Two ways…

Sept 13, 2021 –

(Ed Note: I apologize for a confusing and incorrect post on Adam Capay in the September 10 edition of the newsletter.  While the content was correct the incident is old and I repeated it as though it were happening now.  In fact, the Capay story came to light in 2016.  I regret any confusion caused by my missing the original dateline on the article.)   


Blogger John Clarke
OCAP and the Power of Disruptive Action

Clarke is a 28 year veteran director of the Ontario Coalition against Poverty (OCAP, founded in 1990).  He poses a duality of models that many ask about in the light of the difficulty of moving political parties to greater concern for the specifically vulnerable: Those who think that anti-poverty legislation can best be moved forward by convincing argument and moral appeal; and those who think “that governments would address poverty only to the extent that they faced a powerful challenge. Accordingly, this side argued for an organization that would build a base in poor communities and take up militant forms of collective action.”  To a large extent, this debate has not been resolved and though most concede that the elimination of poverty is entirely possible, we still live with the spectre of poverty on a daily basis.  Clarke offers both an assessment of the history and impact of OCAP and the impact from the covid-19 virus.   Related article: Toronto Star – Stephanie Levitz, Alex Ballingall, Alex Boutilier, Raisa Patel and Andres Plana     What are the federal leaders promising this election? Use our tool to compare each party’s policies – We’ve analyzed the policies of the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green parties. Here’s what they’re pledging to do to address some of the biggest issues of the 2021 federal election campaign.  Related article: The International National Security Platform Promises and Info Card 2019-2021Civil Liberties Monitoring Group – National Security Platform Promises and Info Card National Security Platform Promises and Info Card 2019-2021National Security Platform Promises and Info Card 2019-2021

Canadian Medical Association Journal – Kaylynn Purdy
My brother…

The link reminds us of the increasing and alarming crisis from overdose deaths on the streets of Canada.  Often mired with our prejudices and judgments, this biographical remembrance reminds us that the dead are in fact brothers and sisters, people who were once vibrant and caring for us, people who struggled with pain and often isolation.  Then, when we do right by them and support them, we still are often faced with personal loss.  This is a narrative about compassion for one another, from a sister and medical doctor.   Related article: N.Y. Times – Jay S. Kaufman, (Professor of Epidemiology at McGill)   Science Alone Can’t Heal a Sick Society

CBC News – Mike Crawley
Doug Ford’s government has lost more than a dozen court cases. Here’s a list – Judges have repeatedly ruled against the province in challenges to its legislation

The link may be helpful in listing the peccadillos of the Ford government but it may also the useful in illustrating a certain disdain for the legal element of legislation, given the number of pieces of legislations overturned by the courts.  Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, a former attorney general of Ontario, says:  “…the Ford government is giving groups in Ontario plenty of ammunition for court battles by bringing forward “a lot of unconstitutional legislation, and I don’t mean that flippantly.”

Toronto Star – Michael Adams and Andrew Parkin
Don’t let angry protestors fool you — Canadians still trust in our democracy

The political tensions around the federal election may be misleading, say Adams and Parkin.  The link offers the results of a survey about how Canadians feel about our democracy and how this particular democracy works.  In spite of the visions of angry protestors stemming from gravel throwing at the prime minister, and the angry mobs in front of our hospitals intimidating our health care workers, three in four Canadians are happy with the way Canada works, and have been for the last decade.

CBC News – Nick Murray
Nunavut has done little to fix jail issues, auditor general says

The link acknowledges that the new 112 bed jail facility, Aaqqigiravik Correctional Healing Facility in Iqaluit, has now replace the notorious Baffin Correctional Centre.  But truth be told little has changed. “The audit acknowledged Nunavut has made strides addressing overcrowding among male inmates — though the women’s jail is over capacity — but said issues including inconsistent mental health and rehabilitation services, staff shortages and inconsistent safety procedures are still putting inmates and staff at risk.”  Related article:  Nunatsiaq News –  Mélanie Ritchot   Behind bars — an inside look at Iqaluit’s new jail – The Aaqqigiarvik Correctional Healing Facility officially opened on Wednesday    Related article: Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine – Jim Wilson   Ontario adds to correctional officers workforce – New graduates to be assigned to 15 different institutions

Washington Post – Louis King and Jerry McAfee
 Opinion: We’re ‘interrupting violence’ in Minneapolis, one lawn chair at a time

For two prominent Black leaders in Minneapolis, it’s a simple matter.  Louis King is president and chief executive of Summit Academy OIC in Minneapolis. Jerry McAfee is pastor of the city’s New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.   They have decided to be interrupters of violence by simply bringing a lawn chair and sitting on the corner of the city’s most dangerous intersection.  They were not the first but now it is a project of 21 Days of Peace community founded by the first, Gloria Howard, an elder with Shiloh Temple.  The project started when three children were shot over a short period.  Guess what?  The sit-ins work and the violent crime has diminished.

Washington Post (US) – Joe Garcia
Opinion: A San Quentin covid-19 survivor reflects and looks forward

While many people are presently confronting the future both because of Covid and from the on-going presence of the variants, the same has been happening with incarcerated people.  Garcia is imprisoned in San Quentin and reflects on the past while confronting the arrival of the covid and the change covid brought to the prisoners: a shift from bravado to caring and developing community in clusters in the prison.

 The Marshall Project (US) – Tom Meagher and Pedro Burgos
Revisiting the Attica Riot in Real-Time 50 Years Later – The infamous 1971 prison revolt ended with a bloody police siege. We retell the story, minute-by-minute.

This past week marked the 50th Anniversary of the Attica prison riots that resulted in the death of 10 hostages and 29 prisoners (4 others previous to the storming of the prison by NY state troopers, one officer and 3 prisoners), and became a powerful narrative shaping prison and correctional culture for some time, even in Canada.  The immediate lesson drawn and projected on prisons was severity and consistent brutality.  It may be appropriate 50 years later to ask what lessons were learned and how has Corrections changed in the intervening years.   Related article: Youtube  Attica Documentary 1974   (1h20min)  The Conversation (Queen’s) – On 50th anniversary of Attica uprising, 4 essential reads on prisoners’ rights today