Break free…

March 18, 2021

N.Y. Times – Brian Seibert
What It Means to Break Free: A Tale of Detention, Told in Dance – The choreographer Jeremy McQueen’s film “Wild: Act 1” seeks to give voice to young men caught in the criminal justice system.

The link offers a sample of the Wild Act and an invitation to a longer 51 minute video (for a fee). The video attempts an artistic and dance impression of what it means to break free, an experience even those not confronted with a prison experience may appreciate.

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Canada has a new law on medical assistance in dying. Here’s what it means

“There were 5,631 medically assisted deaths in Canada in 2019, representing two per cent of all deaths in the country and a 26 per cent increase over such cases in 2018, according to the country’s first annual report on the practice.”  The new bill opens the door to others than those who can reasonably foresee their deaths and allows access to MAID for those who “have a serious and incurable “disease, illness or disability,” are in an advanced state of decline and are suffering intolerably.”   The Bill also calls a ninety days period between the first assessment for MAID and the day the intervention is actually carried out.  The Bill also calls for two separate assessment by medical doctors.

Globe and Mail – Molly Hayes
Canada saw increase in killings of women and girls in 2020, report finds

Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability tracks the murder of women and girls and issues an annual report, this year noting an increase in women homicides, also known as femicides.  The Center relies on news reports for its stats and, after three years of tracking, is able to begin the breakdown of the stats around what makes the violence directed to women unique and specific to this segment of the population.  “Sadly the biggest thing is that it just reinforces exactly what we have been saying, what we have known at the community level, for decades and generations: the massive overrepresentation of Indigenous women and girls,” Dr. Lavell-Harvard (President of the Ontario Native Women) said. “If 23 per cent [of these women killed by men] are Indigenous – that’s 1 in 5. And yet we’re less than 5 per cent of the Canadian population. That should tell people something.”   Related article: CTV News – Brooke Taylor    One woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada: report   Related article: Toronto Star – Brandi Morin   Sarah Everard’s murder is every woman’s nightmare, particularly Indigenous women   Related article: Toronto Star – Edward Keenan   Atlanta murder spree shows again that violence motivated by hatred is a constant presence in American life

Toronto Star – Mia Rabson
Tax code for charities contributes to systemic racism: Ontario Sen. Ratna Omidvar

The issue is whether a charity that gives a tax deductible receipt for a donation can engage in contracting partners to achieve the stated goals of the charity.  In the past, a charity could only give its money to another charity.  The heart of the issue is whether a charity could still exercise some responsible control over the funds when it contracts for services or material with a community partner.  Senator Omidvar, a sponsor for the changes, says that such narrowness actually contributes to systemic racism.

Global News – Stewart Bell
‘We were ignored completely’: Review says RCMP leadership failed to act on harassment complaints

Add the RCMP to the list of federal organizations with a capacity to ignore the truth, and it appears the best interest of its members, particularly the women.  Global claims to have obtained a copy of an exclusive copy of the independent review of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre under Cameron Ortis.  Harassment complaints say the victims went without response from RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.  The report was issued last November but updates as recent as March 2021, even after the Otis arrest for giving away secrets to foreign governments, have not seen change. “…consultant Alphonse MacNeil (a former assistant commissioner) placed most of the blame on a “failure of leadership” he said occurred “at many levels” and “reveals a need for the RCMP to consider how leaders are selected.”

CTV News – Stephanie Liu
Reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes are surging in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

A coalition group called ‘Fight Covid Racism’ in Toronto is reporting a spike in the number of racial incidents experienced by various ethnic groups who are subject to the racism because they are blamed for the covid virus.  “We have a long history of anti-Asian racism, with deep-seated prejudice and stereotypes,” Teresa Woo-Paw, chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, told on Wednesday. “Somehow, people actually still do not fully recognize that we do have anti-Asian racism in this country, and it’s also embedded in our systems as well as our daily lives.”   The link also offers a commentary on the problem of Asian racism by major city in Canada.  Related article: CBC News (BC) – Eva Uguen-Csenge   Vancouver advocates call for more protection of Asian women in sex industry after Georgia shootings – ‘Unfortunately this type of violence is not new to us,’ says women’s advocate

 Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News – Val Van Brocklin
Which is the smarter investment: prisons or universities?

You think the comparison is just edgy?  A narrow difference?  Think again!  Alaska now spends $345 million on corrections and $247 million on university.  Alaska, whose average cost per prisoner is $52,633 spends $17,508 per pupil in public education.  “Badger (Washington Post urban reporter Emily Badger) asks, what if we spent that money on preschool and summer jobs programs and addiction treatment? Evidence indicates such investments could do more to deter  crime than imprisoning people, and it’s cheaper. In Chicago hundreds of high-risk kids were given a summer job and violent crime arrests plummeted. The jobs cost less than incarcerating the kids with the attendant unintended costs. Instead, the kids became taxpaying consumers while also learning invaluable productive life skills.”   Related article:  Washington Post – Emily Badger  –  How mass incarceration creates ‘million dollar blocks’ in poor neighborhoods   Related article: WKZO (Michigan) – Will Kriss Michigan State Police continue partnership in Benton Harbor