The 1%

    Jan 21, 2014

Globe and Mail – Gerald Caplan
We can all take some credit for helping the rich get richer

Caplan, with strong NDP ties, offers a humorous commentary on the latest analysis of income inequality by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s economist Hugh MacKenzie.  Caplan takes the “Dishonour Roll” – populated by the top CEO’s for salaries – and offers explanation while declaring self-sacrifice as a solution a sure failure.   Related article:  Toronto Star – Carol Goar    Canada’s social escalator broken    Related article: Hamilton Spectator – Dave Churchill  Six programs that help the homeless face funding cut   The Mainlander (BC) – Nathan Compton    New Strathcona library includes social housing, despite Vision’s plan

 N.Y. Times – Julie Kaye (Op-ed Contributor)
Canada’s Flawed Sex Trade Law

The author, Kaye, is a professor at King’s College in Edmonton and she reviews the history of C-36 to date, including the Nordic model and New Zealand’s approach.  The purchase of sex is now illegal for the first time in Canada’s history.  The law, say experts, is likely as pointedly flawed as its predecessor when the SCC ruled that the law violated the right to safety of the prostitutes.  But, a further appeal is likely five years away.

 National Newswatch – Will Leroy
Justice Minister Cool to suggestion by top Mountie for justice system review 

In the light of the St. Albert shooting of two RCMP officers, and the RCMP Commissioner’s questions around how the system allowed the offender on the street and in possession of a banned weapon, the questions appear to have become a request for a review of the justice system and Justice Minister Peter MacKay seems equally cool to the idea.

 Globe and Mail – Steven Chase
Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia shrouded in secrecy

Canada’s export laws require that the sale of weapons to countries with poor human rights records also demands that the country of destination provide assurances that the weapons will not further add to a dismal human rights scene.  The sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia seems to have attracted an active financial support from Ottawa through a crown corporation but the detail on the sale remains covered in secrecy.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Jeffrey Simpson    Cozying up to Saudi Arabia: How can that be ‘principled’?

 CBC News – Chris Brown
Solitary Confinement 

CBC National offers a 2 minute 47 second clip on solitary from the perspective of Glen Flett who was convicted of armed robbery and murder and who served time in solitary.  BC Civil Liberties and John Howard have launched a lawsuit over the constitutionality.  Few argue that there is no deteriorating impact on the mentally ill from solitary and Flett says that many of those put in solitary are released directly into the public.

 Globe and Mail – Editorial (Jan 19, 2015)
Degrees of misogyny at Dalhousie  

The editorial compliments Dalhousie University President for his wisdom in not rushing to judgment about the culpability and punishment for the 13 dental students.  One of the 13, Ryan Millet, was responsible for bringing the offensive posts to light in the first place and has elected not to participate in the RJ process.  “But Dr. Florizone is right to let the university’s sexual-harassment policy work, with a victim-led restorative-justice process. The university should be allowed to assess the varying degrees of culpability. An indiscriminate purge is not the answer.”    Related article: Chronicle Herald –  Steve Bruce     Discipline in Dal Facebook case stays with faculty   Related article: CBC News   Ryan Millet appears before disciplinary hearing in Dalhousie Facebook scandal

 Brisbane Times – Don Weatherburn
AVOs are not a miracle cure but a safety net for victims of violence and harassment 

Weatherburn is the director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.  AVOs are Apprehended Violence Orders in Australia, a line of defence for women (and a smaller number of men) to cope with domestic violence by imposing certain orders and restraints on the perpetrator of the violence.  A breech of an AVO is in itself a criminal offense and may lead to jail time.   Weatherburn acknowledges that it is difficult to assess the effectiveness since the AVO often involves multiple conditions and violations are mostly for only some conditions.

 RT News (US) –
More campus police officers armed despite falling crime rates – report 

Two problems have plagued the campus of US colleges in recent years.  One is the compliance with reporting laws around sexual assault crime and the second has been the growth of both the number (16% in 2012) and authority of campus police.  Now, about 2/3 of the officers have full arrest powers and are armed.

Reuters Foundation (UK) – Emma Batha
UK doctor goes on trial for FGM in landmark case

The doctor, Dhanuson Dharmasena, is accused of practicing female genital mutilation and is the first to go to trial in the UK so charged.  The case is far from clear and involves an effort to deliver a baby for a woman whose labia had already been sewn partially together in Somalia.

VERA Institute of Justice
End of An Era?  The Impact of Drug Law Reform in New York City

A 28 page report (down loadable pdf) that describes the impact of the effort to reduce the mandatory sentencing for drug offences in New York where the Rockefeller Drug Laws initiated the harsh penalties in 1973.  John Jay College and Rutgers University have published this report on the implementation of reforms.  The conclusion:  “The results point in the right direction: overall, diversion from prison to treatment has increased, and racial disparities and recidivism have decreased, all at a marginal increase in costs.”