The struggle with history…

Aug 19, 2018

 Toronto Star – Thomas Rohner
Video shows officers punching and kicking this Inuk man on three separate occasions. Advocates warn his case is part of a trend

This article points to a disturbing increase in unnecessary, and apparently vengeful, violence on an arrest by Nunavut RCMP.  The unnecessary violence allegation is supported by video and in this particular case there are now three such incidents against the same person.  “This is one of three incidents since 2014, all captured on jailhouse video, in which Naulalik ends up in a holding cell and outmanned by larger officers, pummeled by fists, knees and boots, often while he is restrained.”  The incidents are also returning to issues around the use of the RCMP to enforce federal government policy around treatment of the Indigenous people.  In 2016, The Qikiqtani Truth Commission “found that the RCMP helped the federal government exert its sovereignty in Canada’s North.”   Related article: Toronto Star – John Paul Tasker  Ottawa to declare federal holiday to mark legacy of residential school system   Related article:  Edmonton Journal – Jonny Wakefield  Eleven prison staff fired, suspended or quit as Edmonton Institution conducts misconduct investigation   Related article: CBC News – Bethany Lindsay  Trinity Western students won’t have to sign covenant banning sex outside straight marriage   

  National Newswatch – Canadian Press
Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The controversy has long plagued charities which are often front line opponents to social ills.  Why would your tax laws prohibit efforts to correct the social ill, especially when those same tax laws are far kinder to corporate pursuits?  The question reached a high point when the Harper government began to use the power of the CRA approved tax receipt to silence critics from the charity sector.  The compromise now appears to allow political activity as long as the activity is non-partisan.  So far, the practical difference between political and partisan remains somewhat speculative.

Miami Herald (US) – Julie K. Brown
Amid reports of sexual extortion, other horrors, feds subpoena records, tour women’s prison

Among the more disturbing outcomes from the current efforts in prison reform this article brings a rare focus on women’s prisons and the extent of the sexual abuse and corruption in their operations.  This report comes from investigations at the largest women’s prison in America, Lowell Correctional in Florida, where a federal investigation is underway following a similar investigation at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Alabama.  The report is accompanied by a 10 minute video describing the survival efforts of the inmates.  “In 2013, the prison was considered among the 10 worst prisons in the nation. At least one third of its staff was suspected of sexual misconduct, and inmates who dared to report the abuse were punished by being locked in confinement, a more restrictive form of incarceration.”

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Lucius Couloute
Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people

The question is what happens when an inmate is released from prison and returned to “society.”  The answer may have to do with the availability of housing.  Much of the prison reform seeks to find ways of reducing recidivism and this report looks at the frequency and causes of homelessness among previously incarcerated.  Gender, race, age and frequency of imprisonment play a role in the determination.

Marshall Report – Eli Hager
Why Tennessee Is Challenging the DOJ’s Ethics – A clash over evidence that could help defendants has wider implications.

In US law, the prosecutor is supposed to reveal to the defence any evidence which is found and which would tend to exculpate the accused.  “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the famous Brady v. Maryland and other decisions that district attorneys are duty-bound to disclose this evidence only when it’s “material” to a case — in other words, when it would probably change the outcome.”  The criteria is facing serious challenge from the ethics endorsed by lawyers.

CBC News – Catharine Tunney
RCMP commissioner ‘not sure’ handgun ban is the answer to gun violence – Commissioner Brenda Lucki says force needs to study next steps

The comment from Canada’s top cop has some puzzling in the light of an almost frantic push by major municipalities to confront gun violence.  The concession is that the notion of a handgun ban or tweaking the current hand gun legislation is “worth a study.”  Both Montreal and Toronto have called for a ban in the face of repeated multiple shootings, now also compounded by the Fredericton killing of two police officers and two citizens.  Canada’s newly appointed federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair says he is open to better gun law.   The two cities want the feds to improve Bill C-71 to include a handgun ban.  C-71 was tabled last March prohibiting civilians from possessing assault rifles and handguns.