Deaf ears and hard hearts…

June 28, 2021

Twitter from Barbara Low –

The Kamloops and Marieval discoveries have a chance of prompting more determined political and social action.  Indigenous people of Canada have long struggled to make their perspective known to the political power brokers and settlers.  Their efforts have often fallen on deaf ears and hard hearts.  Barbara, an Indigenous woman and advocate, suggests that all settlers need to be fully aware of the Indigenous pre-occupations from these three documents, all downloadable and readily available as essential context and content for any reconciliation between Indigenous and the settlers.  First, Highlights from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples:  People to People, Nation to Nation   Second, the National Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Women and Girls:  Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls   Third, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports  One may also add a knowledge of the Indian Act of 1876.   CBC Radio News: What do you really know about The Indian Act?   The Secret Life of Canada explores the federal law that overhauled settler-Indigenous relations

  Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Public safety minister acknowledges threat of white supremacist infiltration to Canada’s police forces

One of the more upsetting disclosures from the Jan 6 US insurrection was the number of military and police participating.  Concerns about the white supremacy movement here in Canada have led to a startling disclosure from Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the former police chief of Toronto, that police services and the military may be a recruitment source here.  “My reaction is, ‘Wow.’ I’m stunned that they’ve admitted it,” said Perry, a professor at Ontario Tech University and one of Canada’s leading experts on far-right extremism… That’s got to be something happening internally, because there’s nobody on the outside that has really looked at this in any detail.”  Related article: Ottawa Citizen – David Pugliese   Canadian military intelligence monitored Black Lives Matter movement, claiming pandemic justified such actions – A co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Canada says there is no reason for such scrutiny of the organization’s peaceful efforts to raise awareness about racial injustice.

The Justice Wire (PA) – District Attorney’s Office
Citing Prosecutor’s ‘Obligation to Do Justice,’ Court Overturns 1991 Murder Conviction

Curtis Crosland who spent more than 30 years in prison while innocent has been released.  While the reversal is remarkable it also stands as a measure of how difficult reversals are.  Pennsylvania has a special unit called the Conviction Integrity Unit to review cases where convictions are suspect.  “In a three-page order issued earlier this week, the Hon. Anita B. Brody of the U.S. Eastern District of Pennsylvania wrote, “More so than any other party in our criminal legal system, the prosecutor has an obligation to do justice…. The responsibility of doing justice does not disappear once a conviction is achieved. In some circumstances, the duty to seek truth can and should extend to cases long closed.” After 22 such exonerations, the Conviction Integrity Unit has a proven worth and now a powerful judicial affirmation of the public duty of a prosecutor.

 Canadian Lawyer – Tim Wilbur
How judicial discretion impacts sentencing in criminal cases

The practice of sentencing is becoming a more controversial issue in our legal system, in part because the public notices variation in very similar cases, in part because the system operates with mandatory minimums, in part because a judge’s sentence is often very predictable, in part because of the costs of mass incarceration and long sentences, in part because the prison population seems to be a product of racism.   So welcome an overview of the practices.  Wilbur offers opinions from Professor Anthony Doob and lawyer Michael Spratt of Ottawa.  Then he looks at how Canadians think about sentencing followed by how lawyers think about sentencing.  (There are also several links around mandatory)   Related article:  Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Ethnicity and Custodial Sentencing – A review of the trends 2009-2019  (The link provides another link to the Sentencing Academy’s latest report:  )

The Atlantic (US) – Ibram X. Kendi
Our New Post racial Myth:  The post racial idea is the most sophisticated racist idea ever produced.

Kendi is a professor at the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research and author of How to be an Antiracist.  This article is Kendi’s summation of where racism is at this time and how White and Black people are reacting to the political turmoil around racist discussion.  “But some Americans are ignoring the signposts, walking on by racial inequity, riding on by the evidence, and proclaiming their belief with religious fervor. “America is not a racist country,” Senator Tim Scott said in April.”  Kandi’s opinion reaches into structural racism, the cancel culture, the wokism phenom, consistent and repeated denial of deep seated racism in American life.  “Fighting racism—in academia, in media, in activism, in art, in education, or in public service—is more than a job for most of us. It’s a calling to save nations from their national histories, to save human beings from human beings. Racism is an existential threat to the United States, like climate change, pandemics, and nuclear war. We know that the American people can’t handle this truth, but we tell them anyway and brace ourselves for the post racial gales bound to come—such as this one.”

Catalyst 2030 – Private Sector Working Group
Catalysing Collaboration: How & Why Corporates & Social Enterprises Should Partner to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The link raises a very important question about ending at least some of the silo inhibitions on climate change through the UN Sustainable Goals: Why, and equally important how, to merge the efforts of corporations and social media to promote climate change response?  This group wants action and sets the year 2030 as the point at which we are able to see the SDG, especially goal 16, achieved.  The 60 page report includes an executive summary, a list of models already at work, a list of best practices recs.

Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Guest Jim Barton
One unified probation system

The UK today announced in the Parliament the establishment of a unified probation system.  The new effort brings together 7,000 working in the probation area who will be retrained and promises to enhance community partnership in order to keep the local expertise.  The program has put £195 million into these partnerships.  The recruitment of 1,000 more probation officers and education in the new probationary strategy are planned.  The new program offers update bulletins to allow readers to follow the progress of the strategic implementation.   Parliamentary statement on Probation  Probationary Bulletins: