May 1, 2023 – Giants and leaders…

May 1, 2023 – Giants and leaders…


Charles Pascal (1944-2023)

Pascal must surely be one of the giants of progressive causes in Canada.  He dies on April 24 from complications after surgery.  Smart Justice notes his passing because his vision focused on the children of Canada and the pivotal role played by the early education.  When Pascal retired from the Atkinson Foundation, having seen the development from helping good works to advocacy for ideas to help shape our future, he wrote a farewell note in 2009 With My Hand On the Doorknob: In Search of Strategic PhilanthropySmart Justice recommends the reading as still very a propos for a time of dividedness and rancor.


Global News – Sean Boynton

Highly-awaited bail reform legislation will come by late June: minister

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says that bail reform will see a proposal before the house ends the sitting for the summer.  Provincial ministers have been pressing for bail reform on the grounds that people given bail are responsible for the vast majority of crimes while on bail and repeatedly re-arrested. There is a dearth of evidence to justify the stance and the federal government response seems as political as the provincial ministers insists.  Mendicino offered no explanation of the type of reform the feds anticipated nor did he offer a time line.  Related tweet from Alison Craig on Bail and Charter:  Section 11(e) of the Charter reads as follows: 11. Any person charged with an offence has the right: (e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.   Alison Craig @Lawandchocolate


The Conversation (Queen’s) – Sunil Gurmukh

Police violations of Charter rights highlight the need for accountability and transparency

Gurmukh builds on a report from the Toronto Star called Hidden Racial Profiling Project (HRPP) in which over 600 human rights violations were identified in interactions between police and the public.  Gurmukh suggests that the number is a vast under representation and that police forces across the country engage in these violations.  “The HRPP searched for cases that were decided between 2015 and 2019 and involved the 10 largest city police services in Canada. We were struck by the sheer volume of cases with Charter violations. We felt there was a public interest in getting this information into the public eye so we provided our case-law research to the Star, which did a broader search.” Report from Western University Law:  Making the invisible, visible: Influential human rights lawyer Sunil Gurmukh, LLB’08, partners with Western on Hidden Racial Profiling Project


Las Vegas Sun (US) – Hilary Davis

Legislature on track to erode requirements for schools to have restorative justice discipline plans

The state of Nevada has had restorative justice laws around schools and is now suffering some set-backs to the approach despite widespread acceptance by state educators. A noteworthy deletion is the requirement that each school district have a restorative justice discipline plan.  “Restorative justice reforms are among the most contentious education policies being discussed this legislative session, and they continue to receive broad support among state lawmakers… Assembly Bill 285, a bipartisan effort, and Assembly Bill 330, which Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo touts, both passed the full Assembly last week on votes of 38-4.”  Related article: The Nevada Independent (US) – Updating the Nevada Policy Tracker: A guide to key issues in the 2023 legislative session   Related article: The Gleaner (Jamaica)    Stand Up for Jamaica opposes minimum mandatory sentence for minors   Related article: Montgomery District Public Schools (Maryland, US) – Restorative Justice: Empowering the Student Voice to Facilitate Student Success


Tweet from the Alberta Prison Justice Society (APJS) on Cops as health workers:  “This is why cops accompanying or, even worse, trying to replace social workers and mental health workers will never succeed: you cannot succeed at deescalating a MH situation or helping someone to get on their feet if you start from the perspective that your client is scum… We need to stop throwing ever-increasing loads of money at police services and start spending it on things that will ACTUALLY address crime: addictions services; housing programs; mental health services; more effective children’s service interventions; etc.
(  Related article: Global News – Amy-Ellen Prentice & Rosanna Hempel    Families plead for action as Manitoba surpasses overdose death record


APTN News – Lindsay Richardson

AFN leader pitches ‘personhood’ status for St. Lawrence River at the UN

The notion of the status of personhood for a river may sound a little bizarre at first but Ghislain Picard makes a convincing argument to the United Nations:  “The St. Lawrence River shelters and supports a rich diversity of ecosystems, including several endangered species, and fulfills several ecological functions essential to their survival. It faces multiple imminent threats that jeopardize the very existence and way of life for those who depend on it for their well-being… Human rights are largely dependent on our respect for the rights of nature and in particular, water,” Picard told the UN. “As First Nations, we must join forces and ensure that we are involved ahead of any action to grant legal entity status to the St. Lawrence River.”


The Hill (US) – Akua Amaning

The time for a federal ‘clean slate’ measure is long overdue

“A clean slate” refers to the attempt to get myriads of restrictions in housing, education and employment facing those with a record, and sometimes even their dependents.  The task of expungement is even more difficult in a digital era where the traces never fade.  “In the digital era, landlords, employers and educators use criminal records to screen applicants, meaning that any record — no matter how small or long ago — is now a life sentence to poverty for millions of Americans. Across the country, many states have attempted to put in place comprehensive expungement and record clearance measures, but federal criminal records still prevent people from rebuilding their lives and participating in society.”


MOTHER’S Day UNHCR Gift Suggestions:

A Mother’s Day Gift that Matters

This Mother’s Day, consider giving something more than a gift, a lifeline. Make an impact on the lives of refugee and displaced women protecting, caring and building a better future for their families. Your purchase represents support to help people survive, recover and rebuild — a meaningful way to honour a maternal figure in your life.