Prisons and principles

     June 4, 2015

 Ottawa Citizen – Mary Campbell
History shows we need a good correctional investigator

Campbell was part of the hiring committee for the present correctional investigator, Howard Sapers, who has been told without any explanation that he will shortly be replaced.  The position was created in 1972 after the three day riot at the Kingston Penitentiary in April 1971 that took several lives.  The position requires such a unique set of qualifications that Sapers is only the third in 43 years.  Campbell points to the job poster which states as qualifications “objective, impartial, fair, possessing sound judgement and strong professional ethics, innovative, flexible, resilient, tactful, discrete, and a person of integrity… What is not needed is a “political friend” of the likes of many of this government’s appointments. It’s not just inmates’ safety that depends on this, it’s your safety, ultimately.”

 Ottawa Citizen – Mark Kennedy
Harper shows little enthusiasm for ‘reconciliation’ report 

The question now around the TRC is whether the grand plans to use the documents as suggested in 2008 as a blue print for relations between Aboriginals and the federal government.  Kennedy is suggesting that relations between Harper and the Aboriginals are down right hostile and he thinks the TRC documents will have a relatively short shelf life under a Conservative government.  “Harper appears to be playing for time. He says his government won’t respond to the TRC’s 94 recommendations until sometime after the commission releases its full six-volume, two-million-word full report later this year.”

Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume
Mounties now toting submachine guns for Hill security 

No one is saying who authorized the machine guns the Mounties are carrying on Parliament Hill but the machine guns are an on-going feature for parliamentarians and visitors.  Some parliamentarians like Senate Liberal Céline Hervieux-Payette have voiced discomfort at the machine guns and say they feel less safe now than before without the MP-5’s. “Security that relies on firepower has proven to be ineffective, and millions of Americans have paid the price for this false assumption with their lives,” said Hervieux-Payette.  Said Green Party’s Elizabeth May who also complained to the speaker’s office about the machine guns:  “I believe the security measures need to be tightened up, …I just think the message it sends to tourists, to schoolchildren, to citizens, to foreigners, is one of an armed encampment as opposed to a house of democracy.”

 Municipal Drug Strategy Co-ordinator’s Network of Ontario
Prescription for Life: Summary Report, June 2015 

A 10 page downloadable report on the surprising and growing number of deaths from use of opioids in Ontario.  “More than 5000 Ontarians have died of an opioid overdose since 2000, the vast majority unintentionally.”   The report proposes expanding access to the emergency medicine naloxone. – Bill Quigley

40 Reasons US Jails and Prisons Are Full Of Black and Poor People 

This article reviews the stats on the current mass incarceration scene in the US and explains as it goes why the justice system discriminates against Blacks and the poor.  The explanations are not complex but make a lot of sense in the light of the stats.  Try out a few of the forty!

 MacLean’s – Aaron Wherry
Why is Parliament so incurious and credulous over Bill C-59? Parliament seems hardly troubled by the blackhole that the information commissioner says it is about to create 

Wherry looks at the apparent indifference to the potential for a blackhole identifies by Canada’s Information Commissioner over access to information and the Long Gun Registry.  The problem is focus in the potential for this type of legislation to be repeated at any embarrassment of the government and involves a debate over the supremacy of Parliament and the will of Parliament around the law as an expression of the will of Parliament.    Related article:  National Newswatch – Bruce Cheadle  Legault questions motivation behind ‘black hole’ of retroactive gun registry law

Toronto Star – Daniel Dale
3 charged for praising family at Mississippi school graduation – They could face fines of $500 and six months in jail for shouting congratulations to loved ones getting diplomas. 

Occasionally, in all the debate about what can and cannot, or should and should not be said in public and what freedom of speech means, it is good have the ridiculous before us to remind us of the power of law to distort our lives together.  This article unfolds one of those stories.

 Globe and Mail – Mark Hume
Ottawa to re-evaluate ‘dysfunctional’ crime law

Justice Peter Voith declared the law governing the sentencing of sex offenders unconstitutional but sentenced Donald Boutilier to an indeterminate sentence while ordering the government to amend the law within a year, calling the new law dysfunctional.