CRA on Facebook…

Jan 27, 2017

CBC News – Elizabeth Thompson
Privacy experts call for rules on government monitoring social media Revelation that CRA monitors social media for tax compliance puts focus on what is ‘publicly available’

This revelation that CRA uses personal Facebook pages and other social media to monitor for signs of tax evasion with yesterday’s news about the ease of establishing legitimate tax havens in Canada must cause endless eye-rolling across the country.  Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien is alarmed enough to suggest that CRA needs to have guidelines around what it should and should not do collecting information around private social media.  At least one former commissioner, Chantal Bernier, thinks the guidelines are “a matter of urgency.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Marco Chown Oved and Robert Cribb   Signatures for sale – Paid to sign corporate documents, nominee directors serve to hide companies’ real owners  (Part III of the series)

CTV News – Jennifer Graham, Canadian Press
Trudeau says he doesn’t know bill details but supports his justice minister

The place is a Saskatchewan town hall meeting in Saskatoon and the bill identified is also called Wynn’s Law.  RCMP Constable David Wynn was killed by a man with a criminal past who was out on bail at the time.  A private member’s bill by conservative Michael Cooper, calling for full disclosure of criminal history at bail hearings, passed the senate but was declined by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Toronto Star – Azeezah Kanji
Wrapping Muslims in flags stifles the struggle for equality

Here’s a reflective piece on the practice of wrapping causes in signs of patriotism.  In this case, the exact exposé is that of a Muslim woman wearing an American flag as a hijab.  Kanji thinks that the need to express patriotism to one adopted homeland may add to Islamophobia:  “Instead of acceding to the demand placed on Muslims to profess their loyalty loudly and repeatedly, we should ask why Muslims are required to engage in such exceptional professions of allegiance in the first place.”  A good question…

Globe and Mail – Edward Greenspon
How to fix the ever-weakening state of the news media

The issue of public media – newspapers and TV reporting – has been on-going for some time.  Many Canadians appear to collect the news from digital sources such as Facebook but when the issue is critical they tend to fall back on the print media and TV reporting.  This report is about the ever growing threat to democracy a failing public media:  “Even before the recent U.S. presidential election, Canadian governments were concerned about the weakened ability of the news media to inform the public about their democracy. The subsequent controversies about filter bubbles and fake news have added a layer of anxiety that fabricated news, which is cheap to produce, will chase out fact-based news.”   The Public Policy Forum (Ottawa):  The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age (108 page downloadable PDF)

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
What works in reducing re-offending?

The UK has a new approach to re-entry of inmates: instead of reliance on parole and probation officers the government set up the Justice Data Initiative in 2013 and refocused the re-entry process to inhibit re-offending. The focus gave rise to  “…New private probation providers known as Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) are also particularly keen to know what works since their contracts are (partly) based on a payment by results model which links payment to the reduction of local reoffending rates.”   The Justice Data Lab has just published a list of 140 initiatives that reveal factors that contribute to re-offending.  Infographic from Justice Data Lab:   Other Justice Data Labs Statistics and Reports:

The Coast Website (Halifax) – Jacob Boon
Living wage ordinance floated by Halifax council

While Ontario is proposing a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) Halifax in its fights against poverty is looking at a municipal law that mandates a living wage for the cleaning of the region’s municipal offices, the majority of which are contracted out at minimum wage.  The article on the effort in Halifax also reviews the efforts elsewhere to address the need for a living wage as an obligation on the part of local government.

CBC News –
First Nation banishment bylaw to target gangs, drugs – ‘If these kids want to be tough, be tough out there’: Beardy’s and Okemasis Chief Rick Gamble

A Saskatchewan First Nation is the first to look to banishment as a way of confronting drugs and gangs on the reserve.  Passed by the band council, the by-law would not give the right to banishment but if an individual were already in the court for offences, the First Nations chief could ask the judge to impose banishment and to set the conditions as part of the sentence.  The focus is the safety of the community.  The First Nation will review the notion with both the community and the justice department.