Police privatization…

  Nov. 21, 2014

 Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Conservative government to study privatization of some police services 

The federal conservatives have noticed the increasing cost of policing while crime is decreasing and have turned to a study of privatizing some police services to control costs.  The study wants to look at private policing and private security firms and how these may be able to deliver services because they pay less than well trained officers.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/19/conservative_government_to_study_privatization_of_some_police_services.html

 CBC News – Laura Peyton
Cyberbullying bill raises alarm for privacy commissioner – Daniel Therrien warns against increasing police powers unchecked 

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien offered the Senate several worries about the Cyberbullying Bill around unchecked police access to internet and against the lower standard of proof contained in Bill C-13.  In June, the Supreme Court ruled in the Spencer decision that net users have a right to privacy on-line and barred tele-com companies from revealing user info without a warrant.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cyberbullying-bill-raises-alarm-for-privacy-commissioner-1.2842034

   Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved
25 years after Ottawa’s pledge to end child poverty, it’s time to hit ‘reset’ 

Canada is now 15 years over its parliamentary mandate deadline to end child poverty.  1.2 million children still go to school hungry.  Mary Jo Leddy, a philosophy professor, theologian and co-chair of the Keep The Promise initiative, wants to get the problem back on the political agenda.  She says:  “What’s lacking is not the knowledge, not the smarts, not even the money. It’s the will, the desire, the urgency to really, really do this.”   http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/19/25_years_after_ottawas_pledge_to_end_child_poverty_its_time_to_hit_reset.html   Related article: Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh   Patchwork of employment perpetuates poverty cycle for Toronto family    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/11/19/behind_the_child_poverty_cycle_precarious_work.html

 CTV News
Veterans demand accounting of more than $1B in unspent funds 

Over the past seven years, the Veteran Affairs has returned to the federal government over $1 billion in unspent monies.  Veterans groups such as the Canadian Legion are demanding to known why the money was not spent in services to the veterans.   http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/veterans-demand-accounting-of-more-than-1b-in-unspent-funds-1.2111443#ixzz3JfkvbYyz

 Ottawa Citizen – Gary Dimmock
Ottawa‘s jailhouse beating trial: Guard says he didn’t want to break the code 

Former Ottawa jail guard John Barbro is on trial for a brutal beating of an inmate and fellow guard Stacy Robertson who witness the event but opted for the blue code around guard solidarity filed a false report, later changing his report and appearing as a witness in the trial.   Robertson himself got a three day suspension for the false report.  The trial continues in Ottawa.   http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawas-jailhouse-beating-trial-guard-says-he-didnt-want-to-break-the-code  Related article: Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis    How ‘aggressive and abusive tactics’ by police put an innocent man through 2 murder trials   http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2014/11/21/how_aggressive_and_abusive_tactics_by_police_put_an_innocent_man_through_two_murder_trials.html

 VERA Justice Institute (US) – David Cloud
On Life Support: Public Health in the Age of Mass Incarceration 

This new report raises the question of the impact of mass incarceration on public community health and mass incarceration as a driver of discrepancy in public health (A 36 page downloadable pdf).  The report includes a summary and a fact page with the alarming stats around health care in prisons and the aging population of inmates.    http://www.vera.org/pubs/public-health-mass-incarceration

 Ottawa Citizen – Andrews Seymour
No proof surcharge discriminates against disabled, Crown argues 

Ottawa panhandler Tim McCooeye is deaf and on a monthly disability cheque.  His available funds, says McCooeye, are such that a victim surcharge imposed on him, or other poor, disabled or the mentally ill,  by mandatory sentencing provisions are discriminatory and therefore violate charter rights.  He has already served 17 days for possession of  two hydromorphone pills.  The fight is over a mandatory $100 victims.surcharge.  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/no-proof-surcharge-discriminates-against-disabled-crown-argues

Catherine Latimer, Executive Director, John Howard Canada, on mandatory victim surcharges

Yesterday, the court heard the legal arguments (cf above) about whether the mandatory victim surcharge applied to an impoverished disabled man violated his Charter rights.  The court will deliver its decision in February.

Whatever decision results, mandatory financial penalties contribute to an unfair criminal justice system.  The quantum of criminal penalties should reflect the seriousness of the crime and the degree of responsibility of the offender but the sentence imposed by the judge to discharge the penalty should reflect parity and be possible for the offender to carry out with undue hardship.  Financial penalties are well-known to have an unfair impact in that they are much less onerous for the affluent accused and disproportionately harsh on the poor.  Many countries seek to bring fairness into the regime through day fines or a calibration of financial penalties to income.  The US looks to equality protections under its Constitution to avoid fines having a disproportionately harsh impact on the poor.  Our tradition and that of the UK was to require the judge to consider the capacity of the accused to pay before imposing a fine as a sentencing option.  With mandatory victim surcharges that important safeguard for ensuring fairness and humanity disappeared.