Temp workers…

May 17, 2019

CBC News – Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani
Number of temp workers jumped by 50% in last 20 years, StatsCan says

This report may be insightful for understanding the issues around income inequality and growing inadequacy in income generally and especially among vulnerable populations.  Temporary workers do not get job stability nor do they often get full time employment; they lose on job benefits with less income but they often gain on the anxiety scales and ability to cope with debt.  While the number of permanent jobs is up 33%, the number of temporary jobs over the same period is up 50% according to this latest report.  “The sectors with the most temporary jobs were education, health care and social assistance. More than a quarter of the jobs in education were temporary (at 26 per cent in 2018) followed by health care and social assistance (at 13 per cent, combined).”   https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/temporary-workers-employment-1.5135310

CBC News – Chantelle Bellrichard
Judge to rule ‘as quickly as possible’ on dispute between MMIWG inquiry and RCMP

The present obstacle to the inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls may serve to highlight the root problem.  The Commission is seeking access to two RCMP files which, say the RCMP, are not available because they involve on-going investigations.  The dispute is now in court in BC after the commission issued a subpoena for the files.  While publications bans are preventing public disclosure about the specific details of the cases involved, the mandate for the MMIWG runs out shortly.  What is puzzling is that the RCMP have already given investigative files to the inquiry.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/mmiwg-inquiry-court-rcmp-files-1.5134917   Related article: CBC News – Angela Sterritt, Jason Proctor   ‘Were you at all turned on?’: RCMP’s handling of sexual assault interview denounced    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-sexual-assault-video-1.5137676

CBC News
Tori Stafford’s killer retracts application for compensation for being moved from healing lodge to prison

Terri-Lynne McClintic, convicted of killing 8 year old Tori Stafford, was transferred after four years from Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, ON, to a healing lodge in Maple Creek, SK.  Such a protest resulted that she was again transferred to the Edmonton Institute for Women; she then filed an appeal and sought compensation on the grounds that the move back to prison was unreasonable and unfair.  McClintic dropped the lawsuit three days before a judge was to rule.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/court-documents-terri-lynne-mcclintic-1.5135797

Toronto Star – Emma Teitel
If you’re calling 911 to complain about Amber Alerts, you need to get a grip

If you want a measure of how far our sense of citizenship and our mutual support has sunk, this report may be a good indication.  For several of the last few Amber Alerts following the endangerment of a child, people in Toronto have peppered the emergency 911 center with calls to protest the intrusion of the system into other pre-occupations – sleeping, sports.  The 911 protests divert operators from the alert itself but also divert and delay the ability of the centre to respond to other real emergencies.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2019/05/14/if-youre-calling-911-to-complain-about-amber-alerts-you-need-to-get-a-grip.html  Related article: Toronto Star Editorial Board (May 14, 2019) Don’t clog 911 with selfish Amber Alert complaints  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/05/14/dont-clog-911-with-selfish-amber-alert-complaints.html

Toronto Star (Washington Post) – Jason Samenow
It was 29C near the Arctic Ocean this weekend as carbon dioxide hit its highest level in human history

Among the various warnings about the impact of climate change, this one should properly arouse A CHILL.  “Over the weekend, the climate system sounded simultaneous alarms. Near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean in northwest Russia, the temperature surged to 29 Celsius… Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2019/05/14/it-was-29-degrees-near-the-arctic-ocean-this-weekend-as-carbon-dioxide-hit-its-highest-level-in-human-history.html   Related article: The Star Halifax – Yvette d’Entremont   ‘It’s like nature’s on steroids:’ Well-known Canadian weather expert tackles climate change and eco-anxiety  https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2019/05/14/its-like-natures-on-steroids-well-known-canadian-weather-expert-tackles-climate-change-and-eco-anxiety.html  Related article: BC Tyee – Mitchell Anderson   Traditional Economics Has Absolutely Screwed Us – UN’s biodiversity crisis report screams for new ways of natural accounting.   https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2019/05/09/Traditional-Economics-Biodiversity-Natural-Accounting/  International Report:  (Downloadable 39 page pdf) The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers (PDF)   https://www.ipbes.net/news/ipbes-global-assessment-summary-policymakers-pdf

Toronto Star – Joseph Hall
How cannabis-fuelled frat parties led to a new roadside screening device

A group of engineering students from Sir Wilfred Laurier University have designed a new marijuana impairment testing device that by-passes the question of THC in the blood and goes directly to measurement of impairment in the functioning for driving.  Lawyers defend against the current testing on the basis of untrained officers and badly administered tests but this method shows some promise for court evidence reliability.  A driver puts on a visor and the visor measures elements in the eye which illustrate impairment.  So far, several Ontario police forces are testing the device.  https://www.thestar.com/news/cannabis/2019/05/10/how-cannabis-fuelled-frat-parties-led-to-a-new-roadside-screening-device.html

Ottawa Citizen – Gary Dimmock
ByWard Market serial rapist branded dangerous offender

A man convicted as a serial rapist in Ottawa’s ByWard district has also been designated a dangerous offender.  The case over two years involved 13 victims, drugs dealing, drugging his victims, sexual assault and aggravated assault.  Phillip Wilson also contributed to his conviction by videotaping his offenses.  He now has a rare indeterminate sentence as a dangerous offender.  https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/0515-wilson    Related article: CBC News – David Thurton    Judge allows women’s rights group to challenge use of past sexual history in Joshua Boyle’s trial      https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/joshua-boyle-assault-trial-hostage-rape-shield-1.5136224

Toronto Star – Nick Boisvert
Allstate whistleblower facing $700K lawsuit says insurance giant trying to silence her

Whistleblowers are back in the news as Allstate begins a lawsuit against a former employee who says that Allstate discriminated against Brampton, ON, drivers who belong to minority groups.  Brampton has some of the highest auto rates in Ontario.  Mehda Joshi was fired by Allstate when she complained internally about discrimination towards Brampton’s several large but minority populations.  The case draws attention to the fact that legally people in the private sector do not enjoy as much protection from Canada’s whistleblower legislation, originally designed to protect public sector workers.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/allstate-counterclaim-brampton-discrimination-1.5137325

Toronto Star – Temur Durrani
China formally arrested Canadians detained for months following Huawei CFO’s arrest in December

Canadians have enjoyed relatively hassle free international travel for some time but this latest political / legal wrangle may serve as a caution for a capricious future.  “Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, have been formally arrested by the Chinese government for espionage-related offences and violating China’s national security after being detained without charges since December.”  The arrests are believed to be a tit-for-tat for the Canadian hold and extradition hearing on Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the US government.  China only recently granted the two men consular access though detained since December when Meng was first held.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/05/16/china-formally-charges-canadians-michael-kovrig-and-michael-spavor-after-months-of-detention.html

Savanah Morning News (US) – Robert Pawlicki
A bold new goal for prison reform

Pawlicki is looking at actual reductions in the prison population and suggests that significant reductions are impossible as long as the same mass incarceration practices continue.  He is particular concerned that the recidivism rates are proof that rehabilitation is increasingly less likely: 83% of former inmates return within 9 years.  Says Pawlicki: “The tough on crime philosophy has proven to be fool’s gold. You may believe that prisons make us safe, but that is minimally true.”  The heart of his commentary is rejection of the policy of long sentences. https://www.savannahnow.com/opinion/20190516/robert-pawlicki-column-bold-new-goal-for-prison-reform

New Statesman (UK Edition) – Anoosh Chakelian
Crumbling Britain: How it feels to give birth behind bars – The plight of pregnant women in our overstretched prison system.

Most of what we hear about the horrors of giving child birth while in prison comes from the US.  This one is a detailed and exacting description of birthing a child in British prison, equally and perhaps more unsettling.  The article follows Kate Sommers, 34, giving birth and the unhealthy deprivations and conditions she endured; she has suffered mental illness since age 14.   The problem seems wrapped entirely in the notion that crime by women – 83% is non-violent, often petty for which those convicted are sentenced to custody only long enough for disruption of the personal and family life.  The penalties defy any real healing and lack of alternatives and support for poor people ensures institutional and personal failure to cope with the root causes.  https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/05/crumbling-britain-how-it-feels-give-birth-behind-bars   Related article: Rights4girls.org (US)   There is No Such Thing as a child prostitute   http://rights4girls.org/    (The site confronts violence against girls and women, including human trafficking.)  Related article: USA Today – Pushed out and punished: One woman’s story shows how systems are failing black girls        https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/3434742002?__twitter_impression=true  (The article introduces a new term: to ADULTIFY – prematurely treating a young person as an adult, particularly in wrongdoing.)

The Guardian (UK – US Desk) – Ed Pilkington
Chelsea Manning jailed again as she refuses to testify before grand jury

The law is supposed to be blind, administered equally to all who appear before the courts.  This decision is raising a lot of eyebrows in the context of a US Administration and Justice Department utterly in conflict with the legislature over who is going to obey sub-poenas and who will not.  Manning continues to refuse to answer questions about her Julian Assange connections; she has already served time, much of it in solitary, for both revealing the army’s secrets and for contempt of a previous grand jury demand.  This recent judicial decision includes a fine of $500 a day for the next thirty days of silence and then $1000 a day.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/16/chelsea-manning-jailed-again-as-she-refuses-to-testify-before-grand-jury