Electoral reform…

June 21, 2016

Ottawa Citizen – Kady O’Malley
Kenney, Cullen and a bunch of rookie Liberal MPs. meet your electoral reform committee!

The nomination of a committee for electoral reform has arrived.  The Liberals have nominated all rookie MPs, the Conservatives have Jason Kenney and Scott Reid, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen, the Bloc Luc Thériault and the Green Elizabeth May.  The committee totals 12 and will meet and vote secretly to elect a chair and two vice chairs.  There may also be some implications for possible party leadership candidates.  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/kady-kenney-cullen-and-a-bunch-of-rookie-liberal-mps-meet-your-electoral-reform-committee  (list at link)

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Liberal appointments signal intent to diversify Canadian judiciary

Yesterday’s news about the appointment of a new slate of 15 federal judges brings today’s estimation that the appointment was an attempt to introduce diversity.  Of the15 new appointees, only three were white male.  The rest include an Aboriginal, an Asian Canadian, several human rights specialists, one from the LGBT community, and a woman specialist in the equity section of the charter.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/liberal-appointments-signal-intent-to-diversify-canadian-judiciary/article30532954/

Toronto Star – Canadian Press
Canadian man back home after two-year ordeal in U.A.E. prison

Arrested without charges and held for nearly two years, Salim Alaradi, a 46 year old Canadian of Libyan origins, was tortured and required medical attention immediately on release and on arrival in Canada.  The incident brings attention to the need for a pro-active Canadian government in the face of arbitrary detention in foreign countries since Alaradi credits Canadian government pressure for his release. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/06/20/canadian-businessman-returns-home-after-two-year-ordeal-in-uae-prison.html

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Trivial pot cases still going forward – Plans for decriminalization don’t spare trial, even for man caught with 1.15 grams

This case illustrates the irrationality of the current approach to enforcement of marijuana laws in the face of an assurance of legalization that comes in the spring of 2017.  The $10 worth of marijuana involved holds the current ‘low hanging fruit’ approach of police and crown to ridicule at best.  In the case of Brandon Richards, a Black man from Guelph, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada officials maintain it’s business as usual.   “The decision to take individuals to court — an exhausting and costly experience — for such small amounts of marijuana and then slap them with criminal records “seems inappropriate” given that legalization is imminent, said criminal defence lawyer Daniel Brown.”   https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/20/trivial-pot-cases-still-going-forward.html

Toronto Star – Patty Winsa and Betsey Powell
Toronto police to apologize for 1981 bathhouse raids

The mass shootings in Orlando this week serve to remind us Canadians that we, too, have a past to confront and that vigilance is still required to eradicate LGBTQ prejudice and denial of legal rights.  Kudos to Toronto police for the courage to set the record straight.   Police settled a civil lawsuit in 2005.  https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/06/21/toronto-police-to-apologize-for-1981-bathhouse-raids.html   Related article:  Toronto Star    Remembering the Toronto bathhouse raids   https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/06/21/remembering-the-toronto-bathhouse-raids.html   Related article: Globe and Mail – Steve Lambert, Canadian Press     ‘I’ve been clear:’ Manitoba MP refuses to attend pride parade    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ive-been-clear-manitoba-mp-refuses-to-attend-pride-parade/article30536051/

Ottawa Citizen – Mary Campbell
Canada’s Sorry Record on Clemency

Campbell, a retired justice department policy worker, offers an opinion on where Canada’s corrections policy needs to be.  Campbell reviews the recent developments in the US on presidential clemency and offers some insights into the Canadian practice, a shortfall at best says Campbell. http://www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20160620/281724088842325    Related article: The Sentencing Project: (US)    An Open Letter to President Barack Obama on Clemency http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/open-letter-to-president-barack-obama-on-clemency/

Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour
93% of bail requests granted

By-the-numbers does not tell the real story in bail and remand.   While large numbers who ask for bail get it, even larger numbers do not pursue bail.  Sunny Dhillon of John Howard points out in recent research of ministry figures that 40,301 or 44% do not pass through bail court at all.  “This tells us that there are some really big inefficiencies plaguing our courts, and any assumption that the 40,301 largely represents accused persons who quickly plea out of the system is false,” he said.  http://www.pressreader.com/canada/ottawa-citizen/20160620/281487865641045

Le Devoir (Montréal) – Catherine Chesnay, Sylvie Frigon, Caroline Apotheloz et Sophie Cousineau
Les femmes en prison dans l’angle mort du milieu carcéral – D’un «inconvénient social» à «trop peu pour compter»

Les conditions pour les femmes en prison n’ont pas été toujours reconnues comme différentes des celles des hommes.  Voici un exposé de l’histoire de ce compte-rendu dans le système pénale du Québec, expérience peut-être semblable partout au Canada, surtout les problèmes de santé et les droites et la dignité des femmes.   http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/justice/473737/les-femmes-en-prison-dans-l-angle-mort-du-milieu-carceral