• Community justice hubs to offer addiction, mental health support under same roof as courts

    In the present model, “the judge will say, ‘You need a treatment plan and can you just get on the streetcar and go down the street to CAMH?’ And people walk out the door and they are gone.” Instead, at a justice centre, the “accused actually has access to a social worker, someone they can point to, and say, ‘You need to go talk to that person who is sitting at the back of the courtroom and they are going to help you put together a plan to deal with all the issues you are facing.’ ”

  • Ottawa should decriminalize all drugs – it’s effective policy

    … It makes sense, for reasons of public health, human rights and fiscal responsibility, to take a less punitive approach to drugs. But none of these arguments for a better, more humane response imply encouraging or condoning drug use. In fact, it is precisely because these substances, whether legal or illegal, can sometimes cause harm that we need to abandon approaches that have demonstrably compounded, rather than reduced, those harms.

  • The case for decriminalizing drugs

    Politicians and the public often oversimplify the decriminalization debate, assuming those who don’t forbid drug use must therefore condone it. But we should all be able to agree on a few things: it’s better if fewer people have drug-related problems, and it’s better if fewer people die… In truth, we have little to show for the vast societal resources consumed by our current policy, aside from overburdened police, courts and prisons. Put simply, tough drug laws don’t result in fewer drug-related problems and deaths. They do the opposite.

  • Privacy laws should apply to political parties

    The privacy laws also mandate that government and private companies protect personal data and that breaches be met with financial penalties. Yet political parties, which are free from such consequences, have not always been careful in their handling of their sizable stores of sensitive data… To the extent that micro-targeting happens without voters’ knowing about it or agreeing to it, the practice is manipulative in a way that distorts democracy. Data-hungry political parties are the last entities that should be exempt from privacy laws.

  • Parliament needs to cut back Canada’s excessive minimum-sentencing laws

    Mandatory minimums elide much-needed context from individual sentencing decisions, constrain judicial independence and, as the courts have said, can amount to cruel and unusual punishment… Perhaps politics is involved in the government’s reluctance to keep its promise. No one wants to risk being seen as soft on crime. But it’s that sort of craven calculation that has brought us to this point. It’s time the government found the courage to prune Canada’s overgrown mandatory minimum sentences.

  • Opioid addiction should be treated with prescribed medication when possible, new Canadian guideline says

    The guideline… outlines a step-by-step approach that promotes the use of relatively inexpensive medication that reduces cravings for opioid drugs… opioid addiction should be treated as a chronic disease in doctors’ offices, similar to diabetes or hypertension. The guideline advises against detox programs that discharge patients after several days, with no further addiction treatment or medication to support recovery… at least 80 to 90 per cent of patients will relapse after discharge

  • The law has done its job, but there must be justice for Tina Fontaine

    Outrage at her death in 2014 was a crucial factor in prompting the Trudeau government to set up the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) two years later… its success will be measured… in how effective it is in sparking real change. The inquiry… has compiled 1,200 recommendations to address the problems it is looking at. The issue isn’t more recommendations — it’s whether they are put into action.

  • Purdue Pharma given free reign in Canada as it is sanctioned in the United States

    Several American states have already successfully sued Purdue Pharma and others may follow… We have the same tragic opioid crisis here in Canada relative to the U.S. — 3,000 deaths per year in Canada compared to 30,000 in the United States — and trail only the U.S. when it comes to opioid prescribing rates. But unlike our neighbours, Canadian governments have not taken similar actions against Purdue Pharma. Canadians pay for this inaction.

  • The #metoo moment is important, but don’t forget the last one

    The #metoo moment… is a consciousness-raising fuelled in its reach and breadth by social media. It is a generation of women who feel they were sold a bill of goods when they were told they were equal. They are asking us: “How can this be true when our lives are curtailed by sexual violence?” … Let’s build on the moment of shock and dismay to create an adequately funded national strategy that uses this moment of holding politicians… and leave a changed future for the women and men who follow.

  • After the Sears debacle, why is Ontario making it easier to underfund pensions?

    Leaving retirees to scramble in their golden years is cruel, and it is unconscionable to expect an overtaxed middle class to foot the bill for corporate chicanery. If governments won’t stop companies from dodging their pension obligations, it’s just a matter of time before we see the next Sears Canada. And that’s a prospect that should worry us all.