OTTAWA - Per capita spending on criminal justice — including federal and provincial jails, court costs and policing — has climbed 23 per cent over the last decade even as the crime rate fell 23 per ce...
What if a public company gave one set of sales numbers to its board of directors, another to its shareholders, and a third to its auditors? Would you feel comfortable entrusting the executive of this company with a $29.6 million investment? Incredibly, that's precisely what has happened with the Transit Police.
It was an arrest this week in Greece this week that put Canada's gang violence into perspective. To understand how it all fits together, it pays to revisit two murders in Toronto and Kelowna, B.C. -- 10 months and more than 4,000 kilometres apart -- to understand how organized crime is fomenting violence in Canada.
MONTREAL - The windup of a federal program that was aimed at putting more cops on the street is threatening anti-gang squads and aboriginal police and could stretch existing police resources across th...
BURNABY, B.C. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced legislation Friday that places new restrictions on violent offenders deemed not criminally responsible for their actions, invoking a horrific ca...
One reason the play is shocking: It is so badly written. The playwright, Beverley Cooper, used court transcripts and apparently knocked it together in a short time. It shows. If you have a couple of hours and want to know what really happened to Steven Truscott, you would be better off reading a book about him.
A dreadful murder in Toronto where the suspect was on bail has, once again, led to media outrage. Calls to restrict or even prohibit bail have been made. What is striking about the media outrage is how ill-informed the response seems to be about bail itself.
Earlier this month, Nicole Doucet was brought in front of the Supreme Court of Canada after she tried to have her allegedly abusive ex-husband, Michael Ryan, killed. She hired a hitman to do the job for $25,000, but unfortunately for Nicole and fortunately for Michael, the assassin turned out to be an undercover RCMP officer. Despite that, Nicole was ultimately absolved by the Supreme Court of Canada.
There are topics I wish I didn't have to write about, because I wish they didn't touch our community. I don't feel it is right to ignore them when they are happening, though, because it is only through frank and open dialogue that we can resolve some issues, and educate on others. It can be troubling to write about them, but it is also honest, and I think the most important thing we can do in this community is to be honest, and not only about what is great about us. We also need to be honest about the problems we encounter, too.
Another jail opened in Nunavut last week. It is long overdue -- the existing facility in Iqaluit, Baffin Correctional Centre is, as Justice Mahar of the Nunavut Court of Justice recently said, "notoriously over crowded and under resourced." And yet a rather bland factual news story about the opening of the new prison in Rankin was met with a flood of angry comments about over pampered prisoners, club fed hotels and similar complaints.
One morning in August, 2010 Ian Thomson awoke to find intruders firebombing his house. As an experienced firearms instructor, Thomson knew what he had to do. He got his gun out of the safe where it was stored and scared the men off his property by firing over their heads. Then he was charged with four offences.
The Somali Canadian population is "undergoing the growing pains of integration into the larger Canadian mainstream" according to the head of the influential Somali Canadian Congress. Ahmed Hussen, a noted activist and newly minted Ottawa University lawyer, reflects on mentorship, influence and integration for Canada's large Somali population.
Increasing numbers of military veterans are entering the U.S. prison system. Why? A recent study highlights the important role that anger can play in how well veterans reintegrate into society after traumatic tours of duty -- and how likely they are to run into problems in prison, if that's where they end up.
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?
Since 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper first took office, his governing party has passed numerous bills designed to reinforce his "tough on crime" approach. There is no real evidence of a crime "epidemic" and the current direction the federal government is taking will not reduce crime or protect the public.
A trial still unfolding in Bordeaux, France is already attracting lurid headlines as a man is facing prosecution over his nine-year domination of an aristocratic French family. Thierry Tilly of Oxford, England has been described by prosecutors as the "Leonardo da Vinci of mental manipulation."
Earlier today, Toronto City Councillor Georgio Mammoliti caused a stir when he discounted an independent report by Toronto's esteemed Ombudsman, Fiona Crean. In her report, she found that the appointments to city agencies and boards had been "compromised" by political influence. As a public servant, Mammoliti has advocated ideas that are disturbing at best. In a heated exchange, Councillor Perks spoke for all of us when he told Coun. Mammoliti, "Shame on you -- get out of this chamber" and called him a "bully."
The unusually forceful language in the recent government report titled "Marginalized" underscores the abject failure of this government's simplistic and outdated "tough on crime" approach, particularly for Canada's Aboriginal population. Aboriginal peoples are 4 per cent of the Canadian population, but 20 per cent of the prison population.
All Canadians must realize that it is in all of our interests -- in terms of public safety, cost and untapped human potential -- to heed the call of this report and take "aggressive action" to deal with this national disgrace.
A book has been written about him. He has cavorted with mafia bosses, terrorists, smugglers, murderers and thieves. It is even believed that he knows the final resting place of Teamsters' boss Jimmy Hoffa. Marvin "the Weasel" Elkind, a petty thief, little-known pro boxer, born in Jewish Toronto, shunted through foster homes ending up in reform school has a story that reads like a Hollywood gangster movie.
Once upon a time I wrote a book about being a journalist in the 21st century. I was leafing through its pages last evening, when I stopped at the chapter The Less Things Change... It's about my time, 50 years ago, working as reporter/anchor at a startup TV station in Zambia. The chapter starts by describing how we got our foreign news film back there in the 60s. Even after all these years, much is still the same.
PHILLIPS de PURY & COMPANY
CALGARY - A Canadian who is fighting for his life on Montana's death row scored a minor legal victory Thursday after a judge declared the state's method of execution unconstitutional.The American Civi...
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)."
Earlier today, an identified man was discovered in a school playground and pronounced dead from gunshot wounds. The latest killing was Toronto's 30th homicide of the year. In a desperate city that is looking for answers, its mayor, Rob Ford, and member of the mayor's executive committee, Councillor Michael Thompson, offer unusual Tea Party-like simple solutions to a complex made in Canada problem.
Canada is showing up in U.S. news media reports more than usual these days, and the stories suggest that a crime wave is underway. The lurid reports of feet and limbs being mailed to political party offices in Ottawa, and the recent food court shooting at Toronto's Eaton Centre, have fueled that perception.
As tough as it is to face, the truth is that too many of the Toronto's policies targeting guns and gang violence have been of little more than symbolic value, and of minimal effect in the communities most closely affected by this urban scourge. Rob Ford is running a Toronto where shootings for 2012 are now reported to be up more than 54.7 per cent over since the same period in 2011.
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?
Back in the 70s, I was a reporter for WABC-TV, New York when we started an early evening news program called Eyewitness News. It was a time of ponderous, pompous, patronizing, local news fronted by distant, ultra-serious "voice of God" anchors. Eyewitness News changed all that.
OTTAWA - Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his U.S. and Mexican counterparts wrap up a two-day meeting in Ottawa today that has focused on shared North American security threats.Drug trafficking, cybe...
George Zimmerman has already been tried in the court of public opinion. On one side, he is forever guilty, a representation of societal bias and profiling. On another side, he is a citizen standing up against criminals, doing what the law is afraid or unable to do.
OTTAWA - The federal government is set to introduce tougher sentences for those convicted of elder abuse.The Canadian Press has learned that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and seniors minister Alice W...
Here in Quebec, we have an original approach to youth crime that works. In 2010, the severity of youth crime in Quebec was the lowest in Canada, proof that we are not "soft" on crime but rather that we are smart and "tough" on its root causes. But now the Harper government wants to ignore the evidence and change that approach.