Living tree…

     June 24, 2015

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Another critic of gay marriage ascends to Ontario’s highest court

Justice Bradley Miller, after six months and no published decisions on the Superior Court, has been quietly appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.  Miller is one of the University of Western Ontario professors who espouses the doctrine of “originalism,” a view that says the constitution should be interpreted as the founding fathers intended.  “The Supreme Court has expressly rejected such use of originalism in favour of the “living tree” view – that the law changes with the times.”

Canadian Press – Jim Bronskill
Spies wanted mere info-sharing tweaks, government ushered in total overhaul

The revelation is startling.  According to CP’s Bronskill, the spy agencies wanted some tweaking done to the info sharing but the Conservative government choose instead to revamp the law.  The documents with the extra-ordinary concessions were obtained by CP under Freedom of Information but were heavily censored as well.  No one is sure about why but a number of critics who objected to the scope of the revamp insist that the law is “clearly excessive,” and makes available very personal information to at least seventeen different federal agencies.

Stats Canada – Sharanjit Uppal
Employment patterns of families with children, 1976 to 2014 

The article compares the employment patterns in families from the 1970’s to 2014.  Dual income earners have increased and one income  families are fewer, with differences between the provinces.  One in five of families with children were lone parent families, rising from 300,000 in 1976 to almost 700,000 in 2014.  The stats seem to speak to issues around the tax breaks for families, currently the buzz word in pre-election talk.   StatsCan full report :

Montreal Gazette – Nathalie Laflamme
Coderre calls for action to stop deportations in Dominican Republic

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is upset at plans by Canada Immigration to deport hundreds of former Haitians who have been long term residents of Montreal and are now facing mass deportation, a threat that has already alarmed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  Coderre says “As mayor of Montreal, a diverse and inclusive city for so many immigrants, I reaffirm our commitment to human rights and I call for an immediate, just and humane resolution to this serious escalation — one that conforms to international law.”  Activist Frantz Andre says:  “It’s a humanitarian situation that speaks of statelessness, of xenophobia, of apartheid,”  Related article:  Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung   How much do you love me? For Immigration Canada, 532 pages of proof isn’t enough

National Newswatch – John Milloy
The Middle Class Drinking Game

Please be assured: this suggestion is tongue-in-cheek.  But Milloy puzzles over the frequency of the use of the term “middle class” in pre-election messages.  While Milloy agrees that the economic plight of the middle class is a problem, he thinks that there are other more pressing issues:  “climate change; an aging population; Canada’s proper place in a troubled world; the plight of our nation’s Aboriginal Peoples and our response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; refugee policies; precarious employment; and perhaps most important, the need for a true national anti-poverty plan — far from an exhaustive list.”

Ottawa Citizen – Kady O’Malley
Political financing wonks, rejoice in the Elections Canada Opinions, Guidelines and Interpretations Registry  

Elections Canada is asking Canada’s 17 political parties good pre-election questions about the variety of details that may make up the new regulations around what constitutes support, financial and otherwise, for political parties.  Those of us on the sidelines who generally only enter this conversation when another charity is attacked for political opinions or when results after an election seems to have been bought can now follow the development of policy around these issues.  O’Malley includes the use of House of Commons resources as well in her musings.   Web Site Elections Canada:

Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume
Canada’s withdrawal from UN drought convention prompted anger 

Canada is the first to withdraw from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and denies the funding to the agency.  UNCCD executive secretary Luc Gnacadja was puzzled by the decision since the agency plays a key role in Canada’s announced priority on food security.  “Desertification occurs when land becomes so degraded and dry that vegetation, including crops and trees, can’t be grown. It can be caused by extended drought, but also by deforestation and overgrazing by farm animals.”