By Alan Gottlieb

Canada’s long-ruling Liberal government, now headed by Prime Minister Paul Martin, has lately been blaming the United States for a dramatic increase in violent crime up north.

There’s plenty of blame to spread around, but it all belongs north of the border. The problem isn’t Americans illegally running guns to Canada, but Canadian criminals illegally importing guns from wherever they can get them. Blaming the United States for Canadian crime is an argument that does not pass the smell test. Canada’s experience has simply demonstrated that no matter what kind of gun control law a government passes, that law is doomed to failure because instead of keeping guns out of the wrong hands, the law disarms the wrong people.

Canada’s gun control scheme has not just failed, it has failed disastrously. Clear evidence of that can be found in a comparison of the crime rates for Canada and the U.S. While advocates of Canada’s type of restrictive gun laws will play with raw figures and show how many more homicides there might be in such cities as Chicago or Miami or Detroit than there are in Toronto, the real story is found by comparing the per capita crime rates. Do that, and you will discover that Canada’s crime rate is skyrocketing while down in the states, overall crime is declining.

The situation is so bad that in the Jan. 3 edition of Canada’s National Post, writer David Frum startled readers by revealing that “Canada’s overall crime rate is now 50% higher than the crime rate in the United States.” He further noted, “Since the early 1990s, crime rates have dropped in 48 of the 50 states and 80% of American cities. Over that same period, crime rates have risen in six of the 10 Canadian provinces and in seven of Canada’s 10 biggest cities.”

Look at the most recent complete data available from both countries. In 2003, the violent crime rate in the United States was 475 per 100,000 population, while up north, there were 963 violent crimes per 100,000 population. The figure for sexual assault in Canada per 100,000 population was more than double that of the United States, 74 as opposed to 32.1, and the assault rate in Canada was also more than twice that of the states, 746 to our 295 for the population rate.

The situation hasn’t improved for Canada while it has for the United States. Toronto had 78 murders in 2005, according to Frum, which represents a 28 percent increase in homicide since 1995.

By no small coincidence, this shift in crime rates between the two countries has, for the past several years, occurred while dozens of U.S. states have adopted so-called “right-to-carry” and “shall-issue” handgun laws. During the same period, Canada’s gun laws have gotten more restrictive, with the national gun registry – a deadly billion-dollar boondoggle – being incompetently implemented. It didn’t save four Mounties in Alberta last year, or scores of Toronto residents. And now Mr. Martin has declared he will push to ban private handgun ownership, further demonstrating that, given the opportunity, a Liberal would rather impair the liberty of law-abiding citizens than imprison criminals.

While Canada has clamped down on its citizens’ gun rights, American citizens have been empowered against criminals by passage concealed carry laws. The disparity in crime rates between the two countries says it all about how well gun registration works to stop crime, as opposed to actually carrying guns to deter criminals, and fight back if necessary.

Since declaring war on guns under former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Canada’s Liberals have presided over the sharpest rise in violent crime in the nation’s history. There are more rapes, more robberies and more murders. If that tells Canadian citizens anything at all, it’s that Paul Martin and his Liberals have literally been “dead wrong” on guns and crime reduction.

Frum said it best when he noted that “Gun registration and gun bans…do not work,” adding later, “It is not guns from across the border that threaten Canadians. It is the weak and cynical policies of home-grown politicians, and especially the Chretien/Martin Liberals.”

Martin and the Liberals are not the solution to violent crime in Canada. They’re the problem.