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Ottawa ordered to pay $20M for placing mentally ill inmates in solitary

Ottawa ordered to pay $20M for placing mentally ill inmates in solitaryAn Ontario judge has ordered the federal government to pay $20 million for placing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement, with the money earmarked to boost mental health supports in correctional facilities.In a ruling issued this week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell said the Correctional Service of Canada violated the charter rights of thousands of inmates who filed a class-action lawsuit against the agency over its use of administrative segregation.Perell found those who were involuntarily placed in administrative segregation for more than 30 days, or voluntarily for more than 60, experienced a systemic breach of their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."The placement of a seriously mentally ill inmate in administrative segregation goes beyond what is necessary to achieve the genuine and legitimate aim of securing the safety of the institution," he wrote."It does not accord with public standards of decency or propriety in the treatment of a mentally ill inmate. It is also unnecessary because there could have been alternative ways less draconian than then equivalent of solitary confinement to address a security concern, and an indeterminate time to resolve a security concern cannot be justified."Those who were in segregation for less than 30 days can still make claims later in the case.Compensation for individual members of the class has also not yet been determined and submissions will be heard at a future date.The judge says the $20 million sum will go to "additional mental health or program resources" in the penal system as well as legal fees."For decades, academic research, commissions, inquiries, inquests, court cases, domestic and international organizations, and the correctional investigator have recommended that the Correctional Service change its policies and practices with respect to the treatment of seriously ill inmates placed in administrative segregation," Perell wrote in his ruling."The vindication of the class members' charter rights requires that the federal government be directed to do what it ought to have done for decades," he said."The funds are to remedy to the harm caused to society which has suffered from the Correctional Service's failure to comply with the charter and also its failure to comply with the spirit of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and its purpose of rehabilitating mentally ill inmates to return to society rather than worsening their capacity to do so by the harm caused by prolonged solitary confinement."The Correctional Service of Canada said it is reviewing the decision and declined to comment further.Administrative segregation is used to maintain security when inmates pose a risk to themselves or others and no reasonable alternative is available.The practice has faced legal challenges in Ontario and British Columbia, both of which found extended solitary confinement to be unconstitutional because of the absence of a meaningful review process.Ontario's top court has given Ottawa until April 30 to fix its solitary confinement law, while B.C.'s has extended the deadline to June 17.The government has pointed to Bill C-83, now before the Senate, which eliminates administrative segregation and replaces it with "structured intervention units" meant to emphasize "meaningful human contact" for inmates and improve their access to programs and services.However, the bill does not include hard caps on how many days or months inmates can be isolated from the general prison population, and civil liberties organizations have said it does not go far enough.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press


Study says B.C.'s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

Study says B.C.'s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for evictionA new study says B.C. government policies are allowing landlords to evict drug users in Vancouver's rooming houses and there's little or no recourse for tenants to defend themselves against a practice that is often illegal and creates a risk of overdose. It says dispute resolution measures under the Residential Tenancy Act are often inaccessible, especially if tenants' belongings have been tossed out and they become homeless. The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, involved 50 low-income people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.


Court rejects lawyer's bid to save dangerous pit bull from euthanasia

Court rejects lawyer's bid to save dangerous pit bull from euthanasiaA legal bid to save a pit bull-type dog from euthanasia after it attacked six people, including four children, in Montreal last August has been rejected. Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater argued in court last week the section of a municipal bylaw declaring a dog must be euthanized once declared dangerous contravenes provincial animal welfare legislation.


Liberals deny second committee request to investigate political interference

Liberals deny second committee request to investigate political interferenceOTTAWA — Opposition parties have failed to convince the Liberals to let the House of Commons ethics committee probe further into allegations of political interference in the criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin.The Liberal majority on the committee voted down a motion backed by Conservatives and New Democrats that would have seen former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott testify about the controversy."The coverup continues," Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said after the meeting ended.Wilson-Raybould told the justice House of Commons justice committee last month that she was pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his senior advisers and senior ad visors to the finance minister, to overrule the decision by the director of public prosecutions not to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than proceed to a criminal trial on fraud charges.She believes she was shuffled out of justice in January because she wouldn't change her mind.Trudeau has denied anything improper occurred but has been unable to change the channel from the saga that has badly hurt his public image. He said the whole thing boils down to a breakdown in trust between him, his aides and Wilson-Raybould.During the almost two-hour-long meeting Tuesday, Conservatives and New Democrats urged their Liberal colleagues to put partisan issues aside and agree to have the ethics committee take on the probe after the Liberals ended the justice committee's investigation last week.Liberal MP Nathaniel Ermine-Smith, who voted in favour of an NDP motion in February to hold a public inquiry on the matter, said at the ethics committee Tuesday a new probe may only result in relitigating what has already been said at the unless the two former cabinet ministers were granted wider waivers to testify on the issue.Trudeau has not indicated any willingness to do that saying the waivers were already unprecedented and allowed for the facts relevant to the matter at hand to be made public.The justice committee heard from 10 witnesses over five meetings but opposition parties say Wilson-Raybould named 11 people who she felt crossed the line and all of them should be asked to testify. Only two of those people were among the witnesses the justice committee did hear from.Trudeau faced renewed questions about the controversy during a morning event in Winnipeg where he was trying to promote his government's budget introduced one week ago. He would not, however, say whether he rejected Wilson-Raybould's 2017 recommendation for chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.Sources told The Canadian Press that Trudeau turned down Wilson-Raybould's recommendation that Glenn Joyal be elevated from chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench to chief justice of the Supreme Court over Joyal's views on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Shortly after Trudeau told Wilson-Raybould he did not support her choice, the sources said Joyal withdrew his name from consideration.In a statement Monday, Joyal said he submitted an application for consideration for the Supreme Court in 2017, only to be forced to withdraw his name for personal reasons related to his wife's health.Instead, Trudeau appointed Sheila Martin to the high court and named Richard Wagner as chief justice. Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper appointed Wagner to the high court.Trudeau said Tuesday he would not discuss the matter nor would he say whether his office was involved in the leak of what is usually a highly confidential appointments process.Trudeau said it is the prime minister's choice of who to nominate for the Supreme Court, as well as for chief justice, and that Canadians can and should continue to have faith in their judicial system.Speaking at the ethics committee meeting, Kent said the breach of a highly confidential judicial appointment process would warrant a parliamentary investigation on its own. He also said the story could compromise the integrity of the appointment process, and possibly some sitting justices.The Canadian Press


P.E.I. election speculation mounts as Liberals plan 'special announcement'

P.E.I. election speculation mounts as Liberals plan 'special announcement'CHARLOTTETOWN — P.E.I.'s governing Liberals are planning a "special announcement" tonight, amid mounting speculation of a spring election on the Island.The party issued an advisory this afternoon saying the announcement would come during a candidate nomination meeting at a Charlottetown hotel.Premier Wade MacLauchlan doesn't have to take voters to the polls until Oct. 7 under the province's fixed-date election provisions, but there have been indications the Liberals want to go early in an effort not to overlap with the federal election this fall.Despite a booming economy, polls suggest the Liberal party is likely facing a rough ride, with the Green party seen as a legitimate contender for power.A Corporate Research Associates poll released this month suggests the Greens had a healthy lead, followed by the Progressive Conservatives, who picked a new leader, Dennis King, in February.The Liberals were in third place, the poll suggests.The Island has only ever been governed by the Liberals or Tories.Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker became the first party member elected to the legislature in 2015, and he has worked to build the Green brand, mainly by challenging the notion that the party is devoted to nothing more than environmental activism.The party snagged a second seat when Hannah Bell, the 48-year-old head of a businesswomen's association in Charlottetown, won a 2017 byelection.The Liberals have been in power since 2007, and there are signs MacLauchlan — a longtime academic who began his political career in 2015 as premier — is personally unpopular.The last time a minority government was elected in P.E.I. was 1890.Whenever it comes, the P.E.I. election will also include a binding referendum on electoral reform — asking voters if they wish to stay with the current first-past-the-post system or change to a mixed-member-proportional-representation model.The Canadian Press


Tuesday 26th of March 2019 08:33:04

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Ottawa ordered to pay $20M for placing mentally ill inmates in solitary

Ottawa ordered to pay $20M for placing mentally ill inmates in solitaryAn Ontario judge has ordered the federal government to pay $20 million for placing mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement, with the money earmarked to boost mental health supports in correctional facilities.In a ruling issued this week, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell said the Correctional Service of Canada violated the charter rights of thousands of inmates who filed a class-action lawsuit against the agency over its use of administrative segregation.Perell found those who were involuntarily placed in administrative segregation for more than 30 days, or voluntarily for more than 60, experienced a systemic breach of their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."The placement of a seriously mentally ill inmate in administrative segregation goes beyond what is necessary to achieve the genuine and legitimate aim of securing the safety of the institution," he wrote."It does not accord with public standards of decency or propriety in the treatment of a mentally ill inmate. It is also unnecessary because there could have been alternative ways less draconian than then equivalent of solitary confinement to address a security concern, and an indeterminate time to resolve a security concern cannot be justified."Those who were in segregation for less than 30 days can still make claims later in the case.Compensation for individual members of the class has also not yet been determined and submissions will be heard at a future date.The judge says the $20 million sum will go to "additional mental health or program resources" in the penal system as well as legal fees."For decades, academic research, commissions, inquiries, inquests, court cases, domestic and international organizations, and the correctional investigator have recommended that the Correctional Service change its policies and practices with respect to the treatment of seriously ill inmates placed in administrative segregation," Perell wrote in his ruling."The vindication of the class members' charter rights requires that the federal government be directed to do what it ought to have done for decades," he said."The funds are to remedy to the harm caused to society which has suffered from the Correctional Service's failure to comply with the charter and also its failure to comply with the spirit of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and its purpose of rehabilitating mentally ill inmates to return to society rather than worsening their capacity to do so by the harm caused by prolonged solitary confinement."The Correctional Service of Canada said it is reviewing the decision and declined to comment further.Administrative segregation is used to maintain security when inmates pose a risk to themselves or others and no reasonable alternative is available.The practice has faced legal challenges in Ontario and British Columbia, both of which found extended solitary confinement to be unconstitutional because of the absence of a meaningful review process.Ontario's top court has given Ottawa until April 30 to fix its solitary confinement law, while B.C.'s has extended the deadline to June 17.The government has pointed to Bill C-83, now before the Senate, which eliminates administrative segregation and replaces it with "structured intervention units" meant to emphasize "meaningful human contact" for inmates and improve their access to programs and services.However, the bill does not include hard caps on how many days or months inmates can be isolated from the general prison population, and civil liberties organizations have said it does not go far enough.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press


Study says B.C.'s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

Study says B.C.'s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for evictionA new study says B.C. government policies are allowing landlords to evict drug users in Vancouver's rooming houses and there's little or no recourse for tenants to defend themselves against a practice that is often illegal and creates a risk of overdose. It says dispute resolution measures under the Residential Tenancy Act are often inaccessible, especially if tenants' belongings have been tossed out and they become homeless. The study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, involved 50 low-income people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.


Court rejects lawyer's bid to save dangerous pit bull from euthanasia

Court rejects lawyer's bid to save dangerous pit bull from euthanasiaA legal bid to save a pit bull-type dog from euthanasia after it attacked six people, including four children, in Montreal last August has been rejected. Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater argued in court last week the section of a municipal bylaw declaring a dog must be euthanized once declared dangerous contravenes provincial animal welfare legislation.


Liberals deny second committee request to investigate political interference

Liberals deny second committee request to investigate political interferenceOTTAWA — Opposition parties have failed to convince the Liberals to let the House of Commons ethics committee probe further into allegations of political interference in the criminal prosecution of Quebec engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin.The Liberal majority on the committee voted down a motion backed by Conservatives and New Democrats that would have seen former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott testify about the controversy."The coverup continues," Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said after the meeting ended.Wilson-Raybould told the justice House of Commons justice committee last month that she was pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his senior advisers and senior ad visors to the finance minister, to overrule the decision by the director of public prosecutions not to negotiate a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin rather than proceed to a criminal trial on fraud charges.She believes she was shuffled out of justice in January because she wouldn't change her mind.Trudeau has denied anything improper occurred but has been unable to change the channel from the saga that has badly hurt his public image. He said the whole thing boils down to a breakdown in trust between him, his aides and Wilson-Raybould.During the almost two-hour-long meeting Tuesday, Conservatives and New Democrats urged their Liberal colleagues to put partisan issues aside and agree to have the ethics committee take on the probe after the Liberals ended the justice committee's investigation last week.Liberal MP Nathaniel Ermine-Smith, who voted in favour of an NDP motion in February to hold a public inquiry on the matter, said at the ethics committee Tuesday a new probe may only result in relitigating what has already been said at the unless the two former cabinet ministers were granted wider waivers to testify on the issue.Trudeau has not indicated any willingness to do that saying the waivers were already unprecedented and allowed for the facts relevant to the matter at hand to be made public.The justice committee heard from 10 witnesses over five meetings but opposition parties say Wilson-Raybould named 11 people who she felt crossed the line and all of them should be asked to testify. Only two of those people were among the witnesses the justice committee did hear from.Trudeau faced renewed questions about the controversy during a morning event in Winnipeg where he was trying to promote his government's budget introduced one week ago. He would not, however, say whether he rejected Wilson-Raybould's 2017 recommendation for chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.Sources told The Canadian Press that Trudeau turned down Wilson-Raybould's recommendation that Glenn Joyal be elevated from chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench to chief justice of the Supreme Court over Joyal's views on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Shortly after Trudeau told Wilson-Raybould he did not support her choice, the sources said Joyal withdrew his name from consideration.In a statement Monday, Joyal said he submitted an application for consideration for the Supreme Court in 2017, only to be forced to withdraw his name for personal reasons related to his wife's health.Instead, Trudeau appointed Sheila Martin to the high court and named Richard Wagner as chief justice. Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper appointed Wagner to the high court.Trudeau said Tuesday he would not discuss the matter nor would he say whether his office was involved in the leak of what is usually a highly confidential appointments process.Trudeau said it is the prime minister's choice of who to nominate for the Supreme Court, as well as for chief justice, and that Canadians can and should continue to have faith in their judicial system.Speaking at the ethics committee meeting, Kent said the breach of a highly confidential judicial appointment process would warrant a parliamentary investigation on its own. He also said the story could compromise the integrity of the appointment process, and possibly some sitting justices.The Canadian Press


P.E.I. election speculation mounts as Liberals plan 'special announcement'

P.E.I. election speculation mounts as Liberals plan 'special announcement'CHARLOTTETOWN — P.E.I.'s governing Liberals are planning a "special announcement" tonight, amid mounting speculation of a spring election on the Island.The party issued an advisory this afternoon saying the announcement would come during a candidate nomination meeting at a Charlottetown hotel.Premier Wade MacLauchlan doesn't have to take voters to the polls until Oct. 7 under the province's fixed-date election provisions, but there have been indications the Liberals want to go early in an effort not to overlap with the federal election this fall.Despite a booming economy, polls suggest the Liberal party is likely facing a rough ride, with the Green party seen as a legitimate contender for power.A Corporate Research Associates poll released this month suggests the Greens had a healthy lead, followed by the Progressive Conservatives, who picked a new leader, Dennis King, in February.The Liberals were in third place, the poll suggests.The Island has only ever been governed by the Liberals or Tories.Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker became the first party member elected to the legislature in 2015, and he has worked to build the Green brand, mainly by challenging the notion that the party is devoted to nothing more than environmental activism.The party snagged a second seat when Hannah Bell, the 48-year-old head of a businesswomen's association in Charlottetown, won a 2017 byelection.The Liberals have been in power since 2007, and there are signs MacLauchlan — a longtime academic who began his political career in 2015 as premier — is personally unpopular.The last time a minority government was elected in P.E.I. was 1890.Whenever it comes, the P.E.I. election will also include a binding referendum on electoral reform — asking voters if they wish to stay with the current first-past-the-post system or change to a mixed-member-proportional-representation model.The Canadian Press


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