This article was first published in the Winnipeg Free Press, March 8, 2017 Manitoba has a higher proportion of adults in custody than any other province. We lock up people more frequently than Saskatchewan by 17 per cent and three-and-a-half times more frequently than B.C., according to a Statistics Canada report from last week. Overcrowding in prisons — and especially remand centres — is a growing and serious problem.
Law and legal issues
Diab (right) in 2013 with his wife Rania Tfaily and their daughter Jena.
Crime rates in Canada have been steadily declining for more than a decade, yet prison populations have been increasing in recent years. Commentators have attributed this disconnection between dropping crime rates and rising incarceration numbers to the Harper government’s tough on crime strategy. Since 2006 the Harper Conservatives have implemented legislative and policy changes designed to “tackle crime” and “make communities safer.”
Crime rates in Canada have been steadily dropping for over a decade, while prison populations have been increasing in recent years. Commentators have attributed this disconnection between falling crime rates and increasing incarceration numbers to the Harper government’s “tough on crime” strategy.
The high-profile Duffy trial is said to have put a spotlight on the inner workings of the federal government and notably the chain of command from the PMO downwards—the who-knew-what of the Nigel Wright cheque exchange, for example (if anyone still cares). So far, Duffy’s lawyers have hammered on the vagaries of Senate spending rules, with witness testimonies exposing how a supposedly non-partisan arm of government is used for political ends by Liberals and Conservatives alike.
Six jeunes adultes musulmans ont une discussion animée dans une langue étrangère devant une mosquée tard dans la soirée. Ils débattent peut-être des mérites du nouvel album de Drake. Peut‑être parlent-ils de jeux vidéos, de sport, de filles, ou peut-être militent-ils pour le renversement du gouvernement Harper. Qui sait? Il n'y a pas de preuves ni dans un sens ni dans l'autre. Rien que des stéréotypes.
Screenshot from a short film about Guantánamo Diary (see http://guantanamodiary.com/). Guantanamo Diary By Mohamedou Ould Slahi Little, Brown and Company (2015), 432 pages, $32 (hardcover)
Since October’s shooting and attack on Parliament Hill, the Harper government has introduced or passed four pieces of legislation that impinge on civil liberties in ways that almost certainly contravene legal protections in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Though the government claims these reforms are meant help security agencies confront new terrorist threats to Canada, they could be used to hassle and spy on a larger group of people at home and abroad, in particular those opposed to the government’s energy agenda.
[Pour la version française, cliquez ici]
The January 30, 2015 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada was a very significant one for the labour movement, and in fact for Canadian society. In their decision the Court once more reaffirmed that a strong base of fundamental rights for union members is a cornerstone of Canada’s democracy and is protected under our constitution.