Nov 30, 2014

 Toronto Star – Rick Salutin
A nation built on the rule of lawlessness –  Contrary to what Barack Obama says about the U.S. being built on the rule of law, the country routinely resorts to official violence and illegality.

We often hear the claim that the US  functions under the rule of law.  Salutin suggests that the truth is anything but and lines up some recent incidents to suggest the contrary.  There is an ideology which casts aside the rule of law for exceptionalism in the international arena and deregulation in the domestic economy that in turn allows blatant disregard of the law.  Can revolution be far behind?

 N.Y. Times (US) – Charles M. Blow, Op-ed
Crime and Punishment  

What’s the lesson from Ferguson?  According to Blow, it’s the virtual impossibility of having a discussion about crime and punishment in the US.  Blow unpacks a number of experiences and perceptions about life in the US. – Dylan Robertson
Budget watchdog rips DND for keeping cost of Iraq mission secret  

The cost of the war in Iraq is part of cabinet confidence but critics, including Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette,  say that cabinet confidence is only for matters currently under consideration and that once decided the data is no longer restricted. Defence Minister Rob Nicholson says no info until the military mission is over.  Independent estimates by the Ottawa Citizen for the first week of air strikes are between $8.1 and $12.1 million.    Related article:  Toronto Star  – Carol Goar    Ottawa’s manufacturing fund a mirage:

 Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant and Sadiya Ansari
Murder charge withdrawn against man who spent 12 years in prison 

First arrested at age 19, Leighton Hay has spent 12 years in jail with deteriorating mental health conditions – Hay suffers from schizophrenia.  Justice John McMahon, at the request of the Crown, withdrew the murder change and apologized to Hay, wishing him well in his release.  Faulty witness identification and hair styles entered the story.  The case is historic as well because the Crown refused a post-conviction appeal for release of the evidence – hair samples for forensic examination – and the Court ordered release of the hair samples for examination.  James Lockyer of the Association for the wrongful convicted spent five years on the case.      Related article:  CBC News (2min26sec video) –    Wrongfully convicted of murder in 2002, Leighton Hay freed

 Toronto Star – Tim Harper
Stephen Harper quietly scraps a pledge of transparency 

This past week saw Suzanne Cote appointed to the Supreme Court but without the process that Stephen Harper put in place for vetting these appointments, allegedly on the grounds of transparency of process.  Author Harper is suggesting that shelving the process is what follows a rejection of the government initiative in a number of issues to date.

 Ottawa Citizen – Dylan Robertson
Counter-terrorism: Two bills poised to pass 

Bill C-13 and Bill C-44 are posed for passage – both will give spy agencies and police greater investigative power.  Bill C-13 lowers the evidence requirement for obtaining surveillance warrants while protecting internet companies who reveal such information.  C-44 would offer informants total anonymity and would allow warrants issued in Canada to apply to foreign investigations.