Canada – against the stream…

    Mar 23, 2015

 The Sentencing Project (US) – Marc Mauer

Testimony to Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections: “A Proposal to Reduce Time Served in Federal Prison” 

The Sentencing Project is a Washington based research group that looks at the issues around mass incarceration and the impact of prisons on inmates and societies.  The proposal Executive Director Mauer made to the task force is that the maximum sentence should be no more than 20 years.  The link is to a seven page testimony tracing the growth of mass incarceration and how the maximum of twenty years would solve any number of problems.  Research shows that sentences in excess of twenty years have proven counterproductive to public safety.  Additionally, excessive sentences have an “inflationary effect on the entire structure of punishment and the overall scale of criminal penalties.”  Related article: The Sentencing Project – Women in the Justice System (2012) – Federal and state prisons   Related article: Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity – Nazgol Ghandnoosh   Our Criminal Justice System Perpetuates Poverty   Related article: Time Magazine (US) – Elizabeth Hinton   Why We Should Reconsider the War on Crime    Related article: The Marshall Project (US) Dana Goldstein   Too Old to Commit Crime?  Why people age out of crime, and what it could mean for how long we put them away.

 CBC News –  Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira and Dave Seglins
Communication Security Establishment’s cyberwarfare toolbox revealed – Mexico, North Africa, Middle East among targets of cyber-spy hacking 

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), it appears, already has an enormous capacity to intrude and monitor computer networks and phone systems worldwide, including within Canada’s borders.  It may already be too late to provide meaningful oversight for C-51.  “But the latest top-secret documents released to CBC News and The Intercept illustrate the development of a large stockpile of Canadian cyber-spy capabilities that go beyond hacking for intelligence, including: destroying infrastructure, which could include electricity, transportation or banking systems; creating unrest by using false-flags — i.e. – making a target think another country conducted the operation; disrupting online traffic by such techniques as deleting emails, freezing internet connections, blocking websites and redirecting wire money transfers.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Jillian Kestler-D’Amours    Majority of Canadians oppose state surveillance, new report says

 CTV News
Ottawa investing $75 million in drone technology 

Industry Minister James Moore has announced a significant investment in Canada’s drone and drone cameras industry, allegedly “to fight terrorism and keep Canadians safe.”  The government will make a repayable contribution to L-3 Wescam of Burlington, ON, a company specializing in surveillance cameras and sensors.

  Toronto Star – Editorial (Mar 23, 2015)
More proof that income-splitting will benefit few 

Reacting to the assessment by Parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Frechette that the income splitting plans of the federal government will benefit less than 15% of Canadian families, the editorial calls for the government to reverse the plan since the costs, both financial and priority, surpass any supposed benefits.

 The Independent (UK) – Helen Nianias
Pope Francis condemns the death penalty as ‘inadmissible’ and a ‘failure’

The comments were directed to the International Committee against the Death Penalty and went beyond the usual Catholic moral position.  “It does not render justice to the victims, but rather fosters vengeance…For the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges the state to kill in the name of justice.”  Francis added that life imprisonment was a “covert death penalty” as it robbed people “of hope”.  To the debate about humane ways of killing, Francis says   “There is discussion in some quarters about the method of killing, as if it were possible to find ways of ‘getting it right,'” he wrote.