The cost of public service…

    Oct. 15, 2015

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Canada’s senior public officials targeted by little-known corruption law

A law buried in an omnibus budget bill (Bill C-31) but not yet proclaimed seeks to discover and monitor the financial picture of senior public servants, known as PEP’s or politically exposed persons and including everybody from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court down, and their families and close associates.  The law is awaiting cabinet approval but allows the government to monitor the finances for twenty years after the subject leaves office and back twenty years for former office holders.  The costs and the supervision will be largely borne by some 30,000 financial institutions.

CBC News – Neil Macdonald
What a real debate about Canadian values would look like

Macdonald looks at the various uses for the term ‘Canadian values’ and the political party understandings.  “In the past two months,” says Macdonald. “The phrase has been appropriated — chiefly by the Conservatives but also by the other parties — and brandished at the head of the partisan parades.  It’s been, at times, a savage discursive accelerant; probably more so than in any previous campaign.”

Toronto Star – Peter Henderson
Unpaid internships demand more action to prevent exploitation of young: expert  –   Labour lawyer Andrew Langille says lack of protections leaves unpaid internships ripe for exploitation. NDP has been especially critical of practice 

The precarious employment scene among young people just entering the work force has been news worthy for some time, particularly the practice of internship without pay.  The practice is illegal except under certain conditions but there are still many companies who seek the unpaid interns using the rationale that they are paying for inexperience.

N. Y. Times – Editorial (Sept 9, 2015)
An Alternative Approach to Campus Justice

Perhaps the moment is ripe to return to an event that allows some distance and retrospective from the controversy of the use of restorative justice at Dalhousie University and the dentistry school.  The editorial suggests “the process lets victims tell their stories in the way they choose and seek the kind of redress that’s most appropriate for them, which has not always been the case in college disciplinary procedures or in the criminal justice system.”    Related article:  The Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children:  A Different Way Forward   (The site offers a RJ plan for the public inquiry seeking to right racial injustice in Nova Scotia.)

Independent (UK) – Oliver Wright
Criminal courts charge: Ministers prepare to retreat from controversial ‘tax on justice’

In the UK there has been for the last six months a flat fee court change – popularly known as the ‘tax on justice,’ £150 which is not means tested and can go to £1,000, if you plead not guilty and are convicted.  The reaction has been so loud and swift that government has decided to end the tax since people are pleading guilty to avoid the tax and the tax really penalizes crimes prompted by abject poverty to start with.  Flavours of our victim surcharge?

Ottawa Citizen – Rebecca Bromwich
Eight years after Ashley Smith’s death, prison conditions remain abhorrent

Ashley Smith was the Moncton teen who died in federal prison while her guards watched.  Eight years after the tragic death of this teen – for throwing apples at a postman, and then repeatedly re-sentenced for acting out her mental illness – still nothing has been done to correct what accelerated her crisis and eventually took her life while she was in prolonged solitary. Says Bromwich:  “Amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2012 that were brought about by Bill C-10, and subsequent amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, have actually increased the odds of youth being incarcerated and placed in segregation.”