June 26, 2015

Toronto Star – Robin V. Sears
Rise of Canadian PACs corrodes our democracy – The proliferation of U.S.-style political action committees and the attack ads they fund is hurting Canadian politics.

The PAC’s are proliferating and Sears explains their origins as US political strategy and their purposes as financial to help the parties pay for the cost of attack ads.  The PAC’s have their origin in Canada in Harper’s National Citizens Coalition some 17 years ago.  Their usefulness and ready adoption by the Conservatives have led both Liberals and NDP to adopt similar strategies.  Lax rules about campaign financing allow PAC’s to declare themselves “independent” seek donations and then spend heavily on the attack ads.  The notion of a level playing field for financing the election is the first victim.    Related article: National Newswatch – Will Leroy, Canadian Press    HarperPAC heralds arrival of big money in federal politics, Kingsley warns   Related article:  Ricochet – Ethan Cox   New HarperPAC could violate Elections Act   Related article: CBC News – Chris Hall    What election rules? U.S.-style attack time comes to Canada – Anonymous donors, no accountability, all fair in the PAC-land of pre-writ electioneering

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) – Dan Conifer and Matthew Doran
Federal Government scrambles to close loophole making offshore immigration detention ‘illegal’

Advocates against the Abbott government’s immigration policy of processing immigrants in Papua New Guinea have forced the government to new legislation before the High Court declares the processing illegal.  Two islands, Nauru and Manus Island, have Australian detention facilities for the last three years with entire families locked up, prompting vehement objections from civil rights groups.  The issue is whether off-shore detention is legal; a lawsuit has been brought by 10 asylum seekers.  Says Daniel Webb of the Human Rights Law Center: “People affected by this case include newborn babies, people with serious medical issues and women who report being sexually assaulted on Nauru,”   Related article (US) – North Texas Catholic – Patricia Zapor    Chaplain raises awareness of problems with immigration family detention    Related article: Global News (Canada) – Claude Adams    Claims of cruel and unusual detention   Related article: Reuters (US) – Jim Forsyth, Jon Herskovitz, Doina Chiacu     U.S. to alter long-term detention of immigrant families with children

 Global News – Ann Minsky
Feds spend $265M over 5 years on controversial detainee program: documents

If the Canadian Border Services Agency decides that you are inadmissible, usually because there is no paperwork to document identity, then prison is the only alternative for a total of 37,278 adults since 2010; in some cases, the inadmissible are held for years; so are the children – 1,005 in the last five years.  The costs have skyrocketed as well – now at $57.3 million in 2014 or $264.8 million since 2009 at an average cost per day per person of $292.41.  It appears to be a parallel prison system about which the average person knows little or nothing.   Related article: Toronto Star – Editorial (June 22, 2015)    Border Services must lift the veil of secrecy

Criminological Highlights – Anthony N. Doob and Rosemary Gartner 

Volume 15, Issue #2

A series of papers focusing on the following issues:

1. Why do pretrial detention decisions take so long to make?

2. How does the involvement of Black citizens in the local

political process affect crime rates?

3. What can local police do to reduce violent crime?

4. Do those who have direct experience with the courts – jurors –

see judges as being out of touch with the public on sentencing?

5. Are sequential lineup presentations better than simultaneous

presentations when implemented by the police with witnesses

in real cases?

6. What do the changes in Canada’s pardon legislation accomplish?

7. When are litigants better off not having a lawyer?

8. What kinds of drug treatment programs have been shown

to reduce crime?

The Highlights are e-mailed several times a year and offer research summaries around the issues identified.  Tony and Rosemary are happy to add you to their distribution list if you e-mail either

There is an archive for Criminological Highlights at: