May 14, 2019

A great champion for a larger humanity – Jean Vanier
Toronto Star – Editorial Board (May 8, 2019)
Jean Vanier challenged what it means to be human

CBC Radio – As it happens: 
How Jean Vanier brought Ian Brown closer to his son
CBC News – Mark Gollam
What you need to know about the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman case

The case against Norman relates to leaks about the contracts for shipbuilding for the Canadian Navy but there may be broader implications rarely highlighted.  The decision to stay the charges against Norman was based on evidence uncovered by Norman’s defence team, evidence that the team says was part of a government obstruction in obtaining.  For its part, the Crown says only that they now believe that it is no longer likely to get a conviction.  In the meantime, Norman’s career is over.  The Crown does not vindicate Norman, or declare him the victim of prosecutorial mistake, leaving fair minded people wondering how does Norman get redress for a life now in tatters. More to come for sure…   Related article: CBC News – Murray Brewster   Information from former Conservative cabinet ministers helped put an end to Norman case   Related article: Toronto Star – Susan Delacourt   Mark Norman’s prosecution couldn’t end soon enough for Justin Trudeau  CBC News – Murrary Brewster  Former Harper ministers MacKay, Kenney and O’Toole helped Vice-Admiral Norman’s defence

CBC News – Kate Rutherford
Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus elated with motion to create national suicide prevention strategy

Angus has gotten his private member’s bill (M- 174) through the Canadian Parliament.  “M-174 establishes a “national suicide prevention action plan, including among its provisions (i) commitment to the actions and resources required to establish culturally appropriate community-based suicide prevention programs as articulated by representative organizations of the Inuit, First Nations, and Métis peoples.”  The plan also calls for a national public health monitoring with the necessary resources and a capacity to identify high risk groups.

CBC News – Mia Sheldon & Matthew Amha
Black market guns: Where they’re coming from and how they get into the hands of criminals

According to this report, Canada has acquired a new distinction.  Whereas Canada once suffered from the supply of guns coming across the border illegally, now they appear to be coming in legally or being manufactured in Canada and dumped on the black market – a process dubbed ‘straw-gun buyers,’ only momentarily removed from being a crime gun. Included in this report is a break down in the homicide stats according to weapon used and an update on the Toronto police efforts at buying back guns.  We have also seen an increase in funding to track and prevent illegal gun distribution.

CBC News – Bethany Lindsay
‘An incredibly troubling notion’: Drastic new tool to fight money laundering alarms civil rights advocates

What to do when money laundering is driving real estate prices?  BC offers an answer that is troubling many civil liberty advocates: confiscate the property even though there is no direct or proven link to crime.  Called unexplained wealth orders (UWOs), the proposal is to require owners to prove to the provincial government the origin of the funds used to purchase any property that excites government interest.  Though the method is in use in both the UK and Australia, there remains any number of way government can already confiscate property from crime.  Critics are concerned that this method would have little or no legitimate controls.

Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Jailed migrants have right to challenge detention before judges: Supreme Court

Advocates for those immigrants and refugees held in long term detention after breaking immigration law have scored a victory in the Supreme Court which gives these detainees the right to appeal their detention to the courts.  They are often held in maximum security prisons and often the reason for their detention involves a long term resolution, if at all.  Because there are review processes at the federal government level, provincial courts have often declared themselves lacking jurisdiction.  The court said the system does not address concerns over the conditions and length of detention and is “less advantageous to detainees.”  The Court ruled 6-1 that the detainees have access to the provincial courts for remedy.  “Calling the judgment “extraordinary,” University of British Columbia law professor Efrat Arbel — an expert in refugee, prison and constitutional law — praised the high court’s “explicit recognition” of immigration detainees’ rights.”

Waging non-violence – Victoria Law
#FreeBlackMamas bails black mothers from jail for Mother’s Day

Here’s a novel Mother’s Day gift.  The US 13th Amendment has been in the news for some time because it allows those incarcerated to be used as labourers with compensation.  This group of prison abolitionists is suggested defeating a corrupted use of the bail system by paying the bail for women and mothers who are too poor to pay their own release.  These are some of the 462,000 people held before trial, often for prolonged periods, and often violating the legal requirement that only jails people who are at risk of re-offending or of flight.  For many, jail while awaiting trial is part of a hard-on-crime attitude by those charged with law enforcement but such imprisonment in fact against the law and contributing to mass incarceration.   Related article: L.A. Times – Lorraine Ali   Van Jones is making crime personal with CNN’s ‘The Redemption Project’   Related article: Toronto Star – Anthony Morgan  My brother’s in jail. Why does talking to him require hundreds of dollars a month and 1990s technology?

CBC News – Dan Taekema
Ministry responds to recommendations from Barton jail inquest into 8 overdose deaths

A year after the inquest of eight inmates in the Barton Street Jail, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the new home for Correctional Services, has offered a rather strange resolution to the death of eight people.  Sixty-two recommendations followed the inquest and the Ministry responded one-by-one, accepting some but refusing others.   Advocates were looking for a solution to staff shortages, a solution to overcrowding, random searches of staff and a drug sniffing canine presence to control the flow of drugs.  The concessions seemed to have by-passed these specific recs.