The Commonwealth Catastrophe

September 24, 2010

The 2010 Commonwealth Games are under threat in New Delhi as a number of countries threaten to pull out from the games amidst accusations of unfit conditions surrounding the facilities in India.   A handful of athletes from Canada and Britain have already pulled out from the games citing health  and security concerns surrounding the athletes village and various other venues.  With individual pullouts in cycling, swimming, and archery things are not looking good for the opening of the games.  In addition countries like Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand have threatened to pull out from the games all together if health and security issues are not quickly addressed.

To say that the games are under threat is an understatement .  The games scheduled to start on Oct 3 may have to go ahead without some major players if it goes ahead at all.   Should mass pullouts occur it is almost assured that the games themselves will be cancelled.  The fact that the games are already hanging over such a precipice is already a black eye for Indian officials who are working overtime to get facilities up to standards before the games opening.  However there is now a real question as to whether the games should have been awarded to India at all. 

The games where awarded to New Delhi in 2003 and they have had seven years to prepare the way for the start of the games. With all the problems its leading some to question whether or not the games should have been awarded to the Indian city at all.  With the likes of Australia’s Olympic Committee President John Coates saying that the “games shouldn’t have been awarded to Dehli in hindsight” there is little wonder that these Commonwealth Games are being surrounded in controversy before they even begin.

Despite all this it seems likely that the games will go ahead.  Quite simply the Commonwealth nations have expected as much and the Indian government is going full bore to see their concerns addressed.  However if the games do fail there can be little doubt that not only will the controversy increase but questions will be raised as to why Hamilton Ontario was not granted the hosting duties in this 80 year old competition.

If India was incapable of providing for all the necessities of the games given their seven year lead time there seems little doubt that the same problems occurring would have occurred in Canada.  Fiscally Canada is in a much stronger position to host such a games as the recent hosting of the G8 and G20 summits with their billion dollar price tag has demonstrated.  Furthermore Canada has none of the domestic security issues demonstrated recently by the violence seen in New Delhi in recent weeks.  Despite all this, as John Coates has pointed out, hindsight is always 20/20 and while the games perhaps would have been better placed in Canada this year there is no turning back now.  Thankfully the Indian government has been responsive to all the concerns raised by competing nations and with any luck the games will go ahead as scheduled even if it is without a few of its top competitors.



The Gun Registry Blues

September 22, 2010

 It looks like the attempt to repeal the long gun registry in Canada is about to fail thanks to Jack Layton and the NDP.  Unfortunately though the registry is an utterly useless piece of costly legislation the NDP has seen fit to vote down the private members bill that would see the wasteful registry repealed.  There are a number of strong reasons why Canadians should see the bill repealed.
 Registry proponents claim first and foremost that the registry saves lives unfortunately for them that’s simply a baled faced lie.  All the registry accomplishes is to make generally law abiding citizens into criminals and here is why.  Most, if not almost all, gun crimes in Canada are committed with illegally obtained hand guns not long guns.  More importantly these criminals don’t bother to register their firearms with any legal authority and if where being honest with ourselves why on earth would we expect them too. It’s pretty clear that it’s not the hunters and farmers out there that are committing gun crimes, gun crime tends to be a feature of inner city violence and when this violence does occur it’s with a hand gun.
 Moreover the next biggest claim is that the registry prevents violence.  However such a claim could not be further from the truth.  The registry does nothing to deter violent crime.  If someone has registered their firearm how on earth is the simple act of registering going to prevent them from going out and shooting someone.  Quite simply it cannot.  Only after the fact is it possible to determine whether the weapon used was registered or not.  The registry is simply not a proactive deterrent and is incapable of preventing crimes of passion or those gun crimes committed by the mentally unstable or ill.
 Yet proponents of the registry may claim that too be against the registry is to be against front line  police officers who use the registry as a means of determining whether or not there is a potential weapon involved in a particular investigation.  This claim however is simply ridiculous as well.  Front line officers know as well as everyone else does that criminals do not register their firearms and more importantly that you cannot legally obtain a firearm without a license.  Why is the licensing aspect important you might ask? Well the answer is simple if one has bothered to go through the licensing process it can fairly be assumed they did so in order to obtain a weapon.  The fact that there is a separate licensing and registry process demonstrates how utterly wasteful the registry truly is.
 The final argument often thrown out against repealing the registry is that to do so is to encourage violence against women.  If you thought the argument for being against police officers was ridiculous then you must find this argument simply ludicrous.    The obvious question that arises is just how many women have been killed by a long gun in Canada? While I’m sure there has been a fair number I doubt that the number greatly outweighs in any statistical significance the rate at which men are killed by the same type of guns.  The only obvious example of such a shooting is the Montreal Massacre where in a lone gunmen slaughter 14 women who were attending engineering school at the Ecole Polytechnique.  Even though such a tragedy occurred the one thing that people who level this argument never explain is how if there had been a registry at the time how it would have prevented the killings.  As I mentioned earlier the registry seems incapable of preventing any such crime and as such repealing it has little to do with hating women or wishing to endanger their loves or any other such nonsense.
 Simply put the best argument for repealing the registry is that it’s a useless money-pit.  Currently the registry cost Canadian taxpayers millions each year to operate and what do we get for it in return?  All the registry amounts to is a very expensive security blanket for police and the urban majority who seem incapable of distinguishing between a long gun and a hand gun when it comes to gun crime.  Should the registry be repealed? You bet.  Will the bill die on third reading?  Most likely, and you can thank the NDP for that.