Silence less than golden…

     June 9, 2015

iPolitics – Elizabeth Thompson
MPs new sexual harassment policy still keeps bad behaviour in the dark

Canada is closer to becoming one of the first countries in the world to have a policy for sexual harassment between parliamentarians.  Unfortunately, you are not likely going to hear about it.  The policy requires the individual case to be heard behind closed doors and then makes releasing other than minimal information itself a matter for discipline.  The code also will apply only to non-criminal sexual harassment.

Globe and Mail – Les Perreaux
Quebec to give police, courts new tools to fight extremism

The government of Quebec plans to introduce legislation to give police, courts and social workers greater powers in issues around recruitment for extremist groups.  The new tools include additional funds to monitor social media and school focused activity around recruitment.  The government also intends to introduce a Liberal (as opposed to PQ) version of the charter of values.

Toronto Star – Robert Benzie
Provinces increase pressure on federal government for pharmacare

The provinces hop to use the coming federal election in October to leverage a national phramacare program around the purchase of drugs.  The meeting led by Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, a MD, drew 13 participants from each of the provinces and territories but did not see federal minister Rona Ambrose.  How much is at stake?  A Canadian Medical Association Journal study in March suggests as much as $7.3 billion annual could be saved.

Toronto Star – Cain Burdeau, Associated Press
U.S. prisoner Albert Woodfox ordered free after 43 years in solitary

U.S. District Judge James Brady has ordered the immediate release of Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3 Black Panthers, and has denied the state the possibility of re-trail in a human rights case that tackles several issues, spectacularly 43 years of solitary.  “Amnesty International and the United Nations have condemned Woodfox’s imprisonment as inhumane.”

Toronto Star – Noor Javed
Muslim civil rights group to launch online hate-crime tracker

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says it believes many Muslims face discrimination and hate but don’t report it.  Hate crime, appears to be one of more infrequently reported crimes because people don’t know how to report it.  The effort to track the discrimination will include an effort to educate people about hate crimes and how to confront them.  Related article: Vancouver Sun – Tiffany Crawford   Hate crimes down in B.C. and across Canada: StatsCan

Globe and Mail – Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
The end of carding is just the beginning

Owusu-Bempah recalls that the effort to eliminate the practice of carding is too old to allow us to think that if ended all will be well.  Blacks were not only disproportionately singled out for carding but they are also disproportionately the target in drug charges and in police use-of-force cases.  For true reform, says Owusu-Bempah, “we now have the momentum and support from a wide spectrum of society needed to make meaningful changes to the way that policing is carried out in our city.”   Related article – CTV News    ‘My responsibility is community safety’: Toronto’s police chief on carding

Global News – Tania Kohut
Toronto police issue notice as high-risk offender released from prison

This article is helpful in outlining the issues around dangerous offenders released from jail and how police and neighbourhoods cope with the implied threat.  This case is peculiar as well in that personal injuries were not part of the crimes under the original conviction.

Canadian Law Times – Editorial (June 8, 2015) Glenn Kauth
A window for justice reform  

The editorial looks ahead to the political agenda around criminal justice reform and asks if the various parties should not be looking to reform some long standing issues with policy statements.  The commentary reflects on the recs from the TRC as well as some of the policy positions taken by the Canadian Bar Association.

Reclaim Justice Network
A view from the G4S AGM

G4S is an international security company involved in running private prisons under government contract.  This article describes the events at the 2015 AGM of the company by Abi Amey and Will McMahon who purchased company shares in order to gain admission to the meeting.