From the bench…

  Feb 1, 2015
Review from the Bench – Blogger Marion Lane
Sexual Assault and the Criminal Courts: A Response to the Globe and Mail Editorial

Lane is a retired criminal court judge who raises the alarm bell on the approach of an editorial in Toronto’s Globe and Mail around the Dalhousie misogyny events.  Lane offers a rarely understood explanation of the courts and sexual assault and takes issue with a number of stereotypical assumptions around the legal process.

 Shalem Christian Mental Health Network – Mark VanderVennen
Dalhousie and the Press 

VanderVennen is Executive Director of the Network, one that includes a RJ component, and takes an opportunity to review the struggles to establish a healthy approach to healing around the misogyny incidents recent at Dalhousie.  His reflection suggests that we are operate from deeply ingrained need to punish and that we genuinely struggle to deal with survivors and victims.

 Toronto Star – Ed Tubb
Corrections Canada reverses course on chaplains 

After three years of cuts, Correctional Services Canada has suddenly reversed its position and announced its intent to hire 27 community chaplains part time under one year contracts for 21 centres across Canada.  Veterans such as Harry Nigh, one of the founders of the highly successful Centres of Support and Accountability (CoSA) for sex offenders, is leery and wants to know the detail of the plan.  CoSA funding from the feds was cancelled some time ago and will not be renewed.

 CTV News
Additional oversight for security agencies just ‘needless red tape’: government 

Yesterday, the communiqué featured a survey of public media on the new Terrorist Bill, C-51 or the Anti-Terrorism Act.  Every voice of public opinion reacted to the need of public surveillance of the exercise of the additional powers given CSIS and the lamentable exercise of supervision through the present Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC).  Says Minster Stephen Blaney:  “They (SIRC) have been reporting to Parliament.  Any additional (reporting) would be just duplication because they are already acting on behalf of parliamentarians.”   Related article:  CTV – W5: Victor Malarek    Ottawa pays $10M-plus to wrongly accused businessman

 Globe and Mail – Tabatha Southey
Health Canada’s anti-pot ads have a pungent odour … of politics   

Liberal MP Scott Simms asked the question on an order paper inquiry: the answer Public Health Canada spent just over $7 million on an ad campaign, $2 million more than the entire amount Health Canada spent on public information last year.  The Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons refused to endorse the ads.  “That the government chose to produce an ad that parades so gleefully across the line from alarmist to pretty damn trippy (it’s the Gumby episode of anti-weed ads) does suggest that this is less about reducing how much illegal, yet omnipresent, dope that kids smoke in this country than it is about politics.”  Related article: Globe and Mail – Editorial (Jan 28, 2015)    Has Health Canada oversight of medical marijuana gone to pot?

Globe and Mail – Response to Letter from Patrick White
Do provincial jails use solitary confinement the way federal penitentiaries do?

The answer is yes, all prisons or jails use solitary confinement as a part of normal operational procedures and for a variety of reasons.  The standards are not uniform from province to province nor between provincial and federal prisons.  23 hours a day in a cell is widespread and few have any policies around limits of days spent in solitary.

 Globe and Mail – Gary Mason
B.C. healing centre a shameful example of how we fail aboriginal women 

Mason presents a rather frightening story of not just waste but further damages to the very people targeted for help in recovery from poverty and abuse.  Mason lays the blame at the feet of both the BC government and the Aboriginal leadership themselves.

 Globe and Mail – John Carpay
Trinity Western ruling protects the freedoms of all Canadians   

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Trinity Western’s accreditation as a law school.  The barristers association had decided in reaction to Trinity’s admission requirements that Nova Scotia would not recognize the accreditation.  Carpay, a Calgary lawyer, is President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms which intervened on behalf of Trinity.