For those of you non-Canadians (i.e. our blogging neighbors and readers down south and from around the world), every time you thought of Canada the first thing pops up in mind is probably our friendliness, the happy beavers, the loonies, and the great Canadian Rockies and the Prairies. But what you don't know is what has happened recently.
Recently, there has been several violent gun related deaths all over Canada. From the more recent shooting death of a teenage girl in Toronto at Boxing Day, to several gun-related incidents and a night club patron getting shot in Vancouver. With these incidents, Toronto has its highest share of gun-related fatalities, with 50 deaths out of the total 78 homicides in 2005 are gun related. Vancouver has also seen a higher share of gun related violence in recent years. This trend of ongoing slaughters has many parents, bar patrons, and politicians wondering if guns are out of control in Canada. Some politicians even blames lax U.S. border patrols and gun laws as the ultimate culprit. They theorized that because of the lack of gun control laws in the U.S. and an outflow of cheap guns towards Canada, major Canadian cities could eventually succumb and model other U.S. cities in term of gun fatalities and the related gang violence (i.e. L.A., Detroit, etc.).
To me, that's the most cheap way to blame someone when it is in fact our own incompetence in gun control and sentencing of criminals in gun-related crimes. Only then did Mr. Paul Martin (currently the tentative Prime Minister of Canada, would-be decided by January 23, 2006) announced he would steep up in penalty on gun related charges. He also made the commitment to ban all handguns earlier, but it came back with an outrage and mixed reviews from politicians and gun owners alike.
With the elections in Canada looming, of course this is his golden ticket to victory, courtesy of the sympathetic voters and of many other residents of gun-ravaged suburbs. This really shows how cheap a politician would be to tag himself so he could secure "a few" extra votes. The Liberal Party of Canada has being the dominant party for over 11 years. If they haven't realize and properly handle the issues of gun control they DO NOT deserve our sympathy to be re-elected again.
Seriously, is gun banning really the next thing we need? The Canadian government had already spent millions on the failing gun registry, is another gun ban really going to work? With understaffed policing in many cities, the gangsters could still conceal their guns under the overcoats and, with no border patrols at night, the criminals could still smuggle guns from an unmanned border entry point in the B.C. interior. They could still roam the street freely at night, with handguns concealed and ready for action if provoked.
Criminals will only be deterred from tight policing and heavy sentencing. What Mr. Paul Martin announced was right, but it was only done after the negative outcries of a handgun ban and for an obvious reason of voter attractions.
Curbing gun violence is not a simple task. It involves education, public participation, proper policing, beefed up border patrols, good social programs and extreme justice. It is pretty sad that Mr. Martin thought a simple handguns ban will do, which it in fact will not but only hurt the legitimate hunting and shooting industries!
If you're a Canadian reading my blog. Speak out your concerns on January 23rd, 2006!