June 14, 2021 

Globe and Mail – Lawrence Martin
American extremism is infiltrating Canada – and there’s no easy fix

Martin reviews the events in the US and the points of the arrival of those extreme events here in Canada.  The question, beyond whatever acceptance the extremism already has among politicos and ordinary people alike, is whether there is any effective way to resist the incoming.  The scope includes both public media and the social media.  Martin thinks that so far the incidents are alarming:  “In Canada, hate crimes have shot up, anti-Asian attacks have multiplied. Six mosque worshippers were killed in Quebec City in 2017 by a man who was motivated by the American far right. There was the horrid hate crime Sunday in London, Ont., where a Muslim family was run over and killed. Whether the accused was influenced by racist groups is unknown.”  Martin also offers an estimate (numbers and groups) of those who presently practice extremism.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-american-extremism-is-infiltrating-canada-and-theres-no-easy-fix/   Blogger Monica Mazigh Canada is still in denial about Islamophobia   “Islamophobia is real. It crawls under many skins. It kills people.”   https://moniamazigh.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/canada-is-still-in-denial-about-islamophobia/

Globe and Mail – Javeed Sukhera and Ahmad Attia
To tackle hate-motivated crimes, Canada’s justice system needs to change

Both authors add a credential to their opinion: Sukhera is chair of the police board in London, Ontario, where the murder of the four family members just took place.  Ahmad Attia is the chair of the Peel Police Services Board and the CEO of Incisive Strategy.  Speaking of the hate laws, the authors say:  “This outdated model emboldens hateful behavior while doing little to dissuade perpetrators, which in turn normalizes their hate-filled rhetoric and actions. Perpetrators such as Alexandre Bissonnette, for instance, have reaped the benefit of loopholes such as concurrent sentences; Mr. Bissonnette murdered six people in Quebec City in 2017, yet serves time for only one murder. We cannot let this injustice continue in the case of the family killed in London, Ont.”  They add a critique of the reporting mechanisms as part of the problem and acknowledge that the incidence of hate crime is under reported.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/opinion/article-to-tackle-hate-motivated-crimes-canadas-justice-system-needs-to-change/?utm_medium=Referrer%3A%20Social%20Network%20%2F%20Media&utm_campaign=Shared%20Web%20Article%20Links&__twitter_impression=true&s=03    Related article: Global News – Stewart Bell and Catherine McDonald   London attack suspect charged with terrorism  https://globalnews.ca/news/7942926/london-attack-suspect-terrorism/   Related article: Toronto Star – Robin Sears    Canadian Muslims’ anguished demand: how many more times?   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/06/13/canadian-muslims-anguished-demand-how-many-more-times.html

 Ottawa Citizen – Anthony Doob and Jane Sprott
Doob and Sprott: Trudeau should not tolerate the torture of prisoners in Canada – Solitary confinement — and the mistreatment it represents under international standards this country supposedly supports — still exists, despite court decisions prohibiting it.

Doob and Sprott have long been critics of the Structure Intervention Unit (SIU) which is simply a name change for solitary confinement.  They add criticism that the mechanisms for supervising the use of the SIU is just as bogus as the name change.  They are addressing how CSC continues to torture prisoners with immunity and without a legal remedy to the human rights failure.  “We are not suggesting that “fixing” our solitary confinement system would be easy. But a first step would be if CSC management would engage with the issue. You might think that, when a “torture rate” was calculated for the penitentiaries in each of Canada’s five regions, CSC or the government might have shown some concern. Using CSC’s own data, we calculated that B.C.’s torture rate was about 22 times higher than Ontario’s. The response to these findings? You guessed it again: Crickets, followed by the same old song — we take it very seriously and are working on it.”   https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/doob-and-sprott-trudeau-should-not-tolerate-the-torture-of-prisoners-in-canada   Related article: CBC News – Amanda Pfeffer Ontario government quietly disbands jail oversight boards   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-jail-oversight-board-gone-1.6059040

Vox.com (US) – Anna North
What to do instead of calling the police – These alternatives can help keep communities safe for everyone.

Lots of the argument around defunding police comes back to who to call when there is a problem.  North is offering four tips on how to avoid calling police to a scene in which the police are likely to escalate the crisis rather than provide a solution.  The four tips are: Know your neighbors and your community; Learn about local mental health and medical resources; Take a community approach to stopping violence and protecting people; Seek out resources to learn more.  The link suggests other aids like flow charts on the call the police scenario.  https://www.vox.com/2021/4/14/22374196/calling-the-police-violence-alternatives

Ted Talks (US) – Bianca Tylek
The multi-billion US prison industry and how to dismantle it…

The talk describes how the prison industry makes money on the backs of the prisoners and especially from their loved ones trying to support the prisoner.  Phone rates, food, government commissions on charges, are all passed on.  Tylek’s non-profit has had some considerable success to date and offers ways to redress additional financial burdens on prisoners and their families.  (A five minute video)  https://www.ted.com/talks/bianca_tylek_the_multibillion_dollar_us_prison_industry_and_how_to_dismantle_it/transcript?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread#t-338726

The Marshall Project – Weihua Li, Beth Schwartzapfel and Michael R. Sisak
Jail Populations Creep Back Up After COVID-19 – Judges, prosecutors and sheriffs in many states sent people home instead of to jail last year, but new data suggests the change is not lasting.

This link may present a challenge to us to realize how deeply instinctual the punishment and prison response to crime is ingrained in all of us.  While we had a momentary respite from prison population growth through sentencing new prisoners and sending prisoners home for protection during the Covid-19, the Marshall Project scholars are suggesting that the respite is over and that we are going back to the dedication to mass incarceration, in spite of reform efforts.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/06/07/jail-populations-creep-back-up-after-covid-19  Related article:  VERA Institute:  People in Jail and Prison in Spring 2021   https://www.vera.org/publications/people-in-jail-and-prison-in-spring-2021   Related article: Press Herald (Maine, US) – Editorial (June 9, 2021)  Our View: Maine drug laws only making bad situation worse – Treating substance use disorder as a moral failure to be punished is costly both in lives and tax dollars.  https://www.pressherald.com/2021/06/09/our-view-maine-drug-laws-only-make-bad-situation-worse/

Stanford Law School – Stephanie Ashe
Stanford Law School (SLS) and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School

The report was researched by a group of Stanford law students under faculty supervision and advocates for RJ and less dependence on prisons and punishments.  The report describes the current definition of hate crimes, the current legal disposition of hate crimes, and alternate ways of confronting the problem, including a section on community developments in response to hate crimes.  https://law.stanford.edu/press/stanford-law-and-policy-lab-and-brennan-center-for-justice-publish-study-on-hate-crime-laws-and-alternative-methods-to-address-harm/   Stanford / Brennan Center full report:  Exploring Alternative Approaches to Hate Crimes   (52 pages downloadable pdf)   https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Alternative-to-Hate-Crimes-Report_v09-final.pdf   Related article: Frontiers in Psychology – Why Do People With Self-Control Forgive Others Easily? The Role of Rumination and Anger  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00129/full

Parliament of Canada
An Act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income – Bill C-273

Canada’s First Basic Income Bill: C-273 – Sign the petition below and tell your MP to vote YES.

On February 22, 2021, Member of Parliament Julie Dzerowicz introduced Bill C-273, our first ever bill towards a national Guaranteed Basic Income. This petition and the Bill may well die at this stage before moving very far if there is a September election.  Support from Canadians for the petition may help considerably in making a guaranteed annual income an election issue.  Here is the petition website:  https://www.ubiworks.ca/basicincomebill?nm_recruiter_id=9913638&s=03

Here is the parliamentary site with the text of the proposed Bill C-273   https://assets.website-files.com/5f07c00c5fce40c46b92df3d/60344be7fcd4f1719a1e670e_Basic-Income-Bill-C-273_1.PDF   Related article:  The Pew Foundation: Race and Research: Our data and the Neighborhood (An important discussion about the criteria for economic data analysis between the races: The Economic Atlas.  There is also a list of other resources on the data interpretation issue.)  https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2021/06/11/race-and-research-data-and-our-neighborhoods?utm_campaign=2021-06-14+ATF+Race+and+Research+4&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew&subscriberkey=00Q0P00000oErugUAC    Related article: The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida) – Heather L. Gatheridge  Statistics cannot determine the possibility of an individual’s recidivism https://www.theledger.com/story/opinion/columns/2021/06/13/guest-column-statistics-cant-determine-convicts-recidivism/7660266002/

Huffington Post (US) – Jessica Schulberg
Kip Kinkel Is Ready To Speak – At 15, he shot and killed his parents, two classmates at his school, and wounded 25 others. He’s been used as the reason to lock kids up for life ever since.

At age 15, and in 1988, Kinkel shot 25 people and killed four – his parents and two more students at his school.  He became the poster boy for the justification of the life without parole (LWOP) for youth.  One of the 10,000 sentenced to LWOP for crimes as adolescents, the 117 year sentence has not been challenged until now.  “Friends and acquaintances described a boy with an all-American upbringing but who was obsessed with bombs and guns, dressed in black and listened to Marilyn Manson… That image of Kinkel has remained frozen in time: the dangerous child people point to as the reason some kids need to be locked up for life.”  Only in America, but Oregon’s bill S.B. 1008 is challenging all the assumptions.     https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kip-kinkel-is-ready-to-speak_n_60abd623e4b0a2568315c62d