You see kids? Fear works

Not even your iPod is safe from the socialist-pinko-crypto-sovereigntist coalition


So I was all set to go out and buy for my poor, young Justin Bieber-afflicted cousin last week when I thought, ‘Hey! Why don’t I just take a quick looksie at the Conservative Party of Canada website before I go out. Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally get to see Jason Kenney arms deep in a bucket of eggnog.’ Alas, there was no such thing (such a prude, that Jason), but I found something much scarier: THE IPOD TAX.

Yuletide cheer apparently hasn’t gotten the better of the Conservative Party. Just the opposite: it seems the Christmas season is an ideal time for the kind of minor-key, hardtack fear campaign one misses so much between elections. Have a listen to this if you feel like laughing and/or vomiting.

Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, They all back the coalition, and now they all back an iPod tax. That’s right! An iPod tax: a brand new tax that will have you paying up to $75 more for iPods, smart phones, personal video recorders, MP3 players, and just about anything with a hard drive. The iPod tax: it’s just the beginning of the coalition’s high tax agenda.

That’s right, kids: Not even your iPod is safe from the  socialist-pinko-crypto-sovereigntist coalition, the very one that will keep criminals out of jail, legislate the flowing of free drugs into the veins of addicts and force you to register your guns with the government. The streets will flow with blood of innocents. Your cousin will be Bieber-less at Christmas. Want to avoid all this? Vote Conservative. You’re welcome.

Never mind that the iPod thingy is hogwash, or that labelling the Libs-Dipps-Bloc parties as a coalition is equally as dubious. What’s fascinating about this commercial is that it is indicative of a government that believes no issue is too small, no target is too lowly for fear-mongering. And you know what? It’s been working all along.

Check this if you don’t believe me. According to Ipsos, some 67 percent of Canadians believe the Conservative government has a solid record on crime, a good-news story for the government in a decidedly mixed year-end assessment. The Cons added the meat to its potatoes by scoring well on ‘bolstering the military’ (73 percent) and Afghanistan (71 percent). Now, I’m sure the government has oodles of numbers to back up their rep on military spending and Afghanistan, and therefore merit the kudos. But crime? The Cons earned that rep the old-fashioned way: through fear.

As was noted in this corner a while back, crime rates have nosedived by about 17 percent in the last decade or so, meaning the country has become demonstrably safer since well before Harper et crew took over. Faced with this pesky detail, Stockwell Day and Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu instead attacked the source, saying there was a corresponding swell in crime going unreported. Here was Gohier’s take on Day’s contorted logic: “The problem with the current system is that it doesn’t punish crimes we’re not entirely sure are happening severely enough. That’s why the crime rate is so high, even though it’s not, but it would be if people reported all the crimes that are taking place.” (Also, read Geddes’ damning take on the Cons’ plan to build more prisons here.)

Or perhaps you like your fear-mongering with a dash of paranoia? Try Senator Boisvenu’s dark mutterings last July: “Someone, somewhere, is manipulating the numbers.”

There’s a solution to all this, of course. Stay inside and vote Conservative if you love freedom… and your iPod.

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You see kids? Fear works

  1. There was a time when I could smugly look south and think to myself "well at least we're better than *that* lot".

    And while Harper's PMO didn't create the climate, they certainly have perfected the "art". Wonderful use of taxpayer money there PMO!

  2. Drill deeper into the Statistics Canada crime rate reports (linked to in the press release to which Martin links), and here is what lies behind the "nosedive" in crime rates over the last decade (see Table 2 here –… murder up 2%; attempted murder up 6%; aggravated assault up 30%; assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm up 29%.

    • Your link isn't working. In the meantime, what dates are you comparing to come up with those increases?

      • I note now that this comparison is based on 1999-2009. Interesting that in 1999 the homicide rate hit it's lowest point EVER at 1.58 homicides per 100,000 people. It's true that this rate is now about 1.8 per 100,000, but that's still lower than in any year from the 1970s until 1997, and lower too than the most recent peak in 2005. In fact, while the homicide rate may have increased 2% (from it's all-time low) over the period from 1999-2009, the 2009 rate is still lower than it was in all but 7 of the previous 35 years.

        As far as I'm concerned, as long as our homicide rate is in the Belgium-France range of 1.5-2.0 per 100,000 and not in the United States to Turkey range of 5-6.5 per 100,000 I think I'll be able to keep my fear in check.

        In short, basing an argument that crime is increasing on numbers that conveniently begin in the year in which the crime rate in Canada hit a 20 year low, might not be the most convincing argument one can make.

        • a 20 year low, huh
          who was the right wing law n order PM at the time?

        • Oh goodness, and let's not even start on how many violent crimes (spousal abuse, child abuse, murder) are perpetuated by people who are known to the victims. Gang violence for example, primarily affects members of gangs (yes, there are exceptions like Jane Creba, but those are few and far between) Someone should see what happens when those statistics are removed from the mix, so that we can get a sense of just how afraid we should be of violent, random crime (home invasions, rapes, murders, etc.) I fear very little from the criminal element of this country – I have few possessions worth stealing, I don't frequent bars much (and thereby don't get stabbed in bar fights), I exist in a non-violent relationship with my spouse, and I don't associate with criminal elements, including gangs. So, the actual opportunity for me to become a victim of random crime is quite low – not impossible, but quite improbable. I am more likely to die from a car accident or falling down the stairs.

    • your link did not work for me

    • True…but total violent crime in the same period is down by 9%. Additionally, it's important to look at the annual data to ascertain trend vs. a blip. Sexual assault is down significantly. Robbery is down. But certainly I find the aggravated assault states troublesome.

      • But the source man, how can you trust the source!
        Or in easy-to-understand CON talking point: Ooghitaboogita!

        • Harper: "Damn that StatsCan! Why can't they just magically pull figures out of the air to back our claims?"
          Day: "I know! I mean, there's gotta be a way to collect stats on unreported crime!"
          Clement: "Well, I suppose we could send out a voluntary questionnaire or something. Maybe post one of those web survey thingies on the CPC web page and let the faithful click to their hearts' content…"

  3. From the article:
    "Instead, the Liberals say they would like to use federal funds to compensate artists for illegal downloads, as opposed to a tax on consumers."

    Federal funds ARE TAXES!
    So lets just tax a little old lady who has no clue what an ipod, or an illegal download is.
    Martin you are a MORON!

    • If she buys an ipod, then she pays a fee, or a tax, or whatever. Artist gets compensated.

      But feel free to insult me, if you like.

      • That's NOT what it said…………………..they are to use Federal Funds. That is code for taxes already collected, and it does not matter where those taxes were collected from. Hence the little old lady will support artists in a round about way and she never had to purchace an ipod! She may have bought cat food.
        Is this so hard to see???

        • Wait, either it's an Ipod tax, which turns into federa funds…

          Or it's not. I thought you were all freakeed out about the Ipod tax. Now you'd prefer she pay a direct tax? Are you so confused you lose your place in the talking points from post to post?

          • Actually, I don't want her to pay any tax for reimbursement for any so called pirating of music that she is innocent of! Where does it all stop? The worst offenders are the resellers of used CD's. Don't you think those poor artists are losing revenue everytime a CD is recycled through one of those outlets? The ipod tax will turn into Federal Funds of course, but then the intended target is missed and everyone ends up paying including the cat food buyer. A lot of people, like myself BUY the CD then copy it to other formats, as some of us still have the old cassette decks in our older vehicles. I already gave the artist my money, so you are OK with them getting more? Who will make sure that Nickleback gets their millions and Nana Mouskuri (SP) gets her buck fifty? Easy to spout Liberal BS, but we need some hard answers!

          • It should be noted that under the Conservative's proposed Bill C32, copying that CD would be illegal as a result of the TPM (or 'digital lock') that would, no doubt, be placed on the CD.

          • More unreported crimes… There's a dastardly CON circle if i ever saw one…

          • "The worst offenders are the resellers of used CD's"
            "A lot of people, like myself BUY the CD then copy it to other formats."

            Really? Not to be facetious or anything, but do you really, honestly believe that used cd's are a bigger source of stolen music and unpaid royalties than downloading?

          • Reselling used CDs is no different than reselling a used book. It keeps them out of the landfill, and someone else gets to enjoy them. The new purchaser may discover a new (to them) artist, and then go out and buy new songs which then gives the artist royalties that otherwise would not have come their way.

            The issue is more the ease with which mp3s and other electronic files are shared for free with thousands of others via the internet. Far more royalties are lost that way than from the sale of used CDs (or cassettes or vinyl… or the odd 8-track, for those with long memories &/or pack-rat-like hoarding behaviours).

            Rob Shift is right; the CPC's proposed bill is insidious in nature, and the proposed penalties would make it a geater crime to make copies of music you already purchased legally than to go into a store and shoplift the CD.

          • "Really? Not to be facetious or anything, but do you really, honestly believe that used cd's are a bigger source of stolen music and unpaid royalties than downloading? "

            No. If a tax or subsidy to the artists must be implemented, I'm just trying to shift the collection of taxes for these artists from the lady buying cat food to where the problem actually is born. Namely download sites, used shops, etc. It would even be better if the music companies that reap dividends from the artists they promote to actually give them more than a few cents for each CD containing THEIR music, instead of making taxpayers cough it up. None of this even matters to me. I will never buy the latest thing in mobile music anyway, and if I like someones music, I simply buy it and play it on my home system. But of course, with Liberals, it is never the root cause of problems that they try to resolve, just make everyone pay and it will all work out in the wash. Much easier that way!

          • But of course, with Liberals, it is never the root cause of problems that they try to resolve, just make everyone pay and it will all work out in the wash. Much easier that way!

            But its the Conservatives that are criminalising your usage behaviours. Are you not upset about that at all? You don't care at all that they will make it illegal (by virtue of TPM) for you to format shift your CD, or create a backup of your DVD collection?

            I mean, I don't particularly like the proposal that is being advocated by the Bloc Quebecios (less by the NDP and Liberals) regarding the so called 'iPod Tax'. But I don't like that the Government is completely misrepresenting the dollar amount (the Opposition is suggesting something in the range of $25 not $75). And, I really don't like being told what I can and can't do which my purchases once I've paid for them.

            Even if the iPod tax is complete waste of time won't help the people who really need help, all things considered, having to pay $25 for an iPod is nowhere near as aggravating as being told that I don't own something that I've paid for.

          • Not very pleased about that as well!
            I suspect some hacking software will make the copyguard a moot point, no?

          • No. Bill C32 criminalises breaking technical protection measures. It makes it illegal to circumvent, even for personal use.

  4. So the CPC is "lying" about the Liberal party position on Ipod taxes.

    Boo freaking hoo.

    How many times have we been lied to by the Liberal Party about the Conservative agenda, while the media just sat back and let it happen with no questions asked?

    So why are we still allowed to have unrestricted access to on demand abortions? Belinda Stronach went on Mike Duffy Live to tell us all how she had seen the email that the Conservatives would bring forward changes to the abortion laws, despite a clear policy plank in the CPC platform that there would be no abortion changes? Well? It's been 5 years. Where is it? Where are the changes?

    So why didn't we hear a peep from the media then about how the Liberal party was spreading a pack of lies about the abortion policies of the Conservatives? Why are the media so anxious to jump on board and defend the Liberal party from these supposedly false claims while they left the Conservatives to fend for themselves against frivolous charges that they would restrict abortion?

    • Liberal media bias! Yell it from the roof tops loud enough and it becomes accepted wisdom, rather like cons have a solid rational record on crime.

      'A lie is halfway around the world before truth even has its boots on.'
      Mark Twain

    • You know, I get a lot of the "It's OK for us to do X because the Liberals have done it in the past", and "It's not a problem that we did Y, the Liberals used to do Y all the time" arguments. However, did you seriously just try to expand that all the way to "It's all right for the Tories to tell a bald-faced lie, because we suspect the Liberals may have done that in the past too"?!?!?

      For a party (and her supporters) who used to be all about increased transparency and accountability, conservatives sure do tend to whine a lot about being held to a higher standard of transparency and accountability than their predecessors were. It's as if what they were really running on all this time was the need for increased transparency and accountability from Liberal (and ONLY Liberal) governments.

      • 'The Liberals were no better.'

        'Liberal media bias!''

        Two of the most convenient excuses to explain away bad Conservative behaviour. They also happen to be the most successful, unfortunately.

      • No.

        I want to know why the media only sees fit to defend the Liberal Party against this stuff.

        You (meaning the media) are either against political parties lying about each other's policies or you accept it as a part of politics. You are either willing to jump in to the fray help the parties dispel such lies, or you stay out of it and let them fend for themselves.

        But what you can't do if you pretend to be objective is change the rules of that game once the shoe is on the other foot.

        • Well, I knew that the Conservatives said that they didn't have any plans to introduce changes to abortion laws. Who told me this? The media did… several times, in fact, usually in the face of Liberal accusations to the contrary.

          I think the media does a pretty good job of pointing out all the parties' inconsistencies.

      • It's also worth noting the most effective "hidden agenda" arguments that the Libs used were the ones that Stock Day and Harper wouldn't take a stand on. If the Libs say you're anti-abortion, say "We are unequivocally fora woman's right to choose", if you are. People will probably believe you. If you want restrictions on abortion, say what they are. Don't say "we won't be addressing abortion within timeframe X", then cry because you get painted as hiding something.

    • "So why are we still allowed to have unrestricted access to on demand abortions?"
      not in New Brunswick.

      • This is a little old, but I haven't heard that this situation has changed recently: "In New Brunswick, she has to get approval from 2 doctors before she can get a publicly funded abortion in a hospital — unless she can afford the $400 to $700 charged for an abortion in the province's single clinic in Fredericton"

        • My impression is that the law may be unconstiutional but nobody has challenged it. Since it would cost more than $700 and much longer than 9 months to take the matter to the supreme court, people are going to get pushed in that direction.

  5. What a load of rubbish!!!
    From the statscan site: "It is also possible that increases in insurance deductibles have resulted in fewer incidents being reported to police "
    Mine went from $250 to $2,500 after the last break-in. Content polices in my neighbourhood went up 25% last year after having crept up 2-3%/yr. the last 15 years. A friend had his van broken into three times last year while in secure underground parking with a CCTV. The cost of replacing the window was just under his deductible and the items stolen not covered so why make a claim?

    • You can't report a crime to the police without making an insurance claim? If that's so, isn't THAT the problem?

      • Had my car stolen a couple of weeks ago. At no time did the police say to me "you must now contact your insurance company, or i shall be forced to hang up on you".

        On the plus side, the car got dumped in a subway parking lot the same day. No damage, jist a couple of bucks stolen from the parking change. Cops found it on routine patrol, about the same time I got home to notice it missing. Guess the hoodlums didn't appreciate the state of the art tape-player.

        So, no call to the insurance company. Sorry, Leo. My anecdote is also more entertaining than yours.

        • Glad you got your car back :-) BUT you are missing the point – your whole car was stolen. Had they just taken your parking change and say an old leather jacket, would you have bothered calling the police?

          • Perhaps you are missing the point? Harper wants to spend billions on new prisons to accomodate longer sentences. And their "defence" boils down to unreported crimes like you mention above – stealing some spare change and perhaps an old leather jacket.

          • So where is the tipping point? The best example is the DTES where the VPD know of over 300 petty criminals/drug addicts who have been arrested 50 times. They are in and out, their lawyers paid for out of tax dollars, only to be right back at it again. The case of the Chinese grocer in Toronto also comes to mind.

          • Fair enough, but if it's not worth it for you to call the police then I would argue it's not worth the cost of throwing someone in jail for it either. Unless the idea is that we need to crack down hard on crimes that the victims don't really care about.

          • Happened to me last summer. And I did contact the police. Why? 'Cause it took me all of 10 minutes and it's the right thing to do.

            Didn't contact my insurance company though…the window replacement was less than my deductible…very annoying.

          • Plus, the insurance companies, licensed extortionists that they are, would have jacked your rates to recover the cost several times over. I'd be far more likely to report something to the police than to the insurance company. Not, from my experience, that they will do anything more than take a report unless you're a merchant or blood is drawn…

      • You can't make a claim without a police report/file#, thus the need to contact the poloice. If your deductible is more than the value of the stolen items and/or your cost to insure goes up with a claim, many people do not bother. In my case, should I have another break-in I could not get insurance without installing an alarm system.

        Your right, it is a problem because the stats will not be accurate. Personally, I would still report the crime as my local RCMP are very user friendly and only three blocks away.

        • You can't make an insurance claim without filing a police report, sure, but you don't need to file an insurance claim to file a police report. Your point seemed to be that crimes are being reported less because people don't want to pay the deductible, but you're more than free to report the crime and leave your insurance company out of it.

          • Many people do not bother. Prehaps the Chen case is the better example since it received so much media attention.

            Is jail time the answer? Who knows – maybe a 'wall of shame' with their photograph and stats.

          • Still, I don't get the larger "we need to crack down on crime because people aren't always reporting crimes" argument. If the crime is deemed insufficient enough by the victim that they don't bother reporting it, I'm not sure we need to crack down on it.

    • I sometimes wonder if not reporting crime is a societal thing.
      Are the people not reporting crime the same people who can't be bothered to politically engage, and perform their civic duty and vote? Is there a link between (the ever increasing number of) people who think voting won't change anything and isn't worth the damned bother, and people who think reporting crime is the same thing?

      • And when you don't report crime, how exactly does that help the police know where there's lots of activity?

        You're actually doing a disservice to your community.

        In fact, you're letting criminals get away with no punishment. You're hugging the thugs!

        • My parents' home was broken into while they were out of town. I noticed something fishy when I called their answering machine to pick up their messages for them and kept getting a busy signal. So I head over and check it out: Back door wide open, snow blowing into stairs to basement, house ransacked, phone off hook. I call cops. They come. They fill out report and predict the stuff taken has likely long been sold for the junkie fix, there will be no investigation (except for running MY name and date of birth through the database), and by the way here is the event code for my folks' insurance company.

          You tell me how the community was served by a scribbled report ending up in a file cabinet somewhere, never to be read again. Scratch that: the community must have slept better knowing there were no outstanding warrants against me…

          • Which is exactly why some people do not bother making a police report if there will be no insurance claim or hope of getting their stolen items back.

            My parents, after numerous break-ins, would leave a big note "nothing left of value to steal – please don't make a mess".

          • My experience with the police was quite good after a break-in at my former apartment. The thief didn't manage to steal anything because I was home that day and scared him off with my shouting, but the detective was still very thorough, as were the forensics experts. They took my break-in very seriously. Of course, no one was caught, but they were quite honest with me about the low prospect of catching the wannabe thief from the outset.

            I wonder if the difference in our experiences is a difference in the police forces? I did feel that the police did as much as they could to catch the junkie that broke into my place, even given the likelihood that they'd never catch him.

            I didn't bother calling my insurance because nothing was taken, and the landlord didn't want to call his insurance just to cover the cost of one window. I guess he figured that there was no point in actually getting robbed by the insurers.

    • The context for the argument about crime statistics increasing or decreasing is a Conservative plan to "get tough on crime" mainly with longer sentences. What possible relevance are unreported crimes? How are they addressed with sentencing legislation?

      • "That's why the crime rate is so high, even though it's not, but it would be if people reported all the crimes that are taking place.” This is what I was addressing, that even though the comment from Day sounds silly, there is some truth to it.

        As far as sentencing, with all the bloody gang shootings going on here in Vancouver, the least they can do is enforce the minimum sentence for packing/using a gun. It is a tool/law that should be used to put these useless scumbags behind bars.

        • Good thing the same government has decided to throw a wrench in stats gathering too… So we can gripe about unreported immigrants who are unreportedly on welfare while funding their unreported abortions!
          Harper, a man with a plan…

  6. The debate about crime statistics is really beside the point. Whether crime is going up or down, I think we can all agree that crime exists and it would good if there was less of it.

    The key point here is that Harper's crime bills will cost billions without any evidence or indication that they will decrease crime.

    • "The key point here is that Harper's crime bills will cost billions without any evidence or indication that they will decrease crime."

      The crime bills aren't about reducing crime, they're about votes. They're about painting the opposition as thug-huggers. The fact that so many people are being suckered by it baffles me to no end.

      • Exactly. The actual crime statistics are just a red herring.

  7. Tough on crime is an empty catchphrase.

    It doesn't achieve anything other than cost everyone a whole lot more. If wanting to save tax dollars for actual needs means I'm lax on crime, so be it, I don't mind that label one bit.

  8. Speaking of "fear@smear" isn't it about time MacLeans ran another cover story with PM Harper on the cover asking the specious question, "How scary is this man"? What is it about socialist – pinko – crypto – separatist coalition salesmen in the media that can dish it out, but apparently can't take it. Why can't the "Liberal/Separatist" coalition salesmen encrusted within the media let the "Liberals" and the Separatists fight their own battles ? I guess the media salesmen of the Liberal/Separatist coalition are far to used to having the bully pulpit all to themselves.

    • Having some trouble staying in character I see.

      • Ya' got me Richard… Merry Christmas!

  9. What a pile of rubbish that CPC iPod tax ad is. The BIG LIE in action. What a disgusting bunch of weasels.

  10. I have to admit I support the CPC, but not for the reasons that they fear monger. I was once called by them informing me that the recent by-elections made the coalition more likely than ever… I replied "oh I see." I wasn't at all convinced, and I felt like telling him to please not use that line again in the future (I didn't but wish I had).

    Ultimately though what either party says about each other won't determine my vote. It's just the typical political advertising. But I don't like having my intelligence insulted, and I'm sure neither do most Canadians. While I would never view the Liberals as a viable option, the CPC should be wary of a Tea Party-like sentiment that could drain their votes away.