Go softly, softly…

    Sept 30, 2015

 CBC Vote Compass
Majority of Canadians support softer marijuana laws – Even Conservative voters favour looser laws 

Over 14,000 Canadians answered a survey on the CBC Vote Compass about the review of marijuana laws.  Regardless of political affiliation a majority favour decriminalizing or legalizing for personal use.  75% of Conservatives and an over 86% of respondents have endorsed some sort of reduction in the impact of the current marijuana laws while only 14% want to keep the law as is.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-marijuana-1.3248969   Related article:  CBC News     Police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada – Incidents up 30% since Stephen Harper government elected in 2006   http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-marijuana-1.3248969   

 Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Judge cites jail lockdowns in delivering shorter sentence – Ruling skirts Ottawa’s legislative cap, finds “oppressive and medically compromising” conditions at Toronto South Detention Centre 

Ontario Court Justice Melvyn Green has recognized that the Toronto South Detention Center is lacking in security and in medical services and has taken time off the actual sentence for a man who brought a gun to a public park.  “Lawyers say the ruling could have sweeping implications for inmates serving time in Ontario’s chronically understaffed jails, where weekly lockdowns have become the norm in some institutions.”   http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/09/30/toronto-jail-lockdowns-lead-to-shorter-sentence-for-man-who-carried-gun-to-park.html

 Ottawa Citizen – Timothy J. Stanley
Racism abounds in election campaign 

Stanley is an anti-racism educator and professor at the University of Ottawa and a well-respected historian around racisms in Canada.  The racism he speaks about is not simply person to person bias but racism that is based on systemic exclusion around who is a Canadian and who counts.  He specifically tackles the absence of Aboriginal issues in the current election debates.  “Separating people from the consequences of their actions is exactly what today’s racism is doing.”  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/stanley-racism-abounds-in-election-campaign

 Toronto Star – Foreign Policy Series

The Star is featuring commentary on Canada’s foreign policy practices by inviting 11 independent experts to offer analysis and solutions.  The article linked is by Ian Smillie who comments on the role of charities and NGO’s in the pursuit of poverty reduction in the world.   The other ten experts are available through this one link: climate change, diplomacy, human rights, peacekeeping, etc.  Canadian foreign aid is now at approximately one third the international standard, at 0.24% of the gross national income.  http://www.thestar.com/opinion/2015/09/28/election-commentary-canadas-foreign-aid.html   Related article: Hill Times-on-line – Tim Naumetz    Conservatives playing politics with Citizenship Act, say human rights lawyers     http://www.hilltimes.com/news/legislation/2015/09/29/conservatives-playing-politics-with-citizenship-act-say-human-rights/43572

 CBC News
Canadian military explored plan to fully integrate forces with U.S. – Top generals met to discuss possibility of fully integrating Canadian and U.S. militaries 

Pray that the thought is not father of the deed but Canadian generals have been meeting and discussing the merger of the Canadian Armed Forces with the US military at the highest levels of command.  Equally alarming, though the proposal spoke of a single “fully integrated” military force, spokespersons for the Ministry of National Defence concede that there was no exchange between the ministry and the Canadian military on the subject.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-military-integration-canada-us-1.3248594

 Guardian (UK)
Hundreds of Jamaican prisoners held in UK jails to be repatriated   

Britain had £25 million in foreign aid so here’s a unique way to do it.  Built a brand new 1500 bed prison in Jamaica and ship home the 600 in British jails for drug and violence offences.  You don’t need the permission of the inmates and you don’t have a deportation problem at the end of their sentence.  The agreement with the Jamaican government includes all those sentenced to four years or more and with at least 18 months left to serve when the agreement starts in 2020.  The prisoner transfer agreement adds to deals that have been struck with Albania, Nigeria, Somaliland, Rwanda and Libya.  http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/30/uk-to-repatriate-hundreds-of-jamaican-prisoners

VERA Institute of Justice (US) –

VERA has introduced a new web site and access to a new searchable data base around solitary confinement called Safe Alternatives to Solitary Confinement Initiativeshttp://www.safealternativestosegregation.org/