More than prisons…

April 23, 2018

Political Options – Yafet Tewelde
A youth justice system that’s more than courts and prisons

Tewelde acknowledges a limited support for a broad based community support agenda for confronting youth crime but he is also complaining that when the government meets to consider solutions to youth crime, rather than community activists the government gathers a heavy preponderance of police and academics.  Says Tewwelde:  “A justice focus for youth requires an understanding that the Canadian legal system has operated in unequal terms.  The racial and economic disparity between who is imprisoned and who is not is the most damning evidence against the reliance on police, courts and prisons.”    He wants each stream of the traditional justice system to recognize and use “the community expertise.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Kristin Rushowy  Community justice hubs to offer addiction, mental health support under same roof as courts

Toronto Star – Chantal Hébert
In beer ruling, Supreme Court delivers reminder Constitution does not cast provinces as junior partners in federation

If you buy a beer in one province, you must drink the beer in the province.  The Supreme Court of Canada in the beer ruling is saying that each province has the control over public policy in its own province.  Says Hébert:  “According to its nine justices, that means provincial governments have the autonomy “to develop their societies within their respective spheres of jurisdiction.  …This week’s ruling forecloses a constitutional shortcut to bypass provincial obstacles on the way to a barrier-free internal economic union. With the Court speaking with one voice, the odds that this week’s ruling could be revisited any time soon are just about non-existent.”  There may also be implications for the BC-Alberta pipeline dispute and for Quebec’s Bill 99 from Bouchard days.   Related article: National Post – Andrew Coyne    Supreme Court beer ruling ties the constitution in knots, and the economy with it   Related article: CBC News – Malcolm Lavoie  Supreme Court’s ‘free-the-beer’ decision privileges one part of the Constitution over another     Related article: CTV News – Don Martin  Canada stuck with overpriced beer and provincial monopolies

Toronto Star – Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved
The Canada Papers: Snow Washing

This is Part One of a four part series on the latest ploy for tax evasion: using Canada as a tax haven!  The ploy is endorsed by “Mossack Fonseca, the law firm behind the massive Panama Papers leak of 11.5 million documents detailing global tax avoidance and evasion… And the Canadian government has made it easier than ever for criminals and tax cheats to move money in and out by signing tax agreements with 115 countries — the greatest number in the world.”  Besides the tax haven, the scheme also offers the possibility of money laundering.   (Link offers access to all four parts of the series.)   Related article: Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved   CRA convicts a fraction of offshore tax evaders: Exclusive   Related article: Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved Ottawa promises crackdown on loopholes that let big banks avoid billions in taxes

Toronto Star – Kenyon Wallace and Michele Henry
Double-dipping lawyers taking big slice of injury settlements

Contingency fee arrangements are the focus of this revelation about widespread malpractice by personal injury lawyers.  The lawyers usually have an agreement with the impoverished client that the lawyer gets a percentage of any recovery.  But what appears to happen frequently is an open secret of demanding a percentage of costs as well, a practice prohibited by the Law Society.  “It’s called “double dipping” and one judge’s ruling called it a breach of the law…A Star investigation has found the practice to be widespread and as a result many Ontario residents have been overcharged thousands of dollars and likely do not know it.”

CBC News – Cindy Blackstock
Piecemeal approach to change perpetuates inequality for First Nations children

Long-time Indigenous child advocate Blackstock alleges that by the piecemeal approach to resolving inequality in the way Ottawa is funding child welfare and education Canada is in fact prolonging the injustices towards these children – what Blackstock calls “incremental equality.”   “So why are First Nations children consistently doing so poorly on almost every socio-economic and health indicator?…While the multi-generational effects of residential schools and other colonial policies explain some of the outcome gaps, the federal government’s chronic underfunding of public services for First Nations children and families on reserves and in Yukon rubs salt into the colonial wound.”

Global News – Stewart Bell
Returning ISIS members pose potential chemical weapons risk to Canada: internal government documents

Internal documents to the Canadian government acquired by Global News suggest that Canadians who participated in the fight with ISIS learned from the ISIS repeated use of chemical weapons and may pose a serious threat to Canadians on returning.  Government estimates that about 100 left Canada for ISIS service and about 60 have returned.  Still the risk is considered low in Canada because of the local control on the materials needed.