Dec 1, 2022

Spring (BC) – Jeff Shantz
Copaganda and layered policing: behind the Vancouver Police social safety net report

The link offers an explanation of the current tensions and controversy around the police and the Downtown Eastside Residence Association.  The solution proposed by both police and a report they are pushing says that police layering is the solution:  “The VPD are signalling their desire to expand layered policing programs that funnel social and community resources through policing, making them arms of policing… Layered policing has been a favored tactic of police departments looking to expand budgets amid calls for defunding of police. It gives them opportunities to put a community face on policing programs, while also extending the reach of policing into more corners of everyday social life. It makes social and community services dependent on cooperation with police, and that cooperation can become necessary for continued funding.”   Draft version of the Report: (24 page downloadable pdf) Vancouver’s Social Safety Net: Rebuilding the Broken

CBC News – Jason Markusoff
Danielle Smith and the War against Ottawa Measures Act – Alberta’s provocative Sovereignty Act bids to keep Ottawa in check, but watch what it does to Albertans, too

The Alberta government under Danielle Smith, facing election in the spring, appears to take a chance on resentment towards the federal government.  Smith says that the proposed legislation,  the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act,  will respect the courts but the bill in Section 4 appears to give sovereignty powers to the provincial cabinet without specifics for the aftermath while also appearing to stymy Albertans right to challenge.  “Section 4 of the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act gives the provincial cabinet the kinglike powers to amend legislation by circumventing the legislature, and all the debates and democratic trappings therein.”   Related article: CBC News –   Former premier Jason Kenney resigns his seat in Alberta’s legislature   Related article: Alberta Commentary on the purpose of Bill 1 – The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act  Alberta Government: Text of Bill 1  Bill 1: Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act

Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns
First Nation’s bylaw prosecutor’s office said to be first in Canada

This development is likely to the first of many across Canada as First Nations begin to seek binding enforcement for their own laws.  “In late October the Siksika Nation, which is about 100 kilometres east of Calgary, set up a bylaw prosecutor’s office, bringing in Mincher Koeman LLP to litigate Siksika’s bylaws in provincial courts “thereby making anyone who chooses to enter our lands subject to the Nation’s authority and laws as passed by our legislative body — Chief and Council,” the nation said in a news release.”  The Siksika decision to engage a law firm as prosecutor has the context of struggles with both RCMP and the Crown to enforce tribal by-laws on the territory of about 7,800 people.

Ottawa Citizen – Anthony Pizzino
Canadian government must make curbing ageism a priority – Stereotypes and prejudice can have far-reaching, harmful consequences, says the National Association

Legislation in Ontario now allows a charge of $400 per day if elderly patients in hospital refuse placement in the first available nursing care facility.  The National Association of Retired Federal Employees is mounting a charter challenge over ageism or discrimination against persons based on age.  Related article:  Ottawa Citizen: Fae Johnstone   Time to act on gender-affirming health care in Ontario – Health care for trans people has improved in the past two decades but progress has stagnated even as demand has risen.  Related article: CBC News – Peter Zimonjic   Aging population, pandemic swelled ranks of health-care workers by 204,000, census says – But job vacancies in health reached record high in 2022

 National Public Radio (US) – Ari Shapiro and Brianna Scott
San Francisco considers allowing law enforcement robots to use lethal force

The question, says the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is whether their robots should use lethal force against suspects, raising all kinds of serious and disturbing questions around when lethal force is legal.  The discussion was prompted by a police vetting of a policy document on the use of robots.  With a total of 12 robots, the police revision reads:  “robots will only be used as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers are imminent and outweigh any other force option available to the SFPD.”

St. Catherine Standard – Sarah Smellie, Canadian Press
As Newfoundland’s Victorian-era jail awaits replacement, observers say it’s unfit

The conditions are so poor in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary that one lawyer is invoking human rights and suggesting that in spite of intentions to build a new prison the conditions must be rectified now.  At issue – last summer’s heat index of 36 degrees:  “Effectively immediately, given the current situation with our temperatures, and forecasted temperatures, there is a very good possibility of our clients experiencing high heat stress,” Deanne Hobbes, a correctional officer, wrote on July 22. Other emails warn of heat and heat stress “hazards” for both inmates and guards.”   Related article: CBC News (NB) – Vanessa Blanch   Mother of homeless man who died says her son was much more than ‘a statistic’ – Luke Anthony Landry was released from jail last Monday with nowhere to sleep and no winter clothes   Related Tweet from Jeff Bradley:  On release…  “This is tragic and what our current carceral system constantly does. Police criminalizing drug users/unhoused people, take their stuff, they get further traumatized in jail, then they release prisoners without a coat or nowhere to go for support. We need community care and love.”

 Rolling Stones Magazine (US) – Andrea Marks
‘Digitized Love’: How Prison Mail Bans Harm Incarcerated People – New York City could become the latest correctional system to scan mail. Critics say this damages people’s connections to the outside world

While a digital system may help simplify contact between the incarcerated and their loved ones, the price paid may be just too much, especially given frequent problems with technical elements – equipment and timing, to say nothing of costs.  “For people who are incarcerated, mail offers a link to the outside world that extends beyond words or drawings on a page. Paper letters and cards let people in correctional facilities hold and touch an item that a loved one held, running their fingers over the handwriting, or smelling perfume on an envelope… Increasingly, correctional systems are taking away those tangible ties to friends and family members.”