Tobacco is much more than money for Canada's Mohawk people -- it's a source of economic independence, a non-handout form of income that goes well with aspirations of independence and self-reliance. And these are good and necessary goals. Yes, it's also been deemed illegal and is likely going to draw the communities into a collision with the federal government, but in the meantime tobacco is a desperately-needed investment in the community. Until we discover oil or invent a better iPad (and I hope we do both), tobacco is the best we've got. We're beginning to make some real money through entrepreneurship, and if it takes cigarettes and gambling in the beginning, so be it.
The Ontario government should not be afraid to resist Harper's misguided crime agenda. Instead of selling out another generation for political expediency, Ontario should commit the crime that Harper fears the most: sociology.
Should we challenge mental health experts? Challenge the justice system on the grounds that we do not agree with a single, solitary verdict? On the grounds that the crime is particularly horrendous? Should we accept that a government is using a single, solitary court decision that it disagrees with and that causes public outcry to change the laws?
We live in a world that is sadly uninformed. A world where real issues are ignored simply, because the public likes to place anger on people who don't deserve it, while they continue to be ignorant on issues of grave societal importance.
August 10 is International Prisoner's Justice Day, which began in Canada 37 years ago. In 1974 a Canadian man, Edward Nalon, died in the segregation unit of an Ontario prison, resulting in a day of mourning for prisoners across the country. This is an important day to consider how we treat people behind bars, and to remember the goals of incarceration. It is also a day for us to ask many questions about our prison system as a whole, and to assess how some of the recent actions of the Canadian government may affect these conditions
Canada has always been recognized as being one of the safest countries in the world, boasting exceptionally low murder and violent crime rates, particularly in comparison to our American counterparts. However, a recent rise in gun violence on the streets of Canada's largest city has left many Canadians concerned about how safe our communities truly are. This violence has left many Canadians wondering whether we should advance tough-on-crime agendas. But having worked with many vulnerable populations I firmly believe that our time and resources would be better spent in addressing the issue of youth violence by investing in long-term preventative solutions and programs.
After Statistics Canada reported that police-reported crime was at its lowest level in 40 years, Vic Toews tweeted "Crime rate down 6% -- shows CPC tough on crime is working." I couldn't really understand how Bill C-10, which doesn't even begin to come into force until August 9 of this year, could somehow be responsible for a drop in crime in previous years. But then I realized...Toews must be the MP version of The Terminator: "A human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg (or in this case, Public Safety Minister) is sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor (or in this case, crime)."
In a statement Wednesday, Vic Toews said the Omnibus crime bill had not led to the predicted rise in prisoners and prison costs. Either the Public Safety Minister is being intentionally deceptive, or he lacks a basic understanding of how the court system works. I'm not sure which one is more disturbing.
Seems that when you spend an hour watching Canadian TV news stories about politics, you get only about 15 minutes of real information. These scary numbers come from the highly respected charitable Samara Institute today. Samara has spent months doing all the research, the number crunching, and the drawing of conclusions. Will the newsrooms listen? Probably not.
Right now, MPs are in parliament for an unprecedented marathon of voting on proposed changes and deletions to the omnibus budget Bill C-38. Of course, you might say most Canadians were sleeping and don't care. That is the kind of logic the Conservative Party uses and wants everyone to accept.
Time for prisoners to start paying their own way, says the Minister for Public Safety, Vic Toews. This will invariably lead to the reduction of community corrections programs that have been shown to best promote successful rehabilitation and reintegration. What if instead of trying to break the cycle of poverty-to-prison-to-poverty, we actively embraced it?
Currently, Canadian law prohibits states from being sued except in relation to commercial matters. As such, state sponsors of terror are shielded from civil redress, and Canadian tax dollars are used to finance the defending of that state's immunity from liability. The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act will fix this.
According to former Ontario corrections minister Robert Sampson, mandatory minimum sentencing is a great tool for getting people the education and training they need to successfully reintegrate and contribute to society.
Today, the House had its final opportunity to debate Bill C-10, the Conservative omnibus crime bill. It is quick to judge non-violent offenders as needing lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentences in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
By adopting the Lockerbie Amendments, the Senate filled a significant gap in the proposed law and should be commended. Previously, if a government planned for mass murder on a plane it would be immune if the atrocity was committed through its own officials rather than a listed terrorist entity.
There are quite a number of things to get through for this week, but if you'll indulge me for a moment, I'd first like to address an article that appeared in the Globe entitled "Is the Huffington Post the Future of Journalism?" The writer should have just yanked the paper out of the typewriter carriage (don't forget the carbon paper, too -- but save that, you can reuse it), crumpled it up, and started over. But maybe I should just jot down this complaint in a letter to the Globe's editor? With a stamp? Now back to business. Or as we like to call it around here, the 21st-century news business.