Charity chill…

Dec 8, 2016

Toronto Star – Editorial (Dec. 6, 2016)
Liberals should put an end to Harper’s charity chill

The Star is calling for an end to the political audits of charities that oppose government policy by Canada Revenue Agency.  The audits, started with a $13 million funding from the Conservative government, were consistently audits in which respected charities like Oxfam voiced opposition and then were forced to spend considerable amounts on legal defense; some notable charities lost the tax receipt capacity as a consequence.  “The Trudeau government has said these charities are being targeted for the wrong reasons and based on unsound rules. Surely it can instruct the CRA to hold off on the audits and revocations until a clear policy that better serves the public interest is in place. A rule that bans charities from promoting social justice or working to prevent poverty is absurd on the face of it. Every time the government enforces it our democracy is weakened.”

National Newswatch – John Milloy
One more time: Why are we legalizing marijuana?

The federal government has acknowledged the receipt of the report from the committee on legalizing marijuana and anticipating its publication shortly.  Milloy is not for prohibition but reflects on some of the characteristics of the society and the problem we are trying to solve with the legalization.  “The current laws aren’t working. People are ending up with criminal records for minor infractions involving marijuana. So fix the law to have the punishment better suit the crime. But what is the urgency to go all in? Laws prescribe conduct but they also educate us about our collective values. Is legalizing marijuana going to make our country a better place? More importantly, is it really going to protect our kids?”  Related article: National Newswatch – Steve Lambert   Manitoba premier says he is not alone in wanting delay in marijuana bill

Vancouver Sun – Kim Pemberton
Canada’s new sex trade laws violate rights of sex workers, says report

The Pivot Legal Society in Vancouver says that two years after the new laws intended to protect prostitutes (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act of 2014) sex workers are, in fact, not protected nor are their charter rights protected.  “Prohibiting the purchase of sexual services means that sex work remains a clandestine activity and that sex workers actively shun police contact. This increases sex workers’ vulnerability to violence from predators posing as clients, who target sex workers precisely for this reason.”  Full Report from Pivot Legal Society: Evaluating Canada’s Sex Work Laws: The Case for Repeal

Toronto Star – Noah Richler
How to make ‘nation to nation’ relationship genuine

Richler has five steps that he thinks will improve the relationship between the federal government and Canada’s First Nations.  He offers adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People, making AFN Chief a member of the federal cabinet, making the use of First Nations language a right in the House of Parliament, making mandatory for high school graduation a course in the history of Canada’s First Nations, create and enforce a commons law uniting trails, reserves and national parks.

CBC News –
Conservative leadership contenders spend more time agreeing than debating in Moncton, N.B.

The gathering of fourteen Conservative candidates for the party leadership in Moncton, NB yesterday suggests, say the pundits, that there was no clear winner and that there is more agreement than disagreement among them.  But the shadow of Stephen Harper is alive and well among them, including in proposed policies around immigration and tough-on-crime.   (The full two hour debate does not readily appear on news sites or the Conservative Party to date.)  Related article: Blogger Monia Mazigh   Canadian Politicians Need To Stand Up Against Growing Xenophobia

Sentencing Project (US) – Josh Rovner
How Tough on Crime Became Tough on Kids: Prosecuting Teenage Drug Charges in Adult Courts

This link is to a report that details in a comprehensive the way how many youthful drug offenders wind up transferred to adult courts.  The pdf explains that 46 states can transfer and that in some states the decision is simply made by the prosecutor.  A further 22 states have an automatic transfer for a set of offences and 10 states automatically transfer under certain conditions.