Parting shots…

     June 22, 2015

Globe and Mail – Marcus Gee
With a stirring show of unity and faith, Charleston leaves the world in awe

What response to the 21 year old Dylan Roof who shot six women and three men at a prayer service in Charleston, South Carolina?  Never a question but forgiveness and calls for God’s mercy, to say the least, an anomaly for our times.  “In an hour of just monstrous wrong, the families of the victims I think bore witness to the influence of that message in a way that has been enormously powerful. It has shaped the response to the shooting and in some ways helps people recover from an act of malice and hatred.”

Ottawa Citizen – Don Butler
Government cut sex offender program for political reasons, Irwin Cotler says 

Cotler is a former Justice Ministers and now a former Liberal MP from Montreal, retiring as of the end of the 41st session.  But for many he represents a voice of sanity and fairness in the criminal justice system.  Cotler was speaking directly about the reasons why the federal government ended the funding for what by all other accounts was a highly successful program – CoSA – made up mostly of volunteers for dealing with pedophile offenders released from prison.  Cotler’s departing remarks about the political purpose behind the cancellation of the funding make for chilly reading:  “It’s a very cynical way of governance and, regrettably, something that runs against the very things that they contend they’re doing — namely, that they’re protecting society. They are not.” – Kristie Smith
Sen. Mobina Jaffer says fight over C-51 is just getting started 

Canada’s one Muslim senator Mobina Jaffer, appointed one week after 9/11 by a Liberal government of the day, knows first-hand now after a US flight the direct impact of C-51 on Muslims.  “The Harper government has used Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who attacked Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2014, to validate excessive and dangerous legislation,” suggests Jaffer, “legislation that hurts Canada’s reputation internationally.”

 CBC News – James Fitz-Morris
Conservatives’ niqab ban shaped by Quebec’s secular charter battle –  On Parliament’s last sitting day before the election, Tories move to ban niqabs at citizenship ceremonies 

Here’s a possible explanation for the Tory position on Niqabs at citizenship ceremonies.  The Tories may see it as a wedge issue that may appeal to those in Quebec who support the secular charter, a divisive piece of legislation that many critics think defeated the PQ government.  The PQ also used the bill in Quebec to distract from a poorly performing economy.

Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Ontario jails accused of flouting new solitary confinement rules – Jails not distributing human rights manual despite legal settlement and direct orders from ministry, inmates allege 

In 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Corrections agreed to update and distribute a new inmate’s handbook that specifically identified the human rights issues for the inmate.  A former inmate of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, Christina Jahn, is asking the Human Rights Tribunal to declare that the Ministry of Corrections has failed in its agreement and is asking $1500 in damages for each incidence of failure.  The heart of the conflict involves the indiscriminate use of solitary confinement.

Toronto Star – Editorial (June 21, 2015)
Support a bold campaign to end homelessness

20,000 Homes Campaign wants to achieve its goal within three years and are looking for nation-wide support.  Sponsored by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, the campaign has to date 21 communities and 350 volunteers participating.  The effort is spurred on by the notion that providing housing first to people who are homeless is the most effective way to allow poor people to re-establish themselves and their families.   Campaign web page:

Globe and Mail – Michael Babad

The rich really do get richer, studies show

Two new studies by wealth managers say that just having money will get you more.  The Boston Consulting Group says that translates into 12% last year.  The stats say that Canada is in the top 10 for return on the dollar.  The second study, by Capgemini and Royal Bank, the wealth of high net worth individuals or HNWI rose by 7% in the US and 8% in Canada but so did the numbers moving the individuals through the net worth categories – a 4% growth.    Related article:  Elizabeth Renzetti – Why an old soldier picked a new fight with the rich –  a 92 year old vet Harry Leslie Smith  “The way it shouldn’t be again.”

Toronto Star – Rachel Mendleson
John Salmon to be exonerated after 45 years – Nearly a half-century after John Salmon was convicted of killing Maxine Ditchfield, a Toronto Court of Appeal is expected to clear his name.

Maxine Ditchfield died, say the experts now with forensic science at their service, from a stroke brought on by a fall, not a blow on the head.  John Salmon spent three years of a ten year sentence in prison and was paroled in 1974.  Crown involved recognized that the evidence was circumstantial and had doubts from the start.  Salmon’s conviction will be vacated on Monday after 45 years consequent to an effort by the Association for the Wrongly Convicted.