A new welcome…

Feb 24, 2022 

Human Rights Watch (Canada) –
It’s time for Canada to truly welcome people seeking safety or a better life

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Canada have undertaken an effort to eliminate the use of jails and prisoner treatment for immigrants.  Several provinces have agreements to use provincial jails, even maximum security jails, to detain those immigrants held by the federal government.  “Between April 2019 and March 2020, there were almost 9,000 such detainees, including 138 children and infants.”  The campaign seeks to persuade each provincial government with such contracts to review and rescind them.  BC is in process of a review and Quebec is the next focus. https://www.hrw.org/welcometocanada?j=32735&sfmc_sub=3359237&l=17_HTML&u=1381932&mid=110006177&jb=15007   Related article: CBC News – Kylee Pedersen Calgary police defend actions in shooting of Latjor Tuel – CPS says it responded to assault call, not a report about mental health  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/latjor-tuel-calgary-police-south-sudanese-community-calgary-1.6360924

Globe and Mail – Tom Cardoso
No way out – Once behind bars, racialized people are far less likely to get paroled when they are eligible. A Globe analysis examines why

Locked up at 19 for second degree murder, the judge said Renford Farrier would be eligible for parole from his life sentence after 10 years.  Thirty years later, Farrier is still in prison.  “Only a tiny percentage of people in federal custody are kept in prison right up until their sentences expire – or, in the case of lifers like Mr. Farrier, so far past when they became eligible for parole. Instead, most leave prison through one of three forms of conditional release: day parole, full parole and statutory release.”  Blacks are roughly 25% less likely to be paroled on first eligibility; “By the time prisoners arrive at the Parole Board of Canada, experts say, the deck has already been stacked… The findings follow a Globe investigation in 2020 that showed CSC’s risk assessment tools – standardized tests designed to measure a prisoner’s risk to public safety and odds of reoffending – were systemically biased against Black men, Indigenous men and Indigenous women.”  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-racialized-prisoners-in-canada-get-fewer-chances-at-parole-than-white/

Lawyer’s Daily – Vanessa Lisa Kiraly
Note on wrongful conviction of Nova Scotia man

The article illustrates the typical elements found in a wrongful conviction and questions why the convictions still continue, as in the case of Glen Eugene Assoun, the latest to benefit from the Innocence Canada project.  Assoun was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life with a minimum time of 18 and one half years to be served.  The case involved an initial statement, known as a KGB statement after the case establishing the exception, made by the victim to police and videotaped as an exception to the rule of hearsay.  Assoun represented himself and on appeal his appointed lawyer, Jerome Kennedy, requested disclosure requests that were returned with “misleading and incomplete answers.” https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/33756/note-on-wrongful-conviction-of-nova-scotia-man?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal  Related article: Slate.com (US) – Derek R. Trumbo    Why Write About Life in Prison?  Because every story needs hope.  https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/02/why-i-write-about-my-life-in-prison.html  Related article: AZ BigMedia    JPMorgan Chase expands second chance hiring efforts in Phoenix   https://azbigmedia.com/business/jpmorgan-chase-expands-second-chance-hiring-efforts-in-phoenix/

Texas Tribune (US) – Joshua Fechter
Gov. Greg Abbott floats pardons for Austin police officers charged with excessive force in 2020 protests – Abbott’s move is the latest in a long clash between Texas Republicans and Austin-area officials over policing — and comes as the push for reform in the Texas capital enters a more complex and uncertain chapter.  https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/23/Abbott-Austin-police-indictment/
CBC News
Basic income could keep disease at bay in N.L., says Health Accord board member – 57 recommendations include anti-poverty measures

Health Accord for Newfoundland & Labrador – A 10-year health transformation (https://healthaccordnl.ca/ ) is a snappy new report on health issues that puts emphasis on two aspects of health: the need to reform the systematic delivery of those services with the synchronization of the issues around the social determinants of health.  Prime candidate for the resolution of many health problems is the proposal that these problems have their origins in poverty and that a guaranteed basic income would be a considerable boost to good health care in the province.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/health-accord-reax-smee-haggie-1.6359507

Understanding Homelessness in Canada:  A new educational resource
 From the Preface: About This Resource

“Homelessness is an area of study that spans across academic disciplines. This was the premise with which we began this project. “Understanding Homelessness in Canada: From the Street to the Classroom” is a dynamic resource that can be used as a textbook, online course, and/or general interest book. Early in the design process, we had the idea to set up each chapter as a field of study, and we asked ourselves what three questions a student in that field might have about homelessness. We then reached out to many leading homelessness researchers across Canada and posed a sub-set of those questions to them. We recorded the conversations, created a series of videos from each, and imbedded them throughout this book alongside contemporary Canadian research with a focus on publications from 2018 and beyond… We have included a range of academic disciplines in this book, divided into five parts consisting of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Mental Health and Public Health Studies, Population Studies, Social Sciences, and Health Sciences. Our intention in doing so, was to provide instructors and students with a resource that contains information and opens a space for further exploration.”  https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/homelessness/front-matter/introduction/  ( An ebook)

Religious News Services – Jeffrey Salkin
How should Jews think about Ukraine? Like so much else in Jewish history, the story is one of light and darkness.

As the war footing in Ukraine begins to take hold to all the world, this link offers a reflective moment in the personal and religious history of the region that comes to light while conceding to the darkness of that very history.  “Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi and Soviet regimes deliberately murdered around fourteen million civilians in the “blood lands,” the region that extends from central Poland to western Russia, through Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States. But, in particular, Ukraine was a Jewish killing field — and perhaps the worst. Consider what happened at Babi Yar, a ravine outside of Kyiv. On that site, Nazi forces executed almost 34,000 Jews — on September 29-30, 1941. It was the single largest mass killing in the Holocaust.”  Advice on jumping death defying wide divides: hold hands together.   https://religionnews.com/2022/02/22/ukraine-russia-jews/?utm_source=pushly

Lawyer’s Daily – Sarah Boulby
What access to justice looks like in family law

The actual practice of family law has long been problematic from the viewpoint of access.  Ordinary people who do not have the funds to pursue professional legal services have long been choosing to act as their own lawyer in court, a choice fraught with potentially disastrous consequences for the individual and the family.  After a review of what has been done to address the problem, many steps, she says, at the initial stages of development, Boulby argues that the effort to create family law paralegals should give way to creating unified family courts as in current expressed intent and in the reality of the funding and courthouses needed.  “Finally, we can and should consider implementing law reforms to simplify family law. There is no reason for our system to be so complicated, so slow and consequently so expensive.”  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/33794/what-access-to-justice-looks-like-in-family-law-sarah-boulby?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal   Related article: CBC News   – Quebec groups call for domestic violence provisions in youth protection law – Recognize domestic violence, limit power of violent spouses over their children, groups say   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-groups-reform-youth-protection-act-1.6361112

 Tweet from Jude Oudshoorn in response to an incident in which police were called, and responded to a school to confront a 4 year Black child:

“That the school made the call…that the police didn’t tell the school to ‘get lost’ but believed that it fit their mandate…shows how deeply entrenched anti-Black racism is in both institutions. A clear example of systemic white supremacy. So disturbing, yet so normal.”  https://twitter.com/judahoudshoorn/status/1496686198949089280?s=03    From Jessica Hutchison“A school @WCDSBNewswire called the police on a 4 year old Black child. A 4 year old child. The adultification & criminalization of Black children is rooted in anti-Black racism and begins in our schools. This is shameful and everyone should be outraged. twitter.com/WR_Record/stat…”  https://twitter.com/WR_Record/status/1496677520191766530  Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Balancing the child first approach with risk management in youth justice  https://www.russellwebster.com/balancing-the-child-first-approach-with-risk-management-in-youth-justice/  (Webster discusses a new report by Dr. Anne-Marie Day )

  This Matters – A Toronto Star Podcast – Raju Mudhar with guest Alex Ballingall
The cost of one’s convictions: convoy ringleaders in court

The link is an 18 minute commentary on the lead-up to the charges against the ring leaders of the truckers’ convoy in Ottawa, an explanation of the charges and consequences against them, and the costs for those charged and supporters.  https://www.thestar.com/podcasts/thismatters/2022/02/23/the-cost-of-ones-convictions-convoy-ringleaders-in-court.html