The law and vengeance…

    Jan 28, 2015

 National Newswatch – Jim Bronskill
Opposition MPs skeptical of life-in-jail plan

In 2013 the federal government’s throne speech suggested they would introduce legislation to end parole for certain types of sexual assault and first degree murder.  Liberal and NDP MP’s are reacting to an announcement by Stephen Blaney that government will table a new bill before June.  The law currently allows for sentencing to ensure dangerous felons remain in jail and critics think that an emphasis on rehabilitation is more likely to better protect the public.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Editorial (Jan 28, 2015)   We don’t need life without parole

 Hill Times-on-line – Tim Naumetz
Families earning more than $233,000 will gain most from Conservatives’ income splitting plan, says new report 

 A new report on the federal government income splitting proposal has more advantage for higher income families than previously thought.  The new report, from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative, is estimating that the highest benefits will go to those combined family incomes better than $233,000.  Cost of the program which is effective in 2014 is about $2.4 billion and then $2 billion every year after.  “For low-income families with children, the probability of making even $1 is very low with only one in 10 getting that much,” the report says. “The probability of receiving at least $1,000 is vanishingly small.” – Emma Loop, Ottawa Citizen
Correctional service investigating officers for “offensive and inappropriate” comments online

Corrections Canada is not happy with what some staff using CSC computers have been putting on Wikipedia about other officers and about CSC institutional management.  Traces on the IP address suggests as many as 500 edits on the Wikipedia site since 2005 have originated with one CSC address.

Toronto Star
Crime in Canada falls to lowest point since the ’60s 

Stats Canada says that its Megatrends study is showing that crime in Canada is at its lowest since 1969.  All types of crime are down, StatsCan says.   Why?  “Aging population, changing police practices and strategies, the rise of technology, the shift in unemployment, changing attitudes toward illegal and risky behaviour, a change in alcohol consumption.

 Toronto Star
Ontario broke solitary confinement promise, lawyers say 

Yet another specific case of solitary for long periods – 200 days – is threatening to erupt into lawsuit.  The Correctional Services Ministry published a new handbook the end of December, three months overdue but the handbook says nothing whatever about the use of solitary.  Lawyers for Christina Jahn, an Ottawa inmate, who reached a settlement with Ontario in 2013 in a landmark human rights case say the province is in violation of its own agreement.  “The Jahn settlement forced the ministry to agree to sweeping changes to better meet the mental health needs of inmates.”   Related article: Globe and Mail – Kim Mackreal  Prison watchdog pushes for details on plans for solitary confinement

Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc
Liberals prepared to back Tories’ anti-terrorism bill   

Political strategy seems to have dictated the latest Liberal party support for the proposed Conservative terrorism legislation.  Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter says:  “If the government is sensible about it, and trying to fight terrorism rather than playing politics, then we will be supportive.”  The Liberals are calling for extended house debate in case there is, in their view, “a poison pill” in the legislation. (US) – Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim
Homeland Security funding on the brink 

The Republicans control both the house and the senate but Feb 27 is looming as a deadline for funding Homeland Security and its role in the rejection of the policies set forward by Obama in his executive policies around immigration.  Homeland is on short leash funding since December and the language used in the House bill is not likely to get past the senate.  Critics see a return to impasse in the legislative bodies in spite of the Republican numbers.