The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) today released a Commentary, Myths and Urban Legends concerning Crime in Canada, written by Ian Lee, PhD, Associate Professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business.

Responding to the "angry and sustained response from criminologists" to MLI's February study Why Canadian crime statistics do not add up:  not the whole truth by Scott Newark , Lee addresses three policy issues debated by Parliament and the public over the last three years:

1. Is violent crime increasing or decreasing in Canada and on whom and where in Canada does it fall?

2. Does Canada incarcerate large numbers of offenders, as is often claimed – and "large" relative to what benchmark: total number of crimes committed or the Canadian population or some other country?

3. Are Canadian governments spending a large and increasing amount on incarceration – and "large" relative to what benchmark: – total federal spending, total government spending, or something else?

In his research, Lee highlights empirical data on these questions from such sources as Statistics Canada, Corrections Canada, Department of Public Safety, Public Works and Government Services Canada and Treasury Board.

Lee says "Canadians from all walks of life should be encouraged and allowed to participate in the crime debate with all relevant data, without fear of condemnation from criminologists who have appropriated the debate to themselves."

Also see this Commentary in the National Post