Nobodies to pawns…

Sept. 15, 2014 

Globe and Mail – Konrad Yakabuski
Bills promote backbenchers from ‘nobodies’ to ‘pawns’ 

Some 25 of thirty crime bills before the house or already passed are private members bills, tabled by an individual MP rather than a cabinet minister.  As such, they are not required to pass scrutiny for viability before charter demands.  But further, as the article shows, they are frequently poorly thought out, even less researched – there are often already laws on the books to confront the problem – and subject to emotional tides of the moments.

 Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Bill tabled to ban refugees from social assistance 

A private member’s bill – Bill C-585- is making its way quietly through the legislative process.  Sponsored by Conservative Pickering-Scarborough East MP Corneliu Chisu, the bill amends the federal-provincial fiscal agreement which specifies what the social transfers may be used for.  The Federal Fiscal Provincial Fiscal Agreement  Act prohibits the imposition of a residency to qualify for the financial support.  Bill C-585 removes the prohibition.

CBC News
Tories table plan to stop violence against aboriginal women and girls

Federal Conservative spokesperson Kellie Leitch has announced (again) $25 million plan over five years to address violence against Aboriginal women.  The plan follows last March Special Committee’s 16 Recommendations.  The plan has five special purposes, the largest at $8.6 million for Aboriginal community safety plans.  Related article: CBC News (SK) – Madelaine Kotzer    National inquiry should be led by indigenous women, says Idle No More organizer

 Reuters (Belgium) – Robert-Jan Bartunek
Murderer in non-capital punishment Belgium granted request to die 

While Belgium does not have capital punishment, it does have an assisted suicide law.  For the first time, a convicted murderer and rapist who has already served 30 years of a life sentence has requested and gotten permission for an assisted suicide while in custody.    Related article:   Wall Street Journal – Jacob Gershman   Firing Squad Bill Advances in Wyoming

 The Guardian (UK) – Zoe Williams
Prisoner suicides: the dire cost of Tory tough-guy posturing on crime – Overcrowding, understaffing and lack of care have implications far beyond the walls of our cruel jails  

The ratio of corrections officer to prisoner is now one to 150 at Wandsworth Prison and suicides are increasing on a monthly basis, up 64% to date.  Some four years ago, Wandsworth was a model of rehabilitation.  Williams attributes the reversal to the Tory government’s ‘tough’ posturing.

 Globe and Mail – Justin Weinhardt
Should your best performers get the most pay? 

The Globe and Mail has started a new section called the Leadership Lab where executives and leader experts will comment on issues of the day.  The article deals with the income gap created when the salary principle of most pay to best performers enters.  The article looks at the theories and critique of Thomas Piketty.   The series will appear each weekday.

 America Magazine –  Jim McDermott
Reforms for Mentally Ill Inmates  

Aug. 29 reforms announced in California include the end of the use of solitary as a way of coping with the mentally ill behind bars.  Additionally, there will be greater access to mental health treatment, a change welcomed by the California Catholic Conference and its prison chaplains who have been advocating for some time for the changes.