End of solitary…

July 7, 2017

CBC News – Matt Meuse
B.C. Supreme Court to test legality of Canada’s solitary confinement rules – Landmark trial begins today, follows Liberal move to limit confinement to maximum of 15 days

Efforts by the federal government to impose some rules around the use and extent of permissible solitary confinement do not appear to have swayed the BC Supreme Court which has rejected an appeal by the feds to work out the differences in the light of these new guidelines.  The BC Civil Liberties and the John Howard Society of BC insist that the current rules are inhumane and unconstitutional and the federal changes do not go far enough.  Additionally, the current rules discriminate especially against women.  Opening arguments start today in Vancouver.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/solitary-confinement-trial-begins-1.4189073   Toronto Sun – Gary Dimmock    Inmate who did 18 months in solitary sues Ottawa jail   http://www.torontosun.com/2017/07/05/inmate-who-did-18-months-in-solitary-sues-ottawa-jail

CBC News
Ottawa reportedly set to pay millions to Omar Khadr- Multiple reports say apology and payment coming for former Guantanamo Bay prisoner

Omar Khadr, aged 15 at the time and a Canadian citizen, confessed to killing a US medic during a fire fight in his Afghanistan village.  The confession was later determined to have been coerced and Khadr spent years in jail first in the notorious Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) and then later in Canada after repatriation.  Rumors and early press reports are suggesting he will get an apology from Canada, and $10 million. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/khadr-settlement-1.4189146  Related article: Globe and Mail – Robert Fife   U.S. soldier, widow to seek injunction to halt Ottawa’s payout to Omar Khadr   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/us-soldier-widow-to-seek-injunction-to-halt-ottawas-payout-to-omar-khadr/article35540496/   Related article: Globe and Mail Editorial (July 4, 2017) Omar Khadr, Canada and the fragile rule of law   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/globe-editorial-omar-khadr-canada-and-the-fragile-rule-of-law/article35549983/

CBC News – Stephanie Levitz, Canadian Press
Groups ask Federal Court to strike down Safe Third Country deal with the U.S.  Immigration policies from Trump administration have prompted move to scrap agreement

Changes in the US immigration and refugee policies are prompting a request from a number of Canadian NGO’s to withdraw the safe third country clause in Canada’s policy.  Under the policy, in place since 2004, refugees who cross the land border between the US and Canada can be denied entry on the grounds that they are already in a safe third country and therefore are no longer refugees.  The Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and the Canadian Council of Churches are leading the request to suspend the safe third country agreement on the grounds that sending refugees back to the US risks human rights violations on the US side stemming from the Trump policies. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/third-country-agreement-challenged-1.4191936    related article:  BC Tyee – Jeremy J. Nuttall   Ban on Refugee Claimants from US Faces Court Challenge https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/07/05/US-Refugee-Ban-Faces-Court-Challenge/

Toronto Star – Vicky Mochama
Feminists should work to secure justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Mochama presents a view of the activity to date under the inquiry around the Murder and Missing Indigenous Women.  Plagued with resignations of key staff, failed scheduling of hearings, frustrating communication, the commission has no clear solutions either.  Mochama is calling for special focus for all feminists on the process and the purpose of hearing the stories of the families.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/06/feminists-should-work-to-secure-justice-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-mochama.html

Toronto Star – Linda McQuaig
In praise of the income tax, on its 100th birthday

After Canadians have so long and persistently denounced taxes of all sorts but especially the income tax, this article by advocate and author Linda McQuaig may at first appear startling.  Who praises having to pay taxes these days?  Rather than vilifying taxes, McQuaig suggests that taxes are a milestone as much to be celebrated as the 150th because taxes enable us to care to one another and that the successes of the reduce taxes advocates have jeopardized our capacity for health care, education and social programs.  She notes that the 2000 year level of taxes would deliver $78 billion to our mutual care.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/06/in-praise-of-the-income-tax-on-its-100th-birthday.html