Minister Lametti…

Jan 18, 2019

CTV News – Don Martin
Don Martin: Mini shuffle was a transparent hit job on one key cabinet minister

This week’s cabinet shuffle has the news media claiming that Jody Wilson-Raybould was demoted, and says Martin, personality clash with Trudeau that led to her removal at justice and transfer to Veteran Affairs.  Some speculated that her replacement was a pre-federal election concession to Quebec – David Lametti, a law professor at University of Montreal, former parliamentary assistant in two different ministries.   Regarding Wilson-Reybould’s tendency to push the reconciliation agenda she is looked on as outside the Trudeau parameters: “The sheer transparency of this demotion underlines how egregious her off-script behavior was viewed from on high.”  The implications for the Restorative Justice focus remain to be seen.   Related article: National Post – John Ivison   Wilson-Raybould couldn’t hide her disappointment at move from justice minister – On a day of strange decisions, it was Wilson-Raybould’s unceremonious, and rather ruthless, downgrading in the cabinet shuffle that raises most questions   Related article: National Newswatch: Joan Bryden, Canadian Press  Lametti ‘interested’ but won’t commit to changing assisted-dying law

Ottawa Citizen – Joanne Laucius
Jail hotline reports taking 148 calls in its first month of operation

Even the sponsors, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project. Were surprised at the initial response to JAIL (the Jail and Accountability Hotline).  Set up in response to continuing and serious problems at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Center, the centre received more calls than expected, learning from the calls that the major pre-occupation of inmates and families was around health issues in the jail.   “Justin Piché, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, said mental health consultations held through cell doors is a serious problem. Prisoners are hesitant about being forthright with everyone listening in. It can be dangerous and even deadly, he said.”  Piché was referencing the recent suicide of OCDC inmate Cleve Geddes whose inquest just concluded in Ottawa.

CBC News – Skylar & Cassie More
Sisters living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

This article is about FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, written by two sisters whose birth mother consumed alcohol and leave them with a problem.  The disease affects about 1% of the population and impacts schooling and some physical abilities like hearing.  Both sisters were adopted after some years in a group home.

CBC News – Jessica Deer
Indian Act still discriminates against First Nations women, says UN Human Rights Committee

The UN Human Rights Commission says that the failure of Canada to recognize the status of Indigenous women in the Indian Act still constitutes a violation of their human rights by the failure to acknowledge their status rights of women and their descendants.  “Sharon McIvor and her son Jacob Grismer filed the petition to the UN Human Rights Committee in November 2010… In an 18-page decision released Jan. 14, the committee said Canada is obligated to remove the discrimination and to ensure that all First Nations women and their descendants are granted Indian status on the same footing as First Nations men and their descendants.”

Human Rights Watch – Kenneth Roth, Executive Director
World Report 2019 – World’s Autocrats Face Rising Resistance

The annual report documenting the state of human rights internationally is a downloadable pdf of 346 pages.  The web site as a searchable format by country.  In the report Canada drew comments on Indigenous rights, violence against Indigenous women, corporate responsibility, sexual orientation and gender, and foreign policy. There is also a video   International website:  Complete document  Pdf:   Video: World Report 2019: Reversing Autocrats’ Attacks on Rights  (2 min18sec)

The Marshall Project (US) – Justin George and Eli Hager
One Way to Deal with Cops Who Lie? Blacklist Them, Some DAs Say – Newly elected prosecutors won’t take cases from unreliable officers—but are these no-call lists fair?

The efforts at criminal justice reform are exposing increasing numbers of convictions obtained from later discovered false testimony of police officers.  Kim Gardner, the chief prosecutor in St. Louis has taken a forceful and controversial step to correct the problem: she blacklists officers known to perjure themselves and refuses to prosecute cases these officers advance.  “From Philadelphia to Houston to Seattle, district attorneys recently elected on platforms of criminal justice reform are building similar databases of their own. Often known as “do not call” lists, they are also called “exclusion lists” or “Brady lists” after a famous Supreme Court decision requiring prosecutors to disclose to defense lawyers information about unreliable police officers or other holes in their cases.”    Related article: Think Progress – Ella Fassler  ‘This isn’t rehabilitation’: Alabama inmates speak out against state’s soaring prison homicide rate  Related article: The Sentencing Project (US) – Nicole D. Porter   Top Trends in State Criminal Justice Reform, 2018 (2 page briefing paper)

CBC News – Adam Ellis
Take it from someone who has been in a gang: tackling the symptoms won’t fix the problem – Even if I had found a way out, the structures that led me to violence would still remain

Here’s an analysis from a law professor / PhD candidate at UofT who arrived at teaching after a life as a gang member.  Ellis tells how he became a gang member, what rationalized the decision and offers a distinction between treating the symptoms and treating the problem with real and effective solutions.  There may be individual escape stories, individuals may grow out of the gang attachment, but the structures creating gang membership as a viable alternative still remain.

CBC News – John Lancaster
Canadians could now be charged with drunk driving — even if not drunk, lawyers warn

Lancaster critiques the recent changes to impaired driving laws.  Bill C-46 came into law January 1 and now police no longer need a probable cause to pull over drivers and insist on breath-analyzing.  Defence lawyer Daniel Brown thinks the law unconstitutional, given the 2 hour window of opportunity the law creates for charges.  “Barry (another a defence lawyer)  also warns Canadians they can be arrested and charged within the new two-hour time frame if their BAC has risen over the limit — even if they had been sober when they parked their car and planned to take a cab or transit home later…That is just a flagrant contravention of one’s civil liberties and a breach of the charter,” Barry said.