Public shame vs silent appeal…

Feb. 28, 2018

 CBC News – Vancouver lawyer Manjot Hallen and Toronto lawyer Sean Robichaud
Was it wrong for Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould to tweet about the Boushie verdict? Two experts debate

The separation of the different branches of government is theoretically designed to balanced power.  Confusion of the power of the three branches is constantly on display in the US where the legislative, judicial and executive branches seem invasive of each other’s intended exclusive domain.  The Boushie case in Canada has raised a similar question.  Two politicians, namely the prime minister and the attorney general, have raised fairness issues with the verdict in a murder case.  The challenge from each politician is first presented and then both sides offer a view of the independence of the courts and the legal system:  public shame vs silent appeal?   Related article: CBC News – Neil MacDonald   Cases like Colten Boushie’s are handled unjustly, and there’s nothing wrong with saying that: Neil Macdonald – Justice must be seen to be done, not just done   Related article: Toronto Star – Tim Harper   Liberals must honour the memory of Colten Boushie by fixing a broken justice system – The government knows the problems and it need not study solutions any longer   Related article: HuffPost – Ryan Maloney  Trudeau’s Reaction To Gerald Stanley Verdict Unpopular, But Canadians Back Jury-Selection Reforms: Poll – His comments raised the ire of Conservatives and some legal experts  Related article:  National Justice Network: Update – Doing justice for Indigenous peoples; how the families of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine were let down

CBC News – Tom Shannon
Eliminating criminal penalties for all drug use is a logical evolution of Canada’s drug policy – Portugal decriminalized drug use years ago. Canada should follow suit

The stark failures of the war on drugs brought Canada to the legalization of marijuana, a way of saying that laws and enforcement of those laws are doing more harm than good.  The Liberals and the NDP have now begun to look at the wisdom of eliminating drug laws and criminal penalties altogether and fostering instead a public health approach to what we now view as illegal and criminal activity.  Much of the impetus comes from the consequences of the deaths across the country from the use of opiates, especially fentanyl.  Then there is also the history of the problems and the Portugal decision to decriminalize all drug use.

CBC News – Martin Corbett
Raising the basic personal amount — not the minimum wage — is the way to help low-income workers – Increasing the minimum wage is a good way for governments to collect more taxes, however

The increasing income disparity and the resulting growth of those who “live in the gap,’ often with two jobs and food bank / housing support has led many to embrace the notion of increasing the minimum wage.  Corbett is suggesting alternately that increasing the minimum wage is good for government taxation but that increasing the personal deductible (Basic Personal Exemption) would end driving a person below the poverty line through provincial and federal taxes.

The Tyee – Crawford Killian
Armed, Dangerous and in the Classroom

If whimsy ever confronted the outrageous, Killian may have captured a prize in this commentary on arming teachers as a counter-measure to school shooters.

MacLean’s – Andray Domise
Mental health has almost nothing to do with the gun-control debate – Opinion: As America debates guns, people with mental illness—who already face more danger during health crises—risk becoming scapegoated

As the Florida school shooting debate intensifies and enables more diversion and scapegoating of the mentally ill, Domise invites us to look at what the mentally ill already endure, especially as victims, rather than perpetrators of violence.  “Beyond the baseless correlation between mental health conditions and gun violence lies another unfortunate fact: even though police are increasingly becoming front-line mental health workers, people experiencing mental health crises often risk serious injury or death via police contact.”