Flawed bill…

Dec 15, 2016 

 Ottawa Citizen – Marie-Danielle Smith
Newly-emboldened Senate threatens to block ‘deeply flawed’ bill to remove gender discrimination from Indian Act

Bill S-3 is a senate bill and the third attempt to address the issue of gender rights for Aboriginals.  A Quebec court ruled that the registration requirements in the Indian Act violated the charter and gave the government a deadline for correcting the problem.  Trouble is, say some of the senators, this answer is deeply flawed – the evidence suggests that the current discrimination will continue even if the S-3 Bill is passed – and they are advising government to seek a court sanctioned extension of the deadline to adequately address the flaws. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/national/newly+emboldened+senate+threatens+block+98deeply+flawed+bill/12522665/story.html

Toronto Star – Alex Ballingall
Judge certifies $600M lawsuit for mentally ill inmates allegedly mistreated

Adam Capay was kept in solitary confinement for four years.  Now, a judge has certified a class action lawsuit for mistreatment.  “The lawsuit alleges Canada’s federal prison agency fails to properly care for mentally ill inmates, relies too much on the “cruel and unusual punishment” of solitary confinement, and neglects to adequately train its staff. Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled that the lawsuit should go ahead in a decision released Wednesday.”   Lawyers expect a wide appeal among people with mental illness who were kept in solitary for prolonged periods.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/12/14/judge-certifies-600-million-lawsuit-for-mentally-ill-inmates.html

Campaign 2000 – Homeless Hub
A Road Map to Eradicate Child & Family Poverty: 2016 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada

The origin of this report adds to the dismal outlook and estimates.  Campaign 2000 was formed specifically in the 90’s to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000.  There was even an act of parliament establishing the goal.  1,302,330 children are still living in poverty, nearly one in five.  The report offers twelve recommendations for immediate relief.  http://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Campaign2000NationalReportCard2016Eng.pdf

The Sentencing Project (US)
92 State Prisons Projected to Close

The closures involve about 48,000 prison beds and are in 22 states where the closures will also spark the re-purposing of the facility to either for-profit or community operations.  So far, the estimated savings for the states is about $333 million.  The closure activity has happened from 2011 – 2016, some still in the planning stages.  39 states have experienced a decline in inmate numbers since their peak years and several – New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California – have achieved noteworthy reductions (20%) while others have reached double digit reductions as well.    http://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Repurposing-New-Beginnings-for-Closed-Prisons.pdf  (A nine page downloadable pdf)

National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Police pilot project will test systems to detect drug-impaired drivers

Drivers in a number of areas across Canada will have an opportunity to participate in a test of two devices meant to determine legally if drivers have used, among other drugs, cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, or opioids.  The testing is based on an analysis of saliva.  The testing will involve training for the police officers and will include RCMP, provincial police and major municipalities.  The announcement follows on the recent release of the Task Force on the Legalization of Marijuana. http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2016/12/14/police-pilot-project-will-test-systems-to-detect-drug-impaired-drivers-2/#.WFG2LVMrKUk

Toronto Star – Ann Cavoukian and Michael Vonn
Trudeau must honour promise to protect privacy and amend Anti-terrorism Act

C-51 is still controversial and in the news, this time for a standalone clause which would create “unprecedented surveillance powers,” called the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA).  The statute would create un-precedential reach for security agencies and a legal access to  personal data of any kind.  The authors are both well known in the realm of privacy concerns.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2016/12/13/trudeau-must-honour-promise-to-protect-privacy-and-amend-anti-terrorism-act.html   Related article: Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc    Warrants to shed light on Quebec police’s surveillance of journalists    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/montreal-court-to-release-search-warrants-targeting-quebec-journalists/article33327963/   Related article: Globe and Mail – Ivo Entchev and Jeremy Opolsky    Google Supreme Court case pits rule of law against free speech   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/google-supreme-court-case-pits-rule-of-law-against-free-speech/article33294246/

Breaking news:  CBC News –    1 dead, at least 8 wounded in Saskatchewan prison riot