Bail and remand…

July 26, 2014

 CBC News – Mark Gollom
Provincial jails clogged with legally innocent Canadians  –  Majority of people appearing at bail court are charged with non-violent offences  

Abby Deshman, public safety director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), who co-authored the just released report Set Up to Fail: Bail and the Revolving Door of Pretrial Detention, says:  “We know that failure to comply with your bail conditions is the No. 1 reason for people to be brought into pretrial detention.”   Anthony Doob, professor emeritus of criminology at UofT says there are two reasons for pre-trial detention:  if there is a serious concern the person won’t show for trial or if there is a serious concern that the person may commit a serious offense if released.

 Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway
Are police becoming less keen on enforcing Canada’s pot laws?  

Criminologists have thought of “pot possession” as the low hanging fruit that police could use to boost arrest and conviction stats.  It seems that with pot now legal in several US states and a growing reality of pot for medication the movement toward playing down the seriousness of the use of pot is causing police to relax enforcement and to urge ticketing.  The federal government sees the drop in stats around growers / traffickers as proof their drug policies are working against users and growers.  Critics say that the drop in arrests of growers and traffickers is happening simultaneously with the steadier numbers on possession.

 Charlottetown Guardian –  Teresa Wright
Restricted, prohibited guns could be carried on P.E.I., warns official 

Gun owners in P.E.I., Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are required to have an Authorization to Transport permit to transport a firearm.  Prince Edward Island’s chief firearms officer, Vivian Hayward, is concerned that the federal government’s changes in firearms regulations may mean that people will be able to openly carry firearms, both restricted and prohibited guns.  There has been no consultation with the provinces about the proposed federal Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

 National Newswatch – Dean Beeby, CP
Canada Revenue Agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity 

The ruling by Canada Revenue Agency is again sparking discussion around the use of CRA to respond to critics of the federal government.  The particular charity involved in this article is Oxfam which wanted to say it was trying to prevent poverty rather than simply alleviate poverty.  Related article:  Vancouver Sun / Don Cayo   Tax audits aimed at Harper government critics should worry all Canadians (with video)   Intimidation: Revenue Agency is going after left-leaning groups on orders of right-leaning government    Related article:  Dean Beeby, CP    Charities may be asked for donor lists under CRA proposal floated by minister

 QMI Agency – Jessica Hume
Feds shrug off law group’s criticism of Harper’s spat with chief justice

A group of Canadian lawyers referred the spat between Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay on the one hand and the Chief Justice of the SCC to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) who thought the PM owed the chief justice an apology.  No apology to date.   Related article:  Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles     Stephen Harper urged to apologize for spat with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin  Related article:   CBC News   Court system essential part of democracy: Canadian Bar Association  –  Association head rejects Tory claims the courts are undermining democracy

 Toronto Star – Ashley Chapman
Canada tightens rules on immigrant and refugee children  

Contrary to its own policy to re-unite family members, On August 1, 2014, new immigration / refugee regulations will prohibit parents from including 18-21 year old children under a family plan, even if the child is a student.  Immigration says that the decision is in keeping with bringing in economic and / or labour market new Canadians. (US) – Pamela Jones
A Mother’s Plea: Our Community’s in Crisis; Addicts Need Help, Not Prisons 

From OxyContin to heroin to meth, Thom Jones was one of over 16 million people abusing prescription drugs and then slid into all types of drug abuse.  Jones thinks the criminalization of drug abuse is failing our children a second time and offers a sad tale of how the justice system repeatedly ignored the addiction problem and the family struggled against insurmountable odds to cope.

 HBO – (US)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (HBO)

Comedian John Oliver offers his view of mass incarceration in the US with the help of puppets and Sesame Street.  (Beware language.)  Private prisons are targeted as well.