Cultural Appropriation…

May 19, 2017

Globe and Mail – Denise Balkissoon
Can mainstream journalism survive identity politics?

The question of culture appropriation has flared up in Canada with the resignation of two prominent journalists: Desmond Cole, formerly of the Toronto Star, and Jonathan Kay, formerly editor of the Walrus.  Balkissoon uses both journalists to set the parameters around the issue of identity politics and about who can write for what audience and how frequently.  At issue for Balkissoon is whether identity politics will put the finishing touches on any sort of mainstream journalism.  Related article:  National Post – Andrew Coyne   If we can’t agree on cultural appropriation, can we at least agree to disagree?    Related article:  iPolitics – Stephen Maher  ‘Cultural appropriation’ and the healing power of an online backlash  Related article: CBC News – Jessica Deer   Cue the eye rolls: this is a piece about cultural appropriation   Related article: Toronto Star – Navneet Alang   Cultural appropriation suppresses minority voices

 Globe and Mail – Michelle Zilio
Liberals to support Magnitsky-style bill targeting Russia for human rights abuse

Canada, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, should expand the provisions and powers of the federal government to impose sanctions on countries with deficits in human rights.  The proposed legislation, named for a Russian dissident and political activist murdered for his advocacy, seeks to close a gap:   “there is no current Canadian law that authorizes the imposition of sanctions specifically for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for acts of corruption.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press    Canada backs recommendation for Magnitsky Act targeting human rights violators

Globe and Mail – Leslie Bikos
It’s not just the RCMP: Police culture is toxic

The controversy about civilian management of the RCMP is prompting some other voices, like former London (ON) police officer and now Ph.D. candidate Bikos, to insist that the sexual harassment thought prevalent in the RCMP is in fact endemic to the culture of police forces everywhere.  The police culture, says Bikos, “…was originally built on white, traditionally masculine, conservative norms, and is based on hyper-masculinity, loyalty and, above all, silence.”

Globe and Mail –
Five firefighters face union charges for ‘double-hatting’

‘Double hatting’ is the practice of a fire fighter working for one municipality professionally while also volunteering for another.  The practice happens in areas with a large number of professional fire fighters in one location bordering an area with mostly volunteers.  The now open conflict is heading for a union tribunal with the town of Caledon (ON) pledging full support for their volunteers.

 Ottawa Citizen – Tyler Dawson
Apply same standards for suspending police officers, regardless of rank

The Ottawa police force has been involved in one high visibility disciplinary case after another.  Inconsistency in the response to these cases, depending on rank, has internal implications in that Chief Charles Bordeleau must contend as well with internal competition for the leadership of the force, union politicking and posturing while the matter of policing takes a back seat.

Capitol News Service (Florida) – Jake Stofan
Smart Justice Bill Would Get Prisoners Out Early if They Get Educated

What a clever idea!  Florida inmates have, on average, a sixth grade education.  One out of four released will wind up back in jail in less than three years.   A bill before the state legislature now going for the governor’s signature offers reduced time to anyone who upgrades their education while in jail. Unfortunately, inmates under life sentences or mandatory minimums are ineligible.

Globe and Mail – Canadian Press
Jury makes recommendations at end of inquest into Indigenous inmate’s death

Kinew James, 35, died in her cell at the Saskatoon Regional Psychiatric Centre, supposedly from cardiac arrest.  In fact, she was also suffering from out of control mismanaged diabetes, schizophrenia, self-harm and obesity.  Fellow inmates said that she has asked staff for help several times the day she died.  The inquest has made 20 recommendations around provisions for trained Indigenous staff to work with Indigenous inmates.