Significant damages…

     May 12, 2015

Public Services Foundation of Canada
Crisis in Correctional Services: Overcrowding and inmates with mental health problems in provincial correctional facilities

This is a 63 page downloadable pdf describing the consequences of the tough-on-crime agenda on the provincial jails.  The introduction to the report says:  “Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of this “law-and-order” agenda is the manner in which it reverses a decades-long trend of increasingly progressive Canadian correctional policy… But a series of federal legislative initiatives has done significant damage to those foundational values, especially at the level of provincial justice systems.” – Janice Dickson
Senator Cowan says ‘most Liberal senators’ to vote against Bill C-51 despite Trudeau’s stand

They used to be Liberal senators but now since Trudeau ejected them from the Liberal caucus they are independents.  Senator James Cowan is the leader of the Opposition in the Senate and he thinks the majority of the former Liberal senators will propose amendments to C-51, the anti-terrorism bill, and will vote against the Bill as is.

CBC News
Kevin Vickers calls day after Parliament Hill shooting ‘loneliest moment of my life’

Mount Allison University gave Vickers, former Sergeant-at-arms an honorary degree and got far more in return, lessons we all could learn from.  Vickers told the assembly that the first morning after the shooting he woke up crying and his mother insisted that he come home.  When he did so the family celebrated mass in the home and Vickers’ mother prayed for the mothers of  Clp Cirillo and Zehaf-Bibeau.  Says Vickers:   “It kind of occurred to me that [Jesus], after he was crucified, the first person he let into the kingdom of heaven was the man crucified next to him — a convicted criminal.”   Related article: Toronto Star –   Robin Levinson King   Kevin Vickers calls day after Parliament Hill shooting ‘loneliest moment’ of his life

Globe and Mail – Lawrence Martin
If integrity is the issue, the Tories are finished

Martin looks at the response of the PMO to the Senate audit, the efforts to change and delete damaging portions to the Conservative party and the Conservative brand.  The incidents of lapsed integrity have become so frequent, says Martin, “… there is now a real risk of it becoming the ballot question. If it does, they can kiss their chances of re-election goodbye.” – Tasha Kheiriddin
Can a boycott movement qualify as a hate crime?

Political pundits are raising questions, and eyebrows, about how the federal conservative party can serious propose prosecuting economic boycott of Israel as a hate crime.  Regardless of the motives that prompted Stephen Blaney’s office staff to suggest the use of hate laws to quell the boycott from BDS, Kheiriddin says the incident raises serious questions about the line between protest and hate crime.  C-51 already at work?    Related article:  CBC News   Tories deny plan to use hate crime laws against Israel boycotters – Boycott movement fears it could be targeted by amended hate crime laws

Toronto Star – Olivia Carville
Judges under fire over failing domestic violence victims 

Toronto has Specialized Domestic Violence Courts and a 600 hundred strong survivor group of women who monitored for a year what happens in these courts.  WomenatthecentrE have issued a report called Still Unbalanced calling for “a systemic review of the criminal justice system to protect victims.”   The group also wants to correct poor information sharing within the system and mandatory training in domestic violence for judges and lawyers.    Centre web page: (The report has not yet been posted.)

Toronto Star – Editorial (May 11, 2015)
The high price of speaking out in Ottawa – The Harper government stifles or removes government watchdogs who get in its way  

In spite of all the bad news about elected and appointed officials doing their jobs poorly, several, it seems, have done it too well, prompting this editorial from the Star about the Conservative decision not to renew the contract of Howard Sapers, the Correctional investigator.  “He was a strong advocate for mistreated inmates. He highlighted the disproportionate number of aboriginal prisoners in the system. He asked why so many people with mental disorders were behind bars and why so many prisoners were released without adequate supervision. He warned that federal prisons were overcrowded and underfunded. “An ombudsman’s role is to comment on maladministration,” he (Sapers) said.”  Sapers will be relieved of his responsibilities as soon as the government can find a replacement.