Proposed Watchers…

Nov 10, 2022

CBC News – Brett Forester
Chief backs call for Indigenous representation on proposed RCMP, CBSA watchdog – ‘It’s time that governments woke up and smell the coffee and begin to seriously engage Indigenous people’

There is a suggestion in the federal government that Canada needs a new approach to supervision of law enforcement agencies, including the RCMP and the Canada Border Security Agency.  Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has joined with NDP public safety critic Alistair MacGregor to promote Indigenous inclusion in any new commission:  “Bill C-20 would dissolve the current civilian review agency for the RCMP and create a replacement that would also be tasked with handling complaints against the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).”  MacGregor raised the issue at the second reading of Bill 20 in the House but did not get a response from Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino whose “response listed a number of Indigenous policing initiatives underway, which did suggest a “willingness” to possibly alter the bill as it winds through the legislative process, according to MacGregor, who said he’ll press the issue further when the bill arrives at committee.”

Lawyer’s Daily – The Honourable Stephen O’Neill is retired from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Truths and unknowns from along The Dehcho

The article is a quite appropriate reflection for all Canadians suffering the slings and arrows of tempestuous times without finding recourse in a basis for our common relationship and Canadian citizenship.  “Whereas all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating the superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences, including the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius, are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust” — preamble to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Statutes of Canada, 2021, c.14.”  (The Dehcho is Canada’s longest river; Retired Judge O’Neill draws out the reflection during part of a cross Canada canoe trip.)

Lawyer’s Daily – John L. Hill
SCC takes ‘step backward’ in Indigenous sentencing decision

Canada’s criminal code has long defined special treatment for those historically deprived people facing sentencing. The Gladue decision has been in place for some time and requires that in sentencing Indigenous persons the judge should take into considerations the specific background of the person, that “that historically deprived groups deserve special treatment.”  Likewise the courts have long recognized the same principle for youthful offenders.  Says Hill:  “One would have expected that Indigenous offenders might expect more lenient treatment from our courts now that the historical wrongs have been graphically portrayed. We have been taking great strides forward in recognizing and reshaping our relationship with the Aboriginal population. That is, until last week, when the Supreme Court of Canada took a step backward in the R. v. Sharma [2022] S.C.J. No. 39 decision.”

 Tweet from Scott Hechinger:  On crime and homelessness   “Finland is ending homelessness w/ homes while the US pays armed police billions to arrest, prosecutors to charge, & jailers to jail people in need before throwing them back out on the street still without a home but far more trauma & then use homelessness to demand billions more.” (Cf string)

Tweet from Rebecca Nagle – On Indigenous children “This article is a great example on how the @nytimes  coverage of Indigenous issues doesn’t meet the basic standards of journalism. This article grossly misrepresents what happened in the underlying custody cases and the people behind the lawsuit.”   Related article: New York Times – Jan Hoffman  Race Question in Supreme Court Adoption Case Unnerves Tribes – The issue is whether a federal law that seeks to place Native American foster children in Native American homes is constitutional. The case could turn on whether the justices see tribes as racial groups or sovereign nations.

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2022 Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner (First published in March 2022 but perhaps helpful for the discussions around bail and mass incarceration.)

Tweet from Basic Income’s Floyd Marinescu: On the land in housing    “We want rents to be low and homes to be cheap to buy, right? The problem is that land – the part of housing that goes up in value is an easy way to build wealth, easier than owning stocks, bonds, or starting a business. 1 min explainer.”


US Midterm Elections:

The Sentencing Project (US) – Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, Sarah Shannon and Robert Stewart
Locked Out 2022: Estimates of People Denied Voting Rights – An estimated 4.6 million Americans are barred from voting due to a felony conviction.

In 48 states, a felony conviction is grounds for denial of the right to vote whether a person is in jail, on parole or free of the legal system.  “Laws in 48 states ban people with felony convictions from voting. In 2022, an estimated 4.6 million Americans, representing 2 percent of the voting-age population, will be ineligible to vote due to these laws or policies, many of which date back to the post-Reconstruction era. In this election year, as the United States confronts questions about the stability of its democracy and the fairness of its elections, particularly within marginalized communities, the impact of voting bans on people with felony convictions should be front and center in the debate.”  Related article: Associated Press – Aaron Morrison  Slavery rejected in some, not all, states where on the ballot – (Penal slavery voted out in Alabama, Vermont, Tennessee where the ballot approved; Oregon too close to call, and  Louisiana No) 561268e344f17d8562939cde301d2cbf?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20221109&instance_id=77030&nl=the-morning&regi_id=109384185&segment_id=112597&te=1&user_id=404caadef7eb839fc77b1b04f0c251e1   Related article: CBC News – Associated Press   Michigan, California, Vermont shore up right to abortion with ballot measures – Montana voters considering measure that could lead to criminal penalties for health-care providers  (Michigan, California and Vermont voted to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution; an anti-abortion measure in Kentucky too close to call yet.)

Blog from Tana Ganeva   On US Mid-terms   “Our whole stupid discourse—liberal and conservative—summed up in one Fox News clip.”