Numbers …

February 18, 2016  

CBC News – John Paul Tasker
Confusion reigns over number of missing, murdered indigenous women – RCMP said 1,017 indigenous women were killed between 1980 and 2012, activists say it’s closer to 4,000

The number of Indigenous people who are missing or murdered has become controversial in the light of the consultation about setting up the hearings, likely to start in July 2016.  The first number of about 1200 came from the RCMP but activists and the Native Women’s Association of Canada are insisting the number is much higher.  The consultation witnesses also insisted that there are many inadequately investigated deaths not included. (Link includes several videos.)  Related article: National Newswatch – Kristy Kirkup   Inquiry must address spectrum of violence against indigenous women: activist  Related article: CBC News – Connie Walker   Missing and murdered women: A look at 5 cases not included in official RCMP tally   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Feb. 13, 2016)  RCMP needs to get beyond talk in healing relationship with natives

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Mother seeks justice for son’s death while in solitary confinement 

Edward Snowshoe spent 162 days in solitary confinement and died by suicide in Edmonton’s Maximum Security Prison.  A single mother in an isolated northern community – Fort McPherson, AB,   Effie Bella Snowshoe had difficulty knowing how to go about getting information, even after a Globe and Mail investigation found “a pattern of neglect” by Corrections Canada.

The Sentencing Project (US)
U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2014: Broad Variation among States in Recent Years

The report says that 39 states have seen a lower total incarceration rate in 2009-14 but an increase in 11 other states.  More, the margin of difference between the efforts to de-incarcerate from the days of mass incarceration in most of the 39 states is sufficiently modest (2.9% decline overall average) to question the success of the measures and effort to reform the sentencing practices to date.    Related article: N.Y. Times Editorial (Feb. 16, 2016) A College Education for Prisoners

Government of Ontario – Office of the Premier   (press release)
Ontario Establishing an Anti-Racism Directorate – Government Working to Advance Equality for All Ontarians

The announcement, that Ontario will establish an Anti-Racism Directorate to address racism in all its forms — including individual, systemic and cultural, also saw Michael Coteau, the current minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture, appointed to oversee the Anti-Racism Directorate as Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism.

CBC News – Dean Beeby
Payroll screw-up at Justice Canada worth up to $50M in lawyers’ favour – Federal department tied in knots trying to sort out time-off payroll mess dating back to 2007

It appears that the Conservative Government in a six year period from 2007 to 2013 when the discrepancy was first identified.  Lawyers took time off while the system, continued to pay them, including a 12% increased rate allowance negotiated in 2012.  Just under 3100 people were paid for four weeks each, worth an estimated $25 – 50 million, none of which has been returned.   Related article: CBC News   Federal payroll foul-up should have been disclosed, Liberals and Tories agree – Justice Bureaucrats taken to task for not reporting million-dollar payroll liabilities

National Newswatch – Joan Bryden
Doctor-assisted dying a charter issue, all Liberal MPs must support coming law

It appears that the effort to give MP’s a greater freedom to vote conscience on issues stops at the medically assisted death legislation, required by the Supreme Court within four months – by June 6, 2016.  The Liberals seem to suggest that the legislation is a charter issue, requiring the consent of all Liberal MP’s.

Toronto Star – Peter Edwards
Cold case suspects targeted in Toronto police website

Toronto police are attempting a review of some 500 cases of unsolved murders since 1959.  The main tool appears to be a website using video clips and social media.  In some cases, there has been a long time arrest warrant for a suspect who has eluded arrest to date.

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) – Editorial
CBSA: extended powers with no accountability

The ICLMG is reporting on an investigation by Radio Canada is suggesting that the Canadian Border Services Agency has been detaining from 4,000 – 6,000 people a year for the last ten years, mostly, it seems, on administrative reasons such as identity papers.  When detained the people are mostly held in provincial prisons until the issue is resolved.  Many are also victims of the “third country agreement.”   Related article: BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) Backgrounder:  What might an independent oversight body look like for Canada Border Services Agency?

The New Daily – John Stapleton
Prison population in Australia has climbed

Anyone who wants can say ‘I told you so’ in the light of the Australian version of tough-on-crime.  One of Australia’s leading criminologists, Don Weatherburn, says that 30 years of political gain from law and order issues, designed to prompt fear for public safety, longer terms, and stricter bail have all combined to bring the highest rate in Australia’s incarceration history.

Restorative Justice Council (UK)
New information pack on Restorative justice in custodial settings available now

In the light of David Cameron’s speech on changing prisons, the Council is joining in the suggestion that governors of the UK’s prison need to begin introducing RJ to the inmates.  The Council has a kit on RJ.  The full information pack is available in a 24 page pdf: