Patient, present and unconditional…

July 22, 2019

National Newswatch – Amy Smart, Canadian Press
Canadians need to be patient, present, unconditional with reconciliation: Trudeau

While the immediate prompt for this advice is the reconciliation among Indigenous people, the rancor likely in the next election and the increasing populism divisiveness in Canada may suggest that the perspective is worthy of embrace by all Canadians across a whole host of issues.  “Getting reconciliation right means allowing Indigenous communities to “make their own mistakes,” he (Trudeau) said.  Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Ballingall   Justin Trudeau made reconciliation a top priority. Four years later, what’s changed?    Related article: Toronto Star – Evelyn Kwong  Welcome to multicultural Canada — where ‘go back where you came from’ is also a thing

Open Society Foundation – Alelur Duran
What a Soccer Star Teaches Us about Criminal Justice

Megan Rapinoe’s brother Brian has been in and out of prison for most of his life, first at age 15.  She is the co-captain of the World Champion US Women’s Soccer Team.  Besides giving rousing speeches about her team’s victories and her demand for equal pay for women athletes, she has shone some light on the justice system.   ESPN (US) – Why Megan Rapinoe’s brother Brian is her greatest heartbreak, and hope

CBC News – Marty Patriquin
Absurdity and cruelty come together in one new Quebec law

Bill 21 needed the non-withstanding invocation to become law in Quebec but it has also become a lightning rod especially for the immigrant population.  Patriquin offers a history of its Coalition Avenir Futur movement in Quebec and a perspective that compares the intent and practice of enforcement to the famed language police.  What is glaringly lacking to the bill, even if the premise is acceptable, is the lack of definition of what exactly is “a religious symbol.”  Advocates and critics alike are wondering about the impact of Bill 21 on the coming federal election.   Related article: Montreal Gazette –  Bill 21: Judge rejects groups’ attempt to have Quebec secularism law suspended   Related article: Maclean’s –  Ahmed Sahi The province’s religious symbols crackdown will have dangerous repercussions across Canada as it sows fear, division and the erosion of fundamental rights   Related article: Montreal Gazette – Tyler Dawson     Premiers mostly silent over Quebec religious symbol ban: ‘It’s not something for us to contest’ – Brian Platt
Ontario judges reject two Charter challenges of Liberal government’s sex assault reforms, passed after Ghomeshi case

Bill C-51, now in force, made some changes around sexual assault law, including giving the claimant “the automatic right to bring their own lawyers and make submissions when the defence applies to introduce evidence of sexual history…. This right has already been interpreted to include the power to cross-examine the defendant, first established this spring in the high-profile Ottawa trial of Joshua Boyle (a former hostage in Afghanistan now accused by his estranged wife of sexual assault).”  So far, two appeals by defense lawyers have been rejected by two different judges who accept the right of a claimant as constitutional even though it applies only in sexual assault cases.

The (US) – Stefanie Mundhenk Harrelson
I Was Sexually Assaulted. And I Believe Incarcerating Rapists Doesn’t Help Victims Like Me.  The carceral system fails to heal victims and perpetuates trauma by caging human beings. It‘s time to try something else.

Harrelson offers a rather blunt assessment from her own personal experience and her training in law while aspiring to be a public defender: the current carceral resolution, even when it happens, is no solution to rape or sexual assault.     “…the criminal legal process removes power and control from victims and places  it in the hands of entities that represent the interests of the state instead of the person harmed. Victims who do not wish to testify may even be compelled to do so via a court order, under threat of imprisonment. If one were to design a system to inflict trauma on survivors it would look a lot like our current criminal legal system.”  Harrelson suggests also that incarceration as a solution even prevents accountability by perpetrators.

VERA Institute (US)
Reimagining Prison Web Report

The link is to a 136 page downloadable pdf that looks at the inhumanity and failures of the prison system and the jails in the US and makes recommendations for genuine reform.  The key: “The harsh conditions within prisons have been demonstrated neither to ensure safety behind the walls nor to prevent crime and victimization in the community… It is time to acknowledge that this country has long used state punishment generally—and incarceration specifically—to subordinate racial and ethnic minorities.”

Southern Poverty Law Center (US)
Racism affects every aspect of American life – none more so than our medical system.

Racism has been a constant in political, social. And justice issues for a long time.  This ‘long read’ takes the impact to new levels in its focus on the medical care and access to medical care by Black women.  Life expectancy, kidney, cardiovascular and lung disease are all at higher rates; likewise, higher incidents of asthma and maternal death in childbirth, while also experiencing twice the infertility rate.  “The evidence is glaringly clear: Racism is lethal, and we cannot hope to achieve racial equity without acknowledging that this underlying factor causes an untold number of premature deaths among black Americans.”  Related article: Lily / Washington Post (US) – Meagan Flynn   Female inmates were forced to expose their genitals in a ‘training exercise.’ According to a court ruling, that was legal.   Related article: The L.A. Times Editorial (June 15, 2019)  Women were brutally strip-searched in L.A. County jails. Now we have to pay for it   Related article: The Marshall Project – David Ourlicht as told to Margo Snipe I’m 31. I’m a Lawyer. And I’m Still Getting Stopped by the Police. “Despite everything I have accomplished, this is still happening to me.”

 The Atlantic (US) – Peter Nicholas
‘It Makes Us Want to Support Him More’ –

The North Carolina rally that heard ‘send her back’ emerge as a political refrain directed at those who criticize or protest has many wondering how Trump can maintain his base support in the face of such rampant racism.  The chant must strike deeply in the hearts of many refugees who arrived in America having escaped violence and poverty to join the American pursuit of a better future.  Nicholas interviews some of the crowd at the rally in an effort to understanding the concerted anti-refugee motive.  “Amid a convulsive week in American politics, at one of the darkest rallies Donald Trump has ever held, his base showed up in force to tell the president he’s done nothing wrong.”

CBC News (NB) – Karissa Donkin
Former warden approved misleading press release on inmate Matthew Hines’s death

While the autopsy linked repeated pepper spraying to his death, the press release on the death of Matthew Hines does not mention the spraying incident at all and claims both CPR and medical attention was given.  No one, including the warden and CSC has an explanation for the origin of the claims in the press release.  A 50 minute video of the incident did not show any CPR efforts claimed by the warden, nor any effort at medical attention.  The Crown has decided that there will be no action against the two Correctional officers.  Says Catherine Latimer of John Howard Canada:  “Anybody who saw that video couldn’t really justify making the statement that CPR or any kind of medical intervention was medically applied. It’s just so inaccurate, it’s unbelievable.”