New Year Launch!

    Jan. 8, 2016

CBC News
Ex-police chief Bill Blair to handle Liberals’ pot legalization file – Toronto’s former top cop assigned leading role in marijuana legalization plan 

All of a sudden, the marijuana file has gone well beyond the abrupt question and is beginning to flesh itself out into other peripheral issues:  driving under the influence, impact on international treaties, who sells legalized pot, what uses for the taxes raised.  Additionally, the critics of the Liberals who are presenting the reform as protection for Canada’s children are suggesting the legalization will make it easier for children to get and become users.  Blair has been appointed as one of two parliamentary secretaries to the minister of justice and declared himself at one point previously to endorse changing the law. Related article: Globe and Mail – Christ Hannay   Bill Blair: Trudeau’s man for marijuana?

Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume
Saudi armoured vehicle deal a ‘home run’ for Tories, millstone for Liberals

A $15 billion deal to sell Canadian made LAV 6 armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabian is creating controversy and perhaps unduly influencing Canada’s international human rights agenda.  The deal, made by the federal Conservatives, was made in the face of an abysmal human rights record by the Saudi government.  At first, the deal was welcome for saving the defense manufacturing industry and hundreds of jobs in London, Ontario.  Related article: Globe and Mail – Stephen Chase and Daniel Leblanc   Ottawa keeps analysis of Saudi human-rights record under wraps   Related article:  Globe and Mail: Stephen Chase and Daniel Leblanc  Armoured vehicles in Saudi deal will pack lethal punch    Related article: Montreal Gazette – James Mennie   Will our $15B Saudi arms deal shoot holes in Trudeau’s foreign policy?  Related article: Toronto Star – Mike Blanchfield   Federal officials advised Trudeau to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Jan. 5, 2016)  Saudi Arabia’s reckless executions fan instability:

 Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Ontario prepares for looming strike by correctional workers  

Ontario is preparing for a possible strike by correctional guards by bringing into the jails provisions and material to allow managers to whom the guard duties will fall to remain overnight inside the jails.  Observers think the preparations foretell the possibility of an extended strike by the correctional officers.  The strike, when and if it eventuates, will impact on the work of the courts as well as all other aspects of the justice system.  The 6,000 correctional workers have seen wages fall behind and working conditions degraded by excessive overtime and deteriorating services.    Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Editorial (Jan 6, 2016)  Looming prison strike a reflection of government ineptitude   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour   Leaked memo suggests security to be doubled, OT paid at double time and a half during jail strike   Related article: CTV News – Allison Jones, Canadian Press     Ont. jail staff not on strike will have to show up for work, government says

Ottawa Citizen – John Bryden, Canadian Press
Special parliamentary committee on assisted dying still awaiting members

A month after the new government rushed the establishment of new parliamentary committee on assisted dying and now a month before the Supreme Court deadline to respond, the parliamentary committee still has no parliamentary members and has had no hearings.  On Monday next, the government goes to the Supreme Court to ask for a six month delay.    Related article: Ottawa Citizen –  Meagan Hurley   Strong emotions at public consultation on assisted death

CBC News – Jason Proctor
Crown, CSIS seek to shield identity of figure in B.C. bomb plot trial – In-camera hearing challenged at trial of couple accused of plotting to blow up B.C. Legislature

An allegation that the identity of a CSIS ‘Mr. X’ in a BC terrorist trial has created an awkward moment for those involved.  Secrecy in a Canadian courtroom is almost unheard, but a federal prosecutor is claiming that the revelation of the identity of the CSIS double agent would endanger that double agent and impair the working of CSIS.  The legal question is compounded by the changes brought by the revisions to C-51 while the key argument in the charges is the possible use of entrapment by the CSIS agent.

Centre for Crime and Justice Stories (UK) – Madeline Petrillo
Breaking the silence: Listening to women in criminal justice

This site is a fascinating look at the social context in which we criminalize women and leave them no options.  Here at the link are three stories by Petrillo, who is a researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, that may make you wonder how we manage to glance over the compounding and contributing factors around women and crime.

Bureau of Prisons 2014 Inmate Report for 2014 (US)

The statistics includes all persons in prison, federal, state or local jails, all persons under any sort of correctional order.  6,851,000 persons or 2.8% of the entire population of the US, down 52,200 from 2013.

CBC Firsthand and
Hold your fire! 

CBC will show a new documentary Thursday, January 14th at 9pm/9:30 NT

Hold Your Fire reveals who these individuals were, aside from their illness and from the tragedy that ended their lives. The film constructs deadly scenarios to show how police training and response to people in crisis went off track – and how progressive police forces are striving to get onto a better path.  Can police be trained to hold their fire?