Safe migration…

Aug 31, 2018

Davos – World Economic Forum – Anne Gallagher
3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

The final draft of Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been recommended to the UN for adoption.  The hope is that all countries will ratify and help to put an end to current panic and crisis driving immigration and refugee movement across the world.  The US and Hungary have withdrawn and Australia is wavering about participation.  The link to Gallagher’s article includes some other documents on the issue as well.  United Nations:  The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (A 36 page downloadable pdf)

Toronto Star – Editorial (Aug 26, 2018)
Video footage of beatings makes the case for more oversight of the RCMP

The editorial reflects on the tensions and sometimes destructive relationship between the Inuk and the RCMP.  The RCMP have been seen in the north as an agency for implementing government policy bringing “trauma and rage” to the cultural and political histories.  This particular eruption of tensions is focused in Nunavut’s Baffin Island.  Estimates are that over 150,000 children were taken from families for residential schools and that outrages such as RCMP shooting the Inuit sled and hunting dogs live still in the relationship.  The editorial calls for a civilian body with power to lay charges.

The Lawyer’s Daily – Anthony Doob, University of Toronto
Don’t let spike in gun deaths push quick fix over long-term solutions

A long respected and honoured criminologist at the U of T wants to remind us not to enact bad choices following the recent upsurge in gun crimes.  First Doob invites us to a history lesson around the stats and second some interpretation around the spikes.  Doob also reminds us that what will happen next is not at all clear and that there is no necessary steady deterioration to be anticipated.  Doob wants us to do effective things about gun crime, not necessarily political things, and his suggestion includes the McMurtry / Curling report on the Roots of Violence.

National Newswatch – Janice Dickson, Canadian Press
Bill Blair asked to lead talks on Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S.

The federal government appears to recognize the problems our trans-border migration has made for the current third safe country agreement in place between Canada and the US.  Bill Blair, the new minister in charge of border security and organized crime, has been tasked with the irregular border crossing and the question of a possible ban on all handguns.  Presently, those asylum seekers who cross the border at official reception centres are required to seek asylum in the first safe country in which they land.  Those arriving from the US at official crossings are sent back to a “safe” US but the agreement does not cover those who simply walk across the border, the so-called irregular migration.  These are entitled under law to be processed as asylum seekers under Canadian law.  Blair is also charged with leading on the cannabis legislation and regulation.  Text of the Mandate Letter:

Associated Press (US) – Sophia Bollag
New law to make California first state to end bail

In the era of prison reform, this new California initiative reveals a significant element for the accumulating number of people in jail, many of whom have never been convicted of anything.  The practice of cash bail is coming to an end in California but the detail is lacking clarity as the legislation will divide people charged into violent and non-violent; no one is sure what constitutes the diving line.  But the purpose of the law is make bail depend on threat to the public rather than ability to pay.  The ACLU is suggesting that some 30 other states considering this type of legislation not follow the California model since in the view of ACLU the law does not assure due process and does not prevent racial bias.  Related report:  Getting to Zero US – A strategy for removing Youth from Adult Jails

 New Illinois law lets police seek mental health services without fear of getting fired

Illinois has just passed a new law that prevents a police officer who seeks mental health care while active from losing his firearm identification card.  The police officer without a gun card cannot work as an officer and the idea behind the legislation is to free the officer from fear of being fired for seeking mental health care.  The advocates say that the relaxation around the firearm card will likely be helpful in preventing suicide.

Halifax Examiner (NS)
The Burnside powder keg: Broken promises, dehumanizing body scans, unfair solitary confinement, non-working toilets, lockdowns, and more

The strike in the US jails is reverberating here in Canada as well.  Burnside Jail (NS) has been described as a powder keg.  The link goes into consideration detail and points of view on what is driving the unrest.  Problems include lockdowns, shortage of staff and ion scanners along with health care.   Related article: CBC News (London, ON) 2 EMDC inmates go into medical distress twice but the ministry won’t say why

Toronto Star – Deana Paul, The Washington Post
Tennessee death row inmates say they’d prefer firing squad over ‘torturous’ drug cocktail

The lack of availability of the traditional drug cocktail used in state executions has led to some uncertainty in the potential effects and the issue of ‘humane’ killing in Tennessee.  Equally upsetting opponents to the death penalty, this latest Aug. 9 execution followed a conviction from 1985.  The link describes the death of Billy Ray Irick in some detail, illustrating what advocates for an end to the death penalty, may be determined as cruel and inhuman punishment.

 The Marshall Project (US) – Juleyka Lantigua Williams
Three Strikes Didn’t Work. It’s Time to Pay Reparations

The three strikes was a key element in the huge increase in long term jailing for often minor offences.  What to do now that the jail reform movement is recognizing the failure of the three strike approach? Williams identifies the various broken lives of inmates and secondary victims and suggests that their lives are so badly broken that a responsive society should look to reparation if the lives are to be re-built.   Related article: The Hill (US) – John Wetzel   A non-political approach focused on what works is key to solving prison crisis