More jail time…

    Feb 13, 2015

 National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Harper plans to change repeat offender rules 

Under current law, offenders serving a fixed sentence in Canada’s prison system are eligible after serving two thirds the sentence to serve the remaining one third in the community under supervision and often with certain conditions.  The two thirds point is known as statutory release as opposed to sentence expiry.  Harper, speaking at Victoriaville, QC, announced plans to introduce amendments to make release after the two thirds more difficult.  The proposed changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would target in particular those with previous convictions and sentences greater than five years for violent crimes.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Sean Fine   Harper confirms changes to statutory release rules

 Eglinton St. George’s Speaker Series:
A Justice System for a Just Society
Anthony N. Doob  –  Sunday, February 22nd @ 12:30

Professor Emeritus of Criminology, University of Toronto

Limiting the Use of Imprisonment: Learning from Successes

From the mid-19th century until 2006, Canadian governments – Conservative and Liberal – understood that crime could not be adequately addressed by increasing imprisonment. Imprisonment was seen as being sometimes necessary, but often wasteful of human and financial resources. In the past, Canadian governments – both Liberal and Conservative – have been successful in limiting imprisonment without increasing crime. What can we learn from our experiences?  Free Admission / Donations Welcome Lunch will be provided 11:45 – 12:30    For more Information call 416-782-7478 or email to

 Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa keeping secret details of secret terror watch with Five Eyes allies

Legislation around terrorism has, in the mind of privacy advocates, ventured too close to an unknown quantity empowered by law.  The result is a veil of secrecy around what immigration information and whose information will be shared with the FIVE Eyes (US, Australia, UK, New Zealand and Canada).  The plans include sharing a considerably expanded data bank of biometric information.  Immigration spokespersons have denied there is a FIVE Eyes agreement protocol in place.

 Globe and Mail – Ratna Omidvar
Changing the rules on immigration changes Canada’s narrative

Follow the adventures and decisions of Nigel and see how the new immigration rules will mean a substantial change in the narrative for the immigration process traditionally voiced for Canada.  Nigel is most likely to get picked from a pool of applicants created through the new Express Entry program.   Says Omidvar, “The narrative of Canada’s success and exceptionalism in immigration has always been the narrative of success over time.”  It seems we now want instant success?

 Globe and Mail – Meagan Lowery
Harper says Ottawa will appeal ruling allowing veil during citizenship oath

Last week a federal judge ruled that a portion of the law requiring citizenship candidates to remove their face coverings while taking the oath was unlawful.  The face covering, known as Niqabs are worn by some Muslim women in public areas and in front of adult males who are not relatives.  The case has its origins in a lawsuit claiming a Charter of Rights and Freedoms human rights violation in the refusal to allow the Niqab while taking a citizenship oath.  The Federal government intends to appeal, again.    Related article: Toronto Star – Les Whittington and Nicholas Keung  Stephen Harper says Ottawa to appeal ruling allowing veil during citizenship oath   Related article: CTV News – Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press   Ottawa to appeal ruling on face veils during citizenship oaths

 Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Toronto jail on lockdown after inmate suicide, missing keys 

Toronto’s newest jail and the one thought to solve much of the violence plaguing the system has been on lock down for a week after an inmate suicide, compounded with a missing set of master keys.  The staff says  Monte Vieselmeyer from the guard’s union think of the jail as “a death trap.”  The 1650 bed jail has a 26 bed hospital unit which has never been opened and mentally ill inmates are still held in solitary.  The jail is suffering these problems while still at half capacity.

 CBC News –  Margo McDiarmid, Laura Payton
Supreme Court removes FINTRAC’s power to search law firms 

The court has struck down a section of the federal anti-terrorist financial laws that allows search of a lawyer’s office and seizure of material without a warrant.   The unanimous court decision says the legal powers of FINTRAC (the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) ‎violate the Constitution in the way it applies to lawyers, compromising the lawyer-client privilege.