The asylum loophole…

Feb 27, 2017

CTV News – Laura Peyton
Close the Safe Third Country loophole: Jason Kenney

The safe third country rule says that asylum seekers in either the US or Canada cannot be in one of these designated safe countries and apply to the other for asylum at its border posts.  The loophole is that one may cross the border, bypassing the check point and then apply for asylum.  Kenny wants to eliminate the loophole while other critics want to eliminate the safe country agreement that says they cannot stop at border stations to make a request for asylum.   Related article: Toronto Star – Jamie Watt   Immigration harmony will be tested in Canada   Related article: Toronto Star – Penny Collenette   Sanctuary status may be more than cities can handle- Municipalities face serious issues in trying to help refugees, such as housing, jobs, health care, and policing protocols   Related article:  CBC News – Austin Grabish   UN lawyer to visit Manitoba to observe influx of asylum seekers – ‘We’re pretty happy with the system in Canada. It’s a very robust system’

 National Post – Marie Danielle Smith
Former religious freedom ambassador warns conservatives that ‘Canadian values’ talk is full of pitfalls

Remember when Canada had a religious freedom ambassador under the Harper government?  Former Ambassador Andrew Bennett appeared at the Manning Conference recently to warn that rather than vague “Canadian values,” Canadians need to focus on “rule of law, human rights and freedoms.”  Says Bennett: “values” talk confuses and religious freedom should be defended.    Related article: Globe and Mail – Don Chapman and Chris Cannon   Canadian citizenship must be a constitutional right

Globe and Mail – Joe Friesen
Hundreds of Canadian children held in immigration detention, report shows

The University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program has been tracking the number of children held in immigration detention with one of their parents.  From 2011 to 2015, the number is over 200, on average 48 per year.  Note that these are Canadian children, of parents who are in detention and that normally Canadians are not subject to immigration detention.  The report also offers an alarming picture of the length of the detention.  Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Samer Muscati   More than 200 Canadian children have been held in immigration detention since 2011. Let’s end that inhumanity      Related article: The Independent  (UK) – Siobhan Fenton    UK prisons ‘holding child inmates in solitary confinement against UN torture rules’

Government of the UK – Hon. Elizabeth Truss, Minister of Justice
Written statement to Parliament: Prison governor empowerment and accountability

The UK is introducing new legislation designed to make prisons places of safety and reform.  For the first time, the prison is acknowledged as a place where the reformation of the inmate is declared the primary purpose of prison, beyond the safety of the public, and measurements of the governor, staff and operations are intended to illuminate the success of the goals.  The letter outlines the yardstick to be used in a three year agreement with prison governors who will have the necessary authority to deliver on the agreement.   The new legislation also sets rehabilitation as a primary goal.   UK Government White Paper:  Prison Safety and Reform (A 65 page downloadable pdf)  Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK)  White paper sets out vision of prison reform

CBC News – Alison Crawford
RCMP commissioner warns continued IT failures will have ‘catastrophic’ consequences – Public safety minister says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ about IT failures, asks to meet fellow minister

The brainchild of the previous government, Canada Shared Services is the computer system meant to unify and centralize all government tech support services but the services have been faulted from the beginning by missed deadlines and repeated breakdowns.  Now, RCMP Commissioner Paulson has written Public Safety Minister Goodale suggesting that the “slipshod services” will inevitably lead over time to some sort serious consequence for officers in the field.

Globe and Mail – Michael Tutton, Canadian Press
Prison violence leaves Ottawa with growing legal burden

Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator says that there are about 1200 liability lawsuits documented “between 2005 and last year – such as deaths, inmate-on-inmate assaults, and guards’ use of pepper spray.”  It’s enough, he says, to keep a small law firm gainfully employed for the $10 million spent on legal fees.  Zinger thinks that better risk management of the causes of the lawsuit may be a better route.

Globe and Mail – Anthony Doob
Preliminary inquiries: A debate that needs better data

Doob is a well-respected professor of criminology at the University of Toronto who is one of the editors of Criminological Highlights.  Doob addresses the danger of enthusiasm for eliminating preliminary hearings as a method to confront court delays.   “…in most provinces, very few (less than 1 per cent) of court appearances involved preliminary inquiries.”