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

  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.