Basic Income Revolution…

Nov. 30, 2021

(Ed note: This edition of communiqué marks the tenth year of its production, two to three times per week on average.  The newsletter and Smart Justice Network Canada are served by volunteers without staff or employees.  We celebrate the 10th Anniversary mindful of those whose time and energy have contributed to keeping the flame of justice a little brighter through SJNC’s contribution to public discourse around justice issues.  A big thank you to all who have shared their enthusiasm and insight over the years, especially Lorraine Berzins, Jamie Scott and Sheila Arthurs (RIP).)    


UBI Works Canada
Mark Carney explains previous Industrial Revolutions

Carney, a former governor of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England, finds some wisdom in the notion of a guaranteed basic income.  Carney’s book Value (s): Building a better world for all expands the notion and presents the present economic scene as the fourth of the three industrial revolutions to date.  The link offers a brief video resume (2 minutes) with  basic income as a way to respond to this fourth digital revolution.

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
As critics warn of genetic ‘surveillance’, RCMP explores use of DNA matching in criminal probes – The RCMP is already using the technique, which has been credited with advancing some cold cases

The technique is genetic genealogy or using a DNA sample and searching private and public DNA databanks for the relatives of the sample presented to assist in identification of a dead person, an approach said to be very helpful to cold criminal cases of suspicious deaths.  But critics are alarmed that as the legitimacy of the method is assessed, the RCMP continue to pursue contracts with US companies providing the service.  Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s privacy, surveillance and technology program:  “When they’re uploading their personal DNA swab to this database to find out their heritage … what they are doing is subjecting both themselves, their relatives and everything up to their unborn children or the unborn children of their children to potential police surveillance.”  Related article: BC Tyee – Andrew MacLeod   BC Human Rights Report Documents Racial Bias in Policing — and Suggests Solutions

Toronto Star – Shannon VanRaes
‘Known to police’ — secretive use of non-conviction data is undermining justice

Who are they?  “Stored in systems with names like Niche RMS or Police Records Information Management Environment, better known as PRIME, police use this information to track individuals — even those who have never been accused of a crime — for a myriad of reasons shielded from public scrutiny. These people are, collectively, known to police.”  The two reporters arrested in BC on the Wet’suwet’en protest over the land and the pipeline were tracked under this process, making the claim that RCMP did not know they were journalists more than a little silly.  What is alarming is that most any contact with police can result in an addition to police information and to those “known to police.”

CBC News (Kitchener-Waterloo) –
Waterloo regional police will bring its budget to council today. Here’s what to expect – Regional council can approve or reject a total police budget, but not specific line items

The article is a follow-up on the budgeting relationship between the K-W police, the police board and the KW Regional Council.  “The police service wants to raise its budget by $12.4-million to hire 35 more officers, but community group Reallocate WR thinks the police budget should stay flat. It wants council to reject the proposed budget and send it back to the police services board.”  Surprisingly, the Regional Council “cannot approve or deny specific line items in the police budget. It can only reject or approve the budget as a whole. It cannot eliminate a line item but has the option of sending the budget back to the police board or proposing an alternate budget.”  Related article:  CBC News – Hala Ghonaim    Advocates say more support is needed to tackle homelessness after encampment eviction

BBC African News –
Oscar Pistorius set to meet victim Reeva Steenkamp’s parents

Pistorius, a Paralympian gold medalist, has already served half his 13 year sentence for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp and has been moved to a prison closer to the parents of Steenkamp to facilitate a meeting that may have some influence on parole for Pistorius.  The girl’s parents have asked for the victim-offender dialogue but had also received a letter from Pistorius.  The date of the meeting has not been announced.

Toronto Star – Paul Webster
Documents reveal Ford government opted not to pursue $1-billion penalty from 407 Express Toll Route

The discovery that the Ford Government has decided not to pursue penalties of $1 billion in 2020 for the pandemic under-use of Highway 407, a toll road owned and operated by the Canada Pension Fund Investments, and may do likewise with penalties in 2021, is providing a separate pair of eyes on the proposed 413 as well.  The new highway is supposed to solve congestion problems but the threat to sensitive environments will parallel the 407 which is already underutilized.  Neither the Ontario government nor the 407 owner have offered reduced tolls to attract new users.

Globe and Mail – Christinne Muschi
It’s time to better support the three million Canadians with a rare disease…

This article is a reminder to all of us that the medical plans that deliver most of the drugs needs to many Canadians is woefully inadequate for over 3 million Canadians who suffer from rare medical diseases for whom the present cost of the required drug is a threat to impoverish even a person otherwise well off.  Says Durhane Wong-Rieger, chief executive officer of the Canadian Or-ganization for Rare Disorders and the mother of two children with a rare disease:    “There are lots of new drugs coming in that are amazing and transformative,” she says. “So we have to look down the road and figure out if there is a way we can provide access to these drugs in a way that is systematic and equitable, as opposed to the way we’re doing it now.”   Related article: BC Tyee – Andrea Bennett   What If Riding the Bus Was Free?  Saying ‘no fares’ could make public transit better and streets safer, while speeding up climate and justice progress. Who’s onboard?   Related article: BC Tyee – Katie Hyslop  Child Poverty Report Shows Income Gap Between Parents Is Growing – Poverty in BC is also highly gendered: ‘It is mothers’ poverty that we need to tackle to shift the dial.’