Dec 20, 2016

CBC News
‘Huge gap’ between mental health needs and funding, expert says after health deal fails

The negotiations between the feds and the provinces has failed, at least for the moment, clearing $11.5 million off the table.  The feds wanted the gap between mental health services and funding narrowed but the provinces were holding out for larger rate increases and longer terms on the funding.  Patrick Smith, a psychologist and national CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), says: “If this were something like hips and knees, people would be picketing in the streets that there’s such a huge gap between the burden of illness and how much we’re investing.”  In Canada, about 7% of health care money is spent on mental health.

CBC News – Matthew Braga
Canadian telecoms push back on proposed police powers  –  Rogers, TekSavvy and others say the government hasn’t justified why it needs expanded digital powers

The RCMP wants warrantless access to the data, the IT companies are saying they enough access right now and have not justified an extension of the current arrangement.  The companies were testifying before a Commons Committee last Thursday against the idea of access to personal data and the requirement that the tech companies maintain their data records for a specific period of time.

Toronto Star – Paula Osmok, Graham Brown
Steve Norman and the tragic irony of criminal rehabilitation

Steve Norman’s story was in a previous communiqué, a former inmate with family and no job.  The dilemma for all who have a criminal record is that having a job is a large factor in avoiding recidivism but getting a job with that record exposed to the potential employer is equally elusive.  The article walks through three of the on-going problems around the context and then offers some new ways of thinking and potential solutions.   Related article:  The Sentencing Project and NAACP Legal Defense (US)    Free the Vote: Unlocking Democracy in the Cells and on the Streets  (Ed note: In Canada, felony conviction does not impact voting rights and inmates can and do vote, but in the US approximately 6.1 million have lost the right to vote through felony conviction. It is known as felony disenfranchisement and disproportionately impacts Blacks and other minorities.)   Related article: Washington Post (US) – Sari Horwitz   Obama adds to historic number of federal prisoners granted clemency

Toronto Star – Mark Bulgutch
How to fight ‘fake news’? Tell the truth

The growth in the intentional use of ‘fake-news’ for support of political and social purposes is getting increasingly of concern.  Bulgutch thinks that the abundance of fake news, assuming we can recognize it, may in fact spur us towards identifying media outlets whose brand is truth telling and seeking out these outlets as trustworthy and reliable.

CBC News – Stephanie Cram
Why inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women should resist calls to include men – Coalition that wants men and boys included is aligned with controversial men’s rights group

A new coalition, mostly focused in BC at this point, is asking the federal government to expand the mandate of the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women – they want murdered and missing boys and men included.  The article exposes some tenuous alliances and also looks at the likelihood of incidents of violence against Indigenous women compared to men.

Nation Talk – Colin Perkel
Indian Act sex discrimination lawsuit reaches Ontario’s top court

An Indian child whose father’s name does not appear on the birth certificate or whose father simply refuses to acknowledge the child can presently be denied a number of rights under the Indian Act.  “The plaintiff in the case, Lynn Gehl, 54, of Peterborough, Ont., has been trying since 1994 to get registered as a status Indian. Her status entitlement depends on her father because he married a non-Indian, but no one now knows who his father was.”  The case has been in the courts since 2002 and the argument is that the 1985 Indian Act determining the status is unconstitutional in ignoring the mothers.