Archive for January, 2007

Fighting U.S. Pork Barrel Politics

January 31, 2007

My first thought on reading this profile on U.S. Senator Tom Coburn was that we could use that kind of integrity in Canadian government. My second thought was that whatever party he was with he would probably get kicked out of caucus anyway. My third thought was how corrupt the U.S. political system has become.

Thanks to Instapundit for this link.

Self defence brings serious responsibilities

January 31, 2007

If someone breaks into your house and threatens your family, what are your options? Are you compelled to submit? Is your first option to try and escape? Or if a thug accosts you on the street, how much force can you use to protect yourself or your family?

In Canada you might suspect, particularly after hearing comments from police, politicians and anti-gun proponents, that personal self-defence is not an option. In fact, the Canadian Criminal Code speaks directly to the issue. However it does lay out some fairly stringent legal responsibilities. The moral responsibilities are another discussion.

Under “Defence of Person”, the Act says:

Self-defence against unprovoked assault
Section 34.

(1)   Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than necessary to enable him to defend himself.

Extent of justification

(2)   Every one who is unlawfully assaulted and who causes death or grievous bodily harm in repelling the assault is justified if
(a) he causes it under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence with which the assault was originally made or with which the assailant pursues his purposes; and

(b) he believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm.


Preventing assault
Section 37.

(1)   Every one is justified in using force to defend himself or any one under his protection from assault, if he uses no more force than is necessary to prevent the assault or the repetition of it.

(2)   Nothing in this section shall be deemed to justify the willful infliction of any hurt or mischief that is excessive, having regard to the nature of the assault that the force used was intended to prevent.

I think that if you hurt the sucker you’re going to end up in court defending your actions and the world being what it is these days, if he’s still alive he’ll probably sue you.

The section on defence of property is even vaguer on your rights.

Defence of personal property
Section 38

(1)   Every one who is in peaceable possession of personal property, and every one lawfully assisting him, is justified

(a)    in preventing a trespasser from taking it,

(b)   in taking it from a trespasser who has taken it, if he does not strike or cause bodily harm to the trespasser.


Good luck on that! However 38(2) goes on the say that:

Where a person who is in peaceable possession of personal property lays hands on it, a trespasser who persists in attempting to keep it or take from him or from any one lawfully assisting him shall be deemed to commit an assault without justification or provocation.

It gets to be a bloody game of escalation.

The clearest right to defend yourself is under Section 40, which says:

Every one who has peaceable possession of a dwelling-house, and every one lawfully assisting him or acting under his authority, is justified in using as much force as is necessary to prevent any person from forcibly breaking into or forcibly entering the dwelling-house without lawful authority.

That sounds pretty good, but is fairly specific in that it seems to speak directly to someone actually breaking in. What if you wake up in the middle of the night and find a person already in your house? Does it kick over to Section 41, which again talks about using “no more force than necessary”?

That would be my interpretation, but then I’m not a lawyer. 

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that you do have the right to self-defence in Canada, but it is limited depending on the circumstances and requires a great deal of responsibility on your part if you don’t want to end up defending your actions in court. When in doubt, the courts will interpret.

The situation in the US is considerably different and many States have in the past few years strengthened their self-defence laws and as well have passed Right to Carry laws. But you still don’t have carte blanche to use deadly force, even though there are critics who are afraid that will be the result.

I don’t know what criteria all of the States have for issuing Right to Carry permits, but Kansas seems to take a common sense approach.

Any Kansan who wants to apply for a license to carry a concealed handgun is required to first pass an eight-hour course taught by a state-certified instructor. Almost half of that day of training is dedicated to the use of deadly force and its aftermath. “It exposes them to the law on the use of deadly force, and part of it has to do with preparedness for confrontations,” Sexson said.

That would seem to make a lot of sense. If you are going to license people to carry a firearm, ostensibly for the purpose of self-protection, they should understand the laws that apply and the risks that they take when they make the decision to defend themselves.

An additional risk, if you try to defend your family from what appears to be a home invasion, is a police raid. This is especially true in the US where no-knock police raids have become all too common, and where the “war on drugs” and a plethora of SWAT teams has led to home owners being, at best, assaulted and, in the extreme, killed while trying to defend themselves from what they thought were criminal invasions. The tragedy being that in most of these cases the killings being called ‘justifiable’, with the police simply doing their duty and protecting themselves.

Fortunately, to date this has not been as great a problem in Canada, as we don’t have the gross numbers of these paramilitary units as are seen south of the border. But the Swat Team mentality is certainly out there.

On the ‘no fly’ list

January 28, 2007

If, as Stockwell Day says, there is nothing on the Arar file that would tie him to any terrorists or terrorist activities, then why is the US government so adamant that it will not remove him from their ‘no fly’ list?

American Ambassador David Wilkins says Canada should butt out of a U.S. decision to ban Canadian Maher Arar from the country.


There is a good chance that it is simply the bureaucratic refusal to admit a mistake or possibly a tactic to avoid legal culpability. It could also be the enforcement mentality that says, “if we busted you in the first place you must be guilty even though we can’t prove it”. Or all of the above.


One thing is for sure, even though he has been awarded $10.5 M, along with an apology by the Canadian government, it will be a long time – if ever – before Mr. Arar crosses the border into the USA.

Suffering for Satan

January 27, 2007

Yoga is the devil’s work!

Global warming scientific debate

January 23, 2007

Clayton Cramer has some comments on the global warming debate within the scientific community along with some interesting links, plus it snowed in Arizona.

Death sentence dropped against Iranian girl

January 23, 2007

Iran teen spared death in rape self defence: 

An Iranian court has dropped a death sentence against a teenager accused of killing a man who allegedly tried to rape her, the teenager’s lawyer said.

Nazanin Fatehi was convicted and sentenced to death more than a year ago after she admitted stabbing one of three men who allegedly tried to rape her and a 16-year-old niece. Fatehi was 17 years old at the time.


  “Five judges reviewed her case, and all of them admitted that what Fatehi did was only self-defense,” one of Fatehi’s lawyers, Mohammad Mostafaei, said Monday. “She just defended herself and her niece to avoid rape.”

     Mostafaei said he expected the retrials court would sentence Fatehi – in accordance with Islamic law – to pay blood money to the family of the man.

If there hadn’t been international intervention she would have been executed.

More Police Misbehaviour?

January 23, 2007

It seem to me that there is too much of this going around.

Saltzman Was A Blogger!

January 21, 2007

After his recent death at the age of 91, TV weatherman Percy Saltzman left behind an outspoken and personal blog that pulled his family unwillingly into the public eye.

The Demonization of Global Warming Debate

January 21, 2007

I was going to post this article on the global warming debate some months ago and then set it aside.

The message is clear: climate change deniers are scum. Their words are so wicked and dangerous that they must be silenced, or criminalised, or forced beyond the pale alongside those other crackpots who claim there was no Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. Perhaps climate change deniers should even be killed off, hanged like those evil men who were tried Nuremberg-style the first time around. 

However this commentary reminded me of how the global warming debate has begun to sound more like a religious battle than a scientific discussion.

 “The Weather Channel’s (TWC) Heidi Cullen, who hosts the weekly global warming program “The Climate Code,” is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their “Seal of Approval” for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe”.

Percy Saltzman: First TV Weatherman Gone at 91

January 19, 2007

Percy Saltzman, Canada’s first TV weatherman died in Toronto on Monday at the age of 91.

When I was living in Toronto in the late 50’s and going to technical school TV was live. What you saw was what you got – no taping. If a mistake was made in front of the cameras you carried on and lived with it.

Saltzman became more than just the CBC weatherman, although that job made him at least a local celebrity. He also moved into the area of doing interviews of celebrities etc.

One interview has always stuck with me although for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the singer he was interviewing.

Percy always wore horn rim glasses on camera  He and the singer were sitting side by side on stools doing a very casual interview, no fancy props or anything. She reached over and hooked her finger through his glass frames and asked him why he was wearing the glasses when there were no lenses in them. Percy looked slightly embarrassed and said that the powers that be thought it made him look more intellectual or something. And the interview carried on.

It was just another fun moment in live TV.

Speaking of that era, I also remember watching a little half hour show on CBC in Toronto featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Davis must have been playing a club or appearing somewhere in the area and he did the complete show on his own. As I recall, pretty much a bare stage and he sang, danced and even did the commercials. I don’t recall anyone else being on the stage. It was a one-shot deal. I thought it was great, but at the time never realized how truly unique that performance was. It would have never been taped. Pity.