• New book ‘Invisible No More’ will change what you think you know about police brutality

    For white women, the concern is about police nonresponse to violence. For women of colour, police response is the problem – too many cases where officers responding to domestic violence calls sexually assault the person who called for help, strip searches and cavity searches, criminalization around supposed welfare fraud, the way child protective services police motherhood of women of colour, and how prostitution is policed. “Very few people have paid attention to the police interactions… Counting police violence in the overall equation of violence…”

  • Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin on sex assault cases: ‘No one has the right to a particular verdict’

    … while the system seems focused on the accused, “complainants and victims are also part of the process,” and the integrity of the system demands that they be taken seriously and that their interests be reconciled with the rights of the accused… The justice system can achieve a “fine but crucial balance” between protecting the right of the accused and the dignity of complainants, but “we must not divide ourselves into warring camps shouting at each other…

  • We owe sexual abuse survivors more than #MeTo

    … is awareness actually the problem? Just how many hundreds of thousands of stories will it take to convince those who haven’t suffered sexual abuse that the issue is real and life altering? What needs more airtime? Concrete measures for enacting cultural and institutional change… From the ground up, we need to start with schools imparting deeper knowledge to young minds about consent, empathy, entitlement, bodily autonomy and bystander behaviour.

  • Let’s not dismiss the painful pattern of microaggressions

    … Examples of microaggressions included: general condescension; intuiting that others expected their work to be inferior; or being treated as an intimidating presence… Some people who aren’t subject to microaggressions view them as small, unimportant experiences that are blown out of proportion. But BEP participants told us their effects are real and cumulative… anti-black racism is an especially stubborn force.

  • To solve the opioid crisis, stick to harm reduction

    Stiff trafficking penalties already exist and clearly aren’t working – an outcome supported by research. One summary of the findings by experts at the University of Toronto in 2014 concluded that “crime is not deterred, generally, by harsher sentences.” In contrast, harm-reduction strategies such as legalization, opiate substitution (or prescription) and supervised injection have proven their effectiveness

  • Stop using mental illness to explain away violence. It’s not that simple

    First of all, a “psychological issue” is not the same as a diagnosed mental illness; nor does a history of psychological/psychiatric illness predispose a person to violence. Expecting psychiatrists or other health professionals to single out people who have the potential to be terrorists and/or mass murderers is preposterous. Health professionals already have the ethical/legal responsibility to identify people who are an imminent risk to harm themselves or others, but broader, predictive profiling would be a dubious exercise at best.

  • It’s time for a smarter approach to drugs

    The harm-reduction approach cannot fully succeed until we stop treating people addicted to drugs as criminals… The war on drugs has driven up the cost of policing, contributed to a national crisis of court delays, compounded racial and class inequities and unnecessarily criminalized people living with physical and mental illness. All that, without delivering any of the promised benefits for public health or public safety.

  • A good day for press freedom

    … Members of Parliament passed the Journalistic Source Protection Act, which originated as a private member’s bill in the Senate, marking a major step forward for press freedom. We will finally be joining the United States, Britain, France and others in providing a legal safeguard for the privileged relationship between source and reporter.

  • Ontario’s jails can’t even count their dead, review finds

    “If the purpose of corrections is to contribute to a peaceful and just society by assisting those in conflict with the law to learn to live within it, then the work of corrections must be done in a way that models ethical, legal and fair behaviour,” Sapers says. Ontario’s corrections work doesn’t. It models slop, neglect and randomness.

  • The War on Drugs has been lost. It’s time to try something else

    Portugal has not taken the logical next step of shouldering out the dealers and taking over controlled distribution of drugs itself. This is the path that Canada and the American states of Colorado and Oregon have embarked upon with marijuana… As it prepares the rules for marijuana sales and use, the federal government should examine the Portuguese model, as well as the disastrous drug war in the U.S.