For the little boy…

June 11, 2021

Toronto Star – Amira Elghawaby
In honour of the Afzaal family, let’s take action now

We have seen and heard much wailing and lamenting the death of four members of the Afzaal family.  The events are acknowledged as more than an incident and the scope of our bias and violence goes beyond the Muslim people.  Elghawaby offers some very specific ways to fight the violence and tensions towards the Muslims and at once an approach to these tendencies whoever is the target.  “In honour of the Afzaal family, and the little boy left behind, let us recommit to making Canada a safer place for him, and for all of us, by taking concrete action now.”   Related article: CBC News – Peter Zimonjic, Kristen Everson, Ashley Burke After another attack targeting Muslims, critics demand promised online hate legislation – Human rights advocates want to see legislation targeting online hate to prevent radicalization  Related article: The Conversation (Queen’s) – Jasmeet Bahia   London terror attack: Canadians have become desensitized to violence against Muslims

Policy Options – Cindy Blackstock
Stealing “Indian” human rights in 2021

This article is a forceful reminder about how governments say one thing and then do another.  National Indigenous children’s rights advocate Cindy Blackstock explains the circumstances and the reason why the federal is resisting its own commitments to the Indigenous people and to the United Nations. The government is, in fact, fighting two rulings by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.  Blackstock is suggesting that the strategy of public compliance and private delay dates back to 1958 when the clarity of the government’s duplicity was first revealed.  Related article: Toronto City News –  Dilshad Burman   Volunteer-run ‘On Canada Project’ creates guide to allyship with Indigenous people (A 10 slide info package included)  Related article: CBC News – Canadian Press  Settlement reached on residential school day scholars class-action lawsuit – Students who attended residential schools by day but went home at night not included in 2006 settlement   Related article: Kairos Canada – Please urge support for Bill-15: An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples   Related article: The Guardian (UK) – Cindy Blackstock and Pam Palmeter    The discovery of mass unmarked graves in Canada has Indigenous people asking: how many more?   Related twitter from Cindy Blackstock  Not in my name…  (Go to the Federal Court website on Monday, June 21, at 9:30 for the court hearing – you must register to attend the virtual hearing: )

  CBC News – John Lancaster
Mentally ill Canadian convicted in terror probe lands in U.S. super maximum security prison

There is always controversy about the intersection of mental illness and criminal law.  There seems little controversy about prison not being a viable place for treatment of mental ills.  Mental health resources already scarce in our lives become a rarity in prisons.  Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy was a 17-year-old convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison, though a confirmed mental diagnosis of a severe bipolar disorder and addiction problems.  Family and advocates are seeking to get him out of super max (read solitary) and back to Canada for treatment.   Related article: (New Jersey) -Alexis Tarrazi    Head Of NJ Prison Resigns After Reports Of Women Inmates Beaten – NJ Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks announced his resignation after Gov. Murphy said the state’s only women prison would close. Related article: Rolling Stone – Tana Ganeva   ‘Right Before I Hung Myself’: Prisoners Share Tales of Solitary Confinement in Michigan – On the new website ‘Silenced: Voices from Solitary in Michigan,’ prisoners tell harrowing experiences in their own words

 Forbes Magazine (US) – Nick Sibilla
Cop Who Wrongly Led No-Knock Raid against 78-Year-Old Grandfather Can’t Be Sued, Court Rules

The link offers an insightful explanation of the issue of “qualified immunity,” an issue often standing in the way of redress for injustices perpetrated by police towards innocent people.  (There is considerable controversy whether qualified immunity is a law or simply an interpretation over time   (cf a CNN interview with Bill Bratten, formerly NYC Police Commissioner, at about the 5 minute mark)   This article tells about a wrong address, no knock mistake in which the court refused any liability to either the officers or the command.

CBC News – Miriam Lafontaine
Allowing corporate donations to police will erode public trust, critics warn

In an era hardly settled on the issues of police defunding, police job description, social response to 911 calls, and so on, New Brunswick Minister of Public Safety Ted Flemming has proposed Police Act amendments to allow corporations to fund projects that local police chiefs would identify as helpful to police.  Advocates have raised a howl of protest that corporations would have undue influence on policing and practices.  The amendments are expected to pass and see a quick inception.

World Economic Forum (Davos, SW) – Sheila Warren, Kirstine Stewart, Kay Firth-Butterfield, Evîn Cheikosman
Digital harm is on the rise – here’s how we can give victims a pathway to justice

The people at Davos say that intentional digital harm is no longer a matter of politics but a threat to everyone, especially to women.  Davos is suggesting that as many as two in five women become victims of digital harm and as many as one in twelve adults victims of internet non-consensual pornography.  59% of teens and 47% of LGBTQ students experience bullying on line.  The authors also assess the current policy landscape.