May 23, 2013 0
May 22, 2013 0
Almost 40,000 people have reportedly signed a petition asking Québec politicians to reject Bill 14. The controversial Bill provides for amendments to the Charter of the French Language , also known as Bill 101, as well as to the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
Bill 14 affects almost every aspect of Québec life, including schools, municipalities, the language of work, the services sector, and the powers of inspection by Quebec’s “language police”. It purports to give government power to revoke municipalities’ bilingual status if their English-speaking populations fall below 50 percent, as well as to eliminate exemptions for military families who wish to send their children to English-speaking schools.
May 19, 2013 0
On Thursday, May 16th, a correctional officer at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario, reportedly told the Ashley Smith inquest that “everybody knew” Miss Smith’s life was in danger, and that “[w]e all knew it was high risk” and “we all understood the situation we were in was getting worse.” The officer worked at the Institution and as a union representative while the 19-year old Moncton youth was imprisoned there and when she died on October 19th, 2007. He claimed that Miss Smith would often tie ligatures around her neck, and that officers were ordered not to intervene unless she stopped breathing. She reportedly died after tying a piece of cloth around her neck; correctional officers watched from outside her cell, and were ordered not to intervene. Read the rest of this entry »
May 17, 2013 0
On Wednesday, advocates for migrant farm workers in Manitoba gathered outside the legislature to ask Manitoba Health to extend coverage to Mexican labourers in the province who are part of the federal Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.
To their surprise, the province agreed.
May 14, 2013 0
On May 9, the government of Nunavut passed Bill 67 which amends the Integrity Act. Under s36 of the (unamended) Act, any person could ask for a review of a MLA, accompanied by an affidavit detailing the grounds for the person’s belief that a contravention had occurred. Bill 67, which passed third reading the same day it was introduced, excludes many civil servants from initiating a review directly with the Integrity Commissioner. Among those excluded are deputy ministers, assistant and associate deputy ministers, heads of public agencies, the clerk and staff of the legislative assembly (except the Integrity Commissioner’s office), and support and advisory staff to Cabinet. Instead, anyone falling into this class of persons must take a request for review to the appropriate Minister or the Premier, who will determine whether a formal request should be made to the Integrity Commissioner. Read the rest of this entry »
May 13, 2013 0
The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recently conducted an inquiry into rental housing licensing in North Bay, which examines the effects of a municipal bylaw that limits the number of individual tenants permitted to rent housing in a single residential unit. While the overall content of the bylaw – in terms of bedroom limitations, space minimums, and fees – was not flagged as discriminatory, the OHRC objected to the exemption provided for in situations where two or fewer individuals pay the total household rent. The OHRC finds this exemption indicative of adverse discrimination, which can unfairly impact upon housing availability and affordability for “students, single people, certain religious or ethnic groups and other Code-protected people who may not live in ‘traditional’ family units.” Read the rest of this entry »
May 8, 2013 0
Quebec’s Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron announced the creation of a panel to investigate last year’s “Maple Spring” student protests Wednesday.
The panel will not have the powers of a public inquiry to compel testimony. Hearings will be closed and the report will only be made public after the Minister reviews it. The panel should submit its report in December of this year.
The panel will examine the conduct of both police and demonstrators during last year’s protests and the financial impact of the protests, with the hope of preventing similar crises in the future. The panel will not intervene in specific complaints already before the province’s police ethics board.
The proposed panel was soon attacked from both sides.
The opposition Liberal and CAQ parties claimed the investigation will be biased against them and the police, because of the PQ and the union movement’s explicit support for the protesters. Bergeron insists the commissioners – Serge Ménard, a former PQ Public Security Minister; Claudette Carbonneau, the former president of the union group Confédération des syndicats nationaux; and Bernard Grenier, a retired Court of Quebec judge – are independent and qualified.
La Ligue des droit et libertés, a Quebec civil liberties advocacy group, issued a statement denouncing the panel’s mandate for its focus on economic impacts rather than on civil liberties violations. The Ligue also objected to the decision to hold closed hearings.
UPDATE: The Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec (FPMQ) has announced it will boycott the panel, and is encouraging its member associations to do the same. The Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal has stated they do not plan to participate in the investigation unless it is conducted in public.
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Apr 3, 2013 Comments Off
The battle to criminalize homelessness in Hungary is not new. In November 2012, the Hungarian Constitutional Court annulled previous legislation that criminalized living in public spaces for going against the “Fundamental Law’s requirements to protect the right to human dignity and property”. Yet this past Monday, an amendment to the Hungarian Fundamental Law was passed by Parliament to outlaw sleeping in public spaces through both national and municipal legislation. While Hungary amended its domestic legislation, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, noted that outlawing homelessness when there is limited housing is contrary to their international human rights obligations. Once again we can see a trend with the UN expanding into social rights – although this could also be consider a violation to the basic right to liberty if an low-income individual is put into the challenging position of almost certain imprisonment or leaving the country. Because of its disproportionate effect on low-income individuals, the UN believes it violates international obligations of equality and non-discrimination. Read the rest of this entry »
Apr 3, 2013 Comments Off
The Globe and Mail reports that the Crown will appeal the acquittal of a Toronto police officer who was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a suspect during a drug raid in September 2010. The officer was originally charged with manslaughter after the incident, but an additional charge of second-degree was later added. The judge dismissed the murder charge, finding no evidence of a deliberate killing, and also acquitted the officer on the manslaughter charge, concluding that the facts did not support carelessness in how the officer discharged his firearm. The officer had maintained that he acted only in self-defense during an altercation that ensued after his team burst down the door of the apartment of the suspect in question.
The Crown’s decision to pursue an appeal has angered the Toronto Police Association, which was relieved at the acquittal after defending the officer’s conduct. Police commentators also emphasized that the case shows that police are not given preferential treatment in the justice system. Supporters of the deceased applauded the Crown’s decision, maintaining the officer’s culpability and expressing satisfaction that the Crown would not let the matter rest.
Mar 29, 2013 Comments Off
Some are wondering why police in a small Nova Scotia town have acquired a “tank.”
The New Glasgow Regional Police Service is the first police force in Nova Scotia to receive a Tactical Armoured Vehicle, or TAV. The vehicle is affectionately known as a “Cougar” in the Canadian Armed Forced, where it was originally used.
Local media have reported that the town’s emergency response team will use the vehicle to “better protect the public and ensure officer safety in dangerous situations.”
New Glasgow Police Sergeant Blair Bannerman told CTV News, “There’s absolutely no offensive weapons mounted on this vehicle. The cannon has been removed.”
Similar vehicles were reportedly used in the Balkans and Somalia.
New Glasgow has a population of 9562, according to the town’s website.