More money, more police…

Jan 6, 2023

Yahoo News – Abhya Adlakha
‘It’s beyond disgusting’: Mayor Tory’s $48 million budget increase for Toronto police faces backlash from public  – Residents say the money would be better spent on transit, affordable housing

While temporary shelters are bemoaning closures in the face of turning away over 100 people, Toronto Mayor Tory thinks that the public wants a larger police budget, not an improvement in care for vulnerable people.  “The proposal brings Toronto police’s 2023 budget to approximately $1.16 billion—higher than the police budget in 2022 and 2021, which was $1.1 billion and $1.07 billion respectively…The investment would introduce 200 more officers in the police force, which the city describes as “priority response units”.”  What appears blatant is the continuing reliance on armed police for what are essentially social crisis calls that police have repeatedly demonstrated they are unable to handle appropriately.  That increase inevitably includes provision for more police officers – 200 more in this case.  Related article: Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham and David Rider   Plan to boost TTC fares, security draws fire from critics – The TTC will hire 50 new special constables in the wake of a spike in violence on the transit system.    Related article: Toronto Star – Jeremy Nuttall  How a bid to improve policing and replace the RCMP in this city could end up being a multimillion-dollar boondoggle – Surrey, B.C.’s division and flip-flop on the future of its police has made for bad blood and, for now, two different forces on the beat.

(Ed note: Here is a Toronto Star editorial from Oct. 15, 2022, previously referenced by the newsletter, in which the Star endorsed crime prevention rather than more police spending:  Invest in crime prevention  – With the municipal election just weeks away, now is the perfect time for all candidates to register their support for crime prevention programs. )


Hikma Communications

For Immediate Release:  Hikma’s Statement on the Globe and Mail Article “RCMP probes elaborate scam targeting Canada’s largest Muslim organization”.

“Over the past number of days, Canadian Muslims have closely followed the disturbing reports regarding leaked documents that suggest unethical government practices against the Muslim Association of Canada and the Muslim community. Hikma Public Affairs Council is extremely concerned with those reports and stands in solidarity with MAC.  Hikma calls upon the RCMP to reverse its decision to not investigate the matter and calls on the Canadian government to launch an immediate and transparent investigation into the matter.”

The Globe and Mail – David Fraser
Canada’s medically assisted dying laws are set to expand this year. Here’s what you need to know

There is presently a delay until March 2023 over the changes to Medical Assistance in Dying legislation.  But the government is not saying how long the delay will be nor what exactly to expect in a suggested expansion of the scope of the Act’s application.  A Quebec court has ruled unconstitutional the refusal to allow a person whose death is foreseeable and inevitable access to the medical assistance in dying.  A further argument says that excluding the mentally ill would be equally unconstitutional and there is an outrage over the suggestion that veteran staff used the process in advising vets about their options.  Disability groups are also involved in resisting changes.  Related article: Toronto Star Editorial  (Jan 2, 2023)   Delay assisted dying expansion   Related article: True North – Anthony Furey   The opioid status quo in Canada can’t go on

Blogger Alex Karakatsanis (US) on Death in wrongful custody  “A 3 1-year-old man named Jacoby Pillow has just died inside the jail in downtown Houston. 28 people died there in 2022, most of them because their families didn’t have enough cash to pay what local judges and DAs demanded. Jacoby was accused of misdemeanor trespassing.” (Cf String)

The International Federation of Social Workers in Latin America and the Caribbean on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:  “Violence against women and girls may be the world’s longest, deadliest pandemic.”  António Guterres

Blogger Russell Webster (UK) on Best practices in Youth Diversion:  Effective point of arrest diversion for children and young people  Full Centre for Justice Report:  The Centre for Justice Innovation reviews best practice in young people’s diversion for Clinks Online Evidence Library.

Tweet from Ahmed Ali (Canada) on Police Budgets:  “It’s staggering how often the question “how will we pay for it?” is used to justify underfunding social programs and Indigenous Services on the policy agenda. It’s never asked when punishment is on the policy agenda, like “how can we afford to increase the police budget?”.

The Marshall Project (US) –  Paige Pettibon for The Marshall Project; Douglas Ray Stankewitz as told to Richard Arlin Walker

California’s Longest Serving Death-Row Prisoner On Pain, Survival and Native Identity – As the Monache and Cherokee 63-year-old awaits a new hearing for a 1978 murder he denies committing, Douglas Ray Stankewitz shares the cultural tools and memories he depends on to stay alive.

Global News – Rachel Gilmore
Does Canada need tougher bail laws? Officer’s death prompts calls for reform 

The death of Ontario Provincial Police Constable Greg Pierzchala brought with it a denunciation of the bail system in Ontario from the OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.  One of the two charged in the constable’s death was on bail but had that bail revoked without consequence.  Gilmore presents an analysis of what the bail system attempts to achieve since 70% of those denied bail have not been convicted of any offence and one of four denied bail have charges withdrawn.  Canada’s Justice Minister on bail:  “In Canada, there is a constitutional right not to be denied bail without “just cause.” It’s enshrined in law that the detention of an accused person is justified if it is “necessary to protect the safety of the public, to maintain the public’s confidence in the justice system, or to make sure the accused person attends court,” Lametti explained.”  Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino, said in the case of Pierzchala, the “system did not work… The accused was wanted for months, it should have never come to this,” he said, adding that the ministry is working with all levels of government and all levels of law enforcement to “examine potential reforms to our system.”   The Lawyer’s Daily – John L. Hill   Can getting tough on crime help?