Devastating burdens…

Nov 21, 2016

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Lift ‘devastating’ loan burdens for refugees, advocates urge Liberal government – After fleeing conflict and persecution, refugees face debts that add stress, split families

How to make life that more difficult to refugees who have nothing and brought nothing but the clothes on their backs?  Have them pay for the air travel to Canada from the refugee camps.  While the feds waived the cost for the 25,000 Syrians and are promising to look at the issue of those costs for other refugees, the feds are refusing to make any adjustment at this time.  Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, called the burden of debt “devastating” saying that the pressure of the debt often leads to sacrificing re-settlement practices such as language training in favour of work to pay back.

Toronto Star – Penny Collenette
The news that is not fit to print

Collenette, a law professor at University of Ottawa, offers a reflection on the role of the public media in the light of the decline of the large news print outlets, the replacement of main stream media with Facebook and Twitter, the invasion of privacy reported by 10 Quebec journalist by police, and the extraordinary rise in “fake news.”  Says Collenette:  “In an era of “clickbait,” “false news” and outrageous tweets, we must accept that all the news is not fit to print.”  Or even to re-broadcast!   Related article: Toronto Star – Robin Sears  Are we on the verge of another revolution?   Related article: Globe and Mail – Tabitha Southey   The problem with fake news is not supply. It’s demand

Toronto Star – Jesse McLean
‘Eroded’ controls lead to more guns on streets: expert

There has been a 50% increase in the number of restricted guns in the last five years in Canada.  Further, once a person has a firearms license, he or she can purchase as many guns as they wish and the practice of re-selling the guns for profit is a growing business.  Bill C-42 (June 2015) reduced the role of the Chief Firearms Officer to refuse gun licences.  Critics want the authority to decline licences restored.    Related article: Toronto Star – Betsy Powell   Toronto police memo flags surge in domestic handgun trafficking

Abacus Data – Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
What keeps us awake: Top national issues

This article may well be helpful in the light of the confusion around the issues in the most recent US election.  The national survey was conducted on-line and ranks the issues according to regions and gender.  The leader on national issues is general economic conditions with 34% nation-wide, 27% in BC and 47% in Alberta.

Toronto Star – Matthew Gourlay
Trump election turns back the clock on justice reform

Gourlay, a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, recites the Trump support for the capital punishment of five youths – the Central Park Five – four Black and one Hispanic, for a crime they did not commit.  Says Gourlay:  “Now it’s saddled with Trump, who rejects not only the cause of racial justice but the very mindset of fact-based inquiry that has given the reform movement bipartisan legs. The forthcoming struggle has a number of fronts and the criminal justice system is one of them.”

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Ontario ignored warnings on solitary confinement

White cites the previous warnings delivered by various coroner’s inquests over the years about conditions in the cell which held Adam Capay, the most recent victim of solitary in the Thunder Bay Jail.  In 2008, Christopher Coaster died in the same cell where a very hot summer compounded the problems of de-hydration.  “It was horrible,” said Robert McKenzie, a jail sergeant at the time. “He dehydrated to death and boiled to death in there.”  And yet, the cell has been used repeatedly.    Related article:  Globe and Mail Editorial (Nov. 10, 2016)   Ontario has no reasons left to delay its reform of solitary confinement

Globe and Mail – Tavia Grant
United Nations report urges Canada to address gender equality barriers

Every five years the United Nations convenes groups to assess and make recommendations on how to better respond to social issues.  This report from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women comments on a wide variety of issues from pay equity to violence against women, especially Indigenous women, and solitary confinement in prison.  The report highlighted in particular the high number of incidents of gender based violence and the failure of many victims even to report the violence.