No illegal refugees…

April 9, 2018

Toronto Star – Jesse Beatson and Kylie Sier
There’s nothing ‘illegal’ about asylum seekers – Amid a global refugee crisis, the misuse of the term ‘illegal’ carries a real cost.

The editorial reminds us that asylum seekers are people whose lives have been threatened, if not damaged, and whose personal and familial safety is at risk.  There is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker who finds their family in the predicament in which their country of origin can no longer protect them.  To avoid the need to respond, we have a variety of names: illegal migrant, illegal border crossings, illegal refugee claimant, etc, but in fact the term ‘illegal” is entirely incorrect and an asylum seeker does not violate the Canadian Criminal Code by crossing our border.

CBC News – Dean Beeby
Gun control impasse leaves thousands of prohibited devices on the street

The question of who can declare a firearm on the prohibited list has been changing in recent time.  The Harper government withdrew the responsibility from the RCMP and the Liberals restored it when the Trudeau government was elected.  Included in the decision is of course the size of the magazine for any particular rifle.  One, a.22 calibre rifle, a Ruger 10/22, a very popular beginning firearm in Canada, has a magazine of large capacity and the RCMP declared any magazine with more than 10 rounds on the restricted list two years ago.  Beeby points out that as many as a million of these rifles and large capacity magazines are still in the hands of gun owners in Canada.  The large capacity mags also fit a restricted Ruger pistol.

N.Y. Times – Roni Caryn Rabin
A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

This is more than perplexing in the light of the legalization of marijuana in July of this year.  It’s called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and it comes to heavy users, causing cyclic vomiting for which only a hot shower has any impact.  Once rare, almost unheard of, now the condition is becoming more common because the number of people on heavy use of marijuana is increasing.  “After marijuana was legalized in Colorado, we had a doubling in the number of cases of cyclic vomiting syndrome we saw,” many of which were probably related to marijuana use, said Dr. Cecilia J. Sorensen, an emergency room doctor at University of Colorado Hospital.”

National Geographic (US) – Michael A. Fletcher
For Black Motorists, a Never-Ending Fear of Being Stopped – Minorities are pulled over by police at higher rates than whites. Many see a troubling message: You don’t belong.

The allegation is a common part of most urban Canadian center as well.  The link includes a 3 min video on the experience while focusing on the victim of police stops without any justification.  Sometimes, the encounters, justified or not, lead to tragedy.  Black parents are not only anxious about their children getting driving licences but feel compelled to drill the children on what to do if stopped by police.

WGBH News (Boston) – Cristina Quinn
In Billerica, Young Prisoners Give Freedom A Trial Run

You have to pass the usual pods and cells on the way to change on the seventh floor.  The unit is called P.A.C.T. – People Achieving Change Together.  It’s a new approach to 18-24 year old males and an attempt to address the recidivism of this group – over half will be back in less than three years.  The concept is simple: run the section with as many freedoms as one will have when they finally leave the prison: open cells all day, twice a day gatherings for count, rating self on how they are feeling, anger management sessions, and a daily job.  Middlesex County Sheriff Peter  Koutoujian says this age is generally the most troublesome inmate and the age group most likely to be back.  He wants them all to have a head start on getting out.

APTN Network – Kathleen Martens
Questions linger as MMIWG inquiry completes community hearings

The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry has finished its hearings in BC and are waiting to hear whether they will get a two year extension and an addition $50 million to complete their inquiry.  There have been 15 hearings completed but several others will depend on the additional funding requested.  The inquiry still has to collect and collate statements from victims and decide which official and police they want to hear from.  Chair Marion Buller has sub-poena powers if need be.

CBC News –
Stealing Innocence – My two lives: A former sex worker on living a double existence

It has been some time since the plight of prostitutes in Canada has been heard.  This article is written anonymously by a woman who reminds us of the poverty, drugs, violence and compartmentalization that still surrounds the practice of prostitution.  The story is perhaps not all that unusual but still calls for compassion:  “Sex doesn’t mean love to me. I don’t love myself, and I haven’t for a long time.”