Indigenous genocide…

May 31, 2019

CBC News – Jorge Barrera
National inquiry calls murders and disappearances of Indigenous women a ‘Canadian genocide’

The CBC has verified that the 1200 page final report with 230 recommendations on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls has branded the long term and repeated murders of Indigenous Women and girls – estimated at around 4,000 in all – a Canadian genocide.  Because the composers of the final report disagree about what legally constitutes a genocide, there will be a follow-up report to present the case for genocide.  “”We do know that thousands of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) have been lost to the Canadian genocide to date,” said the report, titled Reclaiming Power and Place.”  The text of the report is expected to be released on Monday in a ceremonial presentation to Prime Minster Trudeau, the Cabinet and Indigenous leadership at the Gatineau Museum of History.

Huffington Post – Emma Paling
Ontario PCs Pass Budget Bill That Makes Government Immune to Most Lawsuits

The Ford government in Ontario is getting credit for the mother all omnibus bills called the Protecting What Matters Most Act.  The Bill follows the April budget and amends or repeals 199 other laws, including the existing Proceedings Against the Crown Act, making it next to impossible to hold government accountable for its negligence or reckless operations.  Michael Bryant, executive director and general counsel at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says: “Truly, the legislature does not know what it voted for … you couldn’t possibly give it the appropriate attention.”

CBC News – Greg Rasmussen
Vancouver police using same DNA technique that caught suspected Golden State Killer

Genetic genealogy is the latest tool for police who are trying to track DNA that has no record to date.  The approach involves hiring a specialist to survey all known data banks of DNA to find a match or someone close enough to offer a family link.  The method is getting more use in cold cases and is described as the place where DNA evidence meets the family tree, a process still not subject to legal assessment.

CBC News (Nova Scotia) – David Burke
Shoplifting and other petty-crime cases are being dropped by courts

The problem is that petty crime is just as cumbersome as serious crime and takes resources to confront.  As problems with courts and prisons grow, the question is increasingly if you want to prosecute the petty shoplifting or not.  Rick Woodburn, the President of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, says: “Lower-end charges [are] being triaged and falling off our radar, because we have to keep an eye on the bigger cases of the homicides, sexual assaults, robberies.” Some retailers, rather than charge the offending shoplifter, will pursue a civil case seeking repayment of their costs but this too is a route with problems, legal and social.

CBC News – Harvey Cashore
CRA signs secret settlement with wealthy KPMG clients involved in offshore tax scheme

It has to be shrouded in secrecy says the Canada Revenue Agency because of the privacy laws around the tax system.  What we don’t know is even the first detail around the Isle of Man scheme to hide from taxes, the perpetrators, the amounts involved, or the amount large accounting firms who set up the offshores got for later brokering the deals with CRA.  Court cases which silenced information from parliamentary hearings never happened.

 National Post – Teresa Wright, Canadian Press
Senate committee approves changes to solitary confinement bill

A senate committee has approved changes to a bill to end solitary in Canada’s prisons and to require a judge’s approval for any period beyond the temporary measure of 48 hours maximum.  The Bill (C-83) in its original form was almost completely rejected by the senate until the senators added provisions intended, says Senator Kim Pate, to apply the charter of Rights and Freedoms to the incarcerated as well.  Says Pate: “The Correctional Service of Canada is the last branch of the administration of justice to have the Charter (of Rights and Freedoms) applied to it,” Pate told senators during the committee meeting on Monday. “We have it in bail provisions. We have it in search warrants. We have it in right to counsel. We don’t have it yet in the provision for jailing or isolating within the jail, which is segregation.”   Advocates consider the bill a huge constitutional step for the protection of inmates. The committee amendments must pass the full senate and the House again before becoming law.   Related article: Toronto Star: Teresa Wright, Canadian Press    Ashley Smith’s family furious with Trudeau over solitary-confinement bill    Related article: CBC News (Calgary) Anis Heydari     Conversion therapy is happening in Calgary and should be dealt with, say opponents

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
Senators fail to protect civil liberties by adopting Bill C-59 without crucial amendments

Bill C-59 was allegedly the effort to correct the problems with Bill C-51 (the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015).  The Monitoring Group sees some positives but mostly a refusal on the part of government has failed to address issues in which national security laws “come at the cost of privacy, free expression, due process and government transparency,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.”  At the same time, he group acknowledges a redress mechanism for the no-fly list, a new accountability agency in the new National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA) and Intelligence Commissioner.   Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Boutelier, Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed News and Jane Lytvynenko  Why old, false claims about Canadian Muslims are resurfacing online    Related article: CBC News – Peter Zimonjic and David Cochrane   Committee erupts after Tory MP tells Muslim witness he ‘should be ashamed’  Related article: UNESCO Safe Schools Declaration   UNESCO calls for more states to endorse Safe Schools Declaration   Text of declaration:

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
‘Fear no more’: Liberal government takes steps to help foreign workers, newcomers escape abuse

Foreign workers have a difficult time coming to Canada and doing seasonal work before returning to their homes, especially if their work permit is a specific employer related permit.  In cases of exploitive labour or domestic abuse, the workers and their families have had little or no recourse.  “Beginning July 26, newcomers who are victims of domestic violence can apply for a free temporary resident permit that will give them legal immigration status in Canada. That will include a work permit and health-care coverage. In “urgent” situations of family violence, the government will expedite the process by allowing people to apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”

Toronto Star Editorial (May 29, 2019)
The mentally ill and addicted need immediate action, not future promises

The Star welcomes the news: the Ford government announced its plan to establish a mental health and addictions centre of excellence and plans to sue drug companies for their role in the opioid addictions deaths and problems.  The Editorial Board is confused by the lack of any budgeted amounts to achieve these purposes.   Worse still, Ford has cut six of 21 safe injection sites.

Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime / National Justice Network Update
Ottawa to restore victim surcharge

Under the Harper government, judges were mandated to impose a victim surcharge on conviction, a requirement determined cruel and unusual for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.  The new Justice Minister Justice Minister David Lametti wants to bring forward amendments to Bill C-75 of the victim surcharge that complies with the Charter by allowing the judge discretion in imposing the surcharge.  No one is sure, or offering resolution, to the thousands who have been previously fined but who have not paid the surcharge.