New pot wars…

May 21, 2016

Toronto Star – Betsy Powell
Toronto pot outlets ordered to shutter in 3 days – The city continues to serve pot shop landlords with a three day deadline to shutter their premises

Canada’s justice minister has promised the legalization of marijuana legislation for spring of 2017.  In the meantime, pot shops have sprung up across the country for the sale of medical marijuana.  The pot shops are increasingly in confrontation with city by-laws over locations and the number of shops within the city.  Toronto is the latest to serve notice of closure to pot shops and the city is not distinguishing shops for medical or shops for recreational marijuana. There are an estimated 75 pot shops in Toronto.   The rationale offered is that the law is the law until it is changed.   Related article: Financial Post – Peter Koven   Toronto’s marijuana crackdown follows heavy lobbying by legal pot producers

Vox Culture – Gregory Ellwood
Cannes 2016: this year’s films provide a stark portrait of worldwide economic disparity

Cannes Film Festival has a most unattractive and un-Hollywood focus this year: income inequality.  While the Sunshine Film Festival is known for progressive themes, Cannes draws films from all over the world and usually reflects a greater diversity of themes.  This year the theme of income inequality appears despite the universal draw.

CBC News –

Allegations of bullying, harassment emerge in RCMP’s witness protection program – Psychologists in RCMP unit say supervisor was rude, abusive and made demeaning and belittling comments

Despite the initial credibility of complaints, allegations of misconduct were buried.  Now, after festering for some time, the original allegations are under investigation, including the officer charged with overall responsibility for the witness protection unit.  The RCMP looked at the working relationships and morale of the unit rather than investigate the allegations.  The report suggested:  “The current working relationship between some individuals has deteriorated to the point where immediate action has to be considered.”

Huffington Post – Althia Raj
Liberals Consider New Approach for Canadians in Trouble Abroad

The concern with consular services for Canadians overseas is suffering from the perception that the last government was selective about who was given consular services.  The result is a suggestion that all Canadians are entitled to full and equal consular services when in trouble overseas.  The concerns were derived partly from the experience of Mohammed Fahmey and several others, including Omar Khadr; immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman focused the issue:  “All Canadians, regardless of their political belief, have a right to expect that their state will do everything in their power to provide them consular services, especially if they are unjustly detained.”   Just under 1500 Canadians per year are detained overseas.

Ottawa Citizen / Montreal Gazette – Christopher Curtis
For Quebec’s aboriginal police, critics say pay is no match for the danger

Here’s a different perspective on policing and perhaps at once another view of the unsettled lives of small communities coping with isolation and social ills.  The funding of the Aboriginal Police Services is spotty and almost always results in lack of equipment and loss of experienced officers to better paying positions in other departments after initial training.   Related article: CBC News – Canadian Press    Labrador Inuit suicide rate 20 times non-Indigenous Newfoundland rate: study

CBC News – Susan Lunn
MPs expected to vote on assisted-dying bill C-14 in last week of May – Will C-14 survive the House? Patients and their families will be watching closely when vote hits floor

As the June 6 deadline for the SCC’s directive on assisted dying approaches, it is appearing increasingly likely that the measure as it is will miss the deadline and be held up in the senate as constitutional issues re-invigorate the opposition to the Bill C-14 as it is.  The MPP’s can vote their conscience; the bill now faces a third reading followed by senate approval.  Already “the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled May 17, the government is flouting last year’s landmark ruling by the Supreme Court when it argues that assisted dying should apply only to those who are close to death.”