Life’s ploy…

     Aug 28, 2015

 Hill Times-on-line – Tim Naumetz
Canadians believe ‘Life Means Life’ Act an election ploy: poll 

More than half those polled say that Harper’s ‘life-means-life’ announcement last week is an election ploy based on fear.  34% think it is a genuine attempt[t to address violent crime in Canada.  Some legal and charter experts say that the LWOP will be very difficult to defend against the inevitable charter challenge if passed in the House of Commons.  Government allowed the bill to die on the order paper when the election was called.    Related article:  Hill Times-on-line    Rachel Aiello     ‘Life means life’ bill will be ‘very difficult’ to defend against Charter challenge: U of O law prof   Bill C-53  An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts  (Short title: Life Means Life Act)

Toronto Star – Edward Keenan
The most disturbing thing we learned from the G20: Keenan

In a review of the consequences for police five years after the G20 disturbances, Keenan wants to ask why the mass arrests and the suspension of constitutional rights that swept up all sorts of ordinary citizens, even ones not even protesting.  Says Keenan:  “Maybe we’ll never learn why, really. But we certainly learned that police would do that, in the face of provocation. It’s a lesson that’s all the more upsetting because it is what those who lit police cars on fire and smashed windows during the G20 wanted them to do.”

Brampton Guardian – Roger Belgrave
Ban street checks, residents tell Liberal government at public meeting

A public meeting, one of five, looking at the issue or spot checks on the street, otherwise known as carding, has told the consultors in no uncertain terms that the practice should be banned period.  Some of the 100 or so people were upset in that they had the idea that the consultation was really to find ways to refine the carding rather than whether it should be eliminated.

National Newswatch – Don Lenihan
Progressive leadership for the future 

Lenihan, Senior Associate, Policy and Engagement at Canada 2020,   suggests that the effort to make the Conservatives into the national governing party for the 21st century involves a strategy of painting all issues into black and white, yes or no, and then forcing the two opposition parties into stances at odds with the majority public opinion.  Lenihan uses two hot button examples: terrorism and crime where the Conservatives have had a measure of success; environmental issues have not brought the desired results.  The next issue is likely the economy.

Restorative Justice Learning Networks (US) – Joshua Wachtel
Pittsburgh schools go restorative

Billed as t5he largest RJ initiative in schools to date, the Pittsburgh public schools are implementing a restorative justice approach to school discipline.  22 elementary and middle schools will participate in a start-up funded with $3 million from the federal justice department.  The effort will include a study of the 22 implementing the program and 22 others in control group schools to see what the impact of the RJ approach will be.

Criminal Victimization, 2014 (US) – Lynn Langton and Jennifer Truman
Criminal Victimization, 2014

The Bureau of Justice Statistics are collected from police services for a national picture of police reported crime.  This report is the latest on both violent and property crimes.  The first link is a summary, the second the actual report.     BJS report (A 20 page downloadable pdf)

CTV News – Michelle Zilio
Country bracing for ‘made in Canada’ recession: former chief statistician

Munir Sheik is putting some parameters on the question of whether Canada is heading into recession while at the same time declaring it to be a made in Canada recession and saying that in the deficit question for the immediate future, now is the time to spend.  A Nanos poll says 54% of Canadians would support a recovery deficit plan.

 Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Costly repairs of broken windows latest in Toronto South jail setbacks

The Toronto South Detention Centre, opened less than two years, is experiencing some persistent operational problems such as malfunctioning cell doors, poorly placed smoke detectors and difficult computer software.  Now, there is a problem with inmates breaking glass and using the shards as weapons and many of the jail guards want a transfer.  The jail was supposed to be a model or corrections for the future.

  Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved
$1-billion class-action suit claims residential hospital abuse – Former residents of 12 provincial institutions will proceed on claims that they suffered systematic harm

12 centres that were residential facilities under government care have become defendants in a $1 billion class action lawsuit that represents some 8,800 former patients and people with disabilities who claim abuse and neglect during their time at the various facilities.  The group has gotten permission from a Superior Court judge to pursue the class action.  “The lawsuit covers people who were surrendered by their families or who were legally remanded into the Crown’s care at more than a dozen facilities across Ontario between the early 1960s and their closure in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Edmonton Journal
Prison overdoses mirror what’s happening on the streets with fentanyl this summer 

There have been several news reports about deaths from the use of fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous black market drug used in hospital to sedate surgery patients.  Not surprisingly, the drug has found its way into the prison system as well with much the same consequences for users.  The highly toxic drug was associated with 145 deaths in Alberta this year.  In the past week there has been four overdoses including one death in the Edmonton Institution.