Seeking refuge…

June 21, 2019

National Catholic Reporter / Global Sisters Report (US)
Seeking Refuge

The link is to a 49 page free e-book which draws on the resources of Catholic nuns working in the countries producing refugees and that are impacted by violence, persecution or war.  The report, put together by people with a presence to these refugees, offers a world-wide perspective and includes comments about resettlement agencies and how the refugees cope.  The report does not reference the climate refugees in the potential growth in the total number of refugees, currently estimated at 71 million displaced persons.   Related article:  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Figures at a Glance   Related article:  CBC News – Nicole Mortillaro   Could Canada be a safe haven for climate refugees?   Related article: National Newswatch – Teresa Wright   Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in 2018, UN says

 Broadbent Institute – Daniel Konikoff and Akwasi Owusu-Bempah
Big Data and Criminal Justice – What Canadians Need to Know

Not only is there data sets on pretty well everything we do but there are quite extra-ordinary tools to manipulate that data.  The use and manipulation of big data is becoming more and more prevalent, even to the point of dependent structure for criminal justice, policing and courts.  Policing now uses “predictive analytics” in decision making around how to use police resources, at times making policing both reactive and aggressive.  Corrections Canada uses the Level of Services-Revised Inventory, a predictive outcomes results in parole, “to make decisions about the level of supervision and treatment services required for a given individual.”  Quo vadis?   Related article:  Toronto Star – Editorial (June 18, 2019)  The Trudeau Liberals are wrong to duck a handgun ban

National Newswatch – Glen Pearson
Doubts in a World of Dangerous Certainties

Pearson offers a reflection on our political malaise through the eyes of US Conservative David Brooks.  Brooks is trying to understand the political vacuum he is experiencing: “I had spent my entire adult life in the conservative movement, but my conservatism was no longer the prevailing conservatism, so I found myself intellectually and politically unattached.  The rot we see in our politics is caused by a rot in our moral and cultural foundations—in the way we relate to one another, in the way we see ourselves as separable from one another.”   Related article: CBC News – Duncan McCue  Why environmentalists are taking their climate fight to Canadian courtrooms

CBC News – Paul Withers
New tentative contract for Canada’s scientists would enshrine right to speak to media

You may recall one of the struggles for Canadians to access reputable scientific information around climate change issues was a government (then Harper Conservatives) with a stranglehold on the dissimulation of the scientific studies and opinions.  Scientists paid by government were forbidden to communicate their findings directly and were forced by contract to submit the findings exclusively to government.  No more!  Employment contracts with scientists will no longer inhibit the widespread distribution of the science.  The agreement is tentative at this point but expected to be enshrined in the labour agreement contract with scientists.

Rio Grande Sun (New Mexico) – Tabitha Clay
Employers May Not Ask About Felony Convictions

The ACLU in New Mexico has a significant post release success in the prohibition of asking about felony convictions on job application forms.  The prohibition, following the ‘Ban the Box’ strategy, has legislative teeth and while employers can ask in the face-to-face interview, the presence of the question on the paper and on-line app has always been daunting and discouraging for second chance people.  The chore now is to help understand the importance of jobs for rehabilitation.  New Mexico is also working on expunging records, housing changes, relief for solitary confinement for pregnant women and children under 18, called ‘restrictive confinement’ there.  New Mexico is trying to move to greater conformity with the Mandela Rules from the UN.   Related article: Washington Times (US) – David Sherfinski   Elizabeth Warren unveils plan to ban privately run prisons, immigration detention facilities

CBC News – John Paul Tasker
Rona Ambrose’s sex assault bill is dead — and so is the UNDRIP bill

Ambrose’s bill was intended to mandate sexual assault training for Canada’s judges but Conservative elements in the Senate have effectively defeated the now two year old bill.  Given that the house is now sitting until the federal election, and that the Senate is expected to shut down shortly as well, there are a number of bills expected to die a quiet death with the closures, including some 40 private members bills.  The UNDRIP bill – establishing the UN Rights of Indigenous Persons – is also among the lot but Liberals are promising to return to the legislation in the next government.  Related article: I-Politics – Charles Pinkerton   Pot pardons bill clears Senate committee without amendments

 Gizmodo (US) – Matt Novak
U.S. Government Says It’s Not Required to Provide Migrant Kids in Custody with Toothpaste and Soap

Without pulling punches, Novak accepts that the holding facilities for the detained children at the US Southern border are concentrations camps.  What is equally outrageous is the claim in US Federal Court by a government Department of Justice lawyer that DOJ and its ancillaries are not responsible for basic sanitation and toiletries for those in custody.  The Flores Agreement is a 1997 agreement about the treatment of minors in custody.   Youtube video of the hearing in Ninth District Court of Appeal: (64 minute video of the court in session, somewhat technical in nature)  (A 3 minute shorter version of the specific exchange is available at: )   Related article: Truth Out (US) –  Maya Schenwar & Kelly Hayes      They Are Concentration Camps — and They Are Also Prisons   Related article: CNN – Nick Valencia and Catherine E. Shoichet    Lack of soap, filthy onesies and too few beds have created a ‘health crisis’ at border detention facilities, monitors warn   Related article: USA Today – Associated Press   Detained immigrant children aren’t guaranteed soap, toothbrushes, Trump administration says   Related article: CBS News 4 (Texas, US)  Marisa Saenz   Attorneys who visit Clint detention facility calls migrant children conditions “inhumane”

Canadian Drug Policy Coalition – Peter Kim
Opioid-related deaths in Canada: 11,577 lives lost through flawed drug policy

“The opioid crisis has affected every part of the country, but some provinces and territories have been impacted more than others. According to data reported as of May 15, 2019.”  The report has a graphic showing the distribution of the deaths across the country.

 VOX News (US) – Catherin Kim
Marion Wilson was the 1,500th person executed in the US since 1976 – The state of Georgia executed him Thursday.

The death penalty was re-instated in 1976 and since then Georgia has led the way in its application, prompting the original court challenge that led to the temporary ban in 1972.  Convicted of murder in 1996 and 18 years old at the time, Wilson did not actually pull the trigger.  His partner in the crime was executed last year.  Wilson is the 74th person executed in Georgia since 1976.