Drug laws?

Aug 23, 2020

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
Federal prosecutors told to avoid drug possession charges when possible in new directive – Charges should be sought only in ‘most serious cases,’ says director of public prosecutions

The federal prosecutors set the tone for drug prosecutions from mere possession to the quantities sufficient to charge trafficking.  This latest revelation is in the face of severe backlogs in criminal courts, and a considerable increase in opioid overdoes and deaths.  It is also in the face of increasing political pressure to decriminalize both mere possession as well as illegal drugs across the board. “Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel is now asking her team of lawyers to focus on seeking charges only in “the most serious cases” and to otherwise ask for alternative measures, such as restorative justice and Indigenous approaches to divert simple possession cases away from the criminal justice system.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/simple-drug-possession-change-1.5657423   Related article: Globe and Mail – Canadian Press   Decriminalizing hard drugs necessary to address ‘escalating’ opioid crisis, Tam says  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-decriminalizing-hard-drugs-necessary-to-address-escalating-opioid/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links&s=09

National Newswatch – Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press
Trudeau government appeals Federal Court ruling on Canada-U.S. refugee pact

Ottawa is appealing a Federal court ruling that made unconstitutional the safe third country options for dealing with refugees crossing Canada’s border, mostly from the US.  The safe third country option means that “…Canada can turn back asylum seekers who arrive at land ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis they must pursue their claims in the U.S., the country where they first arrived.”  Advocates insist that the US is no longer a safe alternative.  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2020/08/21/canadian-press-newsalert-federal-government-to-appeal-canada-u-s-refugee-pact-ruling-2/#.X0KBlzV7k2z  Related article: Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung   Ottawa appeals court ruling that U.S. is unsafe for refugees   https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/08/21/ottawa-appeals-court-ruling-that-us-is-unsafe-for-refugees.html

CBC News – Samantha Craggs
Pregnant inmates are getting prenatal care far below health standards, study shows

A McMaster’s University team led by Dr. Dustin Costescu has determined that women prisoners who are pregnant are not getting anywhere near the expected international standards of care for pregnant mothers.  The team found “that incarcerated women — and even women who had been in jail at some point and weren’t anymore — were less likely to receive prenatal care that was up to par…And in some cases, they didn’t see doctors until just before they gave birth.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/costescu-1.5692144

Cosmopolitan (US) – Paige Fernandez, ACLU
Defunding the Police Isn’t Punishment—It Will Actually Make Us Safer

Though published in June 2020m this article and link may be helpful in understanding the positives that could out of the actual defunding of police.  What are the financial parameters for the funding of police?  “Each year, state and local governments spend upward of $100 billion dollars on law enforcement—and that’s excluding billions more in federal grants and resources.”  Fernandez identifies the purpose of lots of policing as racist in origin and current practice and the money better spent on social goals.  “We have little evidence, if any, to show that more police surveillance results in fewer crimes and greater public safety. Indeed, funneling police into communities of color and pushing officers to make arrests just perpetuates harm and trauma. Yet since the 1980s, spending on law enforcement and our criminal legal system has dramatically outpaced that in community services such as housing, education, and violence prevention programs. Those are the institutions that help build stable, safe, and healthy communities.”  Fernandez offers five critical steps for substantive change.  https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a32757152/defund-police-black-lives-matter/

Irish Times (IRE) –
 The Irish Times view on how to deal with aggressive teenagers: Juvenile justice

The link and the narrative, while applying to juvenile justice and a relative minor racial incident raised an expectation that the offenders would be jailed severely.  Yet the Irish Times is supporting an alternative approach on the grounds that the ‘revolving door’ of prisons (as high as 95% recidivism) have their origin in prison for precisely this sort of offense and the real cure to the problem lies in alternate disposition of the crime. “People who enter it at a young age are the demographic most likely to reoffend, but, studies show, they also have the highest capacity for rehabilitation and positive change. Hence the JDP (Juvenile Diversion Program).”   https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-how-to-deal-with-aggressive-teenagers-juvenile-justice-1.4332436?mode=amp&__twitter_impression=true&s=09  The incident prompting the Times opinion was first extensively reported: cf https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/garda%C3%AD-investigate-after-woman-pushed-into-royal-canal-following-alleged-racial-abuse-1.4331513

Toronto Star – Jeff Rubin, Contributor
Why do Canada’s wealthiest families get huge tax breaks?

Rubin uses the case of one billionaire Tobias Lutke, to illustrate how the tax system works for rich people.  Lutke, the founder of Shopify, which recently surpassed Royal Bank of Canada as the TSX’s largest listed corporation measured by market capitalization.  Rubin offers an analysis of what would happen compared to a tax free ride in Canada in the other Group of Seven countries.  Someone has to ask why and change the system.  https://www.thestar.com/amp/opinion/contributors/2020/08/22/why-do-canadas-wealthiest-families-get-huge-tax-breaks.html?__twitter_impression=true&s=09

@metoo Youtube – Mark Greene
Culture, Identity and Men’s Trauma

Why are men so reactive to the notion of toxic masculinity? Greene asks.  This link is to a five minute Youtube video around the role of culture in toxic masculinity.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jplsgTGTnCM&feature=youtu.be

Washington Post Magazine – KK Ottesen
Cornel West: Is America ‘even capable of treating the masses of Black people with decency and dignity’?

In a Q&A format, West speaks about the power to create serious change for the Black masses in the US and whether there is any power or strength in the structural and spiritual roots of America to combat a white supremacist world.  “In my first book 40 years ago, I said it’s unclear if America [has] the structural capacity and the spiritual and moral wherewithal to really treat the masses of Black people — not Black middle-class folk, the Black masses — with dignity and decency. But that’s blues — you can’t find no way out. That’s what it is to be a blues people. It’s: Good morning, heartache, good evening, heartache. Heartache’s there, no matter what. You’ve got to learn how to love and laugh and get through with dignity and make sure you fortify your children so they’re able to deal with a predicament where it looks like there’s no way out.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/cornel-west-is-america-even-capable-of-treating-the-masses-of-black-people-with-decency-and-dignity/2020/08/11/bbc348b6-c836-11ea-a99f-3bbdffb1af38_story.html?hpid=hp_magazine-strip-8-12_mag5-ans%3Ahomepage%2Fstory-ans