Pandora’s Papers…

Oct. 13, 2021

Toronto Star – Staff
Explainer: What are Pandora Papers, which leaders are mentioned and why hasn’t Canada laid a charge on offshore tax havens?

The Pandora Papers are leaked documents about who hold what amounts of tax free accounts in secret places overseas.  The answers have a bearing on almost all social issues in Canada, especially the guaranteed basic income issue and especially as limitations on social programs are rationalized as too expensive to sustain.  Equally important are issues around why no charges and legal remedy for offenders has been invoked.  The Star has an extensive series of articles over the past week on issues deriving from the apparent stand still.  Sources estimate that the loss in taxes is about $3 billion annually.   cf also   Related article: Globe and Mail – Lori Nikkel   Food charities outnumber grocery stores in Canada four-to-one. That should bother you.

Net News Ledger (Thunder Bay, ON) –
Matawa Chiefs Call for Federal Government to Lay Down Swords in Child Welfare Court Battle

The tensions over the federal government role in Indigenous child welfare will shortly resurface as the government decides whether or not to appeal the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Aug. 26 order and the federal court order of Sept 29 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) “ordering the Government of Canada to pay the actual costs of capital purchases and/or constructions required to deliver child welfare services in First Nations communities and, the more recent September 29, 2021 decision of the Federal Court dismissing the Government of Canada’s appeals of two of the orders from the CHRT in the case of Canada v. First Nation Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.”  There is no obligation for an appeal and advocates are urging the federal government to drop the case and comply with the orders.

CBC News – Logan Turner
A city unprepared – Mental health, addiction and homelessness are interconnected problems that big cities have faced for years. Now, those same challenges are swamping places like Dryden, the smallest city in Ontario. The people dealing with the consequences don’t see help coming.

Dryden, ON, the smallest city in the province, is the model for the impact of rampant mental health and addictions problems, and homeless people, many whose needs are unmet.  It could be any number of other small places across the country.  Shawna Pinkerton tells her story:  “I don’t know how much more death and despair we need to go through before we can get some help here.”

The Lawyer’s Daily – Luis Millán
‘Judicial independence,’ at core of chief justice of Court of Quebec’s dispute with province

Just as the military has some trouble with the independence of the courts, so too it seems Quebec as the court and the province anticipate the set-up of special division to deal in a new way with domestic abuse.  “Bill 92 prescribes a phased approach towards the development of the “Court Specialized in Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence” within the Criminal and Penal Division of the Court of Québec, with pilot projects being launched across the province. The bill also empowers the Quebec minister of justice to determine by regulation which types of proceedings are to be heard by the specialized court.”  But Chief Justice “Lucie Rondeau says:  “There are substantive grounds that justifies the court’s position to depart from this designation of specialized court in sexual and domestic violence.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant   Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin loses court bid to be reinstated as head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
RCMP says it implemented 22 watchdog recommendations – but status of dozens of complaints still unknown – Civilian Review and Complaints Commission says it has no way of knowing whether RCMP followed through

This is a most extraordinary claim from the Civilian Review commission for the RCMP complaints of misconduct: they don’t know the consequences of their recommendations following their examination of the complaints.  The scene appears perilously close to totally ineffective, all while the RCMP is buffeted with sexual assault claims from its own female members and an endless series of complaints from Indigenous people.  “The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) is called upon hundreds of times a year to investigate public complaints about RCMP activity, ranging from claims of bad behaviour to allegations of botched investigations. If the CRCC concludes a finding of wrongdoing is founded, it can make recommendations to the RCMP, although they are not binding.”

CBC News – Richard Raycraft
Supreme Court to rule on whether extreme intoxication can be used as a criminal defence – The court will rule on whether criminal law forbidding the defence violates the Charter of Rights

At issue:  “the constitutionality of a controversial section of the Criminal Code which says self-induced intoxication cannot be used as a defence.”  Thomas Chan stabbed his father to death while under the influence of psilocybin (the compound in so-called “magic mushrooms”.  A second, David Sullivan, stabbed his mother while under the influence of a prescription drug Wellbutrin.  Ontario Appeal court overturned their convictions and now the Supreme Court is to rule on the constitutionality of criminal acts while under the influence.

The Sentencing Project (US) – Susan Nellis
The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons

The focus here is the state prison system as opposed to the usual federal prison system.  “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites, and Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites. This report documents the rates of incarceration for white, Black and Latinx Americans in each state, identifies three contributors to racial and ethnic disparities in imprisonment, and provides recommendations for reform.”   Related article: Arnold Ventures – Hillary Blout  – For The People is Fighting Back Against Draconian Prison Sentences – Executive Director Hillary Blout talks about the importance of re-evaluating overly punitive sentences that keep people in jail beyond “the interest of justice.”