Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do you Have a Plan B?

Harper, while ignoring any meaningful dialogue on the environment, has already begun making noises about getting tough on crime. Yes, again. That seems to be the central theme going forward for either governing or going into an election.

Speaking to party faithful at the Stampede this month Harper said the following:

Attending his third Calgary Stampede as prime minister, Harper also repeated his party's pledge to deal with the "escalating problem of violent youth crime" when Parliament resumes in the fall.

"We must send a message — and we will — that we hold young lawbreakers responsible for their behaviour. That is what we intend to do this coming session."

He has a a slight problem though.

The youth crime rate declined two per cent in 2007 after a three-per-cent increase the year before.

The Stat's Can site provides an interesting picture. The second graph tells an interesting story about violent crime. Clearly it's been declining since the 90's with a slight increase near the end of the decade, then back down.

So what's Harper likely to do, change his strategy? Not a chance. He'll adopt his usual tack of scaring the public and telling us he's the only one who can protect us. In fact, I wouldn't put it past him to take credit for this decline, which of course would be a lie, but we all know that truth doesn't play a prominent role in this government.

So, watch for the spin coming to a conservative media outlet near you in the upcoming days. I actually turned to a conservative radio station when I heard this news today. As expected, the comments went something like this.

I don't believe the numbers. Statistic's are manipulated to tell you what you want to know. The bureaucracy is Liberal. It can't be true, just listen to the news.

In other words, Conservatives have difficulty with facts that don't support their narrative, so expect those facts to be distorted.

Well, what do you know. I barely finished this post before I saw this. The spin has begun:

The Statistics Canada figures may not tell the whole story. Irvin Waller, director of the Institute for Prevention of Crime at the University of Ottawa, says fewer people are reporting crimes to police because they are disillusioned with the justice system.

Past spin by Harper and co.,

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has dismissed empirical evidence that crime rates are actually falling, suggesting that emotion is a more telling barometer.

Can you imagine someone actually saying that? Ignore empirical evidence, rely on emotion. The emotion he speaks of is that which he creates out of whole cloth, promoting fear.

Harper has cast those who point to statistics to oppose elements of the Tory law-and-order agenda as apologists for criminals.

Hmmm, terrorist sympathisers and Taliban lovers come to mind. What absolute rot.

"(They) try to pacify Canadians with statistics," he told party supporters in January.
"Your personal experiences are impressions are wrong, they say; crime is really not a problem. These apologists remind me of the scene from the Wizard of Oz when the wizard says, 'Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."'

Uh, the man behind the curtain would be Harper!

That assertion was echoed Thursday by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
"We are not governing by statistics. We are governing by what we promised Canadians in the last election and what Canadians have told us," he said in an interview.

That's right Rob, I couldn't agree more. You are governing from and for your base and ignoring fact. What a way to run a country.


Let me know what you hear or read.


Steve V said...

Since they have such a thin list of "accomplishments", they will continue to trumpet their tough on crime legislation. It's all they have really.

knb said...

I agree Steve. I think this is another area that the Liberals should focus on, in spite of Harper's low regard for emperical evidence.

They aren't being tough on crime of course. They are being tough on imaginary crime increase.

They really are pathetic.

Steve V said...

It's kind of a touchy subject politically. I think the Liberals should just leave it alone, and let the issue fade somewhat, criticizing will only allow Harper to pound the table. Public perception is still lagging behind reality, Harper has the tabloid fear aspect on his side.

ottlib said...

And yet, when Canadians are polled about what they are really concerned about crime is way down on the list in single digits.

His silliness may energize his base but The Chess Master should realize by now that he has to grow beyond his base to win the next election let alone a majority government.

And focusing on crime will not do that.

Anonymous said...

I like the talking points that are coming out of the Connies - man can those idiots spin.

Clownservatives seen to get their jollies on living in fear and sex. This maybe explained by their reptilian brains....

knb said...

Steve, I don't think we harp on it, (pun intended), but depending on how they play it, I don't think it can be ignored.

knb said...

ottlib His silliness may energize his base but The Chess Master should realize by now that he has to grow beyond his base to win the next election let alone a majority government.

He's done nothing thus far that suggests he cares to do things differently. Indeed, quite the opposite.

I think there is an arrogance now that is quite ensconced. We shall see.

knb said...

cwtf Clownservatives seen to get their jollies on living in fear and sex.

That's true actually. Bizarre really.

penlan said...

The main reason that the general public thinks crime is increasing, even though it's decreasing, is because the local news channels always seem to start out/lead their news with crime stories that are happening/happened that day. Shootings, killings, muggings etc. All the "shock" stuff first to keep the viewer tuned in, & stay, at their channel.

I was having a phone conversation with my 84 yr. old mother, who lives in Burlington, ON., the other day & she started talking about how crime, in general, & shootings etc. were getting worse, that the news is always so bad & how it's getting too dangerous to go out, in Toronto anyway.

It took me awhile to explain to her that it wasn't true & for her to understand & believe me. But when that's all people see on their local news hours that is what they are going to believe. And when the news anchors talk about the actual crime statistics people aren't listening anymore as they do that segment, generally, later in the program. It may be mentioned in the initial talking "headlines" but the details come later.

The CONs know it, & feed it, because what they say then appears believable.

If the Libs are going to talk about crime in the next election they will have to hammer away, over & over, about the statistics which began declining under their watch & not just on Harp's, who, yes, will take credit for the drop.

Saskboy said...

If Canadians think there is crime now, wait until a food and gas shortage hits us.