Winnipeg versus Edmonton

Written by Harold McNeill on November 6th, 2011. Posted in Editorials


Killerpeg

Murder Capitals of Canada?

November 5, 2011: Tonight, CTV Global National broadcast a legthy segment about Winnipeg being the Murder Capital of Canada.  Not long ago, Edmonton was tagged with that dubious distinction in a Globe and Mail article titled, “Deadmonton”.  Each month another city, perhaps Vancouver, Surrey, Toronto, London, Montreal, etc., have been tagged wtih similar headlines.

Even little old Oak Bay, (population 18,000), where I completed my policing career, could have been tagged as Canada’s “Murder Central” when, in 2007, five people died in a murder-suicide. For well over two years following, the media disceted that tragic event from every possible angle.

While even one murder is tragic, does that particular type of death deserve the TV minutes (and hours) and Newspaper column inches, it is given? Check the following Statistics Canada “Death List for 2008 and consider your risk factors:

Cancer……………………..70,568 (Lungs, Colorectal, Breast, Pancreas, Prostate, etc.)
Cardiovascular……………69,648 (Heart Disease, Cerebriovascular, Heart Failure,  etc)
Other Disease……………40,270 (Alzheimer, Diabetes, Kidney, Liver, etc.)
Respiratory……………….20,728 (Pneumonia, Influenza, etc.)
Mental Health…………….11,535 (Dementia, Depression, Schizoprenia, Bipolar, etc.)
Accidents………………….10,234 (Transport 2,848; Non-transport 7,294)
Infectious Disease………..4,796 (TB, Whooping Cough, Hepatitis, Intestinal, etc.)
Other Medical………………3,756 (Medical Complications, Pregnancy, Congenital, etc.)
Suicide  Suffocation……….1,678
Suicide Poison……………….935
Undetermined Cause……….685
Suicide Firearms……………..518
Suicide Jumpers……………..200

Struck  by Lightening……….160 – 190 (my addition from Web Search)

Killed by Stabbing…………..183
Killed by Shooting…………..167
Killed by Clubbing…………….31
Killed by Police……………….16
Killed by Terrorist……………..0 (25 year average)
Wounded by Terrorist………..0 (25 year average)

On that list, what do you consider to be your greatest risks?  Does it include murder or terrorism? Even if you choose to place murder on your list, Winnipeg consider this – the majority of murders are committed by criminals killing criminals (often drug and gang related), or relational (family members killing family members, as in Oak Bay), along with with occasional work place and rage related cases (e.g. mental health issues) rounding out the list.

If you are not a gang member or drug dealer, nor involved in an abusive relationship, not having an extramarital affair or otherwise cheating on a signifcant other; you generally experience good employer/employee relationships and are not given to fits of rage, there is little chance of your being murdered. The remaining few, include a stranger killing stranger as might happen in a rape, kidnapping, or robbery.

It is not my intention to downplay the tragic effects murder has upon the families those hurt by crime, I am just trying put the relative danger into perspective. From the Stats Can you can see that the great majority of dangers we face have nothing to do with crime or terrorism.

To best protect yourself when travelling to Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina, Toronto, Montreal or any other city or town in Canada for pleasure or business purposes, consider the following; Do not smoke and if you drink, or smoke the occasional joint, do so with moderation; When on the road, make sure to spend time exercising and eating properly; When driving, do up your seatbelt and, importantly, do not talk or text on your cell phone; If you get stopped for a traffic violation, do not deliberately bait the police officer and do not try to run; But, when walking, take care to look both ways before crossing the street and when pub hopping, be discriminating with those bar hook-ups.

An untimely death attributed to your failure to take these basic precautions makes you hundreds of times more likely to suffer a premature death than being murdered or seriously hurt by a criminal action on any one of the thousands of ‘safe streets and communities’ across Canada. Is that not a neat little phrase I picked up somewhere?

Now, when traveling by air and going through Canada’s Homeland Security and made to take off your glasses, shoes, empty your pockets, open your lap top, turn on your cell phone,Road Runner remove your belt, prosthetic arm or leg; given an electronic pat down or a full body scan; have your penknife, double sharpe, packaged toothpick, water bottle, knitting needles, fingernail clipper and scissors confiscated as well as each pill bottle closely scrutinized just as you see a bearded fellow wearing a turban boarding the aircraft, please don’t get all upset and fear for your life.

Cartoon (from FB Post of Marilyn Jeffrey – Richard Wyland). The Road Runner will eventually appear in various Police Notebook stories. 

Remember, it is thousands of times more likely2 that you would have been struck by lightening3 as you walked across the airport parking lot than being killed or injured on the flight you are about to take. When was the last time you worried about being hit by a lightening in an airport parking lot?

Fear of being murdered, raped, robbed, attacked by a crazed drug addict or blown up in a terrorist attack is created almost entirely through media, business and government hype4 that has no relationship too any clear and present danger. Rather than worrying about those things you are better to use the time to create a healthy lifestyle by eating and excercising properly – it could very well add years to your life and, at the same time, make your life much more fulfilling.

Harold McNeill

1. Statistics Canada “Ways to Die” pulled from National Post article of November 5, 2011.

2. The Top 8 killers of Canadians take 231,700 lives every year, the equivalent of 1,550 Boeing 727s, each filled to a capacity of 150, dropping out of the sky. Few headlines will be given to those deaths. Imagine now that just one of those airplanes was taken down by an terrorist bomb. Our society would be shaken to the very core and the case would create headlines for decades to come. In addition, trillions would spent in preventative measures.

3. Struck by Lightening: The Curious World of Probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal (Harper Collins, 2005).

4. Daily you seen samples of media hype. For a sample of political party hype read the next post: “Politics of Fear“.

Ways to Die

National Post

Homicides in Major Cities

City Murders

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.