Our loss…

Oct 24, 2019

National Newswatch – Glen Pearson
The Election’s Greatest Loss

“The heat of the federal election is now over and cold morning of reality has begun to set in.  All that energy.  All those voiced aspirations of what a great country this is.  All those promises that our democracy now matters more than ever.  Unfortunately, such noble ideals were drowned out by a context that was as rueful as it was dispiriting.”   https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2019/10/23/the-elections-greatest-loss/#.XbBW72Z7k2w  Related article: Toronto Star – Susan Delacourt   An ugly election puts parliamentary harmony in doubt   https://www.thestar.com/amp/politics/political-opinion/2019/10/22/an-ugly-election-puts-parliamentary-harmony-in-doubt.html   Related article: CBC News – Chris Hall  Get ready for an unruly House of Commons divided along regional fault lines   https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-liberal-2019-election-1.5330092   Related article: Calgary Star – Brendan Doherty   ‘The West wants out’: Calls for western separation grow on social media following federal election results   https://www.thestar.com/calgary/2019/10/22/canada-has-forsaken-us-western-separation-calls-grow-on-social-media-following-federal-election-results.html

Toronto Star – Josh Rubin
Many companies are choosing to underfund pensions even though they have the cash, study finds

This is one of those issues around how do you make sure that you are not going to be short changed in favour of other priorities when something financially disastrous happens in the workplace: specifically what happens if your company goes bankrupt and has constantly shorted your pension fund in favour of stock dividends to shareholders?  “A new study released Thursday suggests that’s exactly what’s going on with a major chunk of private-industry pensions across Canada. The study, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, found that of the 90 companies listed on the TSX Composite Index that have defined-benefit pension plans, just a handful completely funded their workers’ pension funds in 2017. At the same time, they were busy paying out billions of dollars in dividends to shareholders.”  https://www.thestar.com/business/2019/08/29/many-companies-are-choosing-to-underfund-pensions-even-though-they-have-the-cash-study-finds.html  Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Bloomberg News   Canada ranked among top 10 pension systems in world — but we only got a B    https://ottawacitizen.com/news/economy/these-are-the-worlds-best-and-worst-pension-systems/wcm/10e68e0c-0900-4951-99f6-20e0a7497524   Related article: CBC News – Thomson Reuters   Canada slips 4 places on world index measuring women’s equality  https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/women-global-quality-of-life-ranking-1.5330967

 Gazette (Co) – Vince Bzdek
New prisons chief wants to correct Corrections     

Inmates return at the rate of 50%, 11% over the national average, so Department of Corrections chief Dean Williams thinks that at $50,000 per inmate, and a $1 billion budget, it may be wise to recognize that something is not working in Corrections.  Williams, who is on the job for a mere 8 months, thinks the solution is a complete reform.  “His template? Halden Prison in Norway, which many consider the world’s most humane prison. Norway also happens to have the lowest recidivism rate in the world: About 20% of its released inmates end up back in prison.”  https://gazette.com/news/new-prisons-chief-wants-to-correct-corrections/article_46e5120a-f220-11e9-b268-8779d82d180d.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

Toronto Star – Jim Rankin, Jennifer Pagliaro, Wendy Gillis
When police target street gangs, the methods make all the difference

The Star is running a series of commentaries on guns and gangs.  The context is concession by Toronto Police Chief Saunders that most homicides in Toronto are gang related and that police cannot arrest their way out of gang violence.  That said this article describes the annual raid on gangs that has become the “intelligence” enforcement portion of the fight against gangs and also describes the success of the various attempts to curb gang violence, both in Toronto and elsewhere. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/10/23/when-police-target-street-gangs-the-methods-make-all-the-difference.html

CTV News – Carly Stagg
Alberta government orders closure of Addiction Recovery Network

In an election that virtually ignored the community crises around opium deaths and related addiction issues, this news may bear an ill-omen for addiction treatment.  Addictions Canada and its Addictions Recovery Network runs two facilities in Alberta and three more in Ontario and stands accused of a variety of unprofessional practices that includes unpaid staff and unprofessional staff.  A private operation with a simple business licence, the Network was grimly assessed by patients: “All former patients said most of what was advertised on the Addiction Canada website was never offered.”  https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/alberta-government-orders-closure-of-addiction-recovery-network-1.4650193

CBC News – Alicia Bridges
Sask. considering jail expansions — again — as female inmate numbers rise

The Saskatchewan government says that while no decision has yet been made, increases in women inmates in the provincial prisons is pushing to relieve overcrowding by building more prisons.  The controversy underlines the significant increase in women prisoners, the use of short sentences following ‘survival’ crime and gang violence in the overcrowded prisons where increasing the number of beds has not relieved the problem.  According to spokespersons, the overcrowding has been accentuated within the past year and is higher in fall and spring.  Neither the ministry nor advocates are happy with the prospect of building new prisons.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/jail-expansions-being-considered-saskatchewan-overcrowding-1.5331269

Montreal Gazette – Linda Gyulai
‘We’ve failed as a society’: Quebec youth protection commission launched   The special commission into children’s rights in Quebec was sparked by the death of a neglected Granby girl.

Régine Laurent will chair the commission looking into child abuse cases that have passed through the Quebec child care system.  “The special commission will be holding hearings through December. Its mandate is to examine youth protection services, the laws that govern them and the role of the courts, social services and other intervenors.”  The Commission was formed after the death of a Creole child “Ti-Lilly,” her (Laurent’s) name for the “martyr of Granby.”   One of the early witnesses, sports reporter Nancy Audet, left the commission members in tears after her story of ignored and prolonged parental abuse.   https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/youth-protection-commission-launched-weve-failed-as-a-society

ABC News (US) – Meaghan Keneally
Hundreds of inmates serving life without parole for crimes as juveniles left waiting for another look

While there have been some progress in prison reform in the US, Life without Parole for juveniles has not yet focused the conversation for reformers.  Despite long standing advocacy by notables like Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiatives) and court rulings around the unconstitutionality of the sentence, the number involved is astounding.  “The number of prisoners serving life and life without parole also grew over this time period from 34,000 in 1984 to nearly 162,000 in 2016.”  Often viewed as a more humane alternative to the death sentence, “Life without parole is an especially harsh punishment for a juvenile,” former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the opinion of Graham v. Florida, a 2010 case that invalidated life without parole for juveniles who committed non-homicide crimes.”  https://abcnews.go.com/amp/US/despair-hundreds-inmates-serving-life-crimes-juveniles-waiting/story?id=66329947&id=66329947&__twitter_impression=true