April 17, 2018

National Newswatch – Glen Pearson
The “Terrible Simplifiers”

This is a reflection piece on the current state of political turmoil in Canada and elsewhere.  It is a worthy thought because Pearson attempts to create a holistic picture of what politics can do if aimed positively with a view to inclusive care for all.  “Democracy can only survive when we collectively refuse the “terrible simplifiers” the power they seek to turn one group against the other.”  Related article(referenced by Pearson): Toronto Star – Robin Sears   The fatal attraction of the politics of confrontation   Related article: National Newswatch – Canadian Press  Former FBI boss Comey to speak at Ottawa conference just before G7 summit

Toronto Star – Adrian Woolley – guest columnist
Don’t punish police for attempting to save lives

For several years we have seen rising deaths from overdose of fentanyl, to the point that many health authorities have called the incidents a crisis.  If administered quickly there is an antidote drug called naloxone but the lingering question has been how to place these kits such that those who overdose have immediate access.  The answer is to put the naloxone kits in the hands of front line responders including police officers.  In Ontario, the two times where the users died after police administered the naloxone are under investigation of the Special Investigations Unit, a process with the potential for a charge against the responder / officer.  The Star is of the opinion that such a SIU process should not follow a life-saving attempt.   Related article: Toronto Star – Samantha Beattie   Experts agree naloxone is central to fighting Canada’s opioid crisis — but they also say it’s not a ‘wonder drug’

National Newswatch – Jordan Press
Documents show feds saw few hurdles to overhaul under-used victims’ fund

The poorly used victims’ fund established five years ago by the federal government was initially thought to be easy to implement and then when it wasn’t the analysis said it was the eligibility criteria.  With that changed as well last year, now there seems to be a split opinion around whether or not the under-used fund is doing what it was designed to do: help victims.  “Since the program came into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, the government has doled out $403,550 of the $53 million available over that time, or about 0.8 per cent of the budget.”   Related article:  The School of Public Policy and Canadian Global Affairs Institute:  Robert Vineberg – Canada’s Refugee Strategy: How It Can Be Improved   Related article: National Newswatch – Pierre Saint-Arnaud, Canadian Press   Quebec asks for federal help and a game plan as number of asylum seekers spikes   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Canadian Press  After 40 years, the federal government is removing rules that turned away disabled immigrants

CBC News – Emily Blake
Justice system not living up to 1999 promise to Indigenous offenders, say N.W.T. advocates – ‘Problems are getting worse but it’s what we do next that everyone is still struggling with,’ says lawyer

In 1999 in R v. Gladue, Canada’s Supreme Court acknowledged the over-representation of the Indigenous people in the prisons.  The solution, at least in part, was to require the sentencing judge to consider “family history of substance abuse and intergenerational trauma from the residential school system.”  The discrimination however continues, especially in the North.  The Gladue ruling requires a pre-sentencing assessment of the factors, sometimes done by the federal government, sometimes the provincial authority, sometimes part of the usual pre-sentence report, sometimes a specific Gladue report.  The failure is pronounced in NWT, Yukon and Nunavik, leading critics to suggest the Gladue ruling is not implemented in a jurisdiction known for alternative justice measures.

N.Y. Times – Jacey Fortin
He Died 21 Years After Being Abused. Prosecutors Are Calling it Murder.

In a most unusual point of law, N.Y. prosecutors are changing with murder a couple who abused their child at age one with murder when the child died at age 22.  Having been already convicted of the abuse and served time for the offence, the prosecutors arrested and charged with first degree murder the parents – biological mother Robyn Noffsinger, 41, and her former partner David Tripp Jr., 45.  “The murder charges rest on the argument that the child… died as a direct result of the abuse he suffered in 1997.”