Keeping us safe from, ahem, something:
The Department of National Defence confirmed Thursday it has donated five six-wheeled armoured vehicles to police agencies since 2007 — a Grizzly armoured personnel carrier to Edmonton police in 2007; two Cougar armoured vehicles to the B.C. RCMP in 2010; and one Cougar each to the New Glasgow and Windsor, Ont., police in 2013.
“It’s like insurance,” New Glasgow police spokesman Const. Ken MacDonald said. “Our police force wants to prepare for anything we may encounter.”
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia has a population of 9,500 and is located two hours north of Halifax. You can pass it on the way to the PEI ferry. It's a town the size of a Toronto office block and it has an armoured personnel carrier sitting in the police station's garage. This begs a somewhat obvious question of the good constable: What exactly are you insuring against? Rowdy Japanese tourists? Islamist Anne of Green Gables fans? Drunken middle aged hockey players?
An APC would be regarded as over kill in Toronto. In Nova Scotia? Seriously? It should be noted that the town has an unusually high crime rate by national standards. New Glasgow has actually been voted the worst place in Canada to live. I take it that the people who reached that conclusion had never visited Hamilton, Ontario. This dubious distinction was likely reached by crunching the StasCan numbers in a particular way. The residents of the town, however, seem pretty upbeat.
Suffice it to say that the worst city in Canada is still better than most cities anywhere else. We leave the massive urban decay stuff to our older brethren to the south. Which bring up the contrast. There is a vague sort of logic in providing APCs in cities with very high violent crime rates. America's drug wars have generated an escalating arms race between police and drug gangs. If the criminals are walking around with AK-47s then yes, perhaps, the police must up their game too.
But does no one stop at any point and ask, in all seriousness, how the hell do civilians afford such powerful arsenals? That if America was to move toward reduced enforcement, decriminalization and finally legalization that these turf wars would gradually reduce and dissipate. That when it becomes necessary to even consider using military grade weaponry on civilian populations, not as an exception but as a routine act, it's time to start looking at root causes?
That's not bleeding heart liberalism, it's common sense. When a very similar country immediately to your north can somehow police its streets without warrior cops, the question becomes what the hell is the matter with your basic approach? The violence in Ferguson has deeper causes that incompetent cops and absurd government subsidy programs.
This brings us back to Canada. If there is a vague logic in having APCs in America's heartland, what logic is there in having them in the Maritimes? Unless New Glasgow is plagued by running gun battles in the streets, then why have them at all? The argument that such weaponry is an insurance policy is risible. Are the police either incapable or unwilling to do a very basic risk assessment? If not then anything goes.
How about an Apache attack helicopter? A nuclear submarine? Perhaps they might need a Leopard II tank? Because you never know what can happen. This is the same logic a paranoid relative once gave me as to why their son couldn't get a driver's license. Because he might get killed! Sure he might. But the chances of dying behind the wheel are way higher than the chances of a small Nova Scotia town needing an APC. Oh. And should the truly unforeseen arrive we have this thing, it's called the military. When they're not killing bad guys overseas they occasional help out during emergencies in Canada. If you ask nicely they'll even shovel the snow for you.