Victim surcharge…

    Oct. 7, 2015

 CBC News – Jason Proctor
Victim surcharge won’t make homeless offender more accountable, B.C. judge says – Mandatory $200 fine on impoverished offender found to be cruel and unusual punishment 

BC Judge Donna Senniw says “she couldn’t find any justification for imposing a mandatory fine on an impoverished man who breached the terms of his release.”  Last summer this same judge suggested that a mandatory victim surcharge on the impoverished was unconstitutional.  Senniw now says that the imposition of such a mandatory fine is grossly disproportionate and the violation of individual right cannot be justified as meeting the objectives of the Law under Section I of the charter.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative (CCPA) – Teresa Healy and Stuart Trew
The Harper Record 2008 – 2015  

The CCPA has a tradition of examining the track record of a government under diverse areas during the government tenure.  The link is to a downloadable book (432 pages) in which 36 authors are commenting on a whole variety of the conservative government policy over the last six years.  The scope includes laws, policies, regulations, and initiatives of the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper while in minority (from 2008 to 2011) and majority (from 2011 to 2015).

Waterloo Regional Record (ON) – Joanna Weidner
Nurse specialist helps teen overcome mental health issues

There may be some wisdom to replace the hand wringing over the problems of mental health that plague our youth in this article and link.  Nurse Kim Schnarr entered the picture when the youth was 14 and had suffered without much relief since age 8.  The program has been expanding and redefining itself to go beyond simply helping former mental health patients fit back into school.

Washington Post – Rebecca Thorpe
Republicans and Democrats support sentencing reform – This is what stands in their way 

Even the Republican presidential debates have acknowledged that mass incarceration is a problem when three times the number – over 2 million – are imprisoned from the Regan days.  Thorpe is suggesting a couple of ‘hidden’ obstacles to revamping.  One, she says, is the misconception that most inmates are non-violent drug offenders.  And two, mass incarceration has been both taking poor, young Black males off the inner city streets while creating employment in the rural prisons.  The result is a political self-perpetuating circumstance facing reform.  Additionally, says Thorpe, the numbers of local inmates are included in the census formula for state and federal aid programs.   Related article: (US) Michael Hallett and Kevin Gay  Guest column: Overuse of county jails increases crime

Senator calls on RCMP to provide data proving culpability of aboriginal men

Lillian Dyck thinks it’s time for the RCMP to release evidence that the 70% of violence against Aboriginal women is coming from Aboriginal men in those cases solved already.  The claim, made almost a year ago, re-surfaced as part of a local panel and Dyck thinks that it may be important to the pursuit of a national inquiry on murdered and missing Aboriginal women to get some clarity around the issue as a basis for going forward.   Related article:  National Newswatch – Canadian Press    Missing and murdered aboriginal women a criminal justice issue: Harper

Embassy – Marie-Danielle Smith
Harper’s insistence on refugee security screening called ‘un-Canadian,’ ‘race-baiting’

Smith looks at the security delays proposed by the federal government through the eyes of the people who have designed the security portion of the refugee acceptance and re-settlement process.  Carleton University assistant professor and terrorism expert Jez Littlewood says:  “Of all the things I have some concerns over in relation to the evolution of terrorism, this is not one of them.”    Related article: CBC News – Rosemary Barton    Niqab ban for public servants would be considered: Stephen Harper – Conservative leader speaks with CBC’s Rosemary Barton on niqab, TPP, economy   Related article:  Toronto Star – Tonda McCharles      Niqab ban for public servants would be considered, says Stephen Harper