Insurance again…

Nov 1, 2018 

Toronto Star – Robert Cribb
Accident victims denied millions in benefits by insurers, lawsuits allege

A lawsuit brought by a Canada Border Agency officer is likely to have ripple effect throughout the insurance industry and government circles.  Known for financial support for political parties, five insurance companies (Intact, Aviva, Unifund Assurance, belairdirect, Certas Direct and Allstate) are named in the class action suit for denial of legitimate accident benefits and the practices of either not paying the HST or including HST in the limit, a practice prohibited, but sometimes ignored, by the regulators.  The Insurance Bureau of Canada, an industry spokesperson, is saying nothing.  The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the government regulator, is named in the suit as a defendant for its failure to ensure that its own directives are followed.  The lawsuit is raising all sorts of questions – both political and financial.

Manchester Guardian
Tommy Robinson and the far right’s new playbook

While there is a specific English and UK grounding to this long read, there is nonetheless also a specific international flavour about the far right as a political and economic movement.  “The growth of this new, international far-right activism has taken many by surprise. Many people see it as the result of technological change, which can be fixed by regulating social media companies. Others regard Yaxley-Lennon (real name of Tommy Robinson) and similar far-right celebrities as the embodiment of a legitimate anger that should be given a fair hearing, so that the best arguments win out in the marketplace of ideas. And some see this as the same old far right – encouraging people to gang up on an ethnic minority group – which should be confronted in the streets. There is a degree of truth, perhaps, in all of these positions. But they don’t tell the whole story: how the far right itself has transformed in recent years, and how it has taken advantage of wider political failures to shift mainstream debate in its favour.”

CBC News – Chantelle Bellrichard
Proposed changes to Corrections Act could narrow community release options for Indigenous people, says senator – ‘This is not sufficient to address, much less end overrepresentation,’ says Sen. Kim Pate

Bill C-83, which includes proposed amendments to the CCRA, was tabled in Ottawa last week.  So far, most of the proposed changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that governs how jails and parole work has been focused on segregation.  But C-83, says Pate, while it recognizes over-representation of Indigenous and proposes ways to reduce the numbers, it does not address prevention and social factors and it changes the definition of the responsible Indigenous agencies within corrections.  The Gladue requirement is a further concern.   Related article: CTV News – Rachelle Aiello  Liberal MPs side with opposition, amend omnibus justice bill (C-75)   Related article: CBC News – Andrea Huncar   Self-harm among inmates at Edmonton Institution highest in country   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Oct. 29, 2018)   New rules for solitary confinement are better, but still fall short   Related article: CBC News – Guy Quenneville   Residents who admit to pot use turned away at U.S. border, says Estevan, Sask., mayor

CBC News – Benjamin Kates and Pam Hrick
Pardons don’t go far enough. Convictions for cannabis possession must be expunged

The recent legalization of the medical and recreational use of marijuana raises the issue of what to do about the many persons in this country (over 500,000) who live with criminal convictions and even a record of jail time.  Under the National Parole Board there is no real pardon anymore, only a record suspension which means that, even after a lengthy and expensive process, the record still remains in evidence depending on who is asking.  Expungement of the record is the point, not record suspension.  Further, as the Prime Minister has acknowledged:  “There is a disproportionate representation of young people…from racialized communities who are saddled with criminal convictions…for simple possession.” Black and Indigenous communities in particular have been historically overrepresented among this population.”  Related article: Toronto Star – Catherine Little   Legal cannabis a challenge in school settings

CBC News – Nicole Mortillaro
Here’s what climate change could look like in Canada

Where are we for expected climate change?  Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, David Phillips says. “So twice as much in half the time.”  Add in sea-level rise, erosion and flooding.  The concerns are the context for the latest political fights around carbon emissions.  Phillips and Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network, paint the picture of the consequences for business as usual region by region.

Blogger Margot Van Sluytman
Sawbonna: sibling of restorative justice   

Sawbonna: for the first time, as a victim, I have been heard, and I have forgiven myself for my shame at knowing how much I am not acceptable for having life-long trauma.

Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns
Prisoners without Canadian citizenship due human rights protections: Federal Court of Appeal

The Federal Court of Appeal has reversed a ruling from 2006 that denied human rights protection to inmates in prison who are not Canadian citizens.  The case involves a Buddhist convicted of second degree murder and against whom a deportation order already exists at sentence termination.  The denial of the human rights was based on a previous decision that the inmate, Kien Beng Tan, is not legally present in Canada and therefore the Human Rights Act does not apply to him.  Justice Donald J. Rennie ruled that the inmate in a prison is entitled to the protection of Canada’s Human Rights legislation.

CBC News –
Corrections Canada investigation into Sask. Penitentiary riot ‘superficial and self-serving,’ watchdog says

The Corrections Canada Investigator says that the 2016 riot investigation at the Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert Penitentiary was self-serving on the part of CSC.  The event in which one inmate died and two more injured was the subject of a commentary in the 2017 Correctional Investigator’s report.  “It wasn’t thorough; it wasn’t credible; and it was very superficial,” said federal correctional investigator Ivan Zinger, of the CSC internal review.”   Related article: CBC News – Andrea Huncar    ‘Cesspool of cruelty, corruption and violence’: Advocates call for inquiry at Edmonton prison

Alert: CBC Massey Lectures – Week of Nov. 12

Toronto Star – Theresa Boyle

Tanya Talaga given standing ovation at Massey Lectures in Toronto   Definite date not yet available:


HuffPost (UK) – Jasmin Gray
Prison Sentences for Women of Less Than a Year Should Be Abolished, Say MPs And Peers – ‘It would save lives and reduce crime.’

Here’s an idea that recognizes the social dimension of secondary victims and the destructiveness flowing from the practice of sentencing women who are child care-givers to prison for less than a year.  The sentence is frequently pure punishment with no chance of rehab and no addressing of the social element most often part of the ‘crime.’  The All Party Parliamentary Committee has just published a report in which they say:  “while women tangled up in the justice system are “among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society”, they do not receive the mental health support they need behind bars.”  What point, to what end, pure punishment?