YUKON STRONG: Canadian journalism, guns and money

A look at how journalism, money, the Liberals and anti-gun coverage are all intertwined in Canada.

Canadians are a compassionate people. Whether it’s a battery boost with jumper cables in 40 below or a fundraiser for the Humboldt Broncos, we often leap at the chance to help each other out.  So, on the anniversary of the Quebec Mosque Shooting it’s natural for many of us to feel sympathy and sadness for the victims and families of this tragedy.

It’s also natural to feel fear.

Fear it could happen again. Fear that society continues to produce individuals who feel compelled to act out these sick fantasies.Unfortunately, there’s another disturbing dark side to this dynamic which has developed alongside this fear.

Lying about firearms for personal, political or financial gain

It’s disgusting. We’re talking about actual loss of life being reduced to political talking points for ad-clicks and political campaigns. The bias is perpetuated everywhere. It’s all about generating outrage now.

Disgraced civil servant Michael Wernick, tried to use fears surrounding firearms to take the spotlight off his own corruption during the SNC-Lavalin affair. Justin Trudeau famously donned a bullet proof vest during the last election in what some suspect was a campaign stunt. He also tweeted misinformation about basic firearms law in Canada.

Another little-known fact, Justin claims he had his firearms stolen from his country cottage.

“I was raised around guns, raised shooting, we have guns up at our country place, they were registered until they were stolen in a break in a few years ago, but it’s something that is part of my life.”

You know what Justin? I call BS.

Nothing in your personal demeanor nor public statements has remotely led me to believe you’d be anything but downright dangerous at a gun range. Rural crime is rampant. What kind of irresponsible person leaves firearms unattended at a country cottage? I’d like to see that RCMP report and proof you possess a firearms license.

Here’s what you know

Time for a challenge. No googling. Name a victim from the Quebec mosque shooting. How many were women? Men? Children? Name the town the shooting occurred in. Don’t feel bad if you failed, it’s not your fault. This sort of info takes effort to discover.

However, I’m willing to bet you know that an “assault weapon” was used for the crime. I bet you’re quite positive if “military style rifles” were banned, it never would have happened. Well Canada, here’s a heavy dose of reality for you: The Quebec mosque murders were committed with a handgun.

That’s right, what Bill Blair calls a “military style semi-automatic” was not used on any of the victims. While it’s true a legal, non-restricted rifle was brought to the scene, it jammed and was therefore never fired. Yet dozens of articles on this incident focus on the rifle and a need for it to be banned.

Canada’s anti-gun group published dozens of tweets over two hours on the 2020 anniversary of the shooting, two of which perpetuate the notion an “assault weapon” was to blame for the incident, despite the rifle not actually being used:

This second tweet is particularly egregious, claiming a subsequent suicide over a year later was the result of residual trauma caused by “these weapons”. While I’m truly sorry for her death, if she developed PTSD it went undiagnosed and untreated. This is not the fault of millions of Canadians who own and use firearms daily.

It’s not an isolated incident

The 1989 Quebec Polytechnique tragedy is Canada’s most infamous mass shooting. However, the Poly story has startling overlooked details. For starters, one of the victims was squarely pro-gun. Did she regret not being allowed to carry a pistol that fateful day? We’ll never know.

Thirty years later, Canada’s anti-gun lobby blames the Ruger Mini Ranch rifle for this shooting, calling it an “assault weapon”. But have a look, it’s not a big scary black rifle.

It’s a common hunting firearm.

the 30th anniversary also invites a rather large elephant into the room. Thousands and thousands of these rifles have been sold as non-restricted firearms in Canada since 1989 and no other mass shootings have occurred with one since.

Here’s another little-known Polytechnique fact mainstream media consistently fail to report: the Montreal coroner’s report explicitly states the choice of firearm was not a factor in the outcome of the shooting. From the conclusion, “He would probably have been able to achieve similar results even with a conventional hunting weapon, which itself is readily accessible.”

How does this support a ban on “assault weapons”? What is an assault weapon anyway? Nobody knows. It’s a malleable term designed to scare people which constantly changes over the years.

Fake gun news is rampant

In Canada, licensed gun owners involved in murder are exceedingly rare. 2018 shows 2.2 million PAL holders and 249 gun homicides. If we blame every gun homicide on legal owners and ignore gangs, we’re still talking less than 0.001 percent.

That’s a big problem for Canada’s anti-gun lobby. They frequently attack legal gun owners instead of criminals in an attempt to build the perception gun owners are ticking time bombs.

So, it’s unsurprising after some irresponsible reporting that Jack Wilson was labelled a “gunman who opened fire in a Texas church”. Except he wasn’t. He was a hero who saved lives.

It was eventually replaced after being nationally syndicated. Wilson and the author were not identified by name in the original piece. Is it plausible this info was deliberately omitted? Identifying Wilson personally in such an irresponsible piece of journalistic trash could have opened up a rather large defamation suit. More importantly, how did dozens of editors miss the error? Is anyone checking facts anymore? This article isn’t Global’s first transgression on firearms reporting.

Some problems with the narrative

Ban guns. Reduce murder.

If we distill anti-gun rhetoric, that’s the key narrative pushed by Twitter activists, lobbyists and politicians. It’s frighteningly simple logic. But some of history’s largest lies have been easy pills to swallow.

Here are the “crown jewels” of Canadian firearms data: StatsCan homicide rates cross-referenced with RCMP firearms commissioner reports. It’s the heart of the matter. The number of guns and the number of deaths.

The evidence is straightforward: More guns, does not equal more murder in Canada.

Data from Statistics Canada.

Clearly, the last decade shows handgun and restricted rifle ownership has absolutely skyrocketed, yet gun homicide did not follow suit.

Documented Bias From CBC

Now that we’ve looked at numbers, let’s examine what’s being presented to Canadians. It’s not pretty. The previously mentioned Global article is only a small part of a much larger pattern of hit pieces Canadian outlets have been pushing lately. In addition to articles, we’re getting federally funded documentaries complete with scary music and star members of the anti-gun lobby paraded front and center.

A recent study of over 900 articles published by CBC in 2018, which discussed firearms, revealed a pattern of anti-gun bias. Nine hundred. That’s nearly three a day. Furthermore, within articles showing clear directional bias, a three to one ratio exists of consistent phrasing and language in favor of further gun control.

From the CCFR report.
From the CCFR report.

It doesn’t end there either. CBC consistently references incidents and statistics from the United States to misrepresent the potential replication of American issues in Canada. A prime example is fear surrounding the infamous AR-15.

Canadians are often shocked to learn the AR-15 has never been used by a legal gun owner in our country for homicide. In fact, over the last 50 years Canada saw only one murder involving this rifle: a gang hit, illegally obtained.

Why are we discussing a ban on firearms involved in only one murder?

There are other more subtle forms of bias out there too. Here’s an extremely rare article from Global suggesting the notion of a gun ban is misguided, but articles like this often don’t see the front page which results in fewer Canadians left with a balanced perspective.

So what’s the motive?

At many of our oldest news outlets, it seems quality journalism is drying up. Fact-based reporting has been replaced with a tsunami of emotional manipulation to politically weaponize almost every issue on the planet. Arguably, firearms have become the epicenter of the maelstrom.

I suspect the primary culprits are money and fear. It’s quite profitable for outlets to push bias and outrage via inflammatory articles. Demonizing gun ownership invites millions of gun owners to show up and defend themselves. Arguments on social media and comment sections break out between gun owners and biased or uniformed Canadians. This leads to more clicks, shares and engagement, which means ad revenue. In addition, we’re seeing the socialization of many Canadian media outlets. There are federal grants to be had for staying “on message” with the Liberal government.