Politicians, Moose, and Terrorists

Social media memes have a tendency of pitting polarized views against each other, and then to sit back and watch the drama unfold.  The problem with that is that there’s usually just enough fact from both sides to merit a spirited discussion.  Take for instance this meme about moose in Canada and terrorists in Canada.

Moose, Terrorists, and Politicians

If you’re not familiar with how big a moose can be, here are a couple important moose facts you need to know:  A male moose, on average, weighs over 550 kg (1200 lbs), and a female moose, on average, weights over 400 kg (880 lbs).

According to statistics, female moose kill more people in Canada than any other animal including the number of people killed by grizzly bears.  In fact, information from Statistics Canada states that moose are up to ten times more likely to be in animal-vehicle collisions than bears.

But what happens when a moose and a vehicle collide?  Surely it’s not that dangerous to the person or persons in the car.

Well, the person in the car needs to know that moose are involved in about 4 percent of traffic fatalities in Canada every year.

If the vehicle involved in the crash is a motorcycle instead of a car or a pick-up truck, the chances of it being fatal increases by a rate of thirty-five times … but that’s pretty much to be expected when a full-grown male moose clocks in at around 1,200 pounds and a full-grown female moose clocks in at around 900 pounds.

Over a six month period in Saskatchewan and Alberta, there were 7 fatalities recorded that were related to moose-vehicle collisions.  There were another 2 reported in the very small province of New Brunswick.

But those aren’t the only instances where moose and humans collided, and where deaths were the result of those interactions.

Let’s look at fatalities as a result of moose-vehicle collisions.

In B.C., from 2009 to 2013, there were 11 fatalities.  In Alberta, from 2012 to 2013, there were 4 fatalities.  In Saskatchewan, from 2012 to 2013, there were 3 deaths.  In Ontario, from 2007 to 2011, there were 13 fatalities.

So in just half of the country, in the space of a few years, there were over 30 deaths as a result of moose-vehicle collisions.  Of course, we know that there were more in the other half of the country.  How do we know?  Because Statistics Canada stated that moose are involved in 4 percent of traffic fatalities in Canada every year.

Regarding terrorists, in 2010 Misbahuddin Ahmed of Ottawa was arrested (later convicted) of facilitating a terrorist activity.  No Canadians were injured.

In 2013, Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and Raed Jaser of Toronto were charged for the role they played in a plot to derail a New York to Toronto train.  No Canadians were injured.

Also in 2013, John Stewart Nuttall and Amanda Korody of Surrey (BC) were investigated, which thwarted an attempt to plant pressure-cooker bombs in the B.C. provincial legislature buildings.  No Canadians were injured.

In 2014, Martin Couture-Rouleau killed two Canadian Forces members in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelie (PQ).  Also in 2014, Michael Zeha-Bibeau from Quebec shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

This means that in 2014, three Canadians were killed to terrorists.

However, there is a long history of domestic terrorism in Canada.

Even before Confederation, terrorism was traced back to Canada with the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist group created in the 1858 by James Stephens in Dublin (Ireland) and John O’Mahony in New York City (New York, USA).  Members of this group were split on tactics to use, but they ran the gamut from supported assassination to more traditional war practices including conventional military battles.  In 1868, Thomas D’Arcy McGee was assassinated, and the Fenian Brotherhood was blamed for it.  They also failed in their invasion of Quebec in 1870 and the raid on Manitoba 1871 was an abysmal failure.

And back in 1923 there was the Sons of Freedom aka Freedomites, a radical splinter group that rejected anyone’s authority other than their own.  One of their most dangerous acts was the 1962 bombing of a power transmission tower in southeastern British Columbia.

And let’s not forget the FLQ (Front de Libération du Québec) who have owned up to committing 300 acts of terrorism in Canada since the 1960s, not the least of which included the kidnapping of British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec’s Labour Minister Pierre Laporte (who was subsequently murdered by his captors).

In 1966, Paul Joseph Chartier went to the House of Commons in Ottawa with his homemade bomb.  His intention was to kill as many MPs (Members of Parliament) as possible.

Direct Action had a short run in the 1980s that ended when five key members of the group known as the Squamish Five were arrested in 1983.  They pled guilty to the charges against them, and served prison terms.

In 1984, Denis Lortie intended to assassinate premier Rene Levesque.  Fortunately for many, he arrived at a time when the Quebec provincial legislative building only had a few people wandering about.  Unfortunately, he killed three employees and wounded thirteen other employees before surrendering to a Korean War vet who talked him down.

Do we need to take terrorism seriously?  Of course we do.

Do we need to take the possibility of terrorism seriously?  Of course we do.

Has terrorism always been a historical part of Canada’s past and present?  Of course it has been and continues to be.

Should we overreact and fall prey to hysteria and fear mongering about terrorism?  No one has been able to quantify what constitutes a reasonable level of caution regarding terrorism, so this question cannot be answered at this time.

Should Canadians be concerned about the passing of Bill C-51 also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015?  When a bill gives the police the power to arrest people without a warrant, that is something to closely scrutinize.

Should we worry about how dangerous moose are when driving along Canadian highways?  It’s always a good idea to be aware of any wildlife that may choose to dart out from either side of the road and into the path of fast-moving traffic.

Elyse Bruce


Canadian Security Intelligence Service

Canadian Disaster Database

House Of Commons of Canada: Bill C-51


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