Language and politics…

    Feb. 22, 2015

 National Post – Andrew Coyne
The case for watching our language on Islamism 

Coyne draws a contrast between the implications and meaning of the way US President Obama speaks about Islamism vs the way Prime Minister Harper addresses the issues.  “There are, it would seem, three questions to be answered: what is in fact the relationship, if any, between Islam and terrorism; what do authorities believe is the relationship; and what do they say they believe.”   Related article: National Post – Stephen Maher    Tough talk about Muslims by Canadian politicians is unnecessary   Related article: Toronto Star – Guest commentary – Ralph Nader    Will Canadians fall prey to a politics of fear?   Related article: Toronto Star – Haroon Siddiqui   The truth about terrorism we refuse to see   Related article: Globe and Mail – Editorial (Feb 19, 2915)  More questions about the anti-terrorism bill, please   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Elizabeth Renzetti   Snowden’s message to citizens: Democracy itself is threatened  –  Jordan Press, Ottawa Citizen
Senators echo MPs, want RCMP to show Zehaf-Bibeau video

Before Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack on Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial, he supposedly made a video.  The video is in the custody of the RCMP who at one point said they would release the video to the public but have not.  Ministers of government, including Justice Minister Peter MacKay have quoted Zehaf-Bibeau’s “own words,” even without having seen the video.  Senators and parliamentarians alike now are calling for a viewing of the video.    Related article: – Dylan Robertson   Justice minister explains reference to gunman’s ‘own words’

 CBC News
Child-porn policing program suffers from RCMP underspending 

For the last five years, the RCMP budget for anti-child pornography activities in its National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre has been underspent by approximately $10 million or $2 million per year, even though the tips to the centre have been overwhelming.  The failure is at least in part the federal government deficit reduction by calling back funds allocated.   Related article: CBC News – Chris Hall    CSIS watchdog agency starved of staff, resources    (5 min 32 sec video news report at link)

 CTV News – Canadian Press
Inmates sue federal government over lack of rehabilitation programs 

Two inmates in a federal BC penitentiary – Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, B.C. – are suing the federal government in civil court for its lack of program availability.  The two inmates say that they cannot get access to programing or to psychiatric care that would help their parole applications, allow day passes or lower security status.  Related article: Globe and Mail –  David Geselbracht       B.C. inmates file civil suit against Correctional Services of Canada

Nunatsiak-on-line – Thomas Rohner
Crime fighters in Iqaluit use social media to find culprits – But some worry revenge, paranoia might hurt the innocent 

Petty criminals watch out – you may on Facebook next and then the police will be at your door when someone identifies you doing the act.  Several have been caught after thefts and postings of photos of the items stolen on Facebook.  According to the RCMP, they are not allowed to post but they appear to be encouraging others, including the victims, to do so.

 US News and World Report – Eric Tucker, Associated Press
Turning to legacy issue, Holder cites data in arguing for success of drug sentencing policies 

US Attorney General Eric Holder is due to leave office shortly and is offering one of his legacy reports on the success of the major revision of the drug sentencing practices in federal court.  Federal prosecutors have the power to charge so that if found guilty, harsh mandatory sentencing apply.  “The figures show federal prosecutors pursued mandatory minimum punishments in roughly 51 percent of drug cases, the lowest rate on record, in the year that ended last September. That was down from 64 percent the year before.”

 Houston Chronicle (Texas)
2,000 inmates riot at South Texas prison  –  Medical care reportedly the issue 

Willacy County Correctional Center is a private prison / immigration detention facility run by Management and Training Corp.  It is one of five such facilities in Texas and 13 in the US.  There have been shots fired, fires set and damage to the tent city behind the fences.  Law enforcement agencies from all around the area were called to contain the riot and thus far have simply secured the perimeter.  In June, the ACLU published a report on the failure of medical services in the facility.  (Cf communiqué, Feb. 20)