Metis, Non-Status…

April 15, 2016 

National Newswatch – Bruce Cheadle, Canadian Press
Supreme Court rules that Metis, non-status Indians are federal responsibility

Canada’s Metis and non-status Indians – 665,000 in total – have long fallen into the cracks between the federal and provincial governments, each of whom insisted that the other was responsible for services.  After a 17 year fight, the Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision has declared that this population is properly the responsibility of the federal government: the population is Indian under the Constitution.  Said Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations:   “It basically shows that colonial law is starting to crumble and it’s time to build a new relationship with the Crown.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Joanna Smith    Supreme Court recognizes rights of Métis and non-status Indians – The landmark ruling gives these groups a starting point for negotiating rights, treaties, services and benefits with Ottawa.   Text of the Supreme Court decision: Daniels vs Canada  (A 39 page downloadable pdf)    Related article: Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway and Sean Fine  Métis, non-status Indians win Supreme Court battle over rights    CTV News – Taline McPhedran     More off-reserve First Nations people reporting poor health, chronic conditions

Toronto Star Editorial (April 15, 2016)
‘Medical aid in dying’ law strikes a good balance 

The Star thinks that the Liberal government got just the right balance, though there may be further revisions in the years to come.  The law requires critical illness and inevitable death while suffering but excludes pre-authorizing and mental illness as well as minors.  Health care workers whose conscience prohibits participation may opt out.  The editorial concludes:   “But the Liberal government has done a credible job of crafting a compassionate law that would have given Sue Rodriguez the help in dying that she sought, while preventing vulnerable people from being drawn, in moments of weakness or despair, to needlessly end their lives.”  Text of Proposed Bill C-14 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)  Related article:  Globe and Mail  ‘We were stuck following the system’: One family’s tragic end-of-life story   (A 7 minute video offering one family experience)  Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Megan Gillis, Post Media News    ‘My father couldn’t find peace as he was dying,’ says daughter supporting assisted death   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Sharon Kirkey     Experts clash over criteria in Canada’s new assisted-suicide law   Related article: Ottawa Citizen  – Catherine Ferrier     Assisted-dying bill safeguards no one’s right to life    Related article: CTV News     Five ways the assisted dying legislation strays from parliamentary recommendations

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Supreme Court strikes down Tories’ tough-on-crime laws

Chief Justice Beverley McLaughlin has written two rulings that strike at the heart of the Conservative government ‘tough-on-crime’ agenda expressed in the Truth in Sentencing Act:  mandatory one year for repeat drug offenders and limits on credit for time served in pre-trial custody.   Related article: CBC News   Top court rejects 2 key Conservative ‘tough on crime’ reforms

Ottawa Citizen – Kelly Egan
Suicide equally stubborn behind bars: 140 hangings tell us so

163 people have died in police or prison custody in the last twenty years, as revealed by an examination of inquests for the same period, 140 of the deaths from inmate suicide by hanging.  Egan suggests that facing this alarming rate there are two inevitable conclusions from the inquest into the death of Yousef Hussein, the Ottawa-Carleton’s most recent inmate suicide:  Correctional Services is under no obligation to implement any recommendation from the inquest – witness the Ashley Smith inquest – and suicide is very difficult to prevent.  Dr. Zul Merali is president of The Royal Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research.  He says that suicide rates have flat-lined while other disease are falling.  He says that we don’t adequately treat the depression that is part of the problem.

CBC News – Dean Beeby
RCMP refugee screening a $16M flop, says internal report – Pilot project to run the names of refugee claimants through police databases generated little of value

The program ran for four years, cost $16 million and contributed nothing to the security process screening Syrian refuges for terrorist connections.  30 Mounties were pre-occupied for the four years largely without discernible results while vetting refugees already ready in Canada and whose names were provided by the CBSA.