Mandatory minimums targeted…

    Sept 28, 2015

 Global TV News
Justin Trudeau might repeal some mandatory minimums if elected

Trudeau said Sunday in an interview with Tom Clarke that a Liberal government would tackle both the mandatory minimum and the provisions of C-24 that allow repeal of Canadian citizenship.  The announcement marks the first public opposition by a major political party to the tough-on-crime provisions of the Conservative government.    Related article:  Global News – Rebecca Joseph   Tories slam Trudeau for comments on mandatory minimum sentences, economy   Related article: National Newswatch – Canadian Press    NDP question timing of Conservative government decision to revoke citizenship

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Ontario judge strikes down mandatory minimum sentence for pot growing   

If you cultivate between 6 and 200 marijuana plants for trafficking, you get a mandatory six months in jail.  Not so says Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno.  His ruling applies to Ontario only but is based on the same rationale as used in the Supreme Court of Canada in throwing out a three year mandatory for illegal gun possession.  “The deprivation of liberty occasioned by a six-month jail term would be grossly disproportionate for a law-abiding citizen who made an honest mistake,” said Justice Durno.      No reaction yet about an appeal.

 CTV News
Harper gov’t warned budget ‘insufficient’ to meet security needs at Canadian embassies 

A secret document dated September 9 has revealed that as many as 20% of Canada’s overseas embassies and consulates are now assessed at high risk for security and putting staff and personnel at similar high risk.  The document warns that the Foreign Affairs budget is “insufficient to …meet the complex security requirements.”

 CBC News – Rosa Marchitelli
Woman, 99, denied citizenship despite living in Canada since 1933 – Citizenship and Immigration doesn’t know or understand its own rules, says critic

She’s lived in Canada for 80 years, paid her taxes, voted in almost every election but even 20 pieces of identification was not sufficient for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  They wanted the birth certificate of Joan Stirling, even after 100 years and repeated interactions with the UK government failed to produce one.  “Stirling calls herself Canada’s oldest “non-person,” but her situation isn’t unusual according to critics who say our citizenship laws are so convoluted, even the people paid to implement the rules don’t understand them.”

 Toronto Star – Emily Mathieu 
Ontario’s domestic abuse counselling program is in crisis 

More than two dozen provincial agencies and experts have raised alarm with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General over the reductions and funding cuts to the programs calculated to keep safe women caught up in domestic violence.  Most of the programs are court ordered for participants.  Partner Assault Response programs are generally once a week meetings for 12 weeks and are designed to keep first and less serious offenders out of jail.

 Globe and Mail – Kathryn Blaze Baum
Call for inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women sparks debate

The first national conference – the Spirit of Our Sisters – on the murdered and missing Aboriginal women is happening in Edmonton and has sparked some pointed and heated debate about the scope of the problem – a crime or a deeper symptom.  Attendees are drawn from First Nations, law enforcement, family members and political leaders.

 Eastern Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) –

This past summer the ELCIC in National Convention passed an eight page resolution endorsing a restorative justice approach to crime and criminals, complete with 16 affirmations or commitments from the Church.  The resolution speaks to enforcement, corrections, chaplains and spiritual care givers, RJ practices and the community.  The document then calls for the renewal of the Biblical perspective on justice and calls for a new possibility based on 16 faith affirmations around criminal justice in Canada.

 Girls and Justice in New York – Teen Voices

Here is a series of three links around issues speaking about the incarceration of young girls.  The project was funded by the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation to address this specific niche and the commentary well worth the reading.  New York Teens Often Isolated in Adult Prisons   Risks Are High for Teen Daughters with Jailed Moms    Girls Fare Better in Open-Door Justice Programs

 John Trent – Harper’s Canada

While we have already drawn attention to John Trent’s new book  Harper’s Canada with the election three weeks away we re-iterate John’s appeal that you read the booklet before you vote.  John Trent is a former chair of the Council of Canadians and a senior fellow with the Centre for Governance in Ottawa.  The 40 page booklet is available as a free downloadable pdf at

 Church Council on Justice and Corrections (CCJC) – Kathryn Bliss

The Church Council is inviting us to Re-imagine Justice but through the arts and is calling for submissions and inviting the public to participate as a number of well know academics and others present the overlap between restorative justice and art, including SJNC Lorraine Berzins and Jamie Scott.  The evening is billed as Restorative Justice 101.  The effort begins on Thursday October 1st at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, University of Ottawa, Fauteux Hall, room 137.  CCJC hopes you will come and re-imagine justice together.  For more information: