Charity does, and wants to speak…

Sept 7, 2016

CBC News – Dean Beeby
Anti-poverty group launches challenge of political-activity limits – Anti-poverty charity says curbs on political activity violate charter right to free expression

For some time now, Canadian charities have felt that Canada Revenue Agency rules about political involvement left the charities to pick up the pieces without addressing the causes.  Now, a small charity in Ottawa, Canada Without Poverty, who have been both under audit (on-going for five years now) and under threat by CRA, has launched a lawsuit asking that the court recognize that the tax regulations have violated the Charter guarantee of the right of free expression.  Currently, the regulations allow for 10% of funds from tax receipts to be spent for political purposes.

National Newswatch – Joan Bryden, Canadian Press
Scores of Canadians excluded from assisted dying law eager to join legal challenge

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has announced its intention to pursue a legal remedy to the narrow scope of assisted dying legislation and in 10 days has raised the $75,000 needed to finance the appeal.  “It is a testament to how important and deeply personal this issue is to so many Canadians” said Grace Pastine, the BCCLA director of litigation.  The Liberal government intends to fight the changes demanded.

National Newswatch – Jordan Press, Canadian Press
 Veterans Affairs data gives detailed picture of veterans using medical marijuana

In 2008, there were three shops selling medically prescribed marijuana.  Now, in 2015, there are 588, answering the demand, a large number of which are returning military with PTSD symptoms, and the government has been paying for much of the dispensation.  Why the huge increase?  Advocates say marijuana works but some academics and medical researchers say the evidence is inconclusive.

Globe and Mail – Geoffrey York
Canadian-owned firm sold armoured vehicles to Sudan despite export ban

More than ten years ago, Canada imposed a ban on weapons and military equipment to the Sudan.  To export arms legitimately an end user who is acceptable must be filed.  Streit Industries, a Canadian firm also currently in controversy over the sale of the vehicle to Saudi Arabia, appears to have shipped 30 vehicles from its factory in the UAE to Sudan police.  Related article: Globe and Mail Editorial (Aug. 16, 2016, updated Sept 5, 2016) Ottawa comes clean on arms exports

CBC News – Ariana Kelland
Who’s the victim? Families of dead Newfoundlanders question role in court system – When victims can’t appear in court, families say photos keep their presence known

Some families who have lost loved ones to violence think that the way to honour the victims who can’t be in court for themselves is to show up in the courtroom with a photograph of the victim.  Judges and defense attorneys look upon the gesture as prejudicial and family members have been ordered out of the courtroom and to withdraw any photos of the victim.

Quartz (US) –
STUCK IN LIMBO – A record half-million cases are waiting to be heard by US immigration courts

We have been hearing a lot recently about the number of undocumented people are in the US as the US debate about how to deal with whatever the real number is.  This report raises another issue, namely the currently jammed backlog in the immigration courts.  There are now excess of one half million applications waiting to be heard, an approximately two year wait.  Increased numbers, tighter border security and more arrests, and long term understaffing all figure in the bottleneck.

N.Y. Times (US) – Susan Dominus
An Effective but Exhausting Alternative to High School Suspensions

Leadership and Public Service High School in Manhattan’s Financial District has been looking to ways to reduce the number of expulsions and suspensions.  They say they have found it in a Restorative Justice model of school discipline.  Not easy, the process goes against the grain of many students and teachers who want a quick fix to bad behaviour but once open and trained in RJ approaches the solution is found to be far fewer confrontational incidents as well as better resolution to the issues.