More ‘big brother’…

June 22, 2018

The Guardian (UK) – Justin Ling
Revealed: Canada uses massive US anti-terrorist database at borders

Tuscan is the latest electronic device used to monitor travellers across the US-Canada border, provided by the US.  Tuscan is a data base of 680,000 names of suspected terrorists immediately available to border guards.  The list is effectively another no-fly listing that operates secretly and though used in Canada, it is maintained by the US.  Privacy advocates think the system tags certain people for additional scrutiny.

Pew Research Center for Journalism and Media – Amy Mitchell, Jeffrey Gottfried, Michael Barthel and Nami Sumida
Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News

Wondering about how many of us can distinguish facts and opinions or are downright gullible and naïve about news reports?  The answer appears to be about a quarter of us the facts, about one third of us the opinion.  The Pew Center recently survey over 5,000 Americans to discover who could distinguish fact vs opinion – five statements of each with two more borderline.  The average is slightly better than tossing a coin but those with higher scores were politically informed, digitally aware and placed higher trust in the media.  The study included an assessment of political party and the connection to sources for the item.   Want to try out your skills?  Here are the Pew questions:

CBC News – Bernard Schingler
Canada ‘working very hard’ to curb number of migrant children held in detention – While ‘obviously already better than the American system,’ practices here could be better, Ralph Goodale says

In the light of the American decisions around separating children of “illegals” from parents, Canada is not without blame, and not just for its historic or current treatment of Indigenous people.  Canada also locks up children, both when accompanied by parents and when unaccompanied minors.  Our compromise is that we do not do it for great numbers – only 595 over the last three years – 43 unaccompanied minors.  The fallacy is obviously that human rights – and humane treatment of the vulnerable – have nothing to do with numbers and is the wrong place to engage any sense of superiority.    Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier   Facing possible expulsion from the U.S., many former DREAMers could qualify to come to Canada, Trudeau told   Related article: CBC News – Murray Brewster   Security firm named in lawsuit against Ottawa once accused of recruiting ex-child soldiers – Company’s recruiting methods were red-flagged by U.S. State Department   Related article:  Global TV News –  Michael Biesecker, Jake Pearson and Garance Burke,  Associated Press  Immigrant children beaten, stripped, placed in solitary confinement at U.S. detention centre: Court documents

Criminological Highlights – Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner, U of T, Centre for Criminology
Criminological Highlights (Vol 17, June 2018) – Here are the usual eight topics for the latest Highlights:
  1. Does pretrial detention for people accused of minor crimes contribute to public safety?
  2. What approach to reducing firearms deaths might work?
  3. How are youth justice policies and health care needs linked?
  4. When homicide rates suddenly spike, should we be worried?
  5. How do former prisoners get jobs?
  6. What are some of the necessary conditions that one should look for in youth justice treatment programs?
  7. What kinds of jobs in a community might help reduce recidivism among those being released from prison?
  8. Are youths who have been found guilty of homicide offences especially dangerous when they are released into the community?  (Ed note:  you can receive the Highlights directly by a simple request to Professor Doob at .  Also on Twitter at )  To go directly to the latest Highlights page:

Globe and Mail – Margaret Wente
The dazzling deceit of big marijuana

We have heard from all sorts of players in the recreational and medical use of marijuana, especially from those who will profit directly.  Wente introduces one further player:  “Alex MacDonald is a grizzled old pothead. He has a cough from 50 years of smoking dope. He used to be a dealer, too, though he hasn’t done that for years. Today he remains a faithful consumer and a close student of the industry. He thinks a lot of the hype around legalization is ridiculous.”  MacDonald does not think a great deal is going change!   Related article:  CBC News – Jean-Paul Tasker   Trudeau says pot will be legal as of Oct. 17, 2018 – Jody Wilson-Raybould says progressive policy will replace failed model that made criminals rich   Related article:  CBC News – Elizabeth Thompson  Trudeau’s Liberals already using passage of marijuana bill to fundraise – ‘Crass, inappropriate,’ says NDP MP   Related article: Victoria Times Colonist- Cindy E. Harnett and Katie DeRosa   Pardons, impairment, provincial approvals linger in new pot regime   Related article:  Toronto Star: Editorial (June 21, 2018)   Ottawa should issue an amnesty to those convicted of pot possession

Toronto Star – Moira Welsh with Video by Randy Risling
Watch the transformation of Malton Village’s dementia unit

The news is full of the inquiry into the eight Wettlaufer murders of retirement home patients. (cf ) The link is to a 21 minute video that looks at a new approach to the operation of retirement homes and the inevitable dementia unit.  The new approach is called the Butterfly Model and is getting rave reviews at this Malton’s Redstone Retirement Home.  The Star has a four part explanation called The Fix.  The link to the 21 minute video:   The Fix: Four Chapters 1-4    Related article: The World Economic Forum (Davos) – Rosamund Hutt France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Toronto police officer denies race a factor in Neptune Four case

The incident behind this court case, known as the Neptune Four, occurred in November, 2011, and is only now in court.  The officers are charged with disorderly conduct and use of unreasonable force.  What is helpful to an understanding of the process of carding, allegedly a major element in the incident, is an almost 6 minute video showing the approach through to the arrest of the four Black teens.  Additionally, one of the two officers, the one throwing punches and pointing his firearm, has chosen not to testify.  Related article: Toronto Star – Rosie DiManno   Slow police response under microscope after deadly Parkdale beating

World Economic Forum (Davos) – Rosamund Hutt
This is the state of LGBTI rights around the world in 2018

Researchers may appreciate this link with a world-wide report on the practices around the LGBTI communities.  (The ‘I’ in LGBTI stands for ‘intersex.’) There are still eight countries where being gay is a death sentence – homosexuality is still illegal in 73 countries and recently some countries have expanded definitions to include women and lesbians.  The report acknowledges that for the first time the World Health Organization (WHO) has successfully removed the gender classification from the catalogue of mental diseases.  There are now 26 countries where same sex marriage is legal.