Who owns testimony?

June 19, 2016

Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Ottawa seeks top court ruling on residential school records

Who owns the testimony of those victims of the Indigenous residential schools?   The question is important for the decision of what ultimately happens to those records.  A lower court – the Ontario Court of Appeal – ruled that the victims have the right to decide if the records are preserved or not and that there would be arm’s length storage with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for those who agreed to archive the material.  Now the federal government wants to declare these documents owned by the government as public documents.  If an individual does not agree to archive his or her testimony, then the lower court calls for destruction within 15 years; the fate of the documents if owned by the federal government will no longer be with the survivors.   https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/06/18/residential-school-abuse-victims-fight-for-their-testimony.html

Toronto Star – Colin Dormuth
The case for prescription-only marijuana – Contrary to popular mythology surrounding pot, it is far from harmless

Dormuth, an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology at UBC, first examines most recent opinion on whether marijuana is harmful or not and concludes, after several arguments, that it is and that the movement to legalize marijuana is an effort in harm reduction.  He wants marijuana regulated as a prescription drug.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/06/17/the-case-for-prescription-only-marijuana.html  Related article: Toronto Star – Marina Jimenez  Portugal’s drug decriminalization could set example for Canada     https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/06/16/portugals-drug-decriminalization-could-set-example-for-canada.html

Globe TV News – Joan Bryden, Canadian Press
Assisted dying Bill C-14 now law

The Senate has passed – 44-28 the controversial C-14 within two hours of having the bill returned from the House of Commons with the Senate’s proposal to extend the scope of those eligible for the medically assisted dying provision.  The House rejected the amendment from the senate to extend the law beyond those who are terminally ill and whose death is reasonably foreseeable.   “I am convinced the government is making a serious and cruel mistake by taking away the right to medically assisted dying from a group of patients, those who are not terminally ill and yet suffering terribly,” said newly appointed independent Sen. Andre Pratte.”  http://globalnews.ca/news/2769877/senators-bow-to-will-of-elected-commons-on-assisted-dying-bill/   Text of Bill C-14:  https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/C-14/  Related article: Canada.com – Andrew Coyne   Senate shows new sense of authority despite giving in on Bill C-14     http://www.canada.com/news/national/andrew+coyne+senate+shows+sense+authority+despite+giving+bill/11994214/story.html

National Newswatch
Wilson-Raybould announces spate of judicial appointments

In the face of 49 federal judge vacancies, the federal government has made a series of appointments to fill vacancies in BC, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, where there are 11 in Alberta and Ontario, and 9 in BC. There are 1,100 judges including some who continue to work part time after retirement age as supernumeraries.  There are 15 appointments in this announcement.   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2016/06/17/wilson-raybould-announces-spate-of-judicial-appointments-3/#.V2R1VrvyuUk   (New appointees list at link.)

CBC News – Kate Bueckert
Waterloo region committee supports call for guaranteed basic income national discussion – Local advocacy group says it’s a good step towards making a minimum income a reality

Waterloo Regional Services Committee has approved a request for support from the city of Kingston to have national discussions between the provincial and federal governments about a national guaranteed annual income (GAI) as a path towards lowering poverty and income disparity.  The response is prompted by a February announcement by Ontario’s Liberal government that it will do a pilot study on GAI. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/guaranteed-basic-income-waterloo-region-1.3634176

Global News – Alexa Huffman
Saskatchewan government announces pilot program for Regina families in need

The pilot program is targeting 10 families who most use government services.  The two year pilot called the Healthy Families Initiative delivers intensive support – one-on-one- for a wide variety of circumstances:  “care for their children, reduce criminal offences and family violence, increase employment, support families affected by mental health and addictions and make sure children are attending schools.”   http://globalnews.ca/news/2759138/saskatchewan-government-announces-pilot-program-for-regina-families-in-need/

Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc and Robert Fife
Blair unaware of probe that led to arrest of fundraiser organizers

Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief and now MP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice charged with implementing the legalization of marijuana, has returned some $2400 raised for his election by two men now charged with fraud in handling the OPP Association union funds.  Blair says that he did not know that the donors were under RCMP investigation until the charges were made public.  “Upon learning of the news, Mr. Blair asked the riding association to return the donations and make a contribution to Variety Village to cover the in-kind donation,” a spokesperson said. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/bill-blair-pleads-ignorance-about-probe-after-arrest-of-fundraiser-organizers/article30517966/