Follow the money…

April 20, 2021

Department of Finance:
Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience

CBC News
Highlights of budget 2021: Billions for green economic growth, healthier Indigenous communities – Federal spending plan includes more than $101B to kickstart post-pandemic economy

A 739 page budget – the first in two years – is focused on recovery from the pandemic with a $354 billion deficit, gradually decreasing each year until 2026.  Some are suggesting it is an election budget; few are objecting to the need for stimulus and a need for help for ordinary Canadians in the long term.  The highlights are a kick-start to the green economy and a national subsidized daycare.   Related article:  CBC News – Aaron Wherry With one budget, Freeland overturned 3 decades of political orthodoxy – The Liberals think Canadians are ready to move on from the Reagan-Thatcher school of small government   Related article: CBC News – Elizabeth Thompson  5 things in the Trudeau government’s budget that have nothing to do with spending   Related article: Globe and Mail – Matt Lundy and Tom Cardoso    Federal budget 2021 highlights: Child care, recovery benefits, OAS increases – everything you need to know – The federal budget is targeting virtually every voting bloc, with billions of dollars in stimulus spending aimed at spurring economic growth     Related article: Financial Post – Kevin Carmichael   Canada’s economy was overdue for a positive shock — an historic budget might do the trick    Related article: Globe and Mail – Blair Gable, Reuters  ‘Bravo to Chrystia Freeland.’ Readers react to the 2021 federal budget   Related article: Toronto Star – Rob Ferguson and Robert Benzie  Under pressure, Ontario government scrambles to launch a provincial sick leave program   Related article: Globe and Mail – Jeff Gray, James Keller, Mike Hager   Federal budget 2021: Budget falls short on health, housing, provinces, cities say

 Specific Justice Implications of the 2021 Budget:

Alex Neve, Amnesty International:  Law Commission of Canada Back

Michael Spratt, Ottawa Lawyer: Reforming Canada’s Pardon Act

Jordan Press, CP24, Canadian Press    Federal budget includes $30B promise for child care with eye to reducing fees

Alex Usher, Blogger   Student loans

 Victim Justice Network (Canada) – House of Commons Petition

Tell the Government of Canada it must establish a permanent office to coordinate with all levels of government to develop a national strategy and mobilize key sectors to ensure implementation of prevention science across Canada. Address the root causes of violence before it takes place. We should not wait until it is too late!

Cal Matters (US) – Robert Lewis
Can California fix long waits in jail? These bills may help

How deep is the problem with trial and bail in California (and elsewhere)?  For some, as long as three years held in jail without trial or bail.  An exceptional situation?  Not for 1300 people in California waiting three years.  The majority are Black and Latinos, and worse still over 330 of the total are there for five years or more.  The state is offering two pieces of legislation to resolve the issue.   Related article: Colorado Politics – Michael Karlik   Supreme Court sides with inmate, finds magistrate inappropriately dismissed request

CBC News – Haley Ryan
Hundreds of former N.S. inmates could join class suit over solitary confinement – Lawyer suggests damages could be similar to $30M Ontario class-action award

“Justice John Bodurtha of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court recently certified the class action against the attorney general of Nova Scotia in late March, meaning the lawsuit can move forward with multiple class members as one group.”  The lawsuit alleges that solitary confinement for more than the UN Guideline of 15 days constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Charter of Rights.  The evidence, says lawyer Mike Dull, is that solitary harms efforts to rehabilitate and re-entry.  The practice of solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons has been frozen with strong advocates challenging and silence from government and prison authorities.

Criminological Highlights – Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner, U of T

The highlights for February 2021 follow the usual pattern of 8 topics:  1) Does the public support the expunging of criminal records?  2) Is public support for increased police budgets associated with the presence of immigrants in a community?  3) Do high jail populations contribute to deaths in the community? 4) When imprisonment rates increase, is it safe to assume that sentencing practices have changed?  5) Can an intensive 1-day training program change police stop-and-search practices?  6) Does the diversion of low-risk offenders contribute to the safety and economic well-being of a community?  7) Should standardized ‘risk’ assessments of probationers allow overrides?  8) Why has youth crime decreased in the US?   (As usual, you can get your own direct e-mailing by requesting a subscription from the professors:

Toronto Star – Canadian Press
Quebec court upholds most of province’s secularism law, exempts English school boards

Quebec courts have left a larger portion of the secularism law in place making some exceptions.  The law prohibits public sector workers from wearing religious symbols while at work.  The judge, Justice Marc-Andre Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court, also struck down a ban on face coverings for members of the Quebec National Assembly.  Blanchard wrote that the use of the notwithstanding clause was legal, though excessive.   Related article: Paul Cherry Montreal Gazette  Quebec Superior Court strikes down parts of religious symbols law – Judge upholds much of the province’s secularism law but rules it cannot be applied to English-language school boards and MNAs.

The Marshall Project – (US)  D’shean Kennedy as told to Maurice Chammah
I Sent an Innocent Man to Prison – A juror’s regret.

Most involved in the criminal law area think that sending innocent people to jail is rare and that most who even go to trial or even get arrested are guilty.  The trauma involved in an innocent man’s conviction by the jurors who convicted him or her is the focus of this read.  How does it happen and with what aftermath?   Related article: Pew Foundation: Jake Horowitz & Terry Schuster  Michigan Offers New Model for Jail Reform – Changes that take effect this year highlight promise of state-local efforts   Related article: NY Times Editorial (March 29, 2021)  Too Many People Are Locked Up for Small Thefts – An estimated 45,000 Americans are behind bars for thefts of less than $10,000. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.   Special Project Report: The Pew Foundation Public Safety Performance Project

Smithsonian Magazine (US) – Joshua D. Rothman  
Before the Civil War, New Orleans Was the Center of the U.S. Slave Trade – Untroubled by their actions, human traffickers like Isaac Franklin built a lucrative business providing enslaved labor for Southern farmers

The link puts context to what Black descendants of slaves in early America endured in a country that proclaimed liberty for all.  The experience of slavery in turn offers and understanding of how Black slaves contributed to the enrichment of slave owners in both the agricultural and the manufacturing sectors.  The picture also explains the rationale for the claim of a just reparation.   Related article: The Guardian Long Read (Manchester, UK) – Robert T. Baird   The invention of whiteness: the long history of a dangerous idea –  Before the 17th century, people did not think of themselves as belonging to something called the white race. But once the idea was invented, it quickly began to reshape the modern world   Related article: Vogue (US) – Deidre Dyer   A Black-Owned Hemp Farm Flourishes in Hudson Valley