• Don’t outlaw hateful speech, counter it

    The right to free expression comes with a responsibility to counter bad and dangerous ideas, whether through a collective commitment to education or the use of the political bully pulpit. The state, and in particular our political leaders, must protect free speech, while also making sure to expose hate for what it is, and certainly never pandering to it… allowing hate in the public square carries risks, but more dangerous still is trying to bury it.

  • Elizabeth Wettlaufer murder inquiry must confront struggling long-term care system

    The key reason why no one suspected foul play, I suspect, is that nursing home patients are expected to die… The government’s political aim is to get eligible seniors off the waiting list and into long-term care beds as quickly as possible without spending too much… nursing homes face no financial loss if a resident dies. There are always people anxious to fill the beds of those who pass on… neither has a material incentive to look too closely if seemingly natural deaths do occur.

  • In cases of sexual violence, justice can come from outside the courts

    The evidence is clear. Many survivors of sexual violence experience the criminal justice system — with the intense public scrutiny and victim blaming that often come with it — as causing them further trauma…. Given the limitations of the system, survivors should be given access to meaningful alternatives to criminal justice so they can make an informed choice about which process is right for them. One option is “restorative justice,” which is increasingly being offered in sexual violence cases across the country.

  • Makers of OxyContin, Percocet sued by U.S. governments over opioid crisis

    Their suit is part of a wave of litigation against pharmaceutical companies by states, counties and local prosecutors besieged by the worst addiction crisis in American history… Opioid overdoses killed 33,000 people in the U.S. in 2015, about three times the number of gun homicides. The intensity of the crisis, and likely the fact that many of the victims are white middle-class suburbanites with political clout, has produced a bipartisan shift in perceptions of addiction.

  • Ontario’s children’s aid societies grappling with how to monitor privacy breaches

    CPIN gives workers access to care history information in a youth’s file within their department. The youth’s health, criminal and legal records are blanked out in the file and require special permissions to access… Only restricted files, which are few in number, trigger email notifications to a children’s aid society supervisor when an unauthorized person views a record. Youth who have “aged out” of the system are also searchable because there is no retention period for child welfare files.

  • Canada’s crime rate is falling — but drug charges are rising

    The police-reported crime rate peaked in 1991 and had been declining ever since. Not so the police-reported rate of drug-related offences. They grew by 52 per cent from 1991 to 2013, according to a Statistics Canada report into drug-related offences… In roughly half of completed cases in youth and adult courts involving marijuana, the marijuana charge was the only charge. Marijuana cases across the country were “more commonly stayed or withdrawn (55 per cent) than cases involving other types of drugs (38 per cent),”

  • Canada’s new sexual assault law is a ‘catastrophic attack’ on the rights of the accused

    They have channeled the mistaken but widespread belief that the justice system is skewed against women into Bill C-51, which has finished second reading in Parliament and will now receive attention from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. C-51 proposes changes that will satisfy many radical feminists, but may ruin the lives of many innocent men accused of sexual assault.

  • Wynne government should dump cruel panhandling ban

    If the government is concerned about the threat to public safety posed by homelessness and poverty, the Safe Streets Act is precisely the wrong approach. The money wasted enforcing this unfair and ineffective law would be much better spent on, say, affordable housing or mental health services or other chronically underfunded social programs that seek to address the root causes of homelessness.

  • Ottawa’s focus on data a good step in addressing gender-based violence

    An epidemic such as gender-based violence can’t be solved without first understanding who is affected and how… the Trudeau government’s sensible new strategy on gender-based violence, which was announced this week, will focus foremost on modernizing research and collecting up-to-date data. These are crucial steps in addressing a deep-rooted problem ignored by Ottawa for far too long.

  • With new solitary rules, Canada gets smarter on crime

    Prison is a paradox. In a civilized society, the goal of putting people behind bars is to prepare them to be released, and to equip them to live successfully on the outside. That’s what Canada’s federal prison system says its about, and it should go doubly for the provincial prison systems… most people behind bars in Canada are getting out – soon… The use of solitary confinement for anything other than short periods of time doesn’t further that objective. Even relatively short spells in isolation can harm mental health.