologist and mother of six] single-handedly arranged the smuggling of more than 3,000 Jews out of Damascus, Aleppo and Qamishli to safety in Israel and America.”

UPDATE: I wonder if this article might be exaggerating Feld-Carr’s role in saving Syrian Jewry somewhat, given that in 1992 several thousand Syrian Jews left with the permission of the Assad government, on the condition that they go to the U.S. and not Israel.  This is not consistent with the article’s data stating that there were 4,600 Jews in Syria in the early 70s, and she rescued over 3,000 of them. Even if so, her story is a remarkable one. [...]

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Canada abolishes long gun registry

Yesterday the Canadian Senate voted 50-27 to abolish the long gun registry. Bill C-19 received unanimous support from Conservative Senators, and some support from Liberals. The bill had previously passed the House of Commons. It became the law of the land today, with the Royal Assent of Canada’s Governor-General.

The bill does not change Canada’s registration system for handguns, which has been in effect since the 1930s. Nor does it change the registration system for certain long guns which have been classified as “prohibited” or “restricted” weapons. Likewise unchanged is Canada’s complicated and burdensome system for licensing gun owners, which was created by a Liberal government in the 1990s.

The registration changes, however, are monumental. Registration records for seven million ordinary long guns are to be destroyed. The government of Quebec has announced that it while file suit to attempt to obtain custody of the 1.5 million registration records pertaining to citizens of Quebec.

Ever since the regime of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 1970s, gun control in Canada has been primarily a culture war campaign against the “masculine” values of rural Canada, and as a means of demonstrating the dominance of Canada’s urban New Class.

To this day, the foremost public justification for all forms of gun control is Gamil Rodrigue Gharbi (who changed his name Marc Lépine). Gharbi/Lépine was the son of an alcoholic, wife-beating, child abuser who had immigrated to Canada from Algeria. In 1989, he murdered 14 women (13 by gunshot, one by stabbing), and wounded 8 women and 4 men in the engineering building of a school affiliated with the University of Montreal. An incompetent response by police dispatchers to the 911 calls gave Gharbi/Lépine the opportunity to murder at leisure.

In The Montreal Massacre (gynergy books, 1991), Quebec feminists describe their outrage, and [...]

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Canadian Party Leaders’ Debate May be Postponed to Avoid Conflict with an NHL Playoff Game

Canada is in the midst of an important election campaign. Many important issues are at stake, including the state of the Canadian economy, crucial foreign policy decisions, and others. Nonetheless, the leaders of most of the contending parties have asked for the postponement of an upcoming debate between them to avoid a schedule conflict with a Montreal Canadiens’ first-round playoff game:

A move is afoot to reschedule a federal election debate slated for Thursday so it doesn’t conflict with the opening game of the Montreal Canadiens’ first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe got the ball rolling Sunday by saying there’s little doubt hockey-mad Montreal fans will choose the game over the debate.

NDP Leader Jack Layton later echoed those sentiments, the Liberals followed suit, and the Conservatives said they could live with whatever the debate broadcasters decide.

Bloc leader Duceppe wants other party leaders to join him in urging the consortium of broadcasters who organize the debate to move it back a day….

“We all know that hockey is very popular in Canada and in Quebec, which is why it would be a better idea to push the French debate back to allow hockey fans to watch the debate as well as the game on Thursday night.”

As a longtime Boston Bruins fan, I’m well aware of how popular hockey is in Quebec. At the same time, I’m sure that most Canadian voters recognize that the election is ultimately more important than the outcome of a hockey game, especially one that is merely a first-round playoff matchup. Why, then, would most of them tune in to the game instead of the debate?

The obvious answer is that the game is likely to be far more entertaining. But that still doesn’t fully explain the situation. [...]

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The Morality of Political Ignorance

Whenever we have an election, pundits and politicians wax eloquent about the supposed need to increase voter turnout. Much less attention is paid to the question of whether the people going to the polls actually understand the issues they’re voting on.

In conjunction with the upcoming Canadian election, political philosopher Jason Brennan, author of the excellent new book The Ethics of Voting, takes aim at this oversight:

Before Canadians head once again to the polls, they should do their homework. This election is an opportunity to make Canada even better, but it’s also a chance to make it worse. Bad decisions at the polls can lead to increased poverty, a stagnant economy, lost opportunities, worse pollution or unjust wars….

Casting an informed vote is hard. Knowing what the problems are is not enough, because the solutions to Canada’s problems are not obvious. Reading parties’ platforms is not enough. Knowing what policies the different political parties favour is not enough, because a voter needs to know which policies have any real shot of working. The Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and others each want Canada to be healthier, happier and stronger. They’re like doctors each offering different prescriptions to cure Canada’s illnesses. Some of these prescriptions will work, some will have no effect and some will make Canada sicker. Voters need to learn how to evaluate these prescriptions….

Voting is not like choosing food from a menu. If a citizen makes a bad choice about what to eat in a restaurant, she alone bears the costs of her decision. But if she makes a bad choice at the polls, she imposes the costs on everyone. Voters are not just choosing for themselves, but for all. If a restaurant offers bad food, diners can walk away or get their money

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The most important right to arms vote of 2009

UPDATE: The repeal just passed 2d reading by a vote of 164 to 137! The bill now proceeds to a committee for public hearings. The Canadian Conservative Party has 143 Members of Parliament, so the bill attracted over 20 votes from members of other parties–significantly more than had been expected by Canadian political commentators. Today is a good day for Liberty.


Will take place in the Canadian House of Commons today, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time. Bill C-391 is a private member’s bill  (by Candice  Hoeppner of Portage—Lisgar, Manitoba) to repeal Canada’s failed and extremely expensive long gun registry.

Background information about the registry is available in this short presentation from Prof. Gary Mauser, a magazine article by Mauser, and in Mauser’s journal articles on the politics and efficacy of the registry, and in some articles I have written about Canada.

For the last two decades, Canada has been the test bed of the international gun prohibition movement. Repressive ideas from Canada have been exported around the world by the international gun prohibition lobby, which is vastly better at international coordination than the other side.

Repeal of the Canadian registry would, accordingly, be of tremendous global significance. Repeal would also shatter the claim by the Canadian gun prohibition lobby that gun control in Canada is an irreversible ratchet.

If the House votes for repeal today, then there will be committee hearings on Bill C-391, followed by another vote in the House, followed by Senate consideration.

You can follow a webcast of the House of Commons by going here. [...]

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