Repairing human rights…

    Oct. 23, 2015

 Canadian Human Rights Commission (Government of Canada)
Repair the erosion of human rights in Canada: CHRC

The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), Marie-Claude Landry, is calling for an immediate and extensive revision; she says:  “I call on our newly elected Parliament to begin repairing the erosion of human rights in Canada, and to move swiftly to repeal legislation and reverse policies that promote discrimination and prejudice. No one should live in fear because of who they are or because they have a belief that is not shared by the majority.”  Landry includes a very specific list of items that she thinks need immediate attention.

Toronto Star –
Random or arbitrary police carding will stop, province says – Decision receives praise but final details are still not known

Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi has announced that random carding – the practice by police of stopping individuals arbitrarily to check for identification – will be illegal by the end of this fall.  The practice has been somewhat in limbo for some time with police trying to justify the practice and remove the arbitrariness by suggesting they would only do it randomly.  Details are not available at this point to clarify exactly what ‘illegal’ means.   The practice has been a serious thorn in the side of police and community relations.

CBC News – Daniel Schwartz
Going deeper into Canada’s 2015 federal election results – New voters may have been key component of Liberals’ victory 

The pundits may come to the realization soon that the Liberal victory was prompted by an extra-ordinary number of new voters, frequently youth voters.  The stats are compelling:

Comparing votes: 2015 and 2011 elections
Party Change in vote totals, 2011-2015 Percentage increase/decrease
Liberal +4,133,373 +59.66%
Conservative  –54,268 –0.97%
NDP –963,704 –27.85%
BQ –80,515 –9.84%
Green +38,860 +6.42% Globe and Mail – Andrea Woo

Globe and Mail –
Harm-reduction drug programs may get OK under new Liberal government

The research on the wisdom of prescription heroin and safe injection sites has been gathered for some time.  But the Conservative government has been putting additional obstacles in place to prevent their establishment, even though the evidence suggests that they are crime preventative measures ultimately enhancing community safety.  Advocates are wondering if a Liberal government may relax or remove the obstacles.

Reuters / Quartz – Joshua Lott
The US just lifted a crushing burden on prison inmates and their families

A long time aggravation for inmates in US prisons is at least mitigated with a Federal Communications ruling that phone calls for inmates may now cost no more than 11 cents per minute.  Some recent reports used the exorbitant cost of phone calls as part of the reason for families of inmates to incur considerable debt.  The practice of passing a percentage of the fees to the prison itself made reform elusive.

N.Y. Times – Editorial (Oct. 22, 2015)
Why the Police Want Prison Reform

“We need less incarceration, not more, to keep all Americans safe.”  So say the police chiefs of New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia and Houston, among others.  Collectively and the chief of the Chicago police, they think they can reduce the crime rate and the incarceration rates at the same time.  They have three steps to achieve and a fair amount of opposition from within their own forces.

Huffington Post (US) – Elsie Foley
Hillary Clinton Says She’ll End Private Prisons, Stop Accepting Their Money

Recently we have had several reports about private prisons and the impact of the profit making on the backs of the inmates and their families.  This declaration by Hilary Clinton goes a long way to focus the inherent inappropriateness of the practice of private prisons and the need to grow the population to keep the profit – mass incarceration or human slavery by another name perhaps?  Donations received to date will be given to charities and not used in the bid for presidential election.  Reports suggest that Marco Rubio has received over $130,000 to date from private prison lobbyists.  Related article: The Intercept – Lee Fang    Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton    (Read about ‘bundlers’ in political fund raising)