When it comes to crime and punishment, you can’t argue with Treasury Board President Stockwell Day.
No, really, you simply can’t argue with the guy.
Government statistics show crime rates have been falling in Canada since a peak in 1991.
Statistics Canada reports overall crime dropped by seven per cent in 2007.
The hard numbers show there have been fewer homicides, attempted murders, sexual assaults and robberies.
Today, according to the government’s own numbers, the nation is safer than at any other time in the last 19 years.
Canada is also poorer.
The Conservative government has slashed taxes and ramped up spending, putting the nation on the road to a structural deficit, according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Stephen Page.
The only way to avoid this is to either cut spending or raise taxes, he noted.
This week, standing before a Canada’s Economic Action Plan banner, Day said, emphatically, the government is committed to cutting the deficit – he didn’t want to send mixed signals to jittery financial markets.
However, the government is also committed to building prisons.
This, after it said it didn’t want to send more Canadians to prison as a justification for killing the mandatory long-form census. (Of course, the government can still send you to prison for failing to fill out the short-form census … but we digress.)
Just know, this government, which doesn’t want to send Canadians to prison, is spending $9 billion on prisons during a time when the hard facts show there are fewer bad guys.
Also, it doesn’t want to send mixed signals to the market.
So, how can it justify building jails, not to mention incurring the ongoing operation and maintenance cost of running the expensive facilities in perpetuity?
Well, Day cited “unreported crime” statistics in unnamed surveys.
“People simply aren’t reporting (crime) the same way they used to,” said Day.
He said the unreported crime stats are “alarming,” suggesting the government cannot take the “liberal view” that the crime rate is dropping.
So, how do you argue with unreported crime stats that are alarming?
Well, you can’t. It is impossible. It’s like trying to convince tin hatters that UFOs don’t exist.
It is an assertion that you can’t argue with – how can you debate alarming numbers of crimes that people aren’t reporting?
And what crimes are they? Murders? Thefts? Robberies? Assaults? Shoplifting?
We don’t know, and it’s impossible to figure out because people aren’t reporting them. Nevertheless they are alarming – the government says so.
Which goes a long way to explaining the government’s approach to statistics.
Forget the numbers, better to go with your gut – crime is going up. We just know it.
It also explains why the deficit isn’t a problem.
Day is going to eliminate it by tapping the pot of gold that lies at the end of the double rainbow. (Richard Mostyn)