Sept 23, 2017

 Toronto Star – Michael Cook and Badylon Kawanda
Why the birds stopped singing

Much of our discussions about refugees is focused on the settlement issues once the greater part of the ordeal of flight is over and the refugees are safe in Canada.  The new series by the Toronto Star calls out the realities of what prompts people to become refugees in the first place.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo is going through another of its seemingly regular bloodbaths and the Star records the choice:   “I could be decapitated … or I could be burned.  I chose to be burned.”

Toronto Star – Barry J. Zehr
Time to end the culture of oppression in Canada’s police services – To maintain the patriarchal culture of policing, civilian and uniformed women are constantly subjected to institutionalized gender-based discrimination, blatant barriers and exclusion.

These days, police are often under scrutiny for relations with the public but in the lawsuit filed against the Waterloo Regional Police Services, the issue is how officers treat one another.  Sexual assault, harassment and discrimination is the middle ground between female and male officers and supervisors.  The guest author of this piece is a thirty year veteran of the Waterloo police and his wife is one of the complainants in the lawsuit.  “While it is tempting to see the alleged scenarios as the work of just a few bad apples, I know that is not the case.”   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial Board (Sept 18, 2017)  Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders must push on with transformation – The Toronto Police Association should get on board with changes that will benefit everyone  Related article: Globe and Mail – Michelle Zilio   ‘Climate Barbie’ tweet demonstrates how women are treated in politics: McKenna    Related article: Globe and Mail      Debate over police officers in classrooms spreads to GTA   Dakshana Bascaramurty and Caroline Alphonso

CTV News – Staff
 Trudeau’s UN speech failed to admit ongoing role in Indigenous problems: Palmater

Palmater is chair of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.  She gives credit to Trudeau for the acknowledgement and “for taking a “monumentally different attitude” toward Indigenous issues than past prime ministers.”  Palmater is critical of the obvious effort to situate the issues in history in the face of the current slow pace of response to solvable issues that appear to wait interminably.  Among the issues she addresses are the poverty of children on reserves and the failure to mention land claims.

Globe and Mail – Susan Krashinsky Robertson
Canada’s privacy watchdog seeks stronger enforcement powers

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien just delivered his annual report to Parliament and wants some changes because he says Canada’s privacy laws have no teeth.  Therrien wants to pursue a pro-active enforcement model in which corporations and agencies are held to account.  The changes are needed, says Therrien, because the Office of the Privacy Commission (OPC) “may be better placed than individuals to identify privacy problems related to complex new technologies.”  His comments are coming in the context of government’s finalizing the security and privacy concerns in Bill C-59.  Related article:  Ottawa Citizen – Canadian Press     Privacy czar blames RCMP after woman denied entry to U.S. over suicide attempt

CBC News – Idil Mussa
Families of men who died of suicide at OCDC call for inquests – Justin St. Amour and Cleve ‘Cas’ Geddes both hanged themselves at Ottawa facility

The fight is now before the Chief Coroner of Ontario since requests to the regional coroner for an autopsy were ignored.  Both men had experienced mental problems, were in solitary, and both were on remand, both hanged themselves in the cell.  Laureen St. Amour, mother of Justin, voiced an opinion shared by many mental health advocates:  “Jail was not the place for him. He heard voices that would tell him to hurt himself. And I guess the voices got too loud and — that’s what he did.”

Future Society (US) – Brad Jones
People in Two U.S. States Will Get $1,000 a Month in a New Basic Income Trial

This is an interesting site for questions around whether Universal Basic Income (UBI) is viable in the US.  The site includes graphics and information on where what Canadians call guaranteed basic income has been tried or is in process of experimentation.  The company sponsor, a tech start-up called Y Combinator, thinks that random selection of 3000 participants from two states to receive $1,000 per month will also allow a control group of 2000 which will receive $50 per month.  The experiment is expected to result in good information around the loss of jobs to automation.