Freedom and justice…

Nov 27, 2020

N.Y. Times – Ben Hubbard
Saudi Activist Who Fought for Women’s Right to Drive Is Sent to Terrorism Court – Loujain al-Hathloul, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent prisoners, has been accused of harming the kingdom’s security. Rights groups consider the prosecution a sham.

Anyone in Canada looking for something to be thankful for need look no further.   The crimes of which she is accused make the Saudis a laughing stock but no one can laugh at the threat that this perversion of law creates.  Detained since the spring of 2018, she is charged in terrorism court “with crimes that include seeking to change the kingdom’s political system, campaigning for women’s rights and communicating with foreign journalists, diplomats and human rights organizations.”  The incident should also prompt us to defend every fibre of our democracy and to look again at our law for its capacity to deliver true justice.   Related article:  The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada – Cindy Blackstock   “Breaking good news! The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders that First Nations children without status resident off reserve who are recognized by their Nations for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle are eligible for services/products!”   CBC (Thunder Bay) – Eagle Lake FN moves to establish child welfare agency as hunger strike continues –  A member of the First Nation is protesting what she calls an oppressive child welfare system  Related article:  CBC News – Judy Trinh and Nazim Baksh Toronto police officer says she faced years of sexist, racist retribution for reporting colleague – Human rights complaint is among 38 ongoing complaints of sexual misconduct by colleagues on Toronto force   Related article: CTV News – Sarah Smellie  Plaintiff in RCMP suit says despite abuse, mental health tolls, she’d do it all again   Related article: Abacus Data – Oksana Kishchuk    International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: Canadians Concerned about COVID-19 Impacts  Related article: CBC News – Julie Ireton  Brockville mourns ‘a beautiful soul’ lost to domestic violence –  Audrey Hopkinson’s name will be added to annual femicide list, released today

Femicide List 2020 in Canada: The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability:  “Femicide is generally defined as the killing of one or more females, primarily by males, because they are female. It represents the extreme end of violence and discrimination against women and girls. A key contributor to femicide and violence against women is gender inequality.”   (There appears to be a delay in the 2020 Report; alternate web sources are blocked at this point by anti-malware.)

Related article: Amnesty International – Dec. 10 – International Human Rights Day  Write for human life…  Related article: Toronto Star – Brandi Morin  Defending the rights of Indigenous women   Blogger Russell Webster (UK) Femicide: every three days a man kills a woman

(Ed note: If you are looking for information around human rights and race issues in Canada, the Colour of Poverty may be helpful: )

An Australian answer:  “As an abolitionist the 1st question I am asked is “what will you do with all the rapists?” Well let me tell you, right now they’re in the parliament, police forces, football teams, boardrooms, our homes… Police & prisons do not prevent or solve violence, they perpetrate it.”


Homeless Hub – Naomi Thulien and Amanda Noble
Youth Homelessness during COVID-19: Final Report on Mental Health and Substance Use

This report comes as a summary blog and a full report by the authors.  (The link will offer both.)  The report rejects the notion that the Covid-19 virus reduced us all to an equality of circumstances.  “If the problem of worsening mental health and substance use during this pandemic is caused by/connected to intersecting structural inequities such as racism, insufficient housing, precarious employment, limited social connections, and poverty, and not individual “vulnerability” (a term that denotes weakness and used all too often when referring to youth experiencing homelessness), then it is logical that the proposed solutions should encompass structural interventions.”  The blog offers three key take-aways from the report.

CBC News –
Quebec mosque shooter’s sentence cut from 40 to 25 years before possibility of parole – Appeals court also rules consecutive sentences are unconstitutional

The Quebec Mosque shooter who killed six people in Quebec pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison, consisting of 5 – 25 to life sentences and a further 15 years for the survivors in the incident.  The Judge used a controversial “consecutive sentencing” – each life sentence to follow the first.  The consecutive sentencing has been declared unconstitutional resulting in the reduction of the sentence to one 25-life and eligibility for parole after 25 years served.  (In Canada, eligibility for parole is simply that: eligibility; sometimes the length of eligibility for a 25 to life sentence can be 15 years.)  “This is the first time an appeals court in Canada has ruled on the constitutionality of consecutive sentences, which were introduced by the Conservative government in 2011…Quebec’s court of appeal said consecutive sentences violate constitutional protections against “cruel and unusual” punishment as well as the right to life and security of the person.”

CBC News –
1-year-old boy dead, OPP officer injured in confrontation near Lindsay, Ont. – Boy’s father shot by Ontario Provincial Police after alleged abduction

All that is clear at this point is that the death and injury toll of this OPP encounter with a father who abducted his one year old son went as badly as it may have.  The one year old died of gunshot; the constable and the father are in serious condition in hospital.  Wherever the investigation of this incident goes, who ever actually fired the shot that killed the child, we have an innocent victim and a lingering question about another failed de-escalation.  Related article: Toronto Star – Nicole Thompson   Boy dead, officer hurt in Kawartha Lakes, Ont.; police watchdog investigating

News (UK)
TV licence evasion accounts for one in THREE women’s criminal convictions, new figures reveal

This is a frightful illustration of the downright silliness of the law.  In the UK, one third of the criminal conviction of women is for failure to pay taxes on TV licenses, but equally strange, women are ten times more likely than men to be convicted for the failure to pay.  How do they explain this?  Simple, the women are more likely home during the day and become the defendant by answering the door.   Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – All you need to know about women and the justice system (A gender analysis with graphs)