Children’s lives…

Nov 17, 2018

CBC News – Rhiannon Johnson
‘We’re talking about our children’s lives here’: Ontario cuts child and youth advocate

The Ontario Conservative government has just announced that they are cutting three monitoring position thought critical for the protection of vulnerable populations: the child advocate position which monitors the treatment of children, the Francophone language rights and oversight for the environment.  The child advocate has played a demanding and badly needed role in the protection in particular of Indigenous children in welfare and social services as well as in legal matters.  Apparently motivated by cost cutting, advocates for the children are alarmed for a situation thought to getting slowly better under Child Advocate Irwin Elman.   The decision includes the repeal of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007.   Related article: Toronto Star Rob Ferguson and Robert Benzie Ontario Tories cut taxes and oversight protections for environment, vulnerable children, and Francophones   Statement from the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth:  Statement from Irwin Elman on the repeal of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007   Related article: CBC News  Ontario child advocate calls cuts ‘outrageous,’ rallies for office to continue

CBC Cross Country Check Up – Duncan McCue
‘Not a get-out-of-jail-free pass’: Indigenous healing lodges defended in wake of McClintic transfer

The controversy around healing lodges deserves a clear spokesperson like Claire Carefoot, the executive director of the Buffalo Sage Wellness House. There are nine such healing lodges in Canada and Carefoot offers explanations about how and why they operate as they do.  This audio and written commentary is needed to get back the healing perspective we have lost in the political furor of late.

Edmonton Journal – Clare Clancy
Twenty-eight private schools defying GSA law risk losing public funding, says David Eggen

The conflict between human rights and the LGBT community in Alberta is being played out at the school level in Alberta.  A number of private or non-public schools with religious affiliation have failed to comply with provincial government directive to establish and practice a policy that affirms human rights of the LGBT communities or face the loss of government operating funds.  There are a total of 94 private schools in Alberta.  (The link offers a list of those not complying to date.)  Related article: Toronto Star – Michael Coren    A lesson in reaction to John Carpay’s rainbow flag comparison: the cross does not justify lunacy

Globe and Mail – Senator Kim Pate
Solitary by another name is just as cruel

The federal government just announced its effort to confront the abuse in the prisons which flows from the use of solitary confinement or administrative segregation, which has now become “structured segregation units.”  Pate, formerly of Elizabeth Fry Society, leaves no doubt that this is simply the old version with a name change and that the legislation rebranding the segregation, Bill 83, does nothing to end the practice.  The Bill purports to make the use of segregation more infrequent, more trackable and less total time in segregation.  Pate insists that the consequences for the inmate continue to be psychologically damaging and denial of access to programming.

Sacramento Bee – Sam Stanton
Secret prison report alleges poor treatment of inmates, misleading reports on care

A disturbing report coming out of federal Court U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller has concluded that the petitions presented alleging the failure of the California State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to actually provide the services already mandate by repeated court rulings and to have misrepresented the reports of the actual delivery of those services to the inmates.  The full report detailing the distortion is available at the link.   Related article:  Sacramento Bee – Sam Stanton   Prison psychiatry chief’s report accuses state of misleading court on mental health care   Related article: The Hill (US) – Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)  Congress should ban life without parole sentences for children   Related article: The Marshall Project – Felix Rosada   Even My Dreams Are Behind Bars – After being locked up for years, a prisoner’s ability to see freedom fades.

Policy Options – Madi Haslam
Racialized Canadians were disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. With legalization, will Canada follow some US states and redress this?

Haslam starts with the admission that the enforcement of marijuana laws in the past was not only expensive but also directly racially discriminate.  Even Bill Blair agreed.  While the controversy of pardons and record suspensions for the “low hanging fruit” convictions continues, Haslam wonders about who owns and profits from the new process and is advocating for national equity, in the light of a US model from California.  The ACLU thinks that the model is weak because it does not assure individual rights, especially racial rights, in law enforcement.  Any sort of national program on the sale of marijuana will be fraught with provincial resistance.

Manchester Guardian (UK) – Alexandra Topping
Save the date, but party to mark end of gender pay gap not until 2235

There has been a change in thinking about when exactly to expect gender pay equity to be achieved.  The revised date is now 2235 according to the World Economic Forum.  Labour MP Stella Creasy is calling for a party to celebrate the event in London’s Trafalgar Square but is also calling for the British government to recognize the problem and act to expedite.  “Shedding a light on a problem doesn’t necessarily do anything about it,” she said. “The government doesn’t have an explicit commitment to act on the causes of this gap and we want to change that. Enough talking about the pay gap – it’s time to take action to end it.”

London Free Press – Heather Rivers
Slavery a modern reality for 40 million people: researcher

The article may be a needed reminder to us who think slavery a practice of the past.  Dr. Lola Dare, a pediatrician and CEO of the Nigerian Centre for Health Sciences Training, Research and Development, spoke at a Western University event marking International week.  Noting a total in international slavery larger than the entire population of Canada, Dare said:   “Out the 40.3 million currently existing in modern-day slavery scenarios, 28.6 million are female, 24.9 million are in forced labour and 15.4 million are in a forced marriage…More than nine million or 23 per cent of those modern slaves are located in Africa.”

Huffington Post Canada – Jim Bronskill
Andrew Scheer Dishing ‘A Lot of Baloney’ With Conservative Plan To Target Gang Violence – Experts say key elements are unconstitutional.

Scheer is waxing over how he would put an end to gang violence but mostly earns a “full of baloney” appraisal from Bronskill.  Kate Puddister, an assistant professor of political science at Ontario’s University of Guelph, says:  “Overall, it seems to be written by someone who has either little knowledge of the criminal process, or it’s trying to mislead people about the process.”  The assessment is not limited to press or politics but criminologist Neil Boyd of SFU offers his own appraisal:  “It is very lamentable that the leader of the Opposition has chosen to engage in a Trumpian style of rhetoric, chastising the government through either deliberate distortion, or a more fundamental ignorance of existing law.”

Ramen in US prisons:  Why ramen is so valuable in prison?  Here’s the top of the food and trade chain in US jails.