How long?

    May 15, 2015

 CBC News
Death of B.C. aboriginal teen Paige blamed on ‘brutal and cruel’ support services

BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, has issued a scathing report on the death of a blind Aboriginal 19 year old girl from a drug overdose. Paige, whose full name was not released, spent her entire life in harm’s way because front-line workers didn’t protect her, says Turpel-Lafond.   “Paige’s story is one of the most troubling investigations my office has ever conducted,” said Turpel-Lafond.  “It is a startling example of a collective failure to act by multiple organizations and individuals who should have helped Paige.”   These links may help explain more clearly why a national inquiry on the Aboriginal missing and murdered Women is vital to any solution for Aboriginals.   Related article:  Times Colonists (Victoria, BC) – Lindsay Kines   Aboriginal girl died because system failed her, report says   Full Report (80 page downloadable pdf)  Paige’s Story: Abuse, Indifference and a Life Discarded

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Supreme Court rules Omar Khadr was sentenced as a juvenile in minutes

The Supreme Court of Canada normally takes time for sober decision making over the points of law that arrive on their doorstep for arbitration.  Would you believe 25 minutes for this third Omar Khadr decision?  The clarity in the minds of the justices demands that Canadians ask why the vindictive insistence on spending tax dollars and effort on what many others deemed a foregone conclusion under Canadian law.  Says Fine: “… the Supreme Court said that the law is much less severe than the federal government thinks it is. Adding insult, it needed only a few minutes after the hearing ended to deliver its unanimous ruling from the bench. Most rulings come several weeks after a case is heard.”    Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Ian MacLeod   Omar Khadr should serve sentence as youth, Supreme Court rules

CBC Radio – Carol Off and Jeff Douglas
Medicine Hat becomes the first city in Canada to eliminate homelessness

Medicine Hat announced its intention to end homelessness in 2009.  Now, says Mayor Ted Clugston, no one spends more than ten days in an emergency shelter before they are provided housing.  It’s a cost factor.  It costs Medicine Hat $20,000 a year to house someone.  It costs $100,000 a year to have someone living on the streets.  “This (Housing First Program) is the cheapest and the most humane way to treat people,” says Clugston.  Among the various social services everything went down except court appearances.   Related article:  CTV News (Health) – Angela Mulholland  Elder orphans: Childless, unmarried baby boomers warned to prepare for the future   Related article: Toronto Star – Carol Goar   Why elder abuse remains a ‘hidden epidemic’    Related article: CBC News –  Catherine Harrop    Mom ‘forced’ to have son charged to get him mental health care – Sylvie Messer is seeking long-term mental health care for son’s schizophrenia

 Globe and Mail – Editorial (May 14, 2015)
No, solitary confinement does not cure mental illness

The editorial cites the case of Christopher Trotchie, a young B.C. man, who, with a documented history of mental illness, covered the cell camera and slashed his wrists.  In an internal review, jail officials decided he had committed an offense and sent him to solitary for a week.  “Solitary confinement is a dangerous and inappropriate punishment for mentally ill inmates. And it is especially hard to imagine a situation where a prisoner who has just finished slashing himself will benefit from the tough love of isolation and deprivation.”   By the time the internal hearing was over-ruled, Trotchie had served his term in isolation.  The editorial concludes: “Some wrongs can’t be undone after the fact.”

 The Financial Post – Ron Kneebone
The poverty of minimum wage 

Kneebone is area director for social and economic policy at The School of Public Policy.  The article discusses the wisdom of raising the minimum wage as the new Alberta NDP are threatening.  Besides the fact that increased minimum wages will do nothing unless you are employed, Kneebone argues that the increase for unskilled will drive the wages for skilled workers as well.  Kneebone argues that targeted and focused programs for both the low income and the unemployed is a better solution.