Double whammy…

Feb 26, 2018

CBC News – David Milward
Justice denied for Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie: How their cases illustrate racism in Canadian courts

A second not guilty verdict in the murder of an Indigenous person does little to reassure Canada’s native population of any change in their status in the eyes of the justice system.  Milward offers some context about why many Indigenous are likely to see both in the worst light.   Related article: CBC News – Cameron McLean   Widespread changes demanded to prevent ‘another 100 Tina Fontaines’

CBC News – Guy Quenneville
Judge’s verdict instructions to Gerald Stanley jury, explained in 1 minute – Jurors considered 3 key questions before reaching their much-debated not-guilty verdict

The Stanley trial on the death of Colton Boushie has raised much wonder about how the not guilty verdict eventuated.  Here is an explanation (and a video) on the judge’s instructions to the jury for their consideration of the various verdicts possible.   Related article: CBC News – Steve Bonspiel     Canadian justice system needs overhaul in light of Gerald Stanley verdict

Toronto Star – Miriam Katawazi
Can you afford jury duty? Here’s how each province compensates you for your service

Ever wonder about the nuts and bolts of jury duty now that jury duty is getting some attention?  The compensation varies by province but even in long term service the offerings are slim.  Here’s a province by province summary of what to expect.

CBC News – Tori Weldon
Dorchester prison guards charged in inmate’s death to appear in Moncton court – Alvida Ross, 48 and Mathieu Bourgoin, 31 are charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death

This story is disturbing at least in so far as the Correctional Services are charged first and foremost with the safety of the inmates.  Even more disturbing are the blatant lies from CSC to the family of Matthew Hines of Cape Breton around the circumstances of the death: a severe beating from guards.  What is clear from the reports now surfacing is that, beyond charging the two miscreants, the Correctional Services itself needs to be accountable.     Related article: Toronto Star – Brendan Kennedy   Immigration detainee Ebrahim Toure marks five years without freedom: ‘What’s going on with me is not right’

Pew Charitable Trusts (US) –
National Prison Rate Continues to Decline amid Sentencing, Re-Entry Reforms

This report represents good news in what has been viewed as an intractable scene:  from 2008 to 2016, more than 2/3 of states has reduced both crime rates and imprisonment while reforming bail, sentencing, and re-entry practices.  This report, first published in Jan 2018, breaks down some the promises that continued reform offer.   Related article:  The Gilmer Mirror (Northeast Texas) – Poll: 4/5 of Dallas County Voters Support Reducing Incarceration 90% of Voters Certain or Very Likely to Vote in Dallas County’s Upcoming DA Election–4-5-of-Dallas-County-Voters-Support-Reducing-Incarceration–90–of-Voters-Certain-or-Very-Likely-to-Vote-in-Dallas-County-s-Upcoming-DA-Election?instance=lead_story_left_column   Related article: Bureau of Justice:  Jailed inmates in 2016 (Summary version)

Toronto Star – Laurie Monsebraaten
From ‘barely surviving’ to thriving: Ontario basic income recipients report less stress, better health

Ontario’s experiment with basic income delivers up to $1400 per month to those in poverty and an additional $500 for those with disability.  The Star is quoting satisfying results and asking public opinion on the venture.  The program is designed to run for three years in three Ontario cities to see if the basic income can make a real difference to anti-poverty measures.

Toronto Star – Editorial (Feb. 26, 2018)
Ontario should finally implement law on police background checks

Police checks are now almost standard fare for most jobs involving health and educational care of people, especially children.  Two years ago, Ontario limited what the police could reveal on these checks which often discover material not related to the purpose of the inquiry to start with.  But Ontario has not implemented the law.  “As lawyers and victims told the Star, the practice of sharing non-conviction records “has continued to undermine careers, volunteer opportunities and travel because of the disclosure of false or misleading information.”  The Star wants an immediate blanket moratorium on sharing non-conviction information that puts personal futures at risk.

Globe and Mail – David Shribman
How guns became such a deeply ingrained part of the American identity

Many Canadians are genuinely mystified around the US compulsion to prize gun ownership even above child and public safety.  Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a Pulitzer Prize winner for US political analysis, offers an analysis including the history of the Second Amendment and a comparison with the Canadian context.