$8.7 billion…

    Sept 16, 2015

Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume

Federal departments left $8.7 billion unspent last year

Following the disclosure that the Citizenship and Immigration department had return significant unspent budget amounts to the treasury, Berthiaume has discovered that in the last fiscal year the total from all the federal departments under spending amounts to $8.7 billion as the government boasts of a $1.9 billion surplus.   Former parliamentary budget office Kevin Page is thinking ahead and says:  “They’re going to look at that spending framework and say, ‘Is this sustainable?’” he said. “Is the Coast Guard going to function the way it should function? Are we going to have the sort of food inspection we need? Are we going to be able to get the cheques out the door for seniors and unemployed people?”  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/federal-departments-left-8-7-billion-unspent-last-year   Related article:  CBC News – Don Pitts    Surplus during recession seems like bad economic planning   http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/analysis-of-government-s-announced-budget-surplus-1.3227370  

The federal leaders tackle “women’s issues” – Chatelaine asks Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and May where they stand.  

In the McLean’s debate, the word ‘woman’ was mentioned four times and offered little light around exactly what issues were included.  Elizabeth May has not fared well in invitations to the coming debates.  Chatelaine put a series of questions to Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May.  Below, you can find the link to the internal and secret report from the Privy Council on the Status of Women.  http://www.chatelaine.com/living/politics/election-2015-the-federal-leaders-tackle-womens-issues/    Link to 31 page downloadable pdf document on the Status of Women:  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2363152-statusofwomen.html  Related article: Canadian Press     No invitation? No problem. Green leader May plans to digitally debate opponents    http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/09/15/no-invitation-no-problem-green-leader-may-plans-to-digitally-debate-opponents/#.VfggBpdQThl

The Leap Manifesto

The manifesto is a call to Canadians for a new Canada built on values we espouse: “respect for Indigenous rights, internationalism, human rights, diversity, and environmental stewardship.”  The manifesto is signed by numerous well known Canadians from the world of the arts, Indigenous people, politicians, academics and faith community people.  Specifically the manifesto wants democratic, renewable and sustainable energy. The manifesto invites additional signatures.  https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/#manifesto-content   Related article:  Canadian Press – Manifesto backed by prominent NDPers calls for overhaul of capitalist economy     http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/09/15/manifesto-backed-by-prominent-ndpers-calls-for-overhaul-of-capitalist-economy/#.VfjRy5dQRlF

Canadian Press
Court dismisses federal appeal over niqab at citizenship ceremonies

A federal court ruled already that it is permissible to wear face coverings at citizenship ceremonies.  The federal government appealed the decision in a Federal Court of Appeal and has again lost the decision.  Three judges, led by Appeal Justice Mary Gleason, hurried the case so that the challenger, Zunera Ishaq, would have her citizenship in time for the October election. A spokesman for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper expressed regret over the court’s ruling.   The Conservatives would re-introduce a law banning face covering and their campaign will have more to say about the issue in the coming days, spokesperson Stephen Lecce said.  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/09/15/federal-government-appealing-federal-court-decision-on-niqabs-citizenship/#.VfjTXZdQRlF   CBC News: Niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies unlawful, as Ottawa loses appeal    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/niqab-ruling-federal-court-government-challenge-citizenship-ceremonies-1.3229206

Sudbury Star – Tom Harpur
Criminal justice not that just, or humane

Religious author and journalist Tom Harpur had different, more optimistic expectation for a political leader addressing the topic of life.  But the politician is Stephen Harper and the life is from the perspective of sentencing to life without parole.  Author Harpur suggests that the life-means-life is mostly political sleight of hand (and offers the expert opinion to substantiate the claim).  Says Harpur:  “What is clear is the next government should fix what the Globe and Mail has called Canada’s “surprising prison crisis.” Most people will be astounded to realize “on any given day in Canada, there are more innocent people in jail than guilty ones.”  http://www.thesudburystar.com/2015/09/15/criminal-justice-not-that-just-or-humane

Smart Justice Network Features Page  – R.E. B. Brown

Corrections and the Political  Agenda  in  Canada:  Toward  an  Illuminated  Future  or  a  Walk  in  the  Dark   (A 16 page downloadable pdf)

The article is very appropriate with elections in the air as it places us in the international scene as a basis for comparison with what us currently happening in Canada with inmate stats displayed for the period from 1997 – 2012 for both provincial and federal prisons, including day parole and mandatory releases.  Brown, a former parole district director for Vancouver Island, also offers commentary on the evidence offered by various experts and the price paid for ignoring the evidence.  Brown also offers an extensive bibliography on his commentary.   http://smartjustice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SJNC-Brown-2015-09-15.pdf