May 21, 2017 

CBC News – Laura Lynch
Agency that oversees immigration consultants appears to be in turmoil – Resignations, infighting and harsh criticism from MPs and lawyers beset the 6-year-old council

The ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) is made up of 15 members whose mandate is to regulate the immigration consultants in Canada, to receive complaints and to decide who is licensed and qualified to deliver immigration services.  Set up in 2011to regulate the approximately 4,000 such consultants, the board is in turmoil from infighting and the matter is now before a parliamentary committee examining the options, including changing the governance or disbanding the board all together, leaving immigration to the lawyers.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/immigration-consultants-regulator-crisis-1.4124560    Related article: Toronto Star – Andrew Fitzgerald   Refugee debate ignores Canada’s unflattering historical experience https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/05/16/refugee-debate-ignores-canadas-unflattering-historical-experience.html

CBC News – Lisa Laventure
Post-war convention on refugees buckling under current crises, says Lloyd Axworthy

Former Liberal minister of Immigration and Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy has a track record to support his views that the seven decade old convention on refugees, designed for the influx of post WW II European refugees, badly needs revision.  Axworthy says that confronting border security practices will not resolve the inadequacy that stems from a far greater number and more diverse origins while nations signing the 1951 Convention are also reneging on the commitment.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/refugees-council-refugees-axworthy-1.4124847

National Newswatch – Geordan Omand
Head of MMIW inquiry says she understands frustrations over hearing delays

Marion Buller, chair of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) inquiry and the first female Indigenous judge in BC, is acknowledging the failure for delays and for poor communication.  She says:   “The top priority for the national inquiry is to let the whole country know the tremendous work we have already done and the work that we plan to do and how we’re going to carry out that work.”   http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/05/19/head-of-mmiw-inquiry-says-she-understands-frustrations-over-hearing-delays-2/#.WR9xMuvyuUk Related article: National Newswatch – Joanna Smith, Canadian Press   Trudeau to ask Pope to apologize for residential schools in Canada  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/05/19/trudeau-to-ask-pope-to-apologize-over-residential-schools/#.WR9HaevyuUk

Abacus Data – Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
Transition from Fossil Fuels? Not all that Controversial.

The use and dependence on fossil fuel is, contrary to expectations as the details of the proposed carbon tax roll out, not all that controversial in Canada, according to this data / survey company. Further, the prospects for the immediate future – ten years – as well as long term – thirty years- is growing considerably towards less use and dependence.  http://abacusdata.ca/transition-from-fossil-fuels-not-all-that-controversial/   Related article: Global News – Amy Minsky   Here’s how much more you could be paying for fuel when the carbon tax goes into effect   http://globalnews.ca/news/3464739/carbon-tax-cost-households-heat-gas-driving/

 Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Steve Dagworthy’s story: Prison as opportunity

This is part of a series in which Webster asks ex-inmates, in this case, Steve Dagworthy, to comment on the experience of prison.  From a comfortable life as a business consultant, Dagworthy got six years in prison for a fraud.  He says there are always three sentences: the jail time, the harm to family and the stigma and obstacles after release.  To cope with the sentence, Dagworthy founded four years ago what is now a successful prison advisory consultancy, employing ex-inmates.  http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?e=10ab936adc&u=f3b97d02b5235c9e7c9b3a65b&id=cfe122c63a

Toronto Star – Jamie Watt
Fentanyl crisis echoes mistakes of HIV/AIDS response

The sense that the fentanyl crisis, which claimed over 1400 Canadians last year, will never touch me personally may allow us to react we did at the beginning of the HIV crisis, says Watt.  The drug is particularly dangerous and powerful and is often laced into other drugs.  Even first responders to an overdose scene can be impacted.  Watt sees the problem as already well defined, unknown to many likely potential victims but without a public health plan. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/05/21/fentanyl-crisis-echoes-mistakes-of-hivaids-response-watt.html   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (May 21, 2017)  –  Doctors must reduce opioid prescriptions   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/05/21/doctors-must-reduce-opioid-prescriptions-editorial.html   Related article: Globe and Mail – Karen Howlett   Opioid panel chair admits conflict-of-interest lapse   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/opioid-panel-chair-admits-conflict-of-interest-lapse/article35073017/   Related article: Globe and Mail – Robert Fife and Steven Chase   RCMP and China strike deal to combat opioid smuggling     https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/rcmp-and-china-strike-deal-to-combat-opioid-smuggling/article35077197/

Globe and Mail – Stephanie Carvin
We aren’t prepared to prevent violent extremism in Canada

Carvin, a professor of International Affairs at Carleton, is critical of the failure of the governments of both Quebec and Canada to respond appropriately to countering violent extremism or CVE.  She cites the case of Martin Couture-Rouleau who was known to be radicalized while suffering mental illness, whose father identified the risk to authorities, and for whom there was inadequate response.  The Liberal platform in 2015 included a promise to confront the inadequate resources to confront the CVE and a recent federal security report identified prevention as the preferred tool to combat this type of violence.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/we-arent-prepared-to-really-combat-violent-extremism-in-canada/article35074542/

Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc
Canadians want Ottawa to erase old marijuana convictions, poll finds

A poll by the Globe and Mail and Nanos shows 62% of Canadians want the government to erase previous convictions for marijuana possession; 35% are opposed or somewhat opposed.  No one is clear about how many have been convicted for simple possession over the years – marijuana became illegal in 1923 in Canada – but stats for 2015 show approximately 49,000.  Conviction establishes a criminal record and prevents education and jobs.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadians-want-ottawa-to-erase-old-marijuana-convictions-poll-finds/article35077433/

Politico (US) – Ben Wofford
The ACLU’s Radical Plan to Fight Jeff Sessions

Wofford went canvasing with an inmate who served 41 years for murder and who now immersed in a local Philadelphia election for District Attorney on Tuesday.  The real target of the Smart Justice Campaign in Philadelphia – funded by millionaire George Soros and led by the ACLU (which has 11,000 members in the city), is US Attorney General Jeff Sessions who has reversed most of prison reform of the last couple of years and encourages aggressive prosecutorial practices seen as the root cause in Philadelphia for the justice system’s mass incarceration and denial of bail. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/16/the-aclus-radical-plan-to-fight-jeff-sessions-215139