Political Pandering…

     Mar 7, 2015

 Toronto Star – Editorial (Mar 6, 2015)
Cynical political pandering, not public safety, is driving the Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda

This, says the Star, is cynical political pandering at its rawest…the Tories are tilting at scary shadows for political gain. Rather than acquiesce, the opposition in Parliament should draw a line. This is a bogus “solution” to a crime wave that isn’t sweeping the country… the Conservatives have moved repeatedly to tie judges’ hands and to stiffen penalties. They have imposed more mandatory minimum sentences, curbed credit for pre-sentence custody, reduced conditional sentencing (house arrest) options, curbed parole eligibility and made pardons tougher to get… All this has helped add $5 billion annually to the cost of the criminal justice system, and stuffed the federal prisons with 15,000 inmates, a 25 per cent increase, when crime is well under control… This isn’t about public safety. It’s about getting re-elected.”    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/05/cynical-political-pandering-not-pubic-safety-is-driving-the-tories-tough-on-crime-agenda-editorial.html     Related article:  Toronto Star – Edward Keenan   Conservative Party fights fear with fear with Bill C-51 – Is the cynical, totalitarian bent of the government’s anti-terror legislation just really, really dark satire?   http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2015/03/06/conservative-party-fights-fear-with-fear-with-bill-c-51-keenan.html   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – David Daubney  Letter: ‘Life without parole’ legislation an insult and fear mongering   http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/letters/letter-life-without-parole-legislation-an-insult-and-fear-mongering    Related article: Toronto Star – Irving Waller and Michael Kempa    Canada needs more crime prevention, not vengeance  Conservatives opt for vengeance rather than investing in measures that would prevent violence and actually keep Canadians safer    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/07/canada-needs-more-crime-prevention-not-vengeance.html

 Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume
All Canadians would be trapped in anti-terror legislation’s ‘web’, warns privacy commissioner 

Daniel Therien, Canada’s privacy watchdog, who has already raised concerns over the anti-terrorist bill C-51 (Therien includes Bill C-44), seems to raise the tone of his concerns with this interview.  Therien is focused in particular on the information sharing provisions of the bill, noting that there are 17 different federal agencies among whom the info is to be shared.  While acknowledging the tension between security and privacy rights, Therien says:  “But history has shown us that serious human rights abuses can occur, not only abroad but in Canada, in the name of national security,” he added.”   http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/privacy-commissioner-warns-all-canadians-would-be-trapped-in-anti-terror-legislations-web   Related article: Toronto Star – Haroon Siddiqui    Conservative senators hold kangaroo court on security   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/03/07/conservative-senators-hold-kangaroo-court-on-security-siddiqui.html

  CBC News – Question Period
Counter-terrorism work has ‘sidetracked’ 300 RCMP criminal probes RCMP head Bob Paulson says he hopes full, unedited Zehaf-Bibeau video will be released eventually  

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson released the Zehaf-Bibeau video on Friday and conceded that the increased load of anti-terrorism investigations has caused the RCMP to ‘side-track’ 321 criminal investigations.  Before its release to the Public Safety Committee, the RCMP deleted 18 seconds of the video.  Paulson said that the terrorist watch list is growing and that 870 officers are now assigned to terrorist duties.  The resources available may be the most critical aspect of the new legislation; government does not appear willing to allocate more resources.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/counter-terrorism-work-has-sidetracked-300-rcmp-criminal-probes-1.2985224   Related article: CTV News Michelle Zilio   RCMP seeing ‘steady increase’ of suspected extremists: commissioner (10 min video interview Bob Fife and Paulson)   http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/rcmp-seeing-steady-increase-of-suspected-extremists-commissioner-1.2269497

 Quartz (US) – Jorge Antonio Renaud
Prison reform is making life inside prison worse, not better 

The author, a former inmate of the Texas Correctional system, recounts his personal experience of health care while incarcerated and reflects on the lack of medical care behind the recent riots in the Willacy facility.  Renaud includes in his analysis the role of private prison contracts and the need to provide cost effective and cheap services:  “The Willacy CCC uprising was a protest against conditions that are the direct consequence of explosive growth in the prison-management industry, and of a growing false divide between more and less “deserving” convicts.”   http://qz.com/355849/prison-reform-is-making-life-inside-prison-worse-not-better/

 Toronto Star – Allan Woods
Young Canadian’s conversion to radical Islam leaves family devastated – For this family, admitting the nightmare scenario is one thing, but understanding is another.

The circumstances of his upbringing were such that only shock and deflation can express the feeling when evidence of his son’s involvement with radical ISIS arrived at his father’s door.  “When they showed me their badges and they showed me these tweets, of course I had no choice but to put two and two together and say, that’s my kid,” Abdurahman’s father said.  “I’m going to tell you the same thing I told CSIS: would he go out and shoot somebody or set a bomb? I would like to say no as his parent. But given the state of mind that he’s in and the stage he’s at in his life, I could not say that. But I couldn’t say yes for sure either,” he said. “I really do not know what (Abdurahman) is capable of.”   http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/08/young-canadians-conversion-to-radical-islam-leaves-family-devastated.html

 Globe and Mail – Sarah Hampson
How the dentistry-school scandal has let loose a torrent of anger at Dalhousie

According to Hampson, the process in the efforts to resolve the misogyny experienced in the dental school at Dalhousie has created “palpable tension” among the wider student body.  The process has drawn criticism from prominent faculty and from student support organizations.  Transparency from the administration is a key issue.   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/how-the-dentistry-school-scandal-has-let-loose-a-torrent-of-anger-at-dalhousie/article23344495/