Charities flinch…

Dec 16, 2022

Globe and Mail – Robert Fife and Stephen Chase
RCMP probes elaborate scam targeting Canada’s largest Muslim organization

There has always been an uneasy distance between charities and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRS) but this latest development is simply unprecedented and alarming for the charities.  The very clever forgeries from both the RCMP and CRS records have been sent to the Muslim Association of Canada by an alleged whistleblower, documents about the charity having and using a terrorist fund.  “For more than a year, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) has been receiving documents from an anonymous sender that suggest authorities are attempting to entrap the organization, sowing turmoil within the grassroots group. It operates 22 mosques and community centres and 30 schools in 13 cities.”  For all the denial and insistence that the RCMP and CRA docs are fakes, the Muslim Association of Canada is not convinced and are asking “the federal government to launch an independent investigation aimed at determining whether someone in a government department or agency is engaging in “Islamophobic tactics against the Muslim community,” Sharaf Sharafeldin, MAC’s president responsible for strategy, said in a statement.”  Press Release from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Dec 15, 2022)   Troubling revelation of possible government targeting of Muslim Association of Canada requires independent investigation  Related article: Toronto Star – Michael Levitt      A dark year for antisemitism in Canada

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
‘An aberration’: Ford government’s process to select next chief justice violates separation of powers, Ontario judges warn – The provincial government is taking control over the selection of the next chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice using a process the judges say “will erode public confidence” in the courts, the Star has learned.

The process of appointing a chief justice as announced by Attorney General Doug Downey is sufficiently alarming to the current judges that a number have voiced and written their concern for the traditional separation of the executive and judicial branches.  Justice Julie Bourgeois, president of the Association of Ontario Judges writes: “What strikes us as an aberration … is the suggestion that judges ignore the separation of powers and their ethical obligations and communicate directly with the attorney general… It is our view that the attorney general is inviting members of the judiciary to compromise their ethical obligations. It is also our view that the process as outlined undermines judicial independence and violates our democratic system of separation of powers.”

Global News – Staff
Police board chair says decision to search landfill won’t come from WPS (Winnipeg Police Services)

This announcement by the Winnipeg police board chair is raising a number of issues and questioning if the defense of the public and public safety is the role of the board or if the board exists to defend unilateral police decisions. “The chair of the Winnipeg Police Board says a decision to search a Manitoba landfill for human remains won’t come from police, and it will be up to Indigenous leaders to determine next steps.”  What an extra-ordinary statement to suggest that a specific and racially identified victim’s group is responsible for the recovery of murder victims.  Related article: CBC News – Kristin Annable Judge throws out evidence in drug case after man’s ‘humiliating’ strip search by Winnipeg police  Evidence won’t be admitted at trial because search violated charter rights, Court of King’s Bench judge rules

Toronto Star – Martin Regg Cohn
Doug Ford appointed unqualified party loyalists to fill key tribunal spots. Now Ontarians are paying the price as wait lists swell – Ontario’s premier has shamelessly made juicy patronage appointments to the province’s tribunals, Martin Regg Cohn writes.

There seems to be a growing problem with delays and slow-down in Canada’s courts, witness recent reports out of Quebec and now Ontario.  “Tribunals are supposed to be the one place where justice, and access to justice, is equal for all — an alternative to high-priced lawyers and endless court dates. Yet Ontario’s front-line administrative tribunals have become dysfunctional on Ford’s watch… The premier long ago pledged to “stop the gravy train.” Yet in power, Ford has shamelessly larded on juicy patronage appointments, bestowed upon Progressive Conservative partisans to grease the party machine while bogging down the wheels of justice.”

UBI Works (Canada)
Bills S-233 & C-223: The next step for Unconditional Basic Income

The premise of the Bills, one for the House and the other for the Senate, is that the government must have realistic discussion and analysis of the ultimate wisdom of a guaranteed annual income as the most effective way to address poverty and deprivation in Canada.  “Whereas every person should have access to a livable basic income…The Minister must develop a national framework for the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income program throughout Canada.”  The Bills have for the first time introduced the GAI from within the government and the link provides a petition to support the effort broadly.

Maytree (Canada) – Jennifer Laidley and Mohy Tabbara
Interpreting the data: Key takeaways from Welfare in Canada, 2021 

The authors offer five key takeaways:  1. Welfare incomes were deeply inadequate across Canada.  2. Most jurisdictions did not make substantive increases to already inadequate social assistance benefits.  3. Federal income supports for unattached single households in all jurisdictions were very limited. 4. Fewer payments related to the COVID-19 pandemic were provided to households receiving social assistance in 2021 as compared to 2020.  5. Total welfare incomes increased in a limited number of cases. In most instances, higher inflation in 2021 negated their positive impact.   Full report: (A 23 page downloadable pdf.)

The New Republic (US) – Eric Reinhart
The United States Is Crime Sick. Health Care Is the Cure.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle spent the midterms telling us that more police and prisons will make us safer. Voters didn’t bite—and perhaps they know better.

Reinhart thinks that the recent midterms and the role that the failure of the usual appeal to tough-on-crime policies by elements of both Republicans and Democrats may signal a readiness and a significant moment on the part of voters to seek alternate approaches to crime and punishment.  “Despite being subjected to intense political and mass media rhetoric about a supposed “crime wave” for months on end, only 11 percent of people in exit polling stated that crime was their primary concern. Meanwhile, criminal legal reformers such as Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman, who stood by his advocacy for clemency in cases of people who had been convicted of violent crimes rather than shying away from it as if a vulnerability, won despite the fearmongering strategies of their opponents. Similar results were seen in places as varied as California, Minnesota, and Texas.” Related article: Electronic Frontier Foundation (US) – Matthew Guariglia   VICTORY! San Francisco Bans Killer Robots…For Now   Related article: The Atlantic (US) – Ryan Busse   One Nation Under Guns – How this year’s Supreme Court ruling on Second Amendment rights is changing everything  (An assessment of the influence of the originalist Supreme Court on the availability and use of guns.)  Related article: N.Y. Tims – German Lopez  Gun Violence and Children – A portrait of an American tragedy.   Related article: North Carolina Policy Watch (US) – Keylan Lyons   Staffing shortages at NC juvenile detention centers: So bad that, ‘If you show up to work today, you get a bonus.’

  Tweet from Dr. Nicole LePera  On apologizing   “Learning how to authentically apologize is one of the most important skills in life, and few people know how. Here’s a step by step guide.”  (cf string)

Tweet from Center for Just Journalism   On Gun Homicide: Where to go  “Today, we released our second issue brief for journalists. This one is on gun homicide, a serious problem that warrants serious, not sensationalistic, media coverage.  (The link offers a downloadable pdf around gun homicides.)

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)   The latest domestic abuse trends – 2.4 million adults experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022

Youtube: Detroit’s Bags to Butterfly aims to help formerly incarcerated women