Collateral damages…

     Sept 11, 2015

N.Y. Times (US) – Shaila Dewan
The Collateral Victims of Criminal Justice 

This article started in the context of lesser penalties for corporate crime because the penalty may harm the lives of innocent employees and others without responsibility for the crime.  Then, Dewan begins to enumerate the frequency and ways that the arrest of an ordinary individual has a collateral impact on others, mostly innocent as well.  The American Bar Association has a database with 45,000 various state regulations whose violation prevents an option in life.

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Planned passport renewal change opens door to fraud, forgery – Security expert calls move ‘reckless’ and ‘absolutely irresponsible’ 

The federal government through Citizenship and Immigration are offering some revisions to the process of obtaining a new passport that alarms security experts.  Part of the proposal, including the electronic renewal of the document, requires the applicant to destroy the previous passport.  Overlap between the expiry date of the old and the effective date of the new passport leaves some time for fraud since the old, though cancelled electronically, will have all the appearance of a perfectly valid passport. Currently, in an agreement with the US, UK, Australia, application for a new passport requires submission of the old passport which is both electronically and physically destroyed by government.  The new system is scheduled to begin Nov. 15, 2015.

APTN – Kenneth Jackson
Stephen Harper’s longest war: missing and murdered Indigenous women

Jackson recalls that in 2006 when Stephen Harper first took office, he set out of cut $1 billion and weighed the cuts heavily against the Status of Women, closing offices coast to coast.  The Native Women’s Association of Canada was under the Status of Women as well but supposedly protected by a contract, including a $5 million budget for five years, that former Prime Minister Paul Martin had given them.  What follows is a fascinating story of how the government was able to close down the NWAC.

Toronto Star – Laurie Monsebraaten
Lawsuit calls for end to claw-back of child support –  Ontario’s treatment of child support for kids on welfare is discriminatory, $1.9 billion class action lawsuit claims.   

The lawsuit draws attention to what we have known for some time: anyone on welfare who gets an additional amount of income must declare the income and see it clawed back in the welfare cheque.  Critics have long claimed that welfare claw-backs are simply guaranteeing that the recipient will never get out of poverty.  A father who pays $645 per month in child support to a mother on welfare is taking the Ontario government to court to change this practice.  None of the child support payment goes to the two kids, aged 10 and 12.

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Ontario dramatically cuts funding for TAVIS police unit

Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), a specialized crime-fighting initiative created after the so-called Summer of the Gun, will see over half its budget cut as of January 2016, and ultimately plans to axe the program entirely.  The TAVIS operation, funded by the Ministry of Community Safety and Community Services, sends teams of officers into high crime areas of the city.  Critics are hopeful that the change of priority means a movement from responsive and reactionary police services to “a proactive, collaborative, and community-based model of policing.”  A $4.7 million increase in the province’s policing funds appears to leave the option for the police to continue the current TAVIS model.

Human Rights Watch –
EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis – How to Save Lives and Protect People

Somewhat dated (Sept 5) in what appears to be an enduring crisis in the European Union, the article from Human Rights Watch is suggesting that there are five steps that can be taken to confront more effectively the crisis of sizeable population movement.  The focus must be the protection of life and keeping refugees safe.   Related article:  Human Rights Watch –  Amy Braunschweiger     Witness: A Child Soldier’s Darfur Confession – ‘I shot her. She is dead.’    

Times Colonist (Victoria, BC) – Canadian Press
Hearing delayed for high-risk designation of mentally ill dad who killed 3 kids

Allan Schoenborn was found not guilty by reason of insanity (NCR) in the murder of his three children.  The province of BC now has asked the courts for a designation of “high risk offender.”   The request is unprecedented since NCR has placed the case in the hands of a three member panel who have granted Schoenborn escorted leave – not yet achieved-  on the grounds of long time remission in the mental illness.  A decision in favour of the “high risk” request would reverse the decision of the review panel and victims are asking for on-going close custody for a minimum of three more years of treatment.