Ghomeshi’s lesson…

March 29, 2016

GUTS Canada’s Feminist Magazine – Katie Toth
After not guilty: On Sexual Assault and the Carceral State

Toth explores with several prominent women the capacity of the justice system and the carceral solution to redress the various harms that sexual assault and rape cause, including harm to the victim, the willingness to sustain a network of support to all victims, the added financial costs for victims, and the rehabilitation of the offender.  Ghomeshi’s acquittal leaves the impression that if a woman is assaulted, she won’t be taken seriously as the public theatre unfolds through a courtroom.  Related article: CBC News – Jody Porter   Sex trade stigma can be deadly for indigenous women, chief says

Ottawa Citizen – David Reevely
Yasir Naqvi’s credibility on jail reform in pieces after shower-cell admission 

There is a dispute between the Ontario provincial Minister for Correctional Services and both union and correctional officials about whether or not inmates sleep on the floor of shower cells.  At first denied, the case reported in Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre is now an unacceptable exception, says Naqvi.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Patrick White   Solitary confinement reform hindered by gaps in prison statistics

Ottawa Citizen – Ian MacLeod
Spy agency watchdog ‘in a difficult position’ with huge budget cuts looming

The recent announcements accompanying the 2016 Budget suggested an increase of funding for Canada’s spy agency watchdog, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC).  But the agency itself is saying that the priority does not show up in the allocations and that in fact SIRC is losing $2.5 million annually, about half its budget.  Government claims that the amount is unchanged but too small to show up in the numbers without further breakdown.  The concerns around who monitors the activities of CSIS have not been addressed to date by the Liberal government, nor the specific changes to C-51.   Related article: National Newswatch, Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press    Federal direction to Canada’s spy agency on anti-terror bill C-51 largely secret

Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Toronto man sues Canada Border Services over alleged wrongful detention

Five weeks Gabriel Chan spent in Border Services Agency detention in Etobicoke, Ontario, even after providing proof of Canadian birth.  He was arrested over a GO Transit fare dispute and despite dual American Canadian citizenship – his father became Canadian before his birth passing on automatically the Canadian citizenship.  Chan was born and raised in the Philippines and never claimed his Canadian citizenship.  The question is why it took five weeks to correct the misunderstanding.

Miami Herald (US) –
Lawmakers overhaul system to create ‘no wrong door’ to mental health treatment

Judge Steve Leifman has been a lifelong advocate for getting help early to the mentally ill who run afoul of the law.  Florida is now engaged in a reform that will allow early intervention.  The goal:  “A coordinated system of services for mental illness and substance abuse in which no matter how someone enters the system, they get the immediate help they need, as well as follow-up services in the future.”

Wall Street Journal (US) – Sara Randazzo
Federal Appeals Court Ruling Could Accelerate Death-Row Executions

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week cleared the way for states to fast=track the federal appeals that often stand in the way of legal executions in the 31 states that currently have the death penalty.  The federal appeals must be filed within six month as after state appeals have ended and then the federal courts have a further six months to rule on the appeal.  Marc Shapiro, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, noted that the ruling is doing the exact opposite of the current trend to reduce or eliminate capital punishment.

Kingston Whig-Standard – Steph Crosier
Kingston Police to recommend changes to Act

Ontario’s Police Service Act is 25 years old and under review.  According to Kingston Police Chief Gille Larochelle the review presents opportunity for new regulations and direction on the interaction of police and public, especially the vulnerable, and a new chance to train police by redefining the framework of the Act.  He includes, among other concerns, Aboriginal policing and community policing within the areas needing attention.

CBC News – Angela MacIvor
CeaseFire program making a difference in Halifax

Now two years old, the CeaseFire project works to reduce violence in four targeted neighbourhoods and among high risk youth.  Funded by both federal and provincial governments, the CeaseFire approach of going directly to the players and helping to establish an alternate to violence seems to be working to judge by the reduction of incidents to date.