Bending, but not far…

    Feb 5, 2015

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Ottawa to delay parole eligibility for convicted killers

The federal government appears to have second thoughts about a sentence of life without parole but continues to embrace retro solutions, to a non-existence problem.  Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay wants to tack on 10 more year to the 25 before those convicted of certain crimes are eligible for parole and wants to insert ministerial approval before grant the parole, a political involvement abandoned since the 1950’s.  The changes are likely due to the legal assessment that life without parole, common in the US – over 40,000 people including youth are currently under that sentence – would likely be challenged and found unconstitutional in Canada.   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Anthony Doob, Professor Emeritus, U of T      Life without parole is a solution without a problem

 The – Bill Tieleman
With Anti-Terrorism Act, Tories again fail to Protect Canadians – Beyond eroding our rights, Bill C-51 ignores key root causes of past alleged ‘terrorist’ actions

After reviewing the case of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody – the pressure cooker bombers – Tieleman concludes that police were complicit in the events and practiced entrapment.  He concludes:The biggest action the Conservative government could’ve taken to combat terrorism is to dramatically increase medical assistance to those struggling with mental illness or drug addiction, who have unfortunately been responsible or accused in many violent incidents and terrorist attempts in Canada.”

Globe and Mail – Editorial (Feb 1, 2015)
Parliament must reject Harper’s secret policeman bill   

The editorial suggests, based on politic ally opportune fear mongering, that the new anti-terrorist bill will effectively create a “secret” police force in Canada.  “And now CSIS agents are being offered police-like powers. This unwelcome idea is being pushed by the fear mongering of a campaigning Prime Minister…. But the danger terrorism poses is not only one of violence; its mere threat can distort the way we live and think.”    Related article: CBC News – Laura Peyton    Bill C-51 bars CSIS from committing ‘bodily harm,’ sexual violation – Bill C-51 would grant spy agency the power to ‘reduce the threat’ of terrorism, but tactics unclear  Related article:  Globe and Mail – Stephen Chase    RCMP to take over security on Parliament Hill

CBC News – Duncan McCue
Racism against aboriginal people in health-care system ‘pervasive’: study – Discrimination called a major factor in aboriginal health disparities

A new study called First Peoples, Second Class Treatment — was released today by the Wellesley Institute, which researches public health issues.  Dr. Janet Smylie, a Metis and lead author of the study, says negative stereotypes about aboriginal people and an “unconscious, pro-white bias” among health-care workers continue to harm aboriginal health.”  Smylie recommends several solutions for dealing with racism in the health-care system, including more aboriginal health-care workers and “cultural safety” training for non-aboriginal health-care workers.   Wellesley Institute full report  First People, Second Class Treatment   (A 71 page downloadable pdf)   Related article: Huffington Post – Joe Gunn, Citizens for Public Justice   Ignoring the Issue of Poverty Won’t Make It Go Away

  Comox Valley Echo
Mother of slain Comox Valley teen upset by killer’s early release

James Denton, 19, was stabbed to death in 2011 and a second youth, unnamed, was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison and three years under supervision in the community.  Now, the parents of the victim have discovered that, without informing or consulting them, the convicted youth has been granted an early release.

 The Peterborough Examiner – Jason Bain
Community development co-ordinator introduced at police board meeting  

Peterborough Police Chief Murray Rodd thinks that the community development co-ordinator, Peter Williams, is the next generation thinking around community policing.  The job will involve assignment to the community policing unit and an effort to strengthen the ties between police and community agencies.  Williams’ first presentation to the police board was on crime prevention through social development.

 The Conversation (US) – Kady Long, Stanford Visiting Scholar
Immigration: replace the migration security complex with an ‘integration industry’

Here’s a novel idea to all the confusion and hand wringing over refugees arriving on our borders en masse:  Let’s receive them in integration centres rather than prisons.  “The real imperative is to understand why so many members of the general public remain unconvinced that this is our problem, and so many governments talk the language of sanctuary while offering only a handful of refugees entry under resettlement programmes.”   Related article: World News   Australia declares detention of 157 illegal immigrants on high seas legal

 McGill Daily – Nadir Khan and Alice Shen
Mandatory minimums, maximum harm: The absurdity of mandatory minimum sentences  

This commentary appeared in the McGill University student newspaper and offers a refreshing immediate history of the development of the struggle against the mandatory sentencing that remains so controversial.  The commentary includes a human rights perspective, and the disproportionate impact of these laws on people with addictions and with Aboriginals.  The human rights perspective is sure to become critical if the new laws removing even the possibility of parole become law.  The comprehensive expose and the assessment of the impact from continued mandatory minimums makes this article very worthwhile.

ALL Africa Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)
Ethiopia: The Economics of Corruption  – Eidmon Tesfaye

The impact of corruption by minor civil servants is the focus of the article which draws out the impact to the growing income disparity and the potential for a socially downward multiplier effect especially on the poor when corruption is practiced so consistently.  Tesfaye says: “The most effective method in struggling with corruption is to remove the recipes for it.”