December 08, 2005

My new hobby

Halifax CitadelThe photo to the right is the Halifax Citadel, lefted off Google Earth. I think military-themed Google photography may become the new theme of this blog. First up is a series of major Canadian forts. The large versions are all shot from around 2000 feet, to preserve scale. Click for the blowup.

Quebec CitadelHere's another, the Quebec Citadel. Canada's premier example of a Vauban-style fort, it's still in use today as home station for the Royal 22nd Regiment (the Van Doos).

Fort ErieHere's Ft. Erie, site of the bloodiest siege of the War of 1812. It's a historical site today.

Posted by BruceR at 11:15 PM

Gotta admire the cunning

The Liberal promise to ban handguns today is actually pretty brilliant. They're betting their election chances on the ignorance of the urban Canadian voter, and no one ever went broke doing that.

The reliable second-order effect will be some Conservative candidate or commentator saying something reliably inflammatory (if accurate) which will poison the well against any kind of Conservative vote gain in the cities this time around. Probably a comparison to Naziism, or if they're really lucky, actually waving a gun around, if I had to bet. It will follow as sure as day follows night.

Because there are almost no legal handguns in Canada now, the number of people who are actually losing a previously-held right here is likely in the low four figures. That's the beauty of ineffectual public policy... it alienates no one, exactly because it's so ineffective.

The simple fact is that nearly every handgun homicide this year was executed with an illegal gun, either smuggled or stolen. Publicly banning them, again, will have no effect on the problem. The irony is the Liberals are assuming average urban Canadians are confused about the differences between the American gun culture they see on TV each night, and the Canadian one in their own cities, and so won't figure this out.

It'd be easier to feel sorry for the Conservatives if their own GST-trimming policy wasn't in its own way a cynical vote-grab aimed at the ignorant. Every economist in the country says income taxes need to go down further before the levy on consumption does, but in that case the Tories are banking on Canadians being unable to figure out their tax forms by themselves, and giving them something more obvious aimed at their wallets instead. Again, good politics, bad public policy. Either both kinds of cynicism should make you angry, or neither one should.

That said, the rest of the gun package announced today is actually pretty positive: more money for policing, and a waiving of re-registration fees on long guns. The cynicism is still upsetting, of course, but the new policy itself, not so much.

Posted by BruceR at 10:04 AM