Jan 25, 2017

Globe and Mail – Tu Thanh Ha
Muslim teenager sues Montreal school, alleging he was framed as an extremist

In 2015, a joke overheard, a misinterpretation, and suddenly handcuffs and charges followed for a 15 year old Grade 11 Muslim student at Charlemagne private school in Montreal.  The story of this incident is heightened by the news that a number of youth had just departed at the time to join ISIS and school authorities rushed to judge that this young man was a loner and an isolate, “withdrawn and antisocial, that he didn’t respect authority and that he was heard yelling “al-Qaeda.”  The teen was later acquitted in court in 2016, a sobering reminder of the power of our fears.

Toronto Star – Thomas Walkom
Courts are the biggest threat to Canadian medicare – Canada’s courts show little interest in strengthening medicare laws but sympathize with those who would dismantle them.

Here’s an alarming suggestion:  the courts may side with double dipping or allowing physicians to serve in both the private and public sector of health care at once.  Politicians, says Walkom, understand not to meddle in health care but the courts seem willing to take the health care laws apart without strengthening them.  Dr. Brian Day of BC is challenging two aspect of the provincial laws with implications for the national scene:  the sale of medically necessary services and serving on both sectors at once.  Related article:  Globe and Mail – Kelly Grant   Assisted dying no financial burden to health system: report

National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Pipeline breach southeast of Regina leaks 200,000 litres of crude oil

Here’s another reminder of the dangers to the environment from pipelines, fortunately without getting into rivers or streams.  About 175,000 litres have been recovered to date and the plan is to remove the soil impacted by the spill.  The spill is on First Nations land and the source has not yet been determined.  Related article: CBC News – Creeden Martell   Ocean Man oil spill odour detected a week ago, chief says – Source of the leak that spilled 200,000 litres on Sask. First Nation not yet confirmed  Related article: Ottawa Citizen –  Canadian Press   Federal Court of Appeal dismisses First Nations’ challenge of B.C.’s Site C dam

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
‘Massive disappointment’: Liberals urged to step up efforts to tackle sexual, domestic violence – Strategy to end gender-based violence will aim to create a cultural change

The Liberal government attempts to date are getting failing grades from some involved responding and preventing violence against women.  So far they say there has been some money spent on shelters but little or nothing on prevention programs.  Some groups object to the government’s use of the term ‘gender based violence’ instead of violence against women and to light sentences for offenders.  Some suggest a very restricted consultation in the beginning.  Trudeau links the violence to bullying, harassment and abuse of power as well.   Related article – Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway  Quebec judge gives Ottawa more time to fix part of Indian Act declared discriminatory   Related article: Vice (Canada) Carl Meyer   “If these were white kids…people would be fired”   Related article:  National Post – David Atkin   In a report card on Trudeau government’s first year, indigenous affairs work gets an ‘incomplete’  

 Toronto Star – Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh, Associated Press
Jailing of Palestinian teen casts spotlight on Israel detentions

The question of jailing people without warrant or charges – so called administrative detention – is still somewhat common, even in countries where rule of law is upheld.  Numbers fluctuate with highs during periods of conflict and tension.  Authorities say they need a deterrence for the 1300 Israeli killed since 2000 in terrorist attacks but rights advocates say that the practice violates both the law and human rights.   Related article: Toronto Star – Michelle Shepherd    Trump takes over at Guantanamo, and no one knows what happens next: Analysis   Related article:  Ottawa Citizen – Tristan Hopper   Beware of ‘Canadian sensitivity’: Declassified documents reveal what the CIA really thinks about us

Toronto Star – Bill Graveland, Canadian Press
Judge rules Calgary mom who used holistic medicine criminally negligent in son’s death

Justice Kristine Eidsvik found that Tamara Lovett “took a risk that no reasonable parent would have taken at that point and her actions amounted to recklessness and wilful blindness.”  Lovett’s 7 year old son was suffering from group A streptococcus bacteria, which caused most of his major organs to fail.  A treatment with penicillin could have saved the boy.  Said the judge: “She knew he was getting worse and yet continued along the same course until it was too late. Her actions amounted to a wanton and reckless disregard for the life and safety of her son Ryan.”

Toronto Star – Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved
Canada Papers

The article is the first of a four part series that looks at the discovery that Canadian LP incorporations are an easy route to a tax haven for international money.  The revelations about “snow washing” are startling but there are some laws in Canada that make for a parallel to tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and Bahamas.  The first two parts are available at the link, the next two to be published later this week.  Part II  Canada Papers – Marco Chown Oved   9203-9619 Quebec Inc. How a Quebec company hid millions from tax collectors   Related article: Toronto Star – James Cohen
Adam Ross    Don’t let Canada become haven for tax dodgers   Related article: CBC News – Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan, Zach Dubinsky    ‘Tax haven’ Canada being targeted by offshore cheats, Panama Papers show – Country’s reputation being exploited for ‘snow washing’ global money trails, experts warn

CBC News – Matthew Braga
Google offers a glimpse into its fight against fake news – Nearly 200 publishers were kicked off its advertising network in November and December of last year

Google, and Facebook, have been trying to identify and exclude sites that practice fake news.  So far, Google has identified 550 suspect sites and taken action against 340 of them but mostly that sort of information remains in the nether world of internet.  “In total, Google says, it took down 1.7 billion ads in violation of its policies in 2016,” a stat that would suggest that the fake news problem is very much entrenched in the advertising revenue.  Google Inside Adwords – How we fought bad ads, sites and scammers in 2016

The Tyee (BC) – Jackie Wong
In Throes of Overdose Crisis, a Community Unites to Fight Back

The link offers the first part of a commentary on how neighbourhoods and neighbours can contribute to the opioid crisis presently haunting all of Canada and causing a significant number of deaths – 914 last year in BC alone.  The article examines the use of fentanyl for pain through the perspective of the Vancouver Coastal Health and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), a program directed by users.

CBC News – Joanne Chianello
5 things you need to know about guaranteed income – Minister for community and social services in Ottawa Tuesday evening for public consultation

Ontario plans a practical experiment on guaranteed annual income and is carrying on consultations prior to the initiative.  At stake are the framework of the experiment, the location, how the experiment will work and what follows the experiment.  The notion is that a GAI would replace all other forms of income supplement or poverty relief.