Canada votes…

Nov 26, 2016

National Newswatch – Bruce Cheadle, Canadian Press
Liberals table bill to roll back Conservative changes to Canadian voting process

The federal government has tabled a bill to roll back some Conservative changes in the Canadian election laws.  The first past the post legislation is not in this proposal though discussed in the article but the emphasis is on procedures that encourage voting such as the ID required and access to the vote by ex-pats. Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Kady O’Malley    The Liberals want to make it easier to cast your next federal ballot. Here’s how.

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Alberta judge cuts sex predator’s sentence in half after beating in jail

Justice Terry Clackson of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled this week to cut in half the original sentence for a convicted sex offender who was beaten by both other inmates and guards.  “There has been and I suspect there remains the notion that prisoners have no rights and deserve whatever ill treatment they may suffer,”  said Justice Clackson, identifying Stockwell Day as one of those proposing that inmates have no rights.  The ruling also puts in question the practice of a max of 1.5 days credit for pre-trial custody.  Related article: Globe and Mail – Sean Fine   Charges thrown out due to trial delays a growing problem in justice system   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Mohammed Adam   How is justice served when an accused doesn’t face trial?

CBC News – Tyana Grundig and David Common
What’s in your pot? Marketplace tests today’s weed – As Ottawa prepares to legalize recreational marijuana, Marketplace investigation shows how weed has changed

Not your old fashioned pot say the experts.  Marketplace went to a number of marijuana shops and bought a dozen samples that they then brought to a lab for analysis.  Pot used to be 2-8% THC and cannabidiol (CBD) mixed in.  The THC is the ingredient that gives the high and the CBD offers the medicinal effects.  Now the THC can be as high as 30% and no CBD at all, raising the spectrum of brain damage at least for youthful brains still developing.    Related article:  CBC News     What’s really in your weed?  (A 2min 50 sec video)    Blogger Russell Webster (UK)   Is it time to legalize and regulate cannabis?

National Newswatch – John Milloy
Police and politics can be a dangerous mix

Milloy is concerned that when tensions between political parties rise, the parties increasingly call in the police to regulate the concern.  A letter to the police, a tip to a friendly journalist, and a scandal is born.  “But by involving law enforcement you also risk doing extraordinary damage to personal reputations. This is especially true when political staff is involved – those behind-the-scenes hardworking people who have little ability to publicly defend themselves…This would be fine if the police actually found something. Most investigations go nowhere and the tiny fraction that do go before the courts tend to be thrown out because 99 per cent of the time the case simply revolves around politics as usual.”

Globe and Mail – Laura Stone
Howard Sapers: The man tasked to solve Canada’s corrections problem

Sapers is finishing up a 12 year term as the Correctional Investigator for  Corrections Canada.  Three days after the completion, he moves to the Ontario provincial level to lead the reform of the Ontario correctional system.  He has been an outspoken critic of the use of solitary confinement, an Ontario practice which likely is accountable for his new position:  “Segregation is the most austere form of confinement that we have in this country,” Mr. Sapers said…”I think that there should be limits. I don’t think that segregation should be allowed to carry on indefinitely.”

University of Toronto – Anthony Doob and Rosemary Gartner
Criminological Highlights – Nov. 2016

The journal offers the usual series of research papers including:

  1. Are the harmful effects on children of the imprisonment of a parent short-lived? 2. When are crime prevention programs cost-effective? 3. Does the research evidence suggest that body-worn cameras change police behaviour? 4. Why are victims of violent crimes likely also to commit violent offences? 5. Should cities invest in ‘street-workers’ to help get people to quit being gang members? 6. What should we think about when creating programs to help ex-prisoners re-enter society? 7. Does sending people to prison deter them from committing offences in the future? 8. Why can’t we assume that a crime prevention program that has been shown to be effective will, in fact, be effective when implemented in a new setting?

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