Nastiness is unconstitutional…

  Sept. 11, 2014

 National Newswatch – Colin Perkel, Canadian Press
Part of Harper government’s tougher sentencing laws ruled unconstitutional 

The Truth in Sentencing Act has taken a hit from the Ontario Court of Appeal.  The provision around credit for time served is unconstitutional says the court because it delivers longer jail time for some offenders and discredits the justice system.  If an accused is denied bail; by a justice of the peace for previous convictions then the maximum credit is one for one.  Depending on whether bail was allowed, several offenders with the same record could serve considerably different sentences.

 Toronto Star –   David Bruser and Jesse McLean
Canadians kept in dark about defective drugs 

Since access to the records of the Canadian Public Health authorities are out of bounds, the Star made a request under access to information of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discover some scary information about drugs manufactured or marketed in Canada but from India.  Since 2008, some 40 drug companies have been cited for serious and dangerous manufacturing violations by the FDA.  Health Canada is silent on the issues.

 Toronto Star –    Dana Flavelle
Canada’s inequality growing: Stats Can 

Speaking about a “wealth’ gap rather than simply an income gap, Stats Canada’s most recent report is suggesting that the gaps are getting wider.  Wealth gap is a broader measure since it measures all assets, not just income.  But that gap is getting wider too at the top and the bottom levels are shrinking.

 CBC News
Demilitarized police vehicle to hit Windsor streets next month 

The militarization of municipal police forces hit the news in the aftermath of the Ferguson police killing of Michael Brown.  Windsor police now have accepted a Cougar armoured car and are adding it to their city fleet minus the weapons.  Police are calling the now unarmed vehicle inherited from war surplus at the Department of National Defence  a “rescue and multi-use vehicle.”

 CTV News
Suicide prevention phone lines plagued by delays, mental health advocates say 

Sept. 10 was International Suicide Prevention Day and it prompted at look at how well Ontario manages the problem.   Distress lines are often, say the critics, the first and the last hope of callers who are sometimes forced to listen to recorded messages to call back.  Some areas have as much as a 30% increase in calls.  The call centers are frequently staffed with volunteers and the problem of delay depends on the time.  Guidelines say 15 minutes as the max a person should have to wait but as mental health advocate Mark Henick remarks, imagine waiting that long for a 911 call to be answered.

 CBC News – Neil MacDonald
American shakedown: Police won’t charge you, but they’ll grab your money 

If you are thinking about travelling south of the border these days, you may want to be aware that all levels of American police appear to be trying to milk the public purse, including those vehicles with Canadian plates.  You won’t get a ticket – they only take cash – and the report suggests travelling without large amounts of cash.

 Bill C – 585: Information and Action Kit 

 Many of our readers would know that the federal government has made extensive use of private members bills because they do not need to be vetted against the charter before passage and because they are often somewhat inconsequential and therefore without fanfare.  C-585 appears to the exception in that it will eliminate the one national standard we have around welfare: a refugee does not have to establish a residency or an eligibility period to receive financial support once in Canada.  The Canada Social Transfer regulations prohibit the provinces imposing any residency eligibility.  C-585 will end that prohibition and allow denial of funds to desperate people.  Most of the immigration and refugee community are participating in an action with MP’s.   Information and Action kit: