Pot pardons…

June 24, 2019

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Canadians can soon get quick, free pot pardons – but pros expect modest uptake

“Bill C-93, which waives the $631 fee and the five-to-10-year waiting period for pardon applications, received royal assent Friday and will soon come into force. The legislation aims to remove barriers to employment, housing, travel and volunteering opportunities for people who were convicted of simple possession before recreational cannabis use was made legal last fall…According to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office, about 250,000 Canadians have been charged with simple possession and an estimated 10,000 criminal records will be eligible for pardons under C-93.”  The legislation applies to single convictions only, (estimated at 400,000) not multiple convictions and is a record suspension rather than an expungement.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pot-pardon-free-1.5185446   Related article:  Sacramento Bee –   Jay Jordan   After prison, I changed my life. But these discriminatory laws still punish me    https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article231429358.html    Related article:  HuffPost Canada –  Zi-Ann Lum    Why Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Tabled A Drug Decriminalization Bill At The Worst Time – He wants a policy similar to Portugal’s to make it into the Liberals’ election platform  https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/amp/entry/decriminalization-drugs-canada_ca_5d0f8751e4b0aa375f4e1b8c/?__twitter_impression=true

Globe and Mail – Genesee Keevil
Four officers, no weapons, no charges: A Yukon First Nation’s solution for keeping the peace

The relationship between the Kwanlin Dun people, nostly in the Whitehorse area, and the RCMP has been steadily deteriorating.  Now, a pilot project attracting some extended attention is set to begin. Unarmed and pre-occupied with community tasks beyond the norm for policing, the four officers are responding to many calls directed to two RCMP constables who are often absence from the town, called to other policing duties.  “These findings come as no surprise to Ms. Bill (Chief of the Kwanlin Dun), who is tasked with caring for a community struggling with alcohol, drugs and the effects of colonialism. “When a traumatic incident occurs, the RCMP lays charges, but doesn’t provide support,” she says. “There was a gap, and we filled it.”   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-four-officers-no-weapons-no-charges-a-yukon-first-nations-solution/

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
Canada’s national security landscape will get a major overhaul this summer

Bill C-59, now passed after two years by both House and Senate, will give the intelligence agencies in Canada new powers, including the power of oversight and the power to cyberattack.  The bill also offers the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency the power to keep tabs on other security agencies such as CSA and CSIS.  Critics argue that Bill C-59 also creates the potential for mass surveillance.  The government is promising redress mechanism as well.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/bill-c59-national-security-passed-1.5182948   Related article: Intercept (US)  – Seth Harp   I’m a Journalist but I Didn’t Fully Realize the Terrible Power of U.S. Border Officials Until They Violated My Rights and Privacy   https://theintercept.com/2019/06/22/cbp-border-searches-journalists/

Huffington Post (US) – Melissa Jeltsen
Fearing Her Husband, She Took His Guns To Police. They Arrested Her.

This is one of those insane stories about the incapacity of the law to deal with real situations.  Having been arrested in Florida for assaulting his wife using a car, the wife feared for her life and brought all the guns her husband owned to police.  The husband was release one day after charging; she spent six days in jail.  Her husband was already under court order not to possess guns.  “The police officer asked if she had taken her husband’s firearms without his permission. When she replied yes, he told her that she was confessing to a crime.”  https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/florida-irby-domestic-violence-guns_n_5d0d1163e4b0a394186200f8

Toronto Star – Editorial (June 23, 2019)
Ontario’s new attorney general should reverse cuts to legal aid

Ontario’s new Attorney General Doug Downey says the Star has a primary job of reversing the 30% cut from the Legal Aid funding.  Previous AG Caroline Mulroney insisted against all common sense that the cuts would allow access for more low-income people.  In support, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, who normally does not comment on government policy:  “I think legal aid is essential … to make sure that the justice system is strong and fair. It’s also a smart investment.”   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/06/23/ontarios-new-attorney-general-should-reverse-cuts-to-legal-aid.html   Related article: Lawyer’s Daily – Christopher Guly   Downey commits to collaborative approach as Ontario’s new attorney general   https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/13237/downey-commits-to-collaborative-approach-as-ontario-s-new-attorney-general?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal   Related article:  Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant   Ontario courts remain in technology’s dark ages, chief justice says   https://www.thestar.com/amp/news/gta/2019/06/24/ontario-courts-remain-in-technologys-dark-ages-chief-justice-says.html?__twitter_impression=true

Globe and Mail – Janice Dickson
Scheer rejects MMIWG inquiry finding of genocide against Indigenous people

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has a problem with the MMIWG conclusion that calls the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous people genocide. First Chief Commissioner Marion Buller define the commission understanding and declared the genocide.  Then Prime Minister Trudeau accepted the finding and the genocide.  The objection from Andrew Scheer comes from the international consequences:  (the)”idea that Canada would now be subject to the types of international actions that follow findings of genocide – I think we have to be very careful with the use of that terminology.”   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/politics/article-scheer-rejects-inquiry-finding-of-genocide-against-indigenous-women/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=Referrer%3A%2BSocial%2BNetwork%2B%2F%2BMedia&utm_campaign=Shared%2BWeb%2BArticle%2BLinks&__twitter_impression=true

The New Yorker (US) – Masha Gessen
The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps

Politics, witness the genocide discussion, can easily degenerate into superficialities.  In this case, from the US border, the argument is around the use of the term ‘concentration camp,” a term that evokes the Nazi death camps and the Japanese camps.  The core problem is not linguistics or terminology.  “A logical fallacy becomes inevitable. If this can’t happen, then the thing that is happening is not it. What we see in real life, or at least on television, can’t possibly be the same monstrous phenomenon that we have collectively decided is unimaginable.”   https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-unimaginable-reality-of-american-concentration-camps   Related article: N.Y. Times – Nock Corassiti   Cory Booker Proposes Clemency for Thousands of Nonviolent Drug Offenders  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/politics/booker-drugs-clemency.html#click=https://t.co/JmKbwkTLj4

Global News – Sean Previn
Jurors with PTSD advocate for greater mental health support during, after trials

The notion that jurors drafted into court cases with gross and detailed information about vicious crimes and who at one time suffered from PTSD is not new.  What is new is the notion of offering care to those who are again victimized by the personal trauma while doing their civic duty.  In the case at hand, a lady on the jury for the Bernardo murder and sexual assault trial was thrown into reliving her own personal experience.   https://globalnews.ca/news/5363654/jury-duty-ptsd-mental-health-support-canada/amp/?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris    Bill to support jurors with PTSD dies in the Senate   https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/bill-to-support-jurors-with-ptsd-dies-in-the-senate/ar-AADeCBl   Related article: Globe and Mail – Terry Pedwell, Canadian Press  Paid time off for victims of domestic violence is the ‘beginning of a wave,’ says expert   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-paid-time-off-for-victims-of-domestic-violence-is-the-beginning-of-a/

Canadian Bar Association – Meaghan T. Daniel
Decolonizing law – To learn Indigenous law, first, forget everything you learned in law school.

Daniel presents an assessment that most of Canada’s current population has no idea whatever of the law that continues to sustain and apply to Canada’s Indigenous people.  “Accept that the concept of law you know is just one concept of law, and that the system of law that flows from it is conditioned by cultural values that are not universal. Make efforts to deeply learn Indigenous cultures: their values and views on a good life, as Indigenous law can only be understood from within its cultural commitments. Understand that this condition is not unique to Indigenous legal traditions, but applies across all legal traditions.”  https://www.nationalmagazine.ca/en-ca/articles/law/opinion/2019/decolonizing-law

National Post – Adrian Humphreys
Ontario case could set special rules for sentencing black offenders, similar to Gladue for Indigenous people – ‘When it comes to black people, the sentencing seems to be consistently void of any consideration of that additional source of disadvantage that they face’

In the case of Indigenous people Canada has long practiced, perhaps with notable gaps in some cases, the Gladue principle which calls for sentencing consideration for cultural factors.  Now, Humphreys is arguing that the same conditions leading to special considerations for Indigenous people equally apply to other minorities, evidence by the disproportionate number of minorities in prisons and their socio-economic circumstances.  The government appeal case for more severe sentence for gun possession has drawn no fewer than 11 prominent organizations to get special status to be heard in the appeal.  The issue seems to be public outcry leading to severe sentencing vs systemic racism in justice against young male Blacks.   https://nationalpost.com/news/ontario-case-could-set-special-rules-for-sentencing-black-offenders-similar-to-gladue-for-indigenous-people