Gaping chasm…

Nov 4, 2014

 Ricochet – Clay Nikiforuk
Zehaf-Bibeau didn’t fall through the cracks, he fell through a gaping chasm – There is hope for mental illness in Canada, but the system is broken 

We have had instant labelling of Michel Zehaf-Bibeau as terrorism.  The intervening week or so raised doubts and suggested a lone wolf with mental illness. Nikiforuk is looking elsewhere, given Zehaf-Bibeau’s past behaviour, given the bizarre lengths to get help, given he did not pass the desperate test and got no mental health attention.  “Having a reactive rather than proactive mental health-care system is as ethical and logical as withholding an inoculation for a common, and potentially deadly, disease.”

 Canadian Law Times – Gail J. Cohen and Yamri Taddese
B.C. lawyers say no to TWU law school  –  LSBC reverses its accreditation of controversial religious-based law school 

Despite having already agreed to recognize law degrees from Trinity Western University in BC, the BC law society now says it won’t recognize the accreditation.  The law society voted 74% in a binding referendum to reverse the previous approval by the Benchers.  The Upper Canada Law Society and the Nova Scotia Law society have both declared opposition to the accreditation as well.  The core of the opposition is the Trinity Western disciplinary measure of expelling students based on their sexual ethics and behaviour.

 Globe and Mail – Tavia Grant
The recession may be over, but food bank use is still climbing in Canada 

The latest annual report from the food banks is alarming.  841,000 people a month use the service.  The numbers keep growing and defying the supply.  Unemployment and part time employment are likely to blame along with housing costs and disability and social assistance payments that do not meet the costs of living and have not kept up over the years.  Single men are 43% of the clients at the food banks and one in six holds a job but can’t make ends meet.   The food bank people say first fix the housing problem at the federal level.  Related article: Global News – Canadian Press   Use of food banks remains high in Canada: report  Food Bank Hunger Report:  Related article:  Bloomberg’s –  Greg Quinn   Kids in the Basement Should Take Unpaid Work, Says Poloz

 Thompson Reuters Foundation (UK) – Emma Batha
Tutu and Jolie back UN drive to end statelessness in a decade  

Today these two celebrities, with a host of others, have launched a global effort to end the problem of statelessness.  There are approximately 10 million such persons with one born every ten minutes.  In an open letter to launch the appeal, the supporters said: “Statelessness can mean a life without education, without medical care, or legal employment … a life without the ability to move freely, without prospects, or hope. Statelessness is inhumane. We believe it’s time to end this injustice.” People become stateless when countries break up and new ones are formed, when religious discrimination prevents citizenship, when, as in 27 countries, the rights of nationality are not passed to children through the mother.

 San Francisco Bayview (US) – Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
Prison assisted suicide – the Texas way 

Here is a chilling tale of what Johnson calls ‘prison assisted suicide.’  Though in fact the individual, Todd Hines, did not die of his injuries, the callousness of the treatment of inmates who are known to be mentally ill and the impact of solitary confinement – the author has been in solitary since 1993 – are still defying solutions.  This graphic description of life and death in solitary is a disturbing picture of our capacity for inhumane treatment of one another.

 Prison Reform International:  – Dr. Dr Lillian Artz, University of Cape Town
No escape from violence: childhood abuse, offending and women in prison 

At a recent UN gathering of the Crime Conference 2015 Dr. Artz drew attention to the connections between abuse and violence in childhood, violent offending by women and the common circumstances that seem to come together in so many women inmates.

A second report – Bridgit Sleap – Old age behind bars: how can prisons adapt to the needs of increasingly elderly populations? – may have application particularly here in Canada as the male inmate population ages.  The article looks at a global scene and both the problems and possible solutions for the elderly inmate.  The report reflects the work of the HelpAid Network, an agency involved in a human rights perspective for these inmates.