Islamophobia on the rise…

    Mar 26, 2015

 Toronto Star – Allan Woods
Islam needs to reform or leave, says Canadian leader of PEGIDA movement 

PEGIDA (the name is a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) has arrived in Canada, nationally and specifically in Quebec and in BC.  The group brings together political conservatives, anti-immigration advocates and neo-Nazi groups in Germany.  “The incompatibility of Islam with the west is flagrant and that’s the reason that PEGIDA and the Western patriots are rising up. It’s not just to counter Islam but to say that if Islam doesn’t reform itself, Islam needs to get out of the west,” Asgard, 33, a Quebec leader and spokesperson, told the Star in the group’s first interview ahead of a controversial march planned for this weekend.”    Related article: Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung  Canada faces dramatic drop in citizenship, prompting concerns about disengaged immigrants – New rules and fees appear to be raising barriers to becoming Canadian, with rates dropping from 79% to 26% between 2000 and 2008 newcomers.

 Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles
Proposed life-sentence bill could have domino effect, critics say

The question is: will prosecutors pursue the maximum sentence or tell the victim’s love one that this murder was not particularly brutal?  The critics of life-means-life see a growth from the 3-6 murders who would be impacted by the new provision but those individuals only become eligible for parole and will not likely get it anyway.  Over the years there may be a steady increase in the number in prison but without hope.   Catherine Latimer of John Howard:  ““It’s unnecessary, cruel and dangerous…I think you’ll see more mental health issues, more self-injuries, more violence,” Latimer said in an interview, citing concerns raised by lifers with whom the organization works.”

 Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Ontario launches review of solitary confinement in prisons

In the middle of a federal denial of the use of solitary in the federal system, and a pretend distinction between solitary and administrative segregation, Ontario is launching a review of the practice in its provincial prisons.  “Corrections Minister Yasir Naqvi announced a “comprehensive review” of segregation policy focusing on how it affects inmates with mental-health issues.”  Federal Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers has been calling for a ban on solitary for those with mental health or suicide tendency on the grounds that the practice makes the mental health issues worse.  He calls this development “encouraging” since Ontario has the largest number of the provincial prisons.

 Abacus Data – Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
Niqabs, Hijabs, Anxiety and Accommodation 

The researchers asked questions of Canadians after offering pictures of the hijab and the niqab.  The results are somewhat comforting that Canadians have a respect for women to choose themselves what they wear regardless of the comfort factor in being present to women wearing either head piece.    Related article: Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung   Global asylum claims rise 45%, but Canada lags in receiving refugees   Related article: UNHCR Report – Asylum applications in industrialized world soar to almost 900,000 in 2014   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Stephanie Levitz   Canada finally fills 2013 Syrian refugee promise, says work underway on next one

 National Newswatch – Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press
Rights group presses watchdog on CSIS records about Northern Gateway pipeline

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has some serious problems already around the potential for CSIS anti-terrorist activity to overflow into the protest around the pipelines and Canadian environmentalists.  “The association filed a complaint with the review committee in February 2014 after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider opposition to the petroleum industry a threat to national security. The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had shared information with the National Energy Board about “radicalized environmentalist” groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.”

 National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Parliamentary Budget Officer says defence costs ‘unsustainable’ over next decade 

The warning comes from the Parliamentary Budget Office and looks at the amounts spent on defence up to 2014 and projects the costs for anticipated military involvement as the government considers including Syrian in bombing targets and as Yemen and the Ukraine remain unknown quantities.  “The Harper government currently spends $21.5 billion on defence — or 1.1 per cent of the gross domestic product…”  NATO allies are asking for 2% from member nations.

Winnipeg Free Press – Mia Rabson
Toews’ lobbying to be probed – Ex-cabinet minister accused of violating Conflict of Interest Act

Former ministers of government who leave office are prohibited from becoming lobbyist for two years after leaving office.  Toews, now a judge in Manitoba, is accused of violating the conflict of interest within two months of leaving office by lobbying for a lawyer representing the Peguis in a negotiation with Manitoba Jockey Club for development at Assiniboia Downs.  Conflict of Interest commissioner Mary Dawson has announced a full investigation based on allegations from the NDP’s Pat Martin.

  Toronto Star – Adam Nagourney
California trying to stop initiative to execute gays – The California attorney general has moved to block a proposed voter initiative that would mandate the execution of sexually active gay men and women.

In case you thought that the issue of homosexuality was over and done with, here’s a timely reminder that we change slowly and reluctantly.  A group in California is attempting to introduce a voter initiative to execute those actively found practicing their sexual preference even s consenting adults.  The California attorney general, Kamala D. Harris calls the gesture “patently unconstitutional.”