Seniors in debt…

     June 29, 2015

CBC News – Sophie Harris
Seniors going bankrupt in soaring numbers – More Canadians are outliving their savings and spending their golden years in debt 

The rate of bankruptcy for seniors has more than doubled.  Stats Canada is reporting that 10% of those who declared bankruptcy in 2014 were seniors, a number with over 20% growth since 2010.  What does it take?  Carry some debt into retirement, fixed income and a serious unplanned financial setback.  In a case involving dementia of one spouse, one senior added:  “”The stress of the financial burden plus the stress of caregiving was huge.”   Related article: National Newswatch – Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press   Expanding tax-free-savings limit offers little for lower, middle earners: study  Related article: Globe and Mail – Bill Curry     Wealthy Canadians will gain more than previously estimated from TFSA expansion: economist  

Global News – Tom Clarke
Full interview: Conservative spokesman defends use of ISIS video in attack ad 

Clarke interviews Kory Teneycke, the Federal Conservative campaign spokesperson, on two recent issues: HarperPAC and the political advertising use of ISIS video and theme music, allegedly in violation of Bill C-51.  The link offers an 8 min 35 second video which is accompanied by a full transcript as the interview takes its twists and turns.     Related article: Globe and Mail – Paul Heinbecker and Daniel Livermore   Who speaks for Canada, spies or diplomats?   

 Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Judge signals it’s time to offer relief from ‘backbreaking’ fines – Provincial fines build to impossible levels for poor or ill recipients who have no prospect of paying them, court says in appeal case.  

Justice Peter Lauwers, of the Court of Appeal, thinks that the system of fines in Ontario can cripple poor people who cannot afford to pay them and whose debt to the courts drags on for years while preventing any reasonable chance to clear the debt.  Said the judge:  “The legislative scheme offers no way out for people who are impoverished, dealing with health issues or other difficulties, and who bear the burdens of these enormous fines for many years.”

Globe and Mail – Laurence Hurley, Reuters (US)
U.S. Supreme Court allows use of controversial execution drug

At issue was the drug called midazolam as a sedative in the process of execution by injection.  The court challenge was prompted by a botched execution in Ohio and is a considerable setback to the anti-death penalty advocates.  By a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled that the plaintiffs, three inmates sentenced to death, had not provided any alternative to the drug, a perhaps macabre rationale and perhaps focused on the determination to avoid ruling on the death penalty itself.  The court seemed limited not to the constitutionality of the death penalty but whether the Eighth Amendment – protection from cruel and unusual punishment – was violated by the use of midazolam.

Jacobin – George Joseph
The New Divestment Movement – After nearly two years of student organizing, Columbia University divested from the private prison industry this week

The Board of Trustees of Columbia University have agreed to a new weapon against the widespread use of private prisons: they have decided to divest of their 220,000 shares in the G4S, a British private prison company.  The private prisons are even more widespread for immigration detainees.  The school also had an estimated $8 million invested in a US company, Corrections Corporation of America, as of June 2013 and has promised not to make such investments in the future.  The private prison system brings in $3 billion a year in revenue.   The move was prompted by a student organized protest within the university community, called Columbia Prison Divest. Speaking of the student goals, student spokesperson Asha Rosa said: “There are three of them that we circled and highlighted: one: divestment, two: educate people about systems of prisons and policing, three: contribute to the broader prison abolitionist movement.”

CTV News – Canadian Press
Dalhousie task force calls for overhaul after dentistry school scandal

In the aftermath of the misogyny incidents at the dental school, Dalhousie appointed a task force of three experts led by Constance Backhouse, a professor at the University of Ottawa.  The report suggests that the problem is not isolated and that “the status quo is not acceptable.  The panel has made 39 recommendations based on the finding that there remains a level of distrust among the students around the sexual discrimination and behaviour at Dalhousie.  The panel recommended that the complaint process should be revised and that the university should set up an ombudsman.   Full Report: Report of the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry