Mandatories, again…

Jan 17, 2021

CBC News – Canadian Press
Supreme Court to examine limits on conditional sentencing

The Supreme Court “has agreed to review an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that found the Criminal Code provisions violated the charter because of their effect on Indigenous offenders.  The long standing Gladue Rule requires that the sentencing consider traumatic background and in the 2016 case of Cheyenne Sharma, a provision requiring a minimum of 10 years for a cocaine conviction prevented the appropriate consideration – community based sentence.  No date for the hearing yet.

CBC News – Martha Troian and Logan Turner
Thunder Bay police try to exclude footage of officers dragging an Indigenous man from inquest evidence – Inquest to examine how 2 Indigenous men died while in police custody in the northern Ontario city

“”This is, in my view, a very serious deep dive into the role of racism in two Indigenous deaths, Roland McKay and Donald Mamakwa,” said lawyer Julian Falconer.”  The inquest wants video of the processing of two First Nations persons available as evidence.  The legal argument is whether the treatment received in the process should be evidence in the inquest in the custodial deaths of Don Mamakwa and Roland McKay.  The link shows the videos at issue.   Related article: Tampa Bay Times (Florida) – Ana Ceballos   Florida prison chief disagrees with feds on abuse report

Twitter by Hannah Riley

(Ed Note: The link is to the last statement of a man executed on Thursday by the US federal government.  It is instructive in its offer of serenity in the face of what many think of as yet another barbaric response to social ills.)  Related article:  ABC News – Ivan Pereira  Virginia lawmakers introduce bill to abolish death penalty – The state has executed 113 people since 1976.

Washington Post (US) – Miriam Berger
Prisons are covid hot spots. But few countries are prioritizing vaccines for inmates.

Berger provides an international report on the Covid-19 vaccine  treatment of prisoners in the prisons of several countries, including Israel, the U.S., Britain, South Korea, some European countries, and Canada.  Most recognize that the virus cannot be defeated unless it is also defeated in the prisons but not all are giving priority or even equal chance at the roll out of the vaccine.    Related article: Washington Post (US) – Isaac Stanley-Becker   Early vaccination in prisons, a public health priority, proves politically charged – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis discarded the recommendation of experts and downgraded inmates in his state’s plan   Related article: The Marshall Project –   A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons – The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. See how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.

The Atlantic (US) – Ibram X. Kendi
Denial Is the Heartbeat of America – When have Americans been willing to admit who we are?

The impact of the insurrection on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, has prompted many political and race commentators, especially those with progressive perspectives on a future without Trump to declare vociferously that this is not America and certainly not us.  Kendi is the author of How to be an Antiracist and Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.  He dares to suggest that what happened is most certainly like America and a repeated part of the history of white supremacy allowed to assert itself with denial and mostly impunity.   Related article: The Tyee – Dorothy Woodend The Capitol Insurrection Had Me Back on My Grade School Battlefield – Then, the imaginary struggle also turned to real violence. But this time, no one seemed sorry.    Related article: The New Yorker –  Luke Mogelson    Among the Insurrectionists – The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold.

Ottawa Citizen – Warren Reid
Alcoholics Anonymous in the age of COVID-19: ‘We are building a bigger tent’ – “AA has been taken apart and put back together again by COVID.”

Few in the field of addictions would deny primacy of effectiveness to the long standing Alcoholic Anonymous organization, one run by volunteers offering persistent mutual support to one another in the context of the famous 12 Steps.  Just as the pandemic has made adaptations needed to most social services, here is the tale of compromise of a powerfully personal style for 126 AA meetings held by Zoom in the Ottawa area.

N.Y. Times – Danny Hakim
N.R.A. Declares Bankruptcy and Seeks to Exit New York – The group, which said it planned to reincorporate in Texas, is currently being investigated by New York’s attorney general, who is seeking to dissolve it.

The National Rifle Association was founded and headquartered in N.Y. where the Attorney General is seeking to dissolve it for violations around its charitable status and the use of the organization’s funds for both personal and political purposes.  The NRA defence is to escape to a friendlier environment in Texas.  The state of New York is determined not to allow the NRA such an escape.  “The N.R.A.’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” Ms. James (NY State Attorney General) said in a statement Friday. “While we review this filing, we will not allow the N.R.A. to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.”