Politics of fear…

    Mar 10, 2015

 Globe and Mail – Jane Taber
Trudeau slams Tories for terror rhetoric

Addressing a group of 500 McGill alumni in Toronto, Trudeau drew a comparison between the way Canada responded to the Jewish refuges of the 30’s and the present day treatment of the Muslims.  “So we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a ‘none is too many’ immigration policy toward Jews in the ’30s and ’40s being used today, to raise fears against Muslims today,” he said.   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/trudeau-compares-harpers-muslim-immigration-policy-to-jews-in-second-world-war/article23379275/  Related article: CBC News    Justin Trudeau: Tories threaten liberty by fostering prejudice against Muslims – Liberal leader says Conservatives are playing on people’s fears   http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-tories-threaten-liberty-by-fostering-prejudice-against-muslims-1.2988155   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Mark Kennedy    Trudeau says Stephen Harper sowing fear and prejudice against Muslims   http://www.canada.com/News/politics/Trudeau+says+Stephen+Harper+sowing+fear+prejudice+against/10875227/story.html   Related article: Winnipeg Free Press – Mia Rabson  Ottawa must respond to anti-Muslim prejudice   http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/ottawa-must-respond-to-anti-muslim-prejudice-strangers-in-their-own-land-295714981.html    Related article: Toronto Star – Eric Andrew-Gee  Officer facing charges calls G20 protesters ‘terrorists’    http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/03/09/officer-facing-charges-calls-g20-protesters-terrorists.html

   Toronto Star – Steve Rennie, Canadian Press
Report on Nunavut jail expected to raise ‘extremely troubling concerns’ – Nunavut is bracing for a scathing report about the Baffin Correctional Centre 

On Mar 10, the Auditor General Michael Ferguson will present a report on the Baffin Correctional Centre to the Nunavut legislature, a report expected to be nothing less than a scathing indictment of violations of constitutional and civil rights of inmates.  Deputy Justice Minister Elizabeth Sanderson has been quoted from a memo to Premier Peter Taptuna:  “In my opinion, the government of Nunavut is likely in significant breach of constitutional obligations towards remanded accused and inmates housed at the BCC facility, and faces a high risk of civil liability towards inmates, staff and members of the public in tort law,” Sanderson wrote.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/09/report-on-nunavut-jail-expected-to-raise-extremely-troubling-concerns.html

 CTV News
Anti-cyberbullying law, Bill C-13, now in effect

Justice Minister Peter MacKay appeared today at a high school in Etobicoke to announce that Bill C-13, the conservative government’s anti-bullying law is now in effect.  Still, some critics are still ill at ease with parts of the legislation.   Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, “told a Commons Justice committee last May that she wasn’t against the bill, but was troubled by certain portions of it.”  http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/anti-cyberbullying-law-bill-c-13-now-in-effect-1.2270460  (A 45 second video outlining the penalties for cyberbullying.)

 National Newswatch – Colin Perkel, Canadian Press
Professors, former U.S. general line up to support Omar Khadr bail application

There is a concerted effort to get Omar Khadr a new trial before his eight year sentence runs out and to get him out on bail while waiting for the new trial.  Advocates are not optimistic that the feds who have vowed to fight at every turn will acquiesce to the bail motion.  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/03/09/professors-former-u-s-general-line-up-to-support-omar-khadr-bail-application/#.VP5areFQRUa   Related article: Globe and Mail – Colin Perkel, Canadian Press   Omar Khadr’s lawyer, other professionals back his bail application    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/omar-khadrs-lawyer-other-professionals-back-his-bail-application/article23381633/    Related article: Toronto Star –  Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press   Refugee sent to U.S. after 9/11 settles lawsuit with federal government – Algerian refugee Benamar Benatta sought compensation for spending almost five years in U.S. custody.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/10/refugee-sent-to-us-after-911-settles-lawsuit-with-federal-government.html

 Canada.com – Andrew Coyne
Imperious Conservatives and runaway Supreme Court set to collide 

The article argues that Stephen Harper is sending issues to the Supreme Court deliberately so as to initiate fight around the notion that the Parliament is supreme and the court should take its lead from the Parliament, not the other way around.  ” Not only is the government making no apparent effort to “Charter-proof” legislation, that is by seeking the advice of Justice department lawyers on its constitutionality in advance of its introduction, as it is required by law to do, it seems if anything to be taking advice on how to offend it.” http://www.canada.com/news/national/Andrew+Coyne+Imperious+Conservatives+runaway+Supreme+Court/10875337/story.html

 Toronto Star – Editorial (Mar10, 2015)
Reform our dopey marijuana laws: The Harper government should stop huffing and puffing and gave police the discretion to hand out tickets for small-potatoes marijuana use.  

Reacting to what it calls trial balloons from the federal conservatives around small scale possession of marijuana laws, the Star wonders why in the light of national and widespread support, the drug laws have to become an election issue to change.  Though in many cases police turn a blind eye, over 60,000 were charged in 2013 with possession of small amounts.  “Bottom line? Charging so many people is a costly waste of cops’ time and court resources that would be far better spent chasing down serious criminality… Moreover, giving those who do get caught and convicted criminal records that can affect jobs, foreign travel, even citizenship, makes little sense. That’s a penalty that far outweighs the crime. There has got to be a better way.”   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/10/reform-our-dopey-marijuana-laws-editorial.html

 Toronto Star – Laurie Monsebraaten
Toronto legal clinic helps homeless fight unpayable ‘nuisance’ tickets

Here’s an article that resurfaces issues about debtor’s prison.  The victims are homeless people who accumulated large numbers of tickets for offenses like sleeping in a park, squeegee kid activities, loitering, etc.  The tickets impose a fine from $60 – 500 and over $4 million remain unpaid and accumulating further because they are now in the hands of collection agencies.  The unpaid tickets prevent the homeless from things like getting driver’s licenses and getting on with a life off the streets.  Says York University professor Stephen Gaetz, director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness:  “it’s also a symbol of how we are approaching homelessness… We have people who are in extreme poverty, who are often suffering from addictions and mental health problems, and issuing tickets they have no hope of paying. How does that make any financial or moral sense?”  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/09/toronto-legal-clinic-helps-homeless-fight-unpayable-nuisance-tickets.html

 Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway
Benefits for wounded Canadian veterans do not stack up  

Galloway looks at a new analysis of benefits paid to Canada’s vets and suggests that by comparison with other countries – US, Australia, Britain.  Even conceding that access and comparisons among the different countries are hard to understand and measure, it appears that benefits for Canadian vets continue to be significantly below those other allied countries.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/benefits-for-wounded-canadian-veterans-do-not-stack-up/article23381161/

 Thompson Reuters Foundation (US) – Maria Caspani
Tepid reaction as U.N. issues new women’s rights declaration 

Women at the United Nations conference on the Status of Women are calling “sluggish” the response from the United Nations on the progress of asserting the rights of women.  While agreeing that in the areas of health and education some progress is noticeable, in the areas of employment and empowerment the results are “slow, stagnant and reversible.”  http://www.trust.org/item/20150309225740-yk8k7/?source=fiOtherNews2  (Link contains several other links of interest.)