Jan 17, 2017

CBC News – Dave Seglins
‘Secret order’ authorizing RCMP’s covert Cold War wiretapping program released after 65 years – Government backtracks, shares details of Canada’s first domestic surveillance operation

Can’t happen in Canada you say?  It did, as early as 1951, and the order to violate privacy of Canadians in Canada in spite of all other laws has been secret all this time.  The order, signed into law by Louis St. Laurent and three cabinet ministers, imposed a penalty of five years in jail for anyone who revealed the existence and operation of this secret law, allowing the RCMP to require the co-operation of the telephone companies to give access to surveillance operations.

CBC News – Jonathan Montpetit and Marika Wheeler
‘Apartheid system’ of reserves to blame for Innu suicides: Quebec coroner – Report says 5 suicides in Uashat-Maliotenam in 2015 were avoidable

The term ‘apartheid system’ has shown up before in the context of Indigenous people and government but this incidence is the first time the allegation has appeared in an official document.  Quebec coroner Bernard Lefrançois has used the term to explain, in part, the causes for the suicide of five people over nine months in Uashat-Maliotenam, an Innu reserve near Sept-Îles, Que.    Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Jan 16, 2016) Stop the tragic suicides on reserves

The Tyee (BC) –Stefania Seccia
 No, Homelessness Doesn’t Have to Be Forever   

The response to homelessness is wrap-around care starting with a place to live.  The idea is to put housing first and then deal with the other issues such as addictions, mental health and poverty.  The delivery model allows a person receiving services from several agencies to work together for the benefit of the most afflicted of the clients.  “The key to success, said Tim Richter, president and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, is directing funding to “where the money is best spent.”   Related article: Globe and Mail:  Alex Himmelfarb and Roy Romanow   We can end homelessness in Canada    Related article: The Homeless Hub – Stephen Gaetz,  Erin Dej, Tim Richter, Melanie Redman   The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016

The Nation (Pakistan)
No country for old men: Japan’s elderly inmates prefer jail

Japan is seeing an increase in aging prison inmates and experiencing a series of age-related problems in confronting the extra entailed in caring for aging inmates who sometimes need help with personal issues.  Also, many are reluctant to embrace freedom for the health and financial obstacles that haunt their steps.

CBC News – Kitchener-Waterloo
You can now ‘borrow’ a social worker at the Kitchener Public Library – ‘The library has tonnes of resources and I’m another one that people now can access,’ says social worker

Libraries are wondering how to respond to the electronic age when lending books may not be their most useful service.  K-W has found an answer in adding to the library staff a social worker who functions as a resource person for the library clients, reflecting the growing need for people to be able to access the services they need.  The present arrangement is a work placement around a graduate study program but all assessments to date suggest a creative and helpful presence in the library.

Toronto Star – Robert Cribb
Chilling evidence of organized child sex abuse revealed in survey

An international story, the parental involvement in the promotion of child abuse is a new twist in child exploitation.   In accompanying data and graphics, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has put some numbers around what they think is a widespread occurrence.   “We were definitely most shocked about the extent of organized child sexual abuse in our survey,” says executive director Lianna McDonald. “We learned that often those closest and most trusted by children were responsible for not only abusing their children, but sadly, also orchestrating and facilitating the abuse by many others.”

Toronto Star – Editorial (Jan 17, 2017)
Ontario should expand legal aid, not cut it

The financing of legal aid has been problematic for a long time.  The system is intended to allow access to the law for people who otherwise cannot afford to pay.  Beyond the access denied by the increasing tight rules that disqualify many from access to Legal Aid – family law is particularly impacted as well – the issue winds up focused on the need to defend oneself in a confusing and often frightening way, one with serious and often immediate consequences.  Government is calling for an inquiry into how Legal Aid spends the money while Legal Aid CEO David Field insists that costs are reflecting the access-to-justice issue that we’re facing, not just Legal Aid Ontario, but the entire justice system in Ontario.”