Conservatives and Islamophobia…

Oct 6, 2016

Huffington Post – Althia Raj
Tory MPs Oppose NDP Motion Condemning All Forms of Islamophobia

The NDP’s Tom Mulcair proposed a motion in the House rejecting all sorts of Islamophobia, expecting unanimous consent but a handful of Conservatives rejected the approval.  “It’s sad that Conservatives denied to give a unanimous consent to a motion in the House of Commons to condemn all forms of Islamophobia,” said one of the sponsors, Muslim MP Omar Alghabra (Mississauga Center).  Related article: Toronto Star: Bob Hepburn A sad backlash against rising immigration: Hepburn – Mood towards immigrants in Canada hardens, new survey shows

National Post – Marie Danielle Smith
‘Shining a light on the hypocrisy’: Canada urged to vote against human rights abusers

The United Nations has a Council on Human Rights whose membership is due for renewal.  A number of countries known for egregious violations of the commonly agreed rights are vying for seats on the Council.  Canada’s Irvin Cotler, former justice minister, is raising the problem since the rules say that no abuser can be elected to the 47 member council while Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba are pursuing re-election.  Canada has not had a seat on the Council since 2006.

NBC News – Pete Williams
Duane Buck Case: Supreme Court Considers Role of Race in Sentencing

Buck has been on a Texas death row for 14 years, convicted of multiple murders.  But the sentence was determined in a racial context when Buck’s defence lawyer called a psychologist who testified and conceded that since Buck was Black he was more likely to do violence again.  In Texas the death sentence requires an assessment of future dangerousness.  The US Supreme Court will now weigh in on the role of racism in the sentence.

The Sentencing Project (US) – Christopher Uggen, Ryan Larson, and Sarah Shannon
6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016

As the ebb and flow of the US presidential elections confront our every exposure to the news, we would do well to reflect that many citizens who have been convicted of a felony are in fact disenfranchised and have no vote.  The authors estimate that 1 in 40 adults have lost their vote even if they have completed their sentence in its entirety; of the total, 4.6 million are not incarcerated. The disenfranchisement follows from state, not federal, rules around registering for the vote and appears to impact Black Americans more.  ( A 20 page downloadable pdf – summary starts on p. 16)

Penal Reform International (UK)

Communiqué has been quoting and referring to this site for quite some time.  The latest newsletter from PRI is filled with intriguing articles, especially on the state of international correctional practices for women inmates.  Rather than quote several such references, may we recommend that you take a moment to browse the site yourself?  The site is a rare but consistent treasure trove of articles and information on the international scene.  You can also subscribe if you like what you see.

Toronto Foundation
Toronto’s Vital Signs Report

Toronto, with some 32 other cities across Canada, makes an effort to monitor what is happening in its social, economic and political life.  There thirteen chapters, each covering an aspect of the vital signs assessment.  This foundation is a part of the Community Foundations of Canada and the report has been continues since the first in 2001.  The section on public safety goes from p. 50-59. There is also a section on income inequality, housing and environment.   The report proclaims Toronto the child poverty capital of Canada with a 1 in 4 rate.   (A 269 page downloadable pdf)  Related article: The Homeless Hub – Nadia Ali   Domestic Violence & Homelessness  – This report (at the same link)  aligns the impact of domestic violence on homelessness of women is a comprehensive assessment of the problem, the short and long term solutions, and the contributing factors.  The report supports the notion of Housing First in its approach.  Related article:  Homeless Hub – The Agenda: Sally McManus; Sara Scott; Filip Sosenko    Joining the dots: The combined burden of violence, abuse and poverty in the lives of women   (Same link)   

CBC News
Mounties to offer up to $100M compensation for harassment, sexual abuse against female members

RCMP Commissioner Paulson has offered apologies to the 20,000 women who have served in the RCMP since 1974 and in particular to the 1,000 or so who have complained of sexual harassment while serving.  The compensation is still open to anyone who has a complaint, besides the some 500 in a class action lawsuit.  “RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson teared up as he apologized and praised the women for their courage.  “You came to the RCMP wanting to personally contribute to your community and we failed you. We hurt you. For that, I’m truly sorry,” he said.