Jail time?

March 25, 2016

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Judge suspends cocaine trafficking sentence for indigenous man

Robert McGill, 40, was convicted of trafficking with a third of a kilogram of cocaine worth about $15,000.  But he is also Aboriginal and Justice Melvyn Green’s decision was to give no jail time for an offense that would normally bring 2-5 years in prison.  The judge, is an outspoken critic of the justice system, is also required to give special consideration in sentencing Aboriginals.  The crown, though the Trudeau government wants to find ways to sentence fewer Aboriginals to prison, intends to appeal the decision.  Said Green: “Disproportionately high rates of incarceration are a notorious part of the problem that defines the current state of Aboriginal Canadians.”   McGill has been out on bail for 27 months and has been both crime and drug free for that time.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/judge-suspends-cocaine-trafficking-sentence-for-indigenous-man/article29374801/

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Canada

The United Nations periodically reviews the progress of its member nations on a variety of yardsticks, this one on the economic and social well-being of its citizens.  The link is to an 11 page pdf released in early March 2016 and assessing improvements since the last report from five years ago.  Besides the economic and social commentary, there are remarks on gender equality, violence against women, poverty, and the treatment of indigenous people.  http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CESCR/Shared%20Documents/CAN/E_C-12_CAN_CO_6_23228_E.pdf

National Newswatch – Michelle McQuigge and Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Ghomeshi’s verdict highlights what’s wrong with justice system  

Whatever else, the verdict in the Ghomeshi trial has raised powerfully both legal and victim concerns around rape and sexual assault.  Many think that Justice William Horkins had no choice; many see the verdict as re-enforcing the re-victimization of the women, much of the argument focusing on the credibility of the witnesses.  Amanda Dale, Executive Director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, reflects on the gain from the entire process:  “…I think there’s been a momentum built here that isn’t going to go away easily. And I think in fact, the anger and outrage may fuel another round of reform.”   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2016/03/24/ghomeshis-verdict-highlights-whats-wrong-with-justice-systemexperts/#.VvQdBOLyuUk   Actual Judgment and decision:  http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2775766-Crown-V-Ghomeshi-decision.html#document/p1   Related article:  CBC News –   Ghomeshi trial judge praised by lawyers for ‘right decision’    http://www.cbc.ca/news/jian-ghomeshi-lawyers-judge-decision-1.3506613   Related article:  iPolitics –  Tasha Kheiriddin     The Ghomeshi trial ended ugly — the only way it could have ended    http://ipolitics.ca/2016/03/24/the-ghomeshi-trial-ended-ugly-the-only-way-it-could-have-ended/   Related article: Toronto Star -Vinay Menon       Ghomeshi verdict was easier than it seemed – Ghomeshi case was always a shaky pedestal on which to build a loftier discussion about sexual assault   http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/03/25/ghomeshi-verdict-was-easier-than-it-seemed.html  Related article: Toronto Star – Rosie DiManno   Treating women like victims is not the answer    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/03/25/treating-women-like-victims-is-not-the-answer-dimanno.html  Related article: Globe and Mail – Carissima Mathen  Ghomeshi trial wasn’t a judgment on sexual assault laws   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/ghomeshi-trial-wasnt-a-judgment-on-sexual-assault-laws/article29388806/   Related article: Globe and Mail – Margaret Wente   Truth and deception: Ghomeshi verdict a good day for justice   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/truth-and-deception-ghomeshi-verdict-a-good-day-for-justice/article29387850/   Related article: Globe and Mail – Leah McLaren   Five important take-aways from the Ghomeshi trial after his acquittal   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/five-important-takeaways-from-the-ghomeshi-trial/article29377350/

National Newswatch – Kristy Kirkup
 Senator blasts Correctional Service of Canada, suggests new leadership needed

The senator, Bob Runciman from Ontario, is a former solicitor general and cabinet minister in the Mike Harris’ government.  He is calling for high level change of leadership in Correctional Services Canada in the light of the failure of the agency to implement the recs from the Ashley Smith inquest and the dismal recent report to Parliament from Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator.  In Runciman’s assessment:  “The CSC has taken what I would call baby steps, with pilot projects that are too small to be effective and may be deliberately designed to fail.”   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2016/03/24/senator-blasts-correctional-service-of-canada-suggests-new-leadership-needed-3/#.VvRK0-LyuUk

CBC News – Susan Lunn
Philpott won’t appeal Allard ruling on right to grow medical marijuana – Health Canada developing new rules for medical pot, minister won’t commit to right to grow beyond August

Health Minister Jane Philpott has announced that the federal government will not appeal the Federal Court ruling that allows those using medical marijuana to grow their own supply.  The rider, though, she says, is that the permission applies only until the new pot regulations are in place, likely in late August of 2016.  The minister would not commit to home grown pot beyond the new regulations and says that the expected regulations will deal with the Federal Court’s ruling.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/medical-marijuana-grow-allard-philpott-no-appeal-1.3506015

Toronto Star – Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press
Federal agencies sharing information under Bill C-51 provisions – Canada’s privacy commissioner has criticized the bill for being overly broad and difficult to police.

Bill C-51 gives agencies that collect personal information to share that information, one of the most controversial elements of the legislation.  Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said it could make available all federally held information about someone of interest to as many as 17 government departments and agencies with responsibilities for national security, insisting the legislation was too broad and was without limits on how long the information would be kept. The Liberals voted in Parliament for the Bill but promised amendments if elected.  At least four agencies have used the broaden powers to acquire shared information to date.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/03/24/federal-agencies-sharing-information-under-bill-c-51-provisions.html

Ottawa Citizen – Gary Dimmock
Inside the Ottawa jail’s shower cells: ‘Nothing short of disgusting’

How does one deal with over-crowding and double-bunking in Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre?  You throw a couple of mattresses on the floor of the shower cell because it conveniently has a barred door.  Equally convenient, no one at the jail or the Ministry could offer numbers around how often the shower cell was used or how often it was double bunking inmates.  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/0325-jail

Human Rights Watch (US) – Stephanie Hancock
Interview: It Feels Like a Prison

Trans-gendered women held in US Immigration detention facilities don’t see much difference from a jail, and the detention is still dangerous and frightful for them.  These women, says Hancock, UK Media Officer for Human Rights Watch, are certainly among the most vulnerable and are almost certainly already victims of violence, harassment and perhaps rape. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/23/interview-it-feels-prison    Report from Human Rights Watch:  US: Transgender Women Abused in Immigration Detention- Face Sexual Assault, Solitary Confinement  https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/23/us-transgender-women-abused-immigration-detention