Handgun ban…

May 28, 2020

Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Ottawa’s gun legislation will effectively allow cities to ban handguns

This is a puzzling announcement from the federal government.  Having already announced a ban on assault rifles, the feds promised to impact the availability of hand gun on the municipal level as well.  Now the suggestion is that cities suffering from considerable violence from handguns and declare their boundaries free of hand gun storage.  The lack of detail in the announcement about how the city will enforce a decision to forego hand guns without a national ban on them is the puzzling piece.  https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/05/25/ottawas-gun-legislation-will-effectively-allow-cities-to-ban-handguns.html   Related article: CBC News – David Burke  Statistics Canada to collect data on origins of guns used in crime   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/gun-crime-statistics-canada-research-1.5579971  Related article: Global News – Beatrice Bretneff    Majority of Canadians support new gun ban but want feds to focus on smuggling: Ipsos     https://globalnews.ca/news/6982152/canadians-gun-ban-ipsos-poll/    Related article: Foreign Policy.com – Justin Ling   Canada’s Gun Laws Are Only as Good as Its Neighbor’s   https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/26/canada-gun-control-laws-united-states-nova-scotia-mass-shooting-justin-trudeau/

Ottawa Citizen – Dr. Jeff Turnbull, Sen. Vern White, Mathieu Fleury
‘Safe supply’ is a better way to manage drug addiction

The authors, all involved for some time in the Ottawa response to the opioid crisis first describe a sort of status report and then include the complications from the virus.  The key message is safe supply:  “Since August 2017, Ottawa Inner City Health has successfully run Canada’s first-ever residential Managed Opioid Program (MOP) in Ottawa, providing controlled amounts of pharmaceutical-grade prescription oral and injectable narcotics (this prescription of narcotics is referred to as providing a “Safe Supply” or safer opioid substitution), housing, and other supports for 25 individuals who have failed in other approaches of care. The residents participating in this pilot have seen positive outcomes in stabilizing their lives as well as decreasing the need for petty crime in communities.”   https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/turnbull-white-and-fleury-safe-supply-is-a-better-way-to-manage-drug-addiction/ar-BB14yY4J    Related article:  Global News – Heather Yourex-West   More Canadians are dying of drug overdoses — and coronavirus is to blame   https://globalnews.ca/news/6995586/canadians-dying-drug-overdoses-coronavirus/

 John Jay College (NY) – Mark Soler and Marc Schindler
The COVID-19 ‘Catch-22’ for Young People Behind Bars

The Crime Report comes from John Jay College which is a specialty center for law in New York.  The focus is on the 40,000 youth in custody facilities across the US and the call is clearly to end the incarceration of children where conditions and impact of incarceration are generally comparable to those in adult facilities.  The report calls for four specific actions, not only to confront the Covi-19 virus, but to contend with juvenile incarceration itself:  End new admissions, release with re-entry plan, care for those remaining inside, stop the practice of jailing youth.  https://thecrimereport.org/2020/05/26/the-covid-19-catch-22-for-young-people-behind-bars/   Related report:  Ottawa Crime Prevention (Canada) –  Perspectives on Weapons-Carrying Among Ottawa Youth Ages 14-21   https://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Perspectives-on-Weapons-Carrying-Among-Youth.pdf    (A 48 page downloadable pdf – p. 34ff has a series of recommendations – Jointly produced with the Muslim Family Services and the Regroupement Ethnoculturel des parents Francophones de l’Ontario)      Related article:  San Diego Union-  Tribune – Charles T. Clark   San Diego County eliminates juvenile justice fees and debts  https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/story/2020-05-23/san-diego-county-eliminates-juvenile-justice-fees-and-debts?_amp=true&__twitter_impression=true

Equality through you (US) – Corinne Shutack
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

This link brings you to a site that advocates the practical things you and I – ordinary citizens – can do to resist racism and the manifestations of racism, especially those supported by the silence of the White citizens.  The suggestions touch on a wide variety of pop-ups where racism is a subtle or otherwise active ingredient – policing, education, politics, the legal system.  One idea that may be immediately viable is to ask that all legislative bills around justice include a racial impact statement (#18).  Some include links to allow verification of the current practice in your state.   https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

Human Rights Watch –
Covid-19 Prisoner Releases Too Few, Too Slow – Known releases approximately 5% of global prison population

The link offers a world view of the progress of releasing prisoners to avoid contagion with Covid-19 virus. Prisoners in Canada fare a little better at the provincial level vs the federal, but Canada is also slow.  “Prisoner releases have been too few and too slow, contributing to preventable suffering and death,” said Jo Becker, an advocate at Human Rights Watch. “Governments should urgently accelerate the releases – whether early, temporary, or conditional. Many detainees have not been convicted of any crime, and don’t pose a security risk.”  https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/27/covid-19-prisoner-releases-too-few-too-slow   Related article: The Marshall Project – How To Hide a COVID-19 Hotspot? Pretend Prisoners Don’t Exist – A county trying to reopen its economy wrestles with a virus outbreak in prison.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/05/27/how-to-hide-a-covid-19-hotspot-pretend-prisoners-don-t-exist

The Intercept – Ryan Devereau
ICE Detainee Who Died of Covid-19 Suffered Horrifying Neglect

It’s a first for the Otay Mesa Detention Center in southern California.  It is the first ICE detention facility where a detainee died from Covid-19.  Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia, 57, a citizen of Mexico, died on May 6.  The facility is for-profit and 155 detainees and 11 staff have tested positive for the virus.  “Medical experts at the Department of Homeland Security called the facilities a “tinderbox” for the spread of the disease — and said they expected detainees to die absent changes in ICE detention policies and priorities.”  https://theintercept.com/2020/05/24/ice-detention-coronavirus-death/   Related article: US Senate Judiciary Hearings – Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19 – Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 10AM    https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/examining-best-practices-for-incarceration-and-detention-during-covid-19   (Use link for live feed of the full committee hearing on June 2.)

CBC News – Murray Brewster and Vassy Kapelos
Military alleges horrific conditions, abuse in pandemic-hit Ontario nursing homes

No one thought of the possibility of a report like this when the Canadian military was asked to help with the Covid-19 crisis at Quebec and Ontario retirement homes.  It turns out that the military became a whistle blower on already known but ignored bad and unhealthy conditions and practices.  “The Canadian military has drawn the curtain back on horrific allegations of elder abuse in five Ontario long-term care homes, with precise, graphic reports of residents being bullied, drugged, improperly fed and in some cases left for hours and days in soiled bedding.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/long-term-care-pandemic-covid-coronavirus-trudeau-1.5584960?cmp=newsletter_CBC%20News%20Morning%20Brief_1315_30867  CBC News – Ontario taking over 5 long-term care homes following ‘gut-wrenching’ military report  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-update-may-27-emergency-order-1.5586256    Related report: Canadian Military Report on Ontario Retirement Homes  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-update-may-26-1.5584665#report  (Covering letter and full report on each of the five homes.)