Restitution to victims…

Oct 17, 2016

Victoria Times Colonist – Joanna Smith, Canadian Press
Justice minister expected to reveal plans for victim surcharge this week

We have been living with mandatory victim surcharges for over three years now.  The surcharge practice started in 1989 but from the beginning the judge had the discretion to determine when an accused could afford to pay and when the additional fine would create more hardship for the family.  The changes expected will likely see the discretionary power of the judge restored.  Retired judge Barry Stuart, a director for Smart Justice Network, says that the discretion is helpful to justice and that the practice of the surcharge could be higher if applied to environmental crime, fraud and selling drugs to children.  Stuart also suggests that judges should also “be able to grant specific restitution to victims of crime without them having to go through a costly civil court process.”

Vancouver Sun – Glenda Luymes
Anti-immigration party registers for B.C. election

Brad Salzberg has registered the Cultural Action Party in BC to fight immigration and other cultural impacts flowing from the immigration and refugee policies.  “The party’s platform promises to promote English and French culture, adjust immigration and refugee policy and hold a referendum to determine public opinion on repealing the multiculturalism act.”  Salzberg is claiming a considerable following on social media – about 6,000 presently.

National Newswatch – Bill Graveland
‘I’m ready to come home,’ Canadian on death row hangs hopes on Liberal government

Ronald Smith, 59, has been on death row in Montana for 30 years for killing two Indigenous men.  At trial, he asked for the death penalty but now, after the Conservative government refused to seek clemency for him Minister Dion says that Canada must pursue clemency for every Canadian under death sentence.  “If the government of Canada does not ask for clemency for every Canadian facing the death penalty, how can we be credible when we ask for clemency in selective cases or countries?” Dion asked. “We must end this incoherent double standard. Canada opposes the death penalty and will ask for clemency in each and every case, no exceptions.”

MacLean’s – Nancy MacDonald
The Liberals’ relationship with Indigenous communities sours

MacDonald is looking at the quality of relationship after one year between the Liberal government and the First Nations.  She highlights four moments when the decisions by Trudeau have seemingly inflamed the relationship and brought suspicions that the government is practicing the same old, same old.  In particular focus, the announcement that the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People is “unworkable.”    Related article:  CBC News – Elizabeth Thompson ‘There seems to be a paralysis’: Trudeau government has backlog of more than 300 appointments   Related article: Globe and Mail – Matthew McClearn   Fluid situation for Alberta reserves

Winnipeg Sun – Tom Parkin, Postmedia Network
Unsustainable health care? Nonsense

Here’s a refreshing thought amid all the hand wringing about unsustainable health cost increases.  Quoting the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), an independent body created by the provinces and the federal government to monitor and study health care costs, those costs have decreased by an average of .6% per year and 5% since 2011.  Parkin contrasts this information and a recent study by the MacDonald-Laurier Institute that charges unsustainability and advocates for user fees and extra billing.

Toronto Star – Jennifer Pagliaro
Most Ontarians say justice system ‘broken’ – Survey by justice advocates finds many feel they won’t receive equal access to archaic system.

The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) surveyed 1500 in August 2016:  “78 per cent called Ontario’s justice system “old-fashioned,” 71 per cent said it was “intimidating.” “Confusing,” “inefficient” and “broken” was how more than 60 per cent of respondents described it…only half of those surveyed feel there is equal and fair access to the system and few, just 13 per cent, felt strongly that they would be treated fairly in the system.”  The two year old group is supported by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh
Temp agency work trapping immigrant women in ‘modern day slavery’

The term ‘slavery’ seems harsh and unreasonable but the truth is that many immigrant workers, often women with children, clear only $3 / hour when child care is factored.  The startling wage scene is compounded by the toll that precarious work is taking on the physical and mental health and well-being of mother and children, says a report from Ryerson to be published next Monday.