Tory legacy…

    Oct. 16, 2015

Toronto Star – Pam Palmater
Tories will leave lethal legacy for First Nations – First Nations communities face a series of overlapping crises that Ottawa has ignored for too long.

The article is a state of the nation report on the circumstances for Canada’s Aboriginals in the light of the Harper years in government.  The assessment looks at Aboriginal women and children, jail populations, housing and poverty.  Here is the conclusion of the UN Special Rapporteur:  “There is no doubt that Harper has set Canada’s relationship with First Nations back a hundred years. James Anaya, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, was shocked by the “abysmal poverty” of First Nations in a country whose massive wealth comes from Indigenous lands. He noted that the government’s adversarial relationship had become worse over the last decade and that its constant negative statements about First Nations in the media risk “social peace.” The most recent United Nations Human Rights Committee review of Canada concluded that there is no more pressing issue facing the country than its human rights violations of First Nations.”

 CBC News – Dean Beeby
Harper government withholds millions budgeted for crime prevention – Centrepiece crime program, touted in pre-election period, ‘lapses’ millions in promised spending 

There have already been revelations about the failure to spend budgeted amounts in numerous federal departments.  No surprises then that the practice includes the National Crime Prevention strategy.   $28 million over three years was returned to the Treasury even though the latest budget year was for $41 million to pay for programs with the provinces to help youth and aboriginal people who are at high risk for committing crimes.

CBC News
Ottawa police warn Muslim women after reports of verbal abuse- Woman told to go back to her own country while voting, another called terrorist in downtown Ottawa

Ottawa Police are asking Muslims to report all racially motivated incidents.  So far, three women have been verbally abused, including one in a polling station.  Previously two women were assaulted, one in Montreal and one in Toronto.  Amira Elghawaby, from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, says:  “The women are visibly Muslim, they wear the head scarf, and so certainly there’s a lot of concern in the communities right now about a sense of safety.”

Chronicle Herald (Halifax) – Mary Ellen MacIntyre
Distracted driving: Hard truths about cell use at wheel

Police say that any confidence you may have about your ability to multi-task with electronic devices while you drive is so wrong it’s laughable.  Const. Heidi Stevenson of RCMP Traffic Services has seen it all:  “I’ve seen someone eat hot chili while driving. Hot chili — imagine! And I’ve seen people typing on a laptop and using e-readers — actually reading a book.”

Global News – Meagan Craig
British police watch Saskatoon program in action

Saskatoon Police Services have attracted world-wide attention for an innovative program that teams police with mental health personnel.  The notion is to avert custody and all its implications and realities by diverting those with mental health issues into programs to deal with their illness rather than simply channelling them into police cells.  The Saskatoon program is now a year old.  “It’s the right solution at the right time,” said Insp. Mitch Yuzdepski of Specialized Uniform Operations for SPS.    Related article: Calgary Herald – Clara Ho   Calgary Police Service mental health program drawing international attention    Related article: CBC News   ‘What will stay with me … is the scream’: police share traumatic experiences – RCMP officers share experiences as first responders to encourage safe, sober driving

Blogger and Human Rights Advocate Monia Mazigh
Toward a Two-Tier Society

Mazigh is wondering about whether Bill C-31, brought into law shortly after the 9/11 events, panders to an unnecessary revision of Canadian law.  She thinks that the criminal code is sufficient to answer to terrorism without legislation specifically targeting terrorists:  “What Bill C-36 did to our legislative landscape isn’t “simply” the introduction of new additional invasive powers granted to intelligence and police forces but rather the fundamental idea that terrorism is a unique offence that should be fought with a fundamentally different set of tools. Basically, the new era post-9/11 allowed the creation of a new world with two parallel justice systems: one for the “usual” criminals and one for the terrorists.”