Right and wrong…

    April 22, 2015

 National Post – Peter MacKay
Peter MacKay: What the Court got right — and wrong — on mandatory sentences for gun crimes

Minister of Justice Peter MacKay writes a guest column for the National Post to remind us that the tension and the conflict between the federal government and the Supreme Court of Canada remains real and on-going.  The public commentary by the Minister of Justice concludes:  “We strongly believe that we are acting in the best interests of families and communities, within the bounds of the Constitution, with respect for the democratic process, and with the confidence of Canadians.”  http://www.canada.com/news/national/Peter+MacKay+slams+Supreme+Court+quashing+mandatory+minimum/10992597/story.html   Related article:  Canada.com – Tristan Hooper    Peter MacKay slams Supreme Court for quashing mandatory minimum gun sentences  http://www.canada.com/news/national/Peter+MacKay+slams+Supreme+Court+quashing+mandatory+minimum/10992597/story.html

 Ottawa Citizen – Don Butler
Circles of support for high-risk sex offenders deserve funding: Corrections investigator 

Howard Sapers, the federal Correctional Investigator, is sufficiently convinced of the value of Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) that he accepted to be a key note speaker at a gala dinner trying to raise money to replace the funds withdrawn by Correctional Services of Canada from the most successful program ever for prevention of recidivism in sex offenses.  Sapers says:   “When we find something that demonstrates success, it should be encouraged,” Sapers told the Citizen. “And this has demonstrated success…We’ve reduced the number of victims and we’ve saved money. Both of those things sound to me as if they should be supported.”  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/circles-of-support-for-high-risk-sex-offenders-deserve-funding-corrections-investigator

 Ottawa Citizen – Don Bultler
$700M investment in new prison cells easing overcrowding, Sapers says

The $700 million spent on adding cells in existing prisons has added 2700 place in the federal prison system and eased the 20% overcrowding in 2013-14 in which inmates were double  bunked in cells meant to for one.  With closure of penitentiaries, the net gain is 1700 cells, says Howard Sapers.  Sapers has been told by government, that after 11 years as Correctional Investigator, government is looking for a replacement for him.   http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/700m-investment-in-new-prison-cells-easing-overcrowding-sapers-says

 Criminalization and Punishment Education Project – Laura McKendy, Carleton University
Tracking the Politics of Criminalization and Punishment in Canada

McKendy offers an excellent summary of the witnesses and testimony offered at the recent Ottawa Forum on conditions at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC).  Besides being a provincial jail, OCDC is mostly a detention centre for many on remand or serving week-end sentences.  The witnesses are saying that the conditions are replicated all across Canada and the reader may be left asking: “Can this sort of thing really happen in Canada?”  http://www.tpcp-canada.blogspot.ca/2015/04/here-in-ottawa-capital-city-of-canada.html

 Toronto Star – Laurie Monsebraaten
Working poverty continues to rise in Toronto area – Stagnant wages, part-time hours and long commutes dog Toronto’s working poor 

After 12 years, Toronto factory worker Violet Sinclair is now without a raise in all that time and is approaching the new minimum wage.  Judith Bucknor earns $18.50 an hour but can only get 16 hours a week to cover her and her three teenage children with a three bedroom apartment cost of $1350 per month.  Both are single parents. “Bucknor’s experience shows that it is not just minimum wage earners who are fuelling the growth in working poverty in the city. The 50-per-cent increase in temporary, contract and part-time positions in the Toronto and Hamilton regions since 2000 are also to blame, says a new report on working poverty in Canada’s richest city.”   http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/04/20/working-poverty-continues-to-rise-in-toronto-area.html     Related article: Canada.com – Stephen Maher   Canadians with higher incomes the big winners with this budget, economists say    http://www.canada.com/News/politics/Maher+Canadians+with+higher+incomes+winners+with+this+budget/10991564/story.html

 Toronto Star – Allan Woods
Quebec judge denies bail to student protester – Justice Denis Laberge says the public would be outraged if Université du Québec à Montreal protester facing 14 charges was freed on bail 

The controversy is really about the law: when is a person entitled to bail and when should bail be denied.  In this case, the denial of bail seems to be based on a perceived outrage by the public.  The most serious of the charges against UQM student protestor Hamza Babou is assault with a weapon, to wit that he sprayed an aerosol can of silly string on a security guard.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/04/21/quebec-judge-denies-bail-to-student-protester.html