Elephants and incomes…

   Nov. 1, 2014

 Caledon Institute of Social Policy –  Ken Battle and Sherri Torjman
The Elephant not in the Room  

The federal government’s decision to do a revised version of income splitting for tax purposes needs to be viewed with changes in the Universal Child Care Benefit and with Child Care Expense Deduction.  The benefits still accrue to the wealthy and will do little to help with low income families or single parent families.  Child care may be a more viable way to help the lower income. http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/1056ENG.pdf   Related article:  CBC News   At Issue: Income Splitting Announcement     (A 14 minute video of CBC’s panel)   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/10/31/at-issue-income-splitting-announcement/#.VFRFLMnej3s   Related article: CBC News     Income splitting: What it is and who benefits    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/income-splitting-what-it-is-and-who-benefits-1.2818396   Related article: Financial Post – Garry Marr   Stephen Harper’s 26.8-billion tax breaks offer plenty for families, nothing for everybody else    http://business.financialpost.com/2014/10/30/stephen-harpers-26-8-billion-tax-breaks-offer-plenty-for-families-nothing-for-everybody-else    Related article: iPolitics.com – Scott Clark and Peter DeVries     A windfall for the rich, a sop for everyone else   http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/10/30/a-windfall-for-the-rich-a-sop-for-everyone-else   Related article: CBC News –  Kristen Everson    Income splitting would not benefit low-income single parents, minister says   http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/income-splitting-would-not-benefit-low-income-single-parents-minister-says-1.2820376

 Toronto Star – Cara Anna
Foreign fighters joining terror groups ‘unprecedented’ in scale, says UN  

The Associated Press has obtained a United Nations Security Council report suggesting that there are over 15,000 foreign fighters from 80 countries involved in the ISIS activities in Syria and Iraq alone.  Fears are that the number is sufficient to feed the terrorism for many years to come.    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/10/31/foreign_fighters_joining_terror_groups_unprecedented_in_scale_says_un.html#

  Globe and Mail – Josh Wingrove
How Canada’s terror laws could change 

Wingrove offers his assessment of what changes are already on the way and where the government musings about what additional powers police need, contrary to the flood of cautions already on the record from notables such as the privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien and several former justices.  Bill C-44 and Bill C- 13 are in this commentary as well. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/how-canadas-terror-laws-could-change/article21418251   Related article: Canada.com – Calgary Herald –  James Woods    Homegrown terrorism proves police need more powers: Kenney    http://www.canada.com/news/Homegrown+terrorism+proves+police+need+more+powers+Kenney/10343170/story.html

 CTV News – Canadian Press
Ontario hikes income threshold to qualify for legal aid funding to $11,448

Ontarians will be able to get legal aid a little easier by the decision to increase the income amounts below which one is eligible for the services.  The change amounts to 6% over three years and will cost the province about $95.7 million.  Ontario already spends the most of any province on a per capita basis but helps the fewest with dedicated legal representation.   http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/ontario-hikes-income-threshold-to-qualify-for-legal-aid-funding-to-11-448-1.2079222#ixzz3HmNFHCnJ   Related article:  Calgary Herald – Jason van Rassel      Province announces $5.5 million boost to legal aid     http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Province+announces+million+boost+legal/10339446/story.html

 Business in Vancouver
Gary Bloch: Vancouver-raised doctor has prescription for healthy economy  –  Economic costs of poverty can’t be ignored, argues health advocate 

Dr. Gary Bloch, a Toronto doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital, wants people to realize that the problem of poverty needs to become a health issue.  He sees himself in the top 5% of wealth and thinks that he should pay more income tax – the only way to confront the poverty.  He has become a spokesperson for confronting the poverty that underlies so many health and social problems.    Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade is listening attentively.  “Poverty increases health-care costs, policing burdens, diminished educational outcomes,” Huberman said.http://www.biv.com/article/2014/10/gary-bloch-vancouver-raised-doctor-has-prescriptio

 Regina Leader Post – Greg Fingas
When justice and mental health issues meet 

Many justice stories about persons with mental illness are like this one.  Three years ago Michael Zehaf-Bibeau worked hard to get himself arrested in British Columbia in order to get some treatment for drug addiction and mental health.  First, he falsely confessed to a crime.  Then he actually did a crime – he robbed a MacDonald’s – and then sat outside waiting for police.  But to no avail.   http://www.leaderpost.com/health/When+justice+mental+health+issues+meet/10337142/story.html   Related article:  Hooked on Hope – Blogger Maureen Murdock   The Neglect of Mental Illness is the Enemy     http://maureenmurdockblog.com/2014/10/29/the-neglect-of-mental-illness-is-the-enemy

 Herald News (Halifax)  –  Paul McLeod
Ottawa’s legal payouts skyrocket, most coming from DND, Indian Affairs 

In a government already noted for high legal costs around challenges to SCC rulings, the Department of National Defence and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs are both now driving the legal bills.  “The tab in 2013-14 is about double the amount of legal payments made two years earlier and $300 million higher than in 2012-13.”   Equally concerning is the revelation that there is considerable military equipment missing. http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1248043-ottawa-s-legal-payouts-skyrocket-most-coming-from-dnd-indian-affairs

 National Newswatch – Michael McDonald
Bourque to serve at least 75 years in prison 

The notion of consecutive rather than concurrent sentences for multiple killings has had its first application.  The usual sentence for first degree murder is 25 years without eligibility for parole or life in prison.  Canada has traditionally understood this sentence as fulfilling the “faint hope” notion and the practice of faint hope has led the European Court to declare that life in prison without faint hope is cruel and unusual punishment.  The sentence is the harshest in Canada since repeal of the death sentence in 1962.   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2014/10/31/bourque-to-serve-75-years-before-parole-eligibility-for-rcmp-killings/#.VFThA8nej3t