MOMS object…

June 21, 2021

 MOMS Ottawa is “betrayed, blindsided and outraged” by the news that Community Advisory Boards (CABs) for all Ontario correctional institutions have been disbanded as of June 4, 2021

Last week the Ontario government notified members of the Citizens Advisory Boards on prisons that the advisory boards were to be ended immediately on June 4.  There was no public discussion nor even any public announcement.  The Boards functioned as a supervisory body, an outside group aware of the real day-to-day events in the prisons.  Suddenly, they are no more, and without explanation or excuse and the question of transparency is in the spotlight.  “It appears as if the Ontario Correctional Institutions may have something to hide.”  MOMS (Mothers Offering Mutual Support) have mounted a letter writing campaign to bring their protest to the Ontario government. (Under 2021 Activities)  Sample letter and suggestions:   Related article: CBC News – Moira Donovan and Brooklyn Currie   N.S. woman speaks out about ‘dehumanizing’ experience in correctional facility – Melody Wolfe was put in health segregation, filmed without her consent by a correctional officer  (‘Medical solitary’)

Law Times (Canada) Senators Salma Ataullahjan and Kim Pate
Senators visited federal institutions across the country and interviewed, inmates, staff, experts

“The human rights of people incarcerated in Canada’s federal correctional system are being sacrificed in the name of security and stronger oversight is necessary to quell mistreatment and discrimination (Emphasis ours), according to a new report from the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.”   Full Report of the Senate: Standing Committee on Human Rights   Human Rights of Federally Sentenced Persons

 Vancouver Sun – Gordon McIntyre
Students raise $200,000 to save bean-roasting shop that provides support to disadvantaged women in DTES (Down Town East Side) – Pandemic had almost finished off the social enterprise East Van Roasters, which now hopes to expand thanks to the Vancouver Social Value Fund

The Roasters had just started their shop when the pandemic hit and threatened them with extinction.  Besides fair practices coffee the Roasters provided employment and perhaps some purpose as well for disadvantaged women.  Unfortunately, it is the type of beneficial enterprise that can be overlooked in economic recovery plans.  The Roasters have had some great support in a student led investment fund (Vancouver Social Value Fund) and now Roasters delightfully face the potential of expanding their shop.

Straight (US) – David Garlock
In Prison, Fatherhood was Only a Dream

Most people under long sentences, including many with convictions for horrendous crimes, are stunned for a time by the consequences of that crime.  Then, the miracle of parental obligations can be the most effective prompt to genuine rehabilitation.  The link offers one such narrative.  “When your life is confined to prison walls, you dream.  Life stopped for me inside, and I could only imagine the much larger, richer life that could exist elsewhere.  I began to spend a great deal of time dreaming about what it would be like to be released from prison and to have a family… As someone who didn’t have a normal childhood or family unit, I couldn’t base any of my dreams on what I’d lived. I dreamt about the families of other people I had known, and those on TV shows. None of these dreams were ever the same, but every time I lived in that dream world I imagined a future that was possible for me. That brought me so much comfort.”   Related article: The Huff Post / Can Do Foundation (US) – Reflections About Father’s Day From Men In Prison   Related article: NY Times – Sonia Sanchez   Poem: ‘There is no news from Auschwitz’

Elizabeth May and Chrystia Freeland on a looming federal election…

The potential of a federal election causing several pieces of legislation, including Bill C-30, to die on the order paper has created a sense of pressure to get through legislation as the time for Parliament moves to closing this sitting.  Elizabeth May: Government would have to break law to hold fall election…  A response from Chrystia Freeland   (2min 9 sec)

The Atlantic – David Frum
The Fight over Canada’s Founding Prime Minister – Attacks on symbols of nationhood are not merely symbolic actions. They strike at the nationhood the symbol represents.

Frum is a former speech writer for Conservative George Bush and a regular columnist with the Atlantic, though he is son of the CBC’s famous Barbara Frum.  His ruminations about re-writing history may prove a helpful starting place for determining how we as Canadians, see the faults in our past and attempt to correct them.  After a full review of MacDonald’s faults and successes, Frum concludes:  “This is not a “reckoning with history.” It’s a refusal to reckon with the actual possibilities open to the people of the past. This is not “moral responsibility.” It’s a flight from responsibility into rituals of self-purification through denunciation and destruction. It is easier to perform outrage than to improve outcomes in education, addiction, and economic development…What’s happening to Macdonald’s memory in Canada is wrong both in the sense that it’s untrue and in the sense that it’s unjust. Leave Macdonald’s monuments to weather in the respect they deserve, in the parks and squares of the gentle country he founded in his own kindly image.”

Washington Post – Robert Klemko
Unmasking the far right: An extremist paid a price when his identity was exposed online after a violent clash in Washington

Known as doxing, the process simply involves exposing the identity and the personal information about someone who has engaged in objectionable behaviour, often with considerable consequences for the person and his/her family.  This case involves the deliberate harassment of a freelance journalist Laura Jedeed who was videoing Trump supporters by one Edward Dawson:  “The disclosure online of Dawson’s personal information — a phenomenon known as doxing — is part of a growing effort by left-wing activists to punish members of far-right groups accused of violent behavior by exposing them to their employers, family and friends. The doxing of Dawson highlights the effect the tactic can have — unemployment and personal upheaval followed by a new job that pays much less than his old one — but also the limits of the technique: Dawson is unrepentant for his role in galvanizing a mob to harass Jedeed and continues to espouse far-right views.”