June 19, 2015

 MacLean’s – Aaron Wherry
The House votes for (some vague notion of) freedom!

As the house nears the end of its session, this motion #590 may cause us to wonder a little about the power of language to affirm or to cloud an issue.  In this case the motion said “That, in the opinion of the House, all Members of Parliament should be allowed to vote freely on all matters of conscience.”  Nice deal if you can broker it but members, who voted 270 to 1 on this motion, also took some time to debate a little about what exactly is a matter of conscience.

Toronto Star – Carol Goar
Canadians seek leadership on inequality – A new study outlines how Canada became so economically polarized and outlines three ways to counteract the damage. 

Goar is reporting on a new study by Keith Banting of Queen’s and John Myles of U of T.  (Called Framing the New Inequality: The Politics of Income Redistribution in Canada, the study is to be published in an Institute for Public Policy forthcoming book called Income Inequality: The Canadian Story – sorry no links.)  Goar offers the three responses from the authors to redress the come inequality: shore up the poor, constrain the ultra-rich, and bolster the middle class.  The study, says Goar, “is an excellent primer for voters who want to understand what is happening to their country and what they can do.”

Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Secrecy surrounds death of troubled man in immigration detention  

A Somali man held in immigration detention for over four years has died in a Peterborough hospital, his true identity seemingly unknown to the very authorities who held him.  “In this instance, the name of a detainee who has died in custody is considered personal information, and CBSA will not make this information publicly available,” Goran Vragovic, CBSA Regional Director General for the Greater Toronto Area, said in a letter to the Star.  How could a man’s death in custody, without trial or conviction, be a secret?

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham and Jeremy Grimaldi
Young man found guilty of first-degree murder of Const. Garrett Styles

Here’s a case that brings frustration in knowing that there is no solution, nor even comfort of any kind in the results.  A young constable, Garrett Styles, 35, dead and a fifteen year at the time of the incident has been left quadriplegic and guilty of first degree murder, facing 25 years in prison, the sentence to be determined on July 27.

Toronto Star – Joanna Smith
RCMP review on missing, murdered women reaffirms connection between homicides and family violence

RCMP examination of the almost 1200 murdered or missing women has concluded that the violence has its origins in the family and that most of the perpetrators of the violence are people known to the victims.  The report also updates the numbers from last year’s shocking revelation and says that in the intervening year 32 more Aboriginal women have been added, bringing the total now to over 1200.  RCMP are hoping that the report sparks combined effort to address the violence rather than more angry polarization.

CBC News – Terry Milewski
Turbans OK at security checks, but not niqabs at citizenship oath: Tim Uppal –  Multiculturalism minister tables last-minute bill that would ban niqabs at citizenship ceremonies 

The federal conservatives are in process of tabling bills in the house at the last minute knowing they will die on the order paper.  Many think the bills tabled are meant to define the election issues for the Tories.  This one around the niqab makes no sense since Lisa Raitt, Transportation minister, recently decided that the turban or Sikh head-dress was no longer subject to removal for inspection in airport security.  The Tories lost the regulation around the niqab at citizenship ceremonies in federal court but now appear intent on making its removal law.    Related article:  National Council of Canadian Muslims –Canadian Muslims urge Immigration Minister to clarify controversial comments