Ever higher…

July 19, 2017

National Newswatch – Glen Pearson
Payette’s Appointment Breaks New Ground – Again.

Canada is about to get a new Governor General.  Pearson offers an encouraging perspective on what the nominee, well known astronaut Julie Payette will bring to the job for us in Canada and internationally.  Pearson opines that Payette brings exactly what we Canadians think of ourselves and offers some very high standards to emulate in an era of political rancor and nastiness.  “…having orbited the planet some 400 times, Payette’s view of Canada has been of its position within a larger context.    For the next few years this remarkably able woman will have the privilege of showing us our own uniqueness and potential in that world.  The timing couldn’t have been more fitting.”    http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/07/18/payettes-appointment-breaks-new-ground-again/

Toronto Star – Nicholas Yeung
Ground-breaking project explores Black experience in the GTA

Here is a fascinating report on the Black experience in the Greater Toronto Area.  The numbers are sobering as is the recent reversal: 400,000 Black people; but many have a startling commonality in their experience of Canada as Blacks. For the first time those with Caribbean backgrounds are more likely to have been born in Canada while the number of African Blacks is steadily increasing.  The York University project spent 90-150 minutes asking 250 questions of 1504 self-identifying Blacks.  https://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2017/07/19/black-experience-project-survey-says-most-respondents-identified-as-black-regardless-of-heritage-other-identities.html

Criminological  Highlights –  Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner, University of Toronto

This issue of Criminological Highlights (July 2017) addresses the following questions: 1. Why is it in the public interest to allow people to free themselves from their criminal records? 2. What kinds of events are likely to cause an increase in police use of force in dealing with ordinary citizens? 3. Do highly informed citizens think that sentences are too lenient? 4. What can be done to create more smoothly running prisons? 5. What is the first step that cities should take to prepare for events that might involve citizen protests? 6. Do transfers to adult court hurt youths’ life chances? 7. How accurate are predictions of future intimate partner violence? 8. Can crime be stopped by increasing the likelihood of apprehension? (Direct mailing is available on e-mail request – anthony.doob@utoronto.ca )   http://criminology.utoronto.ca/criminological-highlights/

Thompson Reuters Foundation – Sophie Hares
Countries need more than money to cope with shocks – global report

The Foundation wanted to know what factors and countries are best positioned to change.  The report, prepared by accounting firm KPMG, suggests a ‘change readiness index’ in which the factors for success in coping with large scale influx of migrants and refugees are measured.  Switzerland is first but 136 countries are rated.  http://news.trust.org/item/20170719050300-tkqag/

CBC News – David Thurton
Banished Newfoundlander not welcome in Fort McMurray, say mayoral candidates

First, break and enter and then dragging a policeman with the escape vehicle, 33 year old Gordie Bishop spent two years in pre-trail custody, was sentence to 885 days in custody,  got time served for his offences and had a year of probation.  The strange part was the probation order from the Newfoundland Supreme Court set banishment as a condition of probation and required him to leave the province.  The candidates for mayor in the Fort where Bishop’s mother lives don’t want him either.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/gordie-bishop-newfoundland-labrador-fort-mcmurray-banished-1.4211453

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Prison reform impossible until jails become safer

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke says that prison reform in the UK will effectively be on hold until the violence and drug problems are first resolved.  The comments were offered in his 2017 Annual Report.  Equally alarming, “…of the 29 local and training prisons inspected during the year, inspectors judged 21 of them to be ‘poor’ or ‘not sufficiently good’ in the area of safety.”   http://www.russellwebster.com/hmiprison2017/

Summer reading suggestion:
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Stevenson is a Black lawyer in the US who has devoted much of his practice to trying to make the US justice system a little more compassionate and humane.  He has focused much of his energy in the area of capital punishment and LWOP sentenced children convicted of murder.  Well written narrative and biography, an easy read, but filled with inspiration for anyone worn down a little by the apparent futility in confrontation with an unyielding system.  (Available through Amazon: Spiegal and Grau: 2014 – $21 Cdn)