OAS wants probe…

June 9, 2019

Global TV News – Amanda Connolly
Organization of American States wants to probe MMIWG allegation of ‘genocide’

The OAS Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, who represents 35 independent states, thinks that Canada should welcome a national independent panel of experts to confront the specifics of the 1200 pages.  In a letter to the government of Canada Almagro said:  “Given that your country has always sided with scrutiny and international investigation in situations where human rights are violated in different countries, I am expecting to receive a favourable response to this request.”  https://globalnews.ca/news/5354323/oas-mmiwg-genocide-report-probe/   Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Ballingall   International group of American countries wants to investigate MMIWG ‘genocide’ findings    https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/06/05/international-group-of-american-countries-wants-to-investigate-mmiwg-genocide-findings.html    Related article:  CBC News – Robin Urback   The political quagmire of the prime minister accepting his country’s complicity in genocide – There will be broad geopolitical and domestic implications   https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/genocide-mmiwg-1.5164014    Related article: CBC News – Jorge Barrera   MMIWG cases continued at same rate even after national inquiry began, data shows   https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/mmiwg-inquiry-new-cases-statistics-databases-1.5162482    Related article: CBC News – Naomi Sayers   The MMIWG report chronicles exploitation without really defining it   https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/exploitation-1.5160860   Related article: McLean’s – Heidi Matthews    What the debate around Indigenous genocide says about Canada – Opinion: The MMIWG report finding questions the very foundations of Canadian sovereignty in a way that Canadians have been unwilling to do   https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/what-the-debate-around-indigenous-genocide-says-about-canada/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

 Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham, Jacques Gallant, Wendy Gillis, Jim Rankin and Betsy Powell
The report on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls calls for sweeping justice reform. Here’s what that would require

Now that the 1200 page report and its 231 recommendations are available, in stark and pointed format, the issue now becomes what to do about both individuals harmed and the institutional failures.  Even elements like the reform of the justice system, though badly needed, will not get at the root causes of the widespread discrimination at the basis of the treatment of Indigenous people.  The Star reporters are suggesting that some sort of Ombudsperson and tribunal to oversee relations between government and Aboriginals for human and Indigenous rights may be a starting place and a way around the tendency of such reports to collect dust on the shelf.  The reporters go on to identify 12 actions steps as an immediate response.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/06/05/the-report-on-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls-calls-for-sweeping-justice-reform-heres-what-that-would-require.html   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (June 3, 2019)  Ottawa should act on report on murdered and missing women, with all its flaws  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/06/03/ottawa-should-act-on-report-on-murdered-and-missing-women-with-all-its-flaws.html

  Toronto Star – Teresa Wright, Canadian Press
Changes to solitary-confinement bill could address key MMIWG inquiry findings

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies support some senate suggested amendments to Bill C-83 – a bill to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and, among other issues,  intended to regulate the use of solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons.   The amendments, say advocates, would dovetail into appropriate response to the MMIWG report just released.  Advocates think that solitary is more frequently practiced on the growing number of incarcerated Indigenous people, especially women.  The Fry Societies want to insert accountability by a judge over the use of solitary, more support for inmates with mental illness and more community based rehab.  The Bill has passed First Reading in the House is currently under debate in the Senate. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/06/05/changes-to-solitary-confinement-bill-could-address-key-mmiwg-inquiry-findings.html   Text of Bill C-83   https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-83/first-reading

Global TV News – Stewart Bell
RCMP explores crimes against humanity charges for Canadian ISIS members

The question is what to do with the Canadian citizens who have been apprehended fighting for ISIS.  Their number includes 6 men, 9 women and 17 children.  So far, all are clumped together and Canadian authorities was looking at provisions of the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act or terrorism offences under the Criminal Code.  The decision waits pending repatriation of the 27 individuals.  There is also some talk about establishing an international tribunal.  https://globalnews.ca/news/5346883/crimes-against-humanity-charges-canadians-syria/

Toronto Star – Heather Scoffield
Federal government to launch Equality Fund to entrench women’s rights and gender equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver this week the intent of the federal government to provide an equality fund to advance feminist projects aimed at gender equality.  The $300 million includes funds to promote the drive for gender equality with philanthropic and community based groups to bolster feminist activism and women’s groups in Canada and globally.    The plan and the funds are to be spread out over 15 years.  https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2019/06/02/federal-government-to-launch-equality-fund-to-entrench-womens-rights-and-gender-equality.html

BC Tyee – Brielle Morgan, Katie Hyslop, Cherise Seucharan and Tracy Sherlock Today
What If We Gave Struggling Families as Much Support as Foster Parents?

We are currently basking in reflective appreciation for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, an entirely appropriate time to consider this suggestion.  Could we impact on getting poor Canadian families out of poverty by simply directing resources such as we have in place for foster parents who follow the collapse of vulnerable families?  The authors say we are investing at the wrong end of the issue around beating poverty and child welfare.  We should be investing in preventative measures to pre-empt breakdown.  In BC in 2018, nearly 75% of children were apprehended because of ‘neglect.’  Says Jennifer Chuckry, executive director of Surrounded by Cedar — one of 24 agencies delegated by the province to deliver child-welfare services to Indigenous children and families in B.C.:  “We need to be investing in children and families long before there is a child-protection concern… Instead of paying caregivers hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep kids in care.”   https://thetyee.ca/News/2019/06/06/Struggling-Families-Foster-Parents/

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Audit flags risk of ‘food-related health event’ in Canadian prisons

“Food, glorious food!” sang the orphans of OLIVER.  But the food served in prisons in Canada leaves something to be desired and is one of the root causes of tensions and violence.  A federal audit of the food systems leaves no doubt:  “Federal government auditors scrutinized kitchens and food preparation rules in federal institutions that feed more than 14,000 inmates daily. It found that the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is failing to meet Canada Food Guide’s nutrition guidelines, to provide quality assurance oversight and to take consistent steps to avoid contamination.”  Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator, warns there are both health and security concerns around the continuing deficiencies.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/prison-food-csc-audit-1.5167222

The Marshall Project (US) – Christie Thompson, Leila Miller and Manuel Villa
Mentally Ill and Languishing in Jail – A Pennsylvania case illustrates a national problem: People with psychiatric illnesses often remain incarcerated while they wait for a hospital bed.

Determined to be mentally incompetent by a judge, Elle (a pseudonym) was ordered to mental health treatment.  As is often the case, there were no beds in the mental hospital so Elle went to prison, Pennsylvania having downsized the mental hospitals and the community mental health services.  Repeated lawsuits from the ACLU has reduced the average delay for treatment to 24 days from 8 months.  “Attorneys, forensic psychiatrists and hospital administrators say the real problem is a system that fails to distinguish between who needs to be in the justice system and who could be served in a cheaper community setting.”  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2019/06/06/mentally-ill-and-languishing-in-jail?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sprout&utm_source=twitter

Illinois Public Media – Lee V. Gaines
Illinois Prison Removes More Than 200 Books from Prison Library

In the middle of all the talk about reforming prisons and making rehabilitation the focus of prisons, the news of an apparently systemic removal of all books about Black people from the prison library that serves a University of Illinois college in prison program hardly offers confidence that Danville Correctional Institute has anything but repression and punishment in mind.  Rebecca Ginsburg, who runs the Educational Justice Program, is unable to get any explanation or rationale for the decision to remove books from the library nor which books to remove.  There is also some indication of similar censorship in other states.  https://will.illinois.edu/news/story/illinois-prison-removes-more-than-200-books-from-prison-library

The Manchester Guardian (UK) The Long Read – Jonathan Aldred
‘Socialism for the rich’: the evils of bad economics – The economic arguments adopted by Britain and the US in the 1980s led to vastly increased inequality – and gave the false impression that this outcome was not only inevitable, but good.

Aldred tackles the income disparity as a matter of an economic thrust starting in the 1980’s which directed the income more pointed to the upper 1% of the population.  The disparity, he says, is a matter of policy and not inevitability.  He identifies most of the western nations but especially the US and the UK as countries where the rich prospered even more and came to think of tax relief as their right.  The idea that legitimated the tax concession was that tax concession would enlarge the economic activity would add to the existing tax base, an idea still legitimating tax reductions, but without prove over time.  https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2019/jun/06/socialism-for-the-rich-the-evils-of-bad-economics?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX1RoZUxvbmdSZWFkLTE5MDYwOA%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=TheLongRead&CMP=longread_email