As a longtime investigative reporter at the Hamilton Spectator, I've seen my fair share of injustices, outrageous behaviour and bafflegab. Rarely, though, have I seen all of that concentrated so heavily in one place as I have in the story we've christened Railroaded -- a re-examination of the 1983 murder of a Toronto mobster named Domenic Racco and the subsequent wrongful conviction of two Hamilton men.
As I reported in early April, Douglas Brown of Burlington, Ontario who suffers from schizophrenia was found not guilty of assaulting two Joseph Brant Hospital staff and of attempting to grab a police officer's revolver. The judge had very harsh words for the two hospital staff and for the five cops and their Tasering of Mr Brown.
The month of May in Canada has in it one week devoted to mental illness awareness and one day devoted to schizophrenia awareness. But, nothing for the parents of the mentally ill who suffer almost as much as their children. We parents carry much of the burden for the care of our ill offspring but we are ignored. And, we are often ignored and shunned by the professionals.
Almost two and half years of hell ended for Douglas Brown, a 40-year-old man with schizophrenia from Burlington, Ontario, when Justice Stephen D. Brown of the Ontario Court of Justice on April 8, 2013 found him not guilty of assault against hospital staff. But the suffering is not over for Douglas Brown.
A residence for eight teenage girls with mental illnesses is caught in the middle of an upcoming fight at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) between the City of Hamilton Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). And the OHRC deserves credit for stepping into the fray to protect the rights of the young ladies. Would any of this be happening if we were talking about a hospice for cancer patients? I rather doubt it.
One of the great myths perpetuated by the media is that Israel stands alone, isolated in the international arena. On the domestic front here in Canada, members of our municipal, provincial, and federal political parties have proudly declared that they are Israel's BFFs. Indeed, much of the same is expected next week when Israeli President Shimon Peres arrives here in Canada.