Settler healing…

Oct 4, 2021

(Ed Note:  Several have reported difficulty following the link to the five Prison Law booklets made available from Senator Pate’s office through our last newsletter.  If you were one, you may get better results with: )
APTN – Melissa Ridgen with Murray Sinclair
‘It’s like renewing our vow’: Murray Sinclair says it will take a while to figure out Sept. 30 but we shouldn’t give up- Former chair of the TRC says reconciliation if for Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians to work through.

Murray Sinclair delivered the final report on Truth and Reconciliation but he does not expect the recommendations to be fulfilled in his lifetime.  That’s why we had the first Orange Shirt Day, an acknowledgement of the promise of healing for Indigenous people in the future.  Here’s the task for the non-Indigenous:  ““And so one of the things I make sure non Indigenous people understand is we don’t need you to help heal us, we need you to fix yourselves. We need you to get those people out there who are perpetrating this process of working against reconciliation under control. We need you to straighten yourselves out, we don’t need you to just step forward and say well here is what we can do for you because my question is always, what are you doing for yourself? What are you doing to get rid of that violent vocal force that is holding us all back, holding us all, holding this country back? Because that is what’s going to stop reconciliation.”

Toronto Star – Raisa Patel
Ottawa loses appeals of First Nations child welfare rulings

This is a timely setback for the federal government coinciding as it does with Orange Day.  A federal Curt of Appeal rejected the federal request and ordered the government to pay $40,000 each – the maximum allowable under the Human Rights Act – in compensation to thousands of Indigenous children and their families.  Cindy Blackstock:  “It’s a complete win for children and for the survivors of residential schools,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society…  It was a repudiation of all of the flimsy arguments that the federal government has been throwing at these kids to try and avoid accountability for treating them fairly, giving them the help they need and compensating the victims of their discrimination.”

MacLean’s Magazine – Emily Baron Cadloff
What happens to sexual assault reports at Canadian universities? No one really knows. – Despite many schools having policies to deal with sexual violence, it is often unclear what actually happens when a report is made.

The university world has been shaken by what some are describing rampant sexual assault on campuses across Canada.  “Sexual assault is a huge concern on Canadian campuses. Figures from Statistics Canada published in 2020 show that nearly three-quarters of university students in Canada “witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours in a post-secondary setting in 2019—either on campus, or in an off-campus situation that involved students or other people associated with the school.”  Yet there seems to be real confusion over what is done in reporting and responding to incidents reported.   Related article:  CBC News – Ashley Burke and Nick Boisvert  Move to assign general who supported sex offender to role reviewing sexual misconduct ‘tone deaf’: survivors

The Guardian (UK) – Haroon Siddique
Short jail terms fail to prevent reoffending, says former England and Wales magistrate – Short custodial sentences handed out ‘by default’ fail to achieve objectives, says John Bache

John Bache, former national chair of the Magistrates Association, thinks that the ‘default sentences’ are part of the problem.  He favours the use of community support programs calculated to resolve the crime prompters rather than pointless short term sentences that make matters worse for families through disruption.  Says Bache:  “I don’t see that short prison sentences actually achieve a great deal,” he said. “The bulk of these people, who commit multiple crimes, they’ve got an underlying problem, which is mental health or alcohol or drugs or a combination of any two or three of those…The treatment for that is not to shove them in prison, because if they haven’t got a drug problem when they go into prison they’re likely to have one when they come out. The solution is to attempt to treat alcoholism or their drug requirements.”

Filter Magazine (US) – Alexander Lekhtman
California Can Now Ban Police for Misconduct—But Will It Matter?

One of the problems with addressing serious police misconduct is how to prevent those officers from simply switching jurisdictions.  California has just passed a police reform bill giving the statutory right to ban permanently police officers with criminal records – 630 over the past ten years.  What remains disturbing is the number of states now with the power to decertify police officers permanently for serious misconduct but the state simply does not apply the statute.  Fired officers often are simply re-hired by a different police agency.