Appallingly clever…

Oct 24, 2017

iPolitics – Marty Patriquin
The niqab law is appalling. It’s also clever, amoral politics.

Bill C-62 in Quebec denies public service on the basis of a covered face requesting the service.  It has given voice to repeated assertions of both sexism and racism, directed as the law is towards Muslim women.  Patriquin thinks the bill, distasteful as it may be, is largely without bad political consequence for Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard in the creation of a religious neutrality law.   Related article: Toronto Star – Penny Collenette  Dangerous intersection of law, politics, business and human rights   Related article: National Newswatch: Giuseppe Valiante   Quebec face-covering law has a likely date with the Supreme Court: expert  Related article:  Policy Options – Carissima Mathen   The tenuous constitutionality of Bill 62   Related article: McGill Tribune Editorial   McGill must take a stand against Bill 62

Toronto Star – Shree Paradkar
Why did Masuma Khan’s post invite censure from Dalhousie if free speech is so vaunted?

The article is the latest shot across the bow of dissenters in tertiary education offering political critique to the discomfort of many, perhaps even the majority and its opinions.  Masuma Khan, the vice-president of the student council executive at Dalhousie, put a motion before the Student Council not to celebrate Canada’s 150 anniversary and identified those who had failed by ignoring social justice in our history.  A group of 25 lawyers from Dalhousie Schulich Law School weighed in on the controversy once she was notified of an impending hearing on her advocacy:  “Expression which challenges majoritarian views, traditions, and practices that have caused harms to marginalized and oppressed minorities lies at the very core of Canada’s constitutional commitment to the protection of political speech.”

CBC News – Jean Laroche
New cyberbullying bill moving forward despite criticism that it’s ‘too cautious’  Liberals use majority on Nova Scotia Legislature committee to move Bill 27 ahead without change

Nova Scotia has been aggressively pursuing the issue of cyberbullying for some time.  The legislation in preparation, Bill 27, is coming under criticism for lacking boldness.  Dalhousie law professor and the former chair of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying Wayne MacKay whose own version of the cyberbullying law was struck down as unconstitutional two years ago says the new legislation is too weak to be effective.  The new and current version of the law is likely going to advance without amendment.   Related article: Global TV News – Marieke Walsh and Alexander Quon   Cyberbullying legislation moving forward, Justice Minister closes door on CyberSCAN changes

Washington Post – Harvard Law School Fair Punishment – Lillian Cunningham
Episode 9 of the Constitutional podcast: ‘Fair punishment’

When Harvard law professor Ron Haber first encounter Parchment Farm the farm was “Mississippi’s oldest, biggest and most brutal penitentiary.”  The brutality and horror of the prison and Haber’s visit prompted a series of constitutional challenges and changes.  The link is to a 52 minute podcast that includes the transcript of an interview with Haber and other well-known constitutional lawyers.   Related article: National Immigrant Justice Center – Unaccompanied Immigrant Children (US) – Matthew Yglesias
The real stakes in the tax reform debate

Yglesias is of the opinion that the US citizenry needs to look closely at what is behind the tax reform or tax cut.  He thinks that the tax laws are directly responsible for the income disparity.  Quoting Piketty and Emanuel Saez “who were joined over time by a growing list of other economists (he) finds that falling marginal tax rates on the rich are strongly correlated with higher levels of income concentration but don’t lead to faster overall economic growth.

CBC News – Jacob Barker
Innu nation seeks restorative options, more resources at Labrador justice summit – ‘Different concepts’ need to be looked at to cope with busy courts, overcrowded prisons, says minister

The argument seems to coalesce when the community is looking for culturally appropriate resolution to an admitted failure of the justice system and the government is facing growing costs for the pointless prison system.  Grand Chief Greg Rich says that “he’d like to see more restorative justice options for the Innu community which would move away from incarceration as a punishment and towards options such as sentencing circles and enrolling offenders in treatment programs instead.”

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  (US) – Monifa Bandele
Here’s How Prison and Jail Systems Brutalize Women, Especially Mothers

Recognizing that women represent the largest segment of the population creating the mass incarceration in the US, this article draws attention to the conditions.  “Only five percent of the world’s female population lives in the U.S., yet nearly one-third of all the female prisoners in the entire world are here in the United States.  Bandele goes on to list the most egregious prison consequences and practices and their impact on women.

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Canadian female police band together to change ‘intolerable’ working conditions

Waterloo police Const. Angelina Rivers thinks women in policing are in distress right now from bullying, harassment and discrimination by fellow officers.  She is part of a class action lawsuit seeking $165 million in damages against the Waterloo Police Board and union.  A major concern, according to the National Women in Law Enforcement, is the lack of any remedy available.