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since June 19, 2001



Suicide in Alberta, Canada

July 1st 2000, Canada Day — Proud Canadians?

If we listen to the politicians who are gathering votes for the next elections and you believe them, maybe, but if we look at the reality of the inexorably escalating levels of suicides, vastly more males than females, suicides by thousands of people each year who woke up from the illusion of the "Canadian Dream" and found themselves unable to cope with reality, you are more inclined to think that we have little to be proud of.

Canada has become a deadly country for men and has been in the process of doing so ever since the end of the second World War.  It's just that now we've reached the point where that reality prevents us from dreaming on, although many people still insist that they can and that all of us should dream on with them.

In the greater Calgary region suicides are now the leading cause of death for boys and men in the age group 10 to 49, ahead of murder, ahead of traffic accidents, and ahead of all other causes of death in that age group.

This page contains criticism of information contained in an article that draws attention to the current epidemic of suicide of boys and men in the greater Calgary region in Alberta, Canada.  The information provided in the article was supplied by the Calgary Regional Health Authority (CRHA), whose officials seem to be unaware that the epidemic has been steadily growing over many years. 
   That is extremely disturbing and even frightening.  The epidemic of suicides in Calgary has a history of pronounced growth.  There is no indication that the growth of the epidemic of male suicides will abate at any time in the future. 

It appears that absolutely no plans are in the making to determine the fundamental causes of the enormous and sustained increases in male suicides of primarily boys and young men that began in the late 1950s.  Although the annual suicide rates slowed their growth a little in the late seventies, the epidemic of male suicides is still escalating and causes the number of annual victims to grow inexorably, in ever larger numbers, year after year. 

The open denial by the CRHA officials of the existence of an epidemic of male suicides prevents recognition that male suicide is a growing epidemic.  That denial prevents the creation of appropriate public concern and sentiment, required to create the will to do something about the problem.  Instead, the CRHA officials and others stated in effect that the problem of male suicides is just something that boys and men do, that it is a problem that has been prevalent all along in our society, in effect implying that the problem is the result of a defective gene – a flawed male characteristic, an outcome of "the macho thing."

That argument ignores the fact that it is extremely unlikely that there are any genetic pathologies in the gene pool of Canadians that could possibly have become so prevalent during the past four decades that boys and young men now kill themselves in numbers that are ten times larger than those that prevailed in the 1950s.

The officials of the CRHA and of other organizations are contemplating what appropriate Band-Aid solutions to find in their attempts to cope with what they mistakenly see as a consequnce of the nature of the human male.  Boys are fragile, they say, and don't mentione that fragile things must be handled with care, not with contempt and hatred, especially not fragile psyches.

    They are looking for Band-Aid solutions that are most appropriate to ease the pain of a patient for whom there is not really much to be done anyway other than to provide him with comfort and care.  They claim that they'll be involved in creating suicide intervention and education programs (obviously, none that work have been put into effect, and there is not even any funding for men's help lines, but there is no better cure for guilt than to keep busy).
    However, that would be somewhat like trying to help victims of the bubonic plague by providing clean beds and chicken soup instead of administering effective antibiotics and to identify that the fundamental cause of the bubonic plague are rats who are carriers, and that fleas transmit the disease from rats to people – no matter what remedies founded in superstitions the latter try to avoid contracting the disease.

The hate-propaganda campaign against all things male that began in the sixties can't be so extraordinarily effective that we now don't care anymore what kills our young men and boys in ever-increasing numbers, or is it?  Have the lives of men and boys become truly without value, without any redeeming qualities?  Have we no desire to determine, identify and eradicate the vectors of the deadly disease of suicide that is taking its toll on Canadian boys and men?

Let there be no one who has any illusions that what is happening in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is an isolated, local phenomenon.  Calgary is nothing but an indicator of a massive problem that affects all of Alberta, all of Canada, all of North America, all of the developed nations, all of the former communist countries, and perhaps every country in the world.  The graphs accessible through the links identified below provide clear evidence that the epidemic of male suicide is a pandemic and not localized,  However, as long as the attitudes shown by Alberta authorities prevail to the extent everywhere as they do in Alberta, it will be a long time before anything effective will be done to bring the problem into public view, let alone solve it.  Band Aids won't be sufficient for that.

Comparison of Suicide Rates — Canada vs. Alberta

An article from the Calgary Herald that brought the problem of the epidemic proportions of male suicides in Calgary to light is contained in the following (The text of the article is shown in the text boxes with blue background.)
As a result of an all-out sustained campaign of hate-propaganda against men that began in the sixties and continued unabated since then, male suicide became a prominent killer of men – predominantly of boys and young men – in the world.  For boys and young men it has become the leading cause of death in many localities.  Why should things be different in Calgary, Alberta, Canada?  Feminism is alive there as well as anywhere else!

Comments and graphs are inserted between the lines of the article shown below to clarify some of the statements contained therein.  It appears that the author of the article, unfortunately, did not get his information from the best possible source.  It is either that he had been deliberately misled or that the people in charge of an extremely important venture, the prevention of unprecedented numbers of suicides, are simply misinformed and therefore not qualified for their job.

Suicide leads death cause for males 10-49 years

Joe Woodard

Calgary Herald, April 22, 2000 p. B6

A tragic fact went almost unnoticed in the Health of the Calgary Region report, released by the CRHA in late March.
   The leading cause of death for males, aged 10-49 years, is suicide.  There were 109 suicides in the greater health region in 1998 and more than 80 per cent of them were males.
   For Calgary women, suicide does not register as a leading cause of death.  And for all men, including those over 50, it ranks only fifth, behind medical causes like heart disease and stroke.  But suicide so dominates the mortality of men under 49 that it robs more years from males, overall, than breast cancer robs from females.
   "Nobody's screaming about this," said Gerry Harrington, director of Calgary's Suicide Information and Education Centre.  "Nobody's screaming, if your boy dies before the age of 19, he'll likely have killed himself.  If your husband or father dies before he's 50, he'll likely have committed suicide.  So far, we haven't faced the problem."

It is curious that Gerry Harrington provided no comment on what solutions are appropriate to address one of the major causes of death for Calgary boys and men.  It would almost seem that what works to bring the plight of women to the public's attention should work for men and boys just as well.  Surely, there must be some funding to address the issue of lack of attention.  Is it possible that the deaths have to increase to even more disastrous proportions before anyone takes note that nothing is being done to remotely alleviate the fundamental causes of the problem? 

According to Calgary chief medical examiner's office, there were 96 suicides within city limits in 1998:
10-19 years:


20-29 years:


30-39 years:


40-49 years:


50-59 years:


60-69 years:


70+ years:


Of the 71 Calgary city suicides in the under-49 age range, 13 were females, while 58 - more than four times as many - were males.  All the suicides in the 10-19 age range were male.

Obviously, the problem isn't trivial.  How is it possible that the number of boys and men who kill themselves in Calgary can exceed the national total of women killed in "domestic" violence incidents without attracting national attention?  We manage to spend millions of dollars each year combating domestic violence against women and can't spend a few dollars to determine the motivating forces that cause a larger number of violent male deaths in just one Canadian city, let alone that the number of male suicides in all of Canada exceeds the number of women killed in domestic violence by a factor of fifty!

   Among adolescents, say the CRHA statistics[, s]uicide caused about 28 per cent of deaths, more than homicides (23 per cent) or auto collisions (19 percent).
   "Why males? That's the perennial question," said University of Calgary social work professor Richard Ramsay.  "We want to find the cause of suicide, when in reality, there's a whole gamut of causes.  Males are raised with the macho thing, they play with more lethal weapons, they have more severe teen identity crises, more sexual orientation issues."
   "Suicide is often related to clinical depression, substance abuse or personality disorder.  But at bottom, it's a relationship breakdown.  A boy whose girlfriend dumped him, a man in a divorce.  We're just not sensitive to male relationship issues.  We expect boys and men to be tougher than they are."

It seems hardly credible that people like Richard Ramsay keep asking the same question year after year and haven't come up with any answers yet. The problem with rapidly escalating suicide rates of Canadian males is not all all news.  It has been a tragic reality ever since Canadian service men returned in 1945, after risking their lives for family and country,  and found that the families they had been risking their lives for didn't exist any longer, or that there was no more room in them to accept the ostensible head of the family.
   The problem with male suicides escalated in about 1960.  It received new vigour with the changes to the Canadian Divorce Act in 1968.  It continued to grow unabatedly right until 1972, when the suicide rates matched the previous high reached during the height of the Great Depression in 1930.  It continued to grow and broke new records every year until the epidemic reached a peak in 1983, after which it abated somewhat before it began growing again in 1992. 

There are now over 3,000 male deaths each year in Canada due to suicide – fifty times the number of women killed in domestic violence incidents and four times as many as the number of girls and women who commit suicide.

   All along during all those decades, the Alberta suicide rates faithfully reflected the consequences of what is happening in Canada and the rest of the world: the most massive hate-propaganda program ever launched against an identifiable minority — men and the families headed by men — a hate campaign that is inexorably intensifying and constantly increasing in severity.
   As sure as the Sun rises in the East, the suicide rate of men didn't begin to escalate in earnest until no-fault divorce came to be a part of Canadian life and marriage was no longer an enforceable contract. Men and boys have become increasingly marginalized, criminalized, vilified, discriminated against and demonized since then in ever new and imaginative ways.  And the only response to all this is that people like Gerry Harrington, director of Calgary's Suicide Information and Education Centre state: "So far, we haven't faced the problem."
   It is a problem.  It is a massive problem, and we haven't faced it yet!  Why not?  Surely, if the sexes were reversed in the suicide statistics we would have found a way to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible.  Why can't that be done when men are the victims in so far larger numbers? 
   However, we have made a little bit of progress in addressing the massive problem of rampant  male suicides.  Far from conveying the impression of total hopelessness, to someone who is inclined to be optimistic, the expression "So far, we haven't faced the problem," could be taken to be an admission of guilt.

Suicide Deaths – Males, All Ages

Year Canada Alberta


































































































































Source: Suicide in Canada (1994), Mental Health Division, Health Services Directorate, Health Canada — Appendix 6
   A description of the report is available at http://www.utoronto.ca/chp/hcu/families.html
   The full report is available as a PDF document at 

The following graph makes it clear to what extent Alberta is in the grip of escalating suicide rates for both sexes, however, to a far greater for men and boys than for girls and women.

Source: Ibid.
The next graph identifies the historical trends of the suicide rates for the age range 10 to 49 that led up to the situation now in Calgary and motivated Joe Woodard to write his alarming report in the Calgary Herald.
Source: Ibid.
However, either in total denial or complete ignorance of what is at play in this catastrophic calamity,
Nancy Staniland, an injury control leader with the CRHA, said the suicide rate has not grown historically.  Rather, the reduction in other causes of death have now brought it into prominence.
Is that the type of individual who should be in charge of finding solutions to such a terrible tragedy?  Can she possibly be qualified to find solutions to a problem of which she appears to have not the slightest clue as to its horrible dimensions and history?  Should we be surprised if she can offer no more than Band Aid solutions and platitudes,
   Staniland said that dealing with the problem must involve both response to completed suicides and longer-term prevention.
   Harrington's SIEC runs a Suicide Prevention Training Program.  And the Alberta Mental Health Board is drafting a provincial suicide prevention framework.
   But the coordinated effort is just beginning.
   "We need gatekeepers trained in suicide intervention - school teachers, youth workers, club leaders, coaches," said Staniland.
   "And everybody else - parents and friends - must learn to recognize the symptoms and know where to send at-risk kids."
Well, that should make all of us feel better now, but does it?

Dear Ms. Staniland and Dear Mr. Harrington:

Please, don't tell us what type of help you need to alleviate the escalating epidemic of Calgary suicides.  Tell us what you are going to do about it! 
   How come you don't tell us how many of these suicides would have been prevented if there would be as much funding for battered men's shelters as there is for battered women's shelters? 
   Do you know that not a single battered men's shelter is in operation in Alberta or in all of Canada?  What will you do to get battered men's shelters into operation, so that men and boys don't have to escape their abusers by fleeing into death as the only viable avenue open to them?

Why don't you tell us how many of these suicides happened because the victims had no help lines to call because no money is made available to fund suicide help lines for men?

Why don't you tell us to what extent the problem of male suicides could be alleviated if there were an office of the Secretary of State Status of Men?  That approach appears to work wonders for women.  Would it not be just as effective for men?  We can't very well appeal to Hedy Fry, Secretary of State Status of Women (Liberal) to make help available for men, as she openly stated that she would gladly fund any men's program – even if men were Martians – provided the program would clearly demonstrate that it will benefit women.  She sure knows how to rub salt into wounds, doesn't she?

When is the release date of your study report that outlines what solutions you propose to implement and what the implementation schedule will be for your plan of action?

When will you be contacting the men's- and family-rights organizations in Alberta to schedule a conference at which some concrete outlines for what needs to be done can be formulated?

What steps will you take to motivate Statistics Canada to make a full, accurate, detailed and up-to-date time series of comprehensive suicide data available to all Canadians?  After all, considering the false information that Ms. Staniland provided to Joe Woodard of the Calgary Herald, you must be in great need of better information than that which Statistics Canada makes available to you. 

If you, with  the generous funding that is available to you, can't obtain accurate and up-to-date information, how can men's and Fathers Rights organizations who rely for funding on contributions from members who are either on the verge of bankruptcy or are beyond the edge and live on garnisheed social support and employment insurance payments or garnisheed paycheques.

Whatever you do, please consider that when we had fewer divorces, we also had far fewer suicides, far lower taxes and very low crime and incarceration rates, and few boys and virtually no girls at all who committed suicide. 

Annual Children's Suicides in Canada
Age Groups 10-14, 15-19

Age Groups

10-14 15-19
Years Boys Girls Boys Girls










(figures for 1950-1957 are annual averages)
* The last year covered by the data source

In the interval from 1950 to 1992 the number of annual Canadian youth suicides grew by a factor of ten!  Just as  Nancy Staniland, who denies that there has been any historical growth in the suicide rates, the Mental Health Division, Health Services Directorate, Health Canada doesn't appear to be too concerned about that.  They didn't provide an update since the 1994 publication of the data presented in their report "Suicide in Canada (1994).

Please, now that you have information at hand that is of somewhat better quality than that which you conveyed to Joe Woodard of the Calgary Herald, could you possibly see your way clear to exert some pressure on Health Canada to bring this suicide problem of such tragic proportions to the attention of the Canadian public?

You would do it if the sexes were reversed, wouldn't you?


Walter H. Schneider

Two Orwellian phrases that are synonymous with the most massive abuses of human rights in the history of mankind:


That guiding principle means "labour makes free" and was displayed over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp. 
   The second guiding principle makes its appearance in many, many millions of court records and in the administrative practices of countless bureaucracies in the world.  It reads:

In the best interest of the child

...Hedy Fry, secretary of state of Status of Women Canada, said in an interview that men will have to look elsewhere unless they want to study issues related to women.
   Despite a quarter century of federal financial support, she said, Canadian women are still not on "a level playing field" with men.
   "Hopefully there will come a time," she said, "when we won't have need for equality programs for women because men and women will be competing on a level playing field. Traditionally, 51 per cent of our resources [women] have not had the same opportunity as the 49 per cent [men] have had."   "If there is a men's group," she added, "or a Martian group, that comes and says, "we agree with you, and we want to work in our community to change this, . . . if the project was a good one we would fund them...."   ...Status of Women Canada has an annual budget of $17 million. About $9 million goes towards departmental costs and the rest is given in grants to women's groups or programs.

by Chris Cobb in the Ottawa Citizen


It's no use to look for help in those quarters.  Another quarter from which no help is forthcoming is the Alberta Government.  It is already giving all of the money it can spare to women's shelters — $9 million per year.
   Boys and men, plain and simple, aren't worth worrying about, except to get them to sign child support cheques, and millions of dollars are being spent each year to make sure that they do.
   Why there is so much concern about men not paying the child support due is anyone's guess.  Most of them do, especially those who have reasonable access to their children, and of the seven percent or so who don't comply, two thirds are dead-broke.

Bob Layton, a commentator from CHED Radio, Edmonton, ran a little exercise to determine how wide-spread the problem with non-compliance and arrearages of child support payments really is.  He asked his listening audience to tell him about any problems anyone had with collecting child support due and came up with some 80 cases of child support orders that are seriously in arrears and appear not to get attention to get them enforced.
   Eighty cases that people brought to his attention out of 47,000 active child-maintenance files in Alberta (a fact he didn't mention in his commentary) isn't such a bad record.  In fact, it is an outstanding performance record, but he didn't mention that fact either in his commentaries during the past few weeks in June, 2000.
   The way people like Bob Layton see it, it isn't important to mention the overwhelming majority of men who are outstanding citizens, concerned and loving fathers, who, even if they have no access to their children, still make their financial contributions to the upbringing of their children against terrible adversities.  For people like Bob Layton the important issue is to sing with the choir, to howl with the wolves and to vilify all men for the honour and glorification of all women, forever and ever.

That is why we have record numbers of suicides.  It's not so much because of divorce, it is primarily because of the Hedy Frys, the Nancy Stanilands and the Bob Laytons.  It's not that they all are the enemies of all men.  It's because they want to be politically correct and know which side their bread is buttered on — because it is so much easier to focus on dollars and cents than on the quality of life, or even the lives, of Canadian men and their children.

To have a better appreciation of what drives men and boys to suicide, you must read the following essay:

The Criminalization of Fatherhood

By Stephen Baskerville

The Criminalization of Fatherhood will appear in the July-August issue of the Newsletter of the Women's Freedom Network, probably without further editing.

Please credit them in any reprints.

Stephen Baskerville is Professor of Political Science at Howard University

See also:

The Fix Is In

No Man Can Count On Justice In Family Court, Argues An Angry Professor

By Stephen Baskerville, at dadmag.com

Source: Suicide in Canada (1994), Mental Health Division, Health Services Directorate, Health Canada — Appendix 6
   A description of the report is available at http://www.utoronto.ca/chp/hcu/families.html
   The full report is available as a PDF document at

Source: Ibid.

Source: Ibid.

Source: Ibid.

Questions that require answers based on facts, NOT FANCY:

  1. Why are the suicide rates in Alberta and in Canada several times higher for boys and men (and in some age groups many times higher) than those for the corresponding female age groups?
  2. Why are the Alberta suicide rates for boys and men of all ages so noticeably higher than the corresponding rates for all of Canada?
  3. Why are the Alberta suicide rates for boys aged five to nineteen far higher in most years (as much as twice as high and more in some years) than the corresponding rates for all of Canada?
  4. Why are there some years in which the suicide rates for all or some age groups in Alberta, in Canada or in both, experienced steep common declines or steep common increases? [1] 
  5. Why are common characteristics of the growth trends for the suicide rates that apply to more than one age group of the male sex not shared by the corresponding age groups of the female sex?[2] 
  6. Why has there been no growth in the suicide rates for the age group 50 and over?
  7. Why are there in some years exceedingly steep increases and drops in the suicide rates for men aged 50 and over? 
  8. What causes new levels that were reached after precipitous value changes in suicide rates for men aged fifty and over to persist at the new values for extended numbers of years? [3] 
  9. Why is it that we spend far more than $100 million in direct government funding each year on women's issues that relate to domestic violence against women and nothing on issues relating to domestic violence against men who comprise at least 25 percent of inter-spousal violence fatalities? 
  10. How many suicides of boys and men are caused by domestic violence, and how many male suicides occur because the victims saw suicide as the only avenue of escape that was available to them?
  11. Why is it that increasingly boys aged nine or younger, boys with literally whole life-times of experiences "in the best country in the world"* ahead of them and with the whole world to taste yet, end their lives?
  12. Why can't we find just a little bit of funding to examine why we have an epidemic of male suicides in Alberta and in all of Canada?
  13. Why are there no shelters for battered men and their children in Canada?
  14. Why are half a hundred female victims of "spousal" murder so much more important than the children who are fatally abused by women or who commit suicide in ever higher, unprecedented numbers, that we can spare neither empathy nor the least adequate funding to find practical solutions to the preventable deaths of more than 3,000 Canadians each year, many of whom are children?
  15. Will the abuses and deliberate neglect of the human rights of Canadian boys and men eventually result in consequences similar to the retributions but far greater in magnitude than those that we presently experience at the hands of the First Nations in Canada? 

* The quote, based on the ranking of countries in the world, is one that the Canadian prime minister, Jean Chretien, loves to flaunt repeatedly. The Fraser Institute proposes a more realistic alternative to the United Nations' Human Development Index. According to that, Canada's rank was 16th in the world as of 1999, and the US was 1st.



  1. A common characteristic like that is an indicator of a common influence and not of a random fluctuation.  With respect to suicide, it is virtually impossible for random fluctuations to be present in different population sectors to the extent that all of them are affected to identical or similar extents. 
  2. Check for example the 1979 Alberta suicide rates for all age groups and for both sexes.  Either there was something that caused Albertans of all ages in the populations of both sexes to be less inclined to escape the Canadian dream, or there was a reclassification of what constitutes suicide.  Perhaps there was a breakdown in postal service that prevented some of the suicide data to be entered into the totals.
        Perhaps the decline to the 1979 suicide rates is due to deliberate falsification of the data, motivated by the fear of the public taking notice of what was going on. 
        Apply the same considerations to the Canadian and Alberta suicide rates for 1985.  Let's hope that a reasonable explanation exists for the rapid change in trend in some of the  years in which they occurred. 
        All of that is of course speculation and nothing other than something that must be asked and addressed in a formal study of suicide data.  Firm answers to those concerns can't be determined until a study of Canadiian suicides is undertaken at the required level of detail.
  3. It is standard practice to consider that as a prime indicator of differential treatment of the sexes — treatment that is in the case of suicide far more often fatal for the population of the male- than the female sex.
  4. Uncharacteristically sharp changes in long-term trends are indicators of outside influences that cannot be considered to be due to random fluctuations. 
  5. If new values persist for extended periods of time, they are evidence that general conditions or parameters that are agents of change have changed due to circumstances that are not the result of chance. At the very least, they are indicators that conditions of lasting consequences came into existence and no corrective action was taken.

See also: 

Back to Index of Health Issues

Posted 2000 07 01
2000 07 03 (expanded introduction and added Canada-Alberta comparisons of suicide rates)
2000 12 23 (added links for additional reading)
2001 04 23 (added link to The Fix Is In)
2001 10 29 (added footnote about UN's Human Development Index)
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)
2006 09 14 (made format changes)