Truth matters!

     Mar 17, 2015

 National Newswatch – Don Lenihan
Do truth and values (still) matter in politics?

Lenihan draws attention to the imitation of American Republican style politics where perception is king and truth or evidence does not matter: what is essential is telling the narrative sufficiently and frequently enough to garner votes.  “The clear lesson from last week is that we have two very different views of politics in our country and they appear to be getting ready to square off…One is optimistic about citizens and expansive about democracy. It is hopeful about people’s willingness to engage and to distinguish between truth and fiction, right and wrong…The other is skeptical of the mob. It sees leadership as a secret society and communications and marketing as the appropriate surrogate for public debate…One of these views of Canadians is right and one is wrong. We deserve an answer.”   Related article:  Prison Reform Network (UK) J.M. Moore   Reframing the ‘Prison Works’ debate. For whom and in what ways does prison work?

 CBC News – Kady O’Malley
C-51 hearings a real-time demonstration of committee dysfunction 

Traditionally, the committees of the House of Commons have been the real work horses for preparing and vetting the proposed legislation.  No more.  According to O’Malley, the working committee is gone; events and practices are now dictated by the ruling majority. Dysfunctional comes to mind as the committee on C-51 parrots the same party line and theatrics already seen in the House.  With the clear pursuit of secrecy in committee, the exclusion of Elizabeth May from questioning witnesses and the federal privacy commissioner’s complete exclusion from the committee, the heated exchange between Diane Ablonczy and National Council of Canadian Muslims executive director Ihsaan Gardee, all suggest that we need some broken wheels fixed.  O’Malley offers three ways to start the repairs.      Related article: National Newswatch: Frances Russell    Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid   Related article: National Newswatch: Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press –  CSIS helped government prepare for expected Northern Gateway protests   Related article: MacLean’s – John Geddes  Death, fear and polling: What security will mean for the election

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Ottawa set for rematch in top court over judicial appointment

The federal appointment of Justice Robert Mainville to the Quebec Court of Appeal  is remarkably similar to that of Marc Nadon’s appointment to the SCC and many of the same players have shown up to dispute the appropriateness of the latest appointment.  The SCC rejected Nadon and is now asked to examine the power of the federal cabinet to appoint Mainville perhaps in conflict with the protections for Quebec to preserve its special character.  Critics think the appointment of Mainville is an end run around the eligibility rules for Mainville’s appointment to the SCC.

 Ottawa Citizen – Mark Kennedy
Harper sparks controversy by linking guns and personal security

With the usual conservative fund raising appeal closely following, Harper has pronounced the need for firearms for personal protection in the homes of those who live at distance from police and other recourse, stepping over the line of firearms for duck hunters and farmers and into personal safety.  The Canadian Bar Association was quick to point out that Canadians do not have an automatic right to shoot someone while defending themselves at home and could face criminal charges if they do.   Related article: Le Devoir –    Hélène Buzzetti  To arms, citizens – Stephen Harper is in favor of self-defense gun, but police warn him

 CBC News – James Fitz-Morris
Income splitting helps fewer than 1 in 6 families, PBO says – Budget watchdog says family tax cut will cost $2.2 billion this year   

The cost to the Canadian tax payer will be $2.2 billion in 2015 but only one in six families will benefit.  “The FTC [family tax credit] benefits about two million households, or 15 per cent of the Canadian total,” a newly released report by the PBO says…It goes on to say “middle and middle-high income households benefit most because they are more likely to have a family income and income tax structure conducive to FTC gains.”

 The Link – Brandon Johnston
Canadian Doctors Speak Out for Refugee Health Care 

Canada’s medical community gathered at McGill to discuss the changes in the federal legislation around providing health care to refugees.  The cuts, which essentially left refugees without access to health care, were claimed by the Conservative government as a means discouraging ‘bogus’ refugee claims and on economic grounds.  Amendments from the feds were rejected by a federal court and the Conservative government has the matter under appeal.

Canadian Law Times – Yamri Taddese
Police liable for breaching informer confidentiality 

Justice Douglas Grey of the Superior Court of Ontario has ordered the Durham Regional police to pay $345,000 for a breach of confidentiality involving an informant whose identity was released by the police service.  “Even if liability is not absolute, at the very least there must be a duty to take reasonable care to preserve anonymity,” wrote Gray.  Gray also made a finding of a private law duty of care to the plaintiff in this case that leaves the door open for more lawsuits against police facing accusations of breaching informant privilege.