When will they ever learn…

June 24, 2020

iPolitics – Jolson Lim and Victoria Gibson
RCMP plan to buy more armored vehicles amid new scrutiny over policing tactics

Given all the suggestion that the leadership within policing in Canada is far out of touch with the signs of the times, this headline is a loudly reverberating “I-told-you-so.”  The proposed addition to the RCMP fleet would bring the number of such vehicles to 21.  “The purchase of armored vehicles by police in Canada has come under increasing scrutiny in wake of new protests over anti-Black racism and police violence. Halifax city council recently cancelled the purchase of an armored tactical vehicle for its municipal police and re-allocated the $368,000 it planned to spend to the city’s diversity office and for anti-racism initiatives.”  https://ipolitics.ca/2020/06/22/rcmp-plan-to-buy-more-armoured-vehicles-amid-new-scrutiny-over-policing-tactics/   Related article: N.Y. Times (US) – In Germany, Confronting Shameful Legacy Is Essential Part of Police Training – In the postwar era, Germany fundamentally redesigned law enforcement to prevent past atrocities from ever repeating. Its approach may hold lessons for police reform everywhere.   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/world/europe/germany-police.html#click=https://t.co/C029CJEao9    Related article: ProPublica – Wendi C. Thomas The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I’m One of Them.   https://www.propublica.org/article/the-police-have-been-spying-on-black-reporters-and-activists-for-years-i-know-because-im-one-of-them?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social#964969   Related article: Washington Post – Peter Jameson  This California city defunded its police force. Killings by officers soared.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/this-california-city-defunded-its-police-force-killings-by-officers-soared/2020/06/22/253eeddc-b198-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most   Related article / video: CBS News   Minneapolis police union leaders speak out (A 6 minute video interview of four reps from the Police Union on the racial tensions)  https://www.cbsnews.com/video/minneapolis-police-union-leaders-on-horrific-video-of-george-floyds-death-racism-in-policing/#x  (Click on arrow to get sound)

The Sentencing Council (UK)
The application of sentencing principles during the Covid-19 emergency

In the UK, there are no mandatory minimums (except for murder) and judges have discretion around appropriate sentences.  The Council is offering guidelines around how to apply sentences in the light of the threat of Covid-19.  The guidelines include the needed rationale for fines, community service and incarceration.  “The court should consider whether increased weight should be given to mitigating factors, and should keep in mind that the impact of immediate imprisonment is likely to be particularly heavy for some groups of offenders or their families.”  The guidelines also include another practice called Reduction in sentence for a guilty plea  (cf https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/overarching-guides/crown-court/item/reduction-in-sentence-for-a-guilty-plea-first-hearing-on-or-after-1-june-2017/ )  The commentary may provoke the issue of the guilty plea reduction leading to the conviction of innocent people.  https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/news/item/the-application-of-sentencing-principles-during-the-covid-19-emergency/

CBC News
New institute for examining slavery in Canada to be set up at NSCAD University

“Charmaine Nelson, an art historian and professor, is the new Canada Research Chair in transatlantic Black diasporic art and community engagement.” Nelson says that slavery existed in Canada for over 200 years, a blow to all those comforted and perhaps drawing excuses from the stories of the Black underground railway.  The new school will accommodate both traditional and visual research on the topic.  https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5622252?__twitter_impression=true  Related article: Toronto Star – Tiffany Gooch  In fighting anti-Black racism, stay focused on the ultimate goal, which is justice  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/06/20/in-fighting-anti-black-racism-stay-focused-on-the-ultimate-goal-which-is-justice.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a05&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=top_26595

Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh
A third migrant worker is dead and the farm where he worked had a long history of complaints — an inside look at Scotlynn Growers – The multimillion dollar produce farm is the site of one of the province’s largest recorded COVID-19 outbreaks. What happened in Haldimand-Norfolk?

There is perhaps no clearer example of essential workers at the low end of the scale than the migrant farm workers in Canada and in Ontario.  Scotlynn Growers, a huge operation, is also the site of over 199 confirmed positive tests for Covid-19. “In complaints filed to the Mexican Ministry of Labour and obtained by the Star, workers have described pest infestations and bunkhouse floods; they reported overcrowding and broken amenities.”  The resulting inspections and orders from government and public health bring with them the realization that migrant workers have no permanent immigration status in Canada and therefore no voice.  https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/06/24/a-third-migrant-worker-is-dead-and-the-farm-where-he-worked-had-a-long-history-of-complaints-an-inside-look-at-scotlynn-growers.html  Related article – London Free Press – Doug Schmidt   COVID-19: Mexico halts sending migrant workers in fallout of Southwestern Ontario deaths  https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/covid-19-mexico-halts-sending-migrant-workers-in-fallout-of-southwestern-ontario-deaths  Related article: Institute for Canadian Citizenship: New poll shows impact of COVID-19 on new Canadian citizens  (In anticipation of Canada Day)  https://www.inclusion.ca/site/uploads/2020/06/ICC-Leger-Polling-Results-June-2020-EN.pdf

TVO.org – David Rockne Corrigan
‘Enough is enough’: Loved ones speak out about conditions in federal prisons

Most prisons have been locked down now for over three months.  That effectively means a lot of solitary and no family visitors.  Some prisons are allowing video conferencing but most do not have the equipment – computers and internet – to address the numbers and the consequent scheduling problems.  “Wives and partners of men incarcerated at federal prisons tell TVO.org that violence among inmates is on the rise and that mental health is declining as a result of COVID-19 mitigation measures. Such measures are now coming in for more public criticism: on Friday afternoon, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the ombudsperson for federally sentenced offenders, released its own update in which it said prisoners’ human rights had been violated.”  Experts in corrections have always acknowledged the family connection as an essential element of rehab.  The link includes an update from the Correctional Investigator, Dr. Ivan Zinger on the situation and the status of the virus in the jails.  Says Catherine Latimer of John Howard Canada:  “This lockdown, this isolation that they are subjecting these people to, is damaging,” Latimer said. “And they’ve allowed it to happen on a massive scale.”  https://www.tvo.org/article/enough-is-enough-loved-ones-speak-out-about-conditions-in-federal-prisons

CBC News –
V, W, U or L? Here’s what kind of shape Canada’s economy will be in coming out of COVID-19

Though there are repeated warnings that the current assault of the Covid-19 is still not over, and that we may likely expect a second wave, the economists are looking to assess what the recovery will look.  The US Federal Reserve labels the potential with letters of the alphabet and provides corresponding graphs to project the recovery.  Some are suggesting the Nike swoosh as the model but all are scratching the V and hopeful that the W stays away.  But the experts think that perhaps the recovery model will vary with the industry implicated. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/economic-recovery-letters-analysis-1.5574372?cmp=newsletter_CBC%20News%20Morning%20Brief_1501_40821

Halifax Examiner – EL Jones
If we’re serious about addressing systemic racism, then prisoners should have the right to vote in the upcoming municipal elections

As the noise of elections fills our ears, we are reminded that In Canada prisoners retain their right to vote in federal and provincial elections.  But in Nova Scotia under the Municipal Election Act, people in prison are prohibited from voting.  Such persons may be in federal or provincial custody or alternately may be on remand and convicted of nothing.  Asaf Rashid, a lawyer, who has examined the situation says:  “The exclusion of prisoners from voting in municipal elections under the Municipal Elections Act should be ruled as unconstitutional. It is also against supposed objectives of rehabilitation, reintegration, and positive engagement in society that the correctional system claims are part of its objectives.” https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/prisoners-should-have-the-right-to-vote-in-the-upcoming-municipal-elections/

Community Justice Initiatives (Ottawa) – Kate Crozier
Introduction to Restorative Justice Approaches to Sexual Violence & Harm

A series of four two hours sessions on line including foundations, causes, impact on others, RJ models, limits of RJ.  Some interactive time as well.  First session:  Tue, July 21, 2020 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT .  Cost: $80 for the four sessions.  Dates for other three sessions: July 23, 28, 30, all at 10-12.  www.cjiwr.com     katec@cjiwr.com  Tel: 519-744-6549 x 134