• How to put Indigenous children first

    Step one: Establish the office of a Children’s Ombudsperson that is independent of government with order making powers to initiate investigations and ensure government departments are in compliance with their obligations to ensure full access of services… Canada will never be the nation it was meant to be until we understand that the greatest wealth in our nation is not the gold, the oil or the diamonds — it is the potential of children.

  • 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.

  • Welcome to the new and improved Senate

    They sit as independents, and act like it. They and other like-minded senators have improved more than one piece of legislation by sending it back to the House with recommended revisions. Sometimes the House has accepted their recommendations, sometimes it hasn’t. In all cases, the Senate has deferred to the final will of the Commons, as it did, ultimately, with the budget… We should think of this new, improved Senate as a jury, another institution of our democracy…

  • Should Indigenous ancestry dictate public policy?

    The logic of these developments is to allow anyone who can demonstrate any degree of Indian ancestry to apply for registration, that is, to receive legal Indian status… Some First Nations welcome the increased numbers, but many believe they cannot afford to provide services. They sometimes also fear that newly registered Indians who have lived off-reserve for decades no longer share their traditional culture.

  • Justin Trudeau goes halfway on access to information

    The new legislation, the first major update to the act since it was passed more than 30 years ago, does offer a number of welcome and significant improvements to the current system… What the legislation doesn’t do, however, is extend the disclosure rules to PMO or cabinet documents… Instead, the Liberals have tried to placate the public and transparency advocates by including a measure that would force ministerial offices to “proactively disclose” certain information.

  • Senate report offers valuable roadmap to tackling court delays

    “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice” makes 50 recommendations for how to address the crisis… governments would be better served tackling the roots of the crisis… introducing technologies “that facilitate cooperation, permit increased information sharing and improve efficiency.”… that judges be given better training on case management… [and that] incarceration should be a last resort and that less punitive and costly alternatives should be given priority.

  • If we don’t fix medicare, we may lose it

    … the Ontario Health Coalition is the latest to sound the alarm. It found that at least 88 private health clinics in six provinces regularly charge patients hundreds or thousands of dollars for needed diagnoses, tests or surgeries. In some cases, doctors levy user fees and bill the public system, charging twice for the same service… Such exploitative extra charges are prohibited by the Canada Health Act, yet these clinics operate with impunity.

  • Today, trans Canadians celebrate Bill C-16. Tomorrow, the work begins for us all

    … trans and gender non-binary Canadians are now recognized as formally equal citizens. But the work of real equality has only just begun… As the history of movements for racial justice and women’s rights has shown, anti-discrimination laws are limited in their ability to tackle structural inequalities. And the structural inequalities that trans and gender non-binary individuals face are monumental.

  • Senate report on court delays gets at big truths about criminal justice system

    … if a country is smart on community safety, the first order of business is to acknowledge that most offenders don’t belong in prison except for those who commit violent crime — convicted murderers, rapists, child abusers, etc. The committee never explicitly says that prison should be for the few, not the many, but it’s that principle that drives its cry for reform – for better ways to handle impaired driving offences, for more restorative justice, for alternatives to jail.

  • Some doctors are charging both government and patients privately in illegal double-dipping practice

    Even in Ontario, long considered tough on extra-billing, and where the government investigated 314 complaints in the last five years, none of the doctors involved was sanctioned. More than one-third were made to refund their patients, but were then able to bill the province for those treatments… “I think it’s an abdication of the responsibility of government,” says Dr. Etches, of Doctors for Medicare. “The private clinics are now deeply entrenched in the health-care system … and that lies at the feet of the politicians.”