The Canada-U.S. "Beyond the Border" agreement announced in December 2011 promotes bilateral "friendship, sharing, and collaboration." These are excellent values. They are instilled in kindergarten. But if Canada wants to build an adult relationship with the United States, we need to openly address issues of civil rights, due process and accountability.
"Manslaughter," reads the United States Code, "is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice." It goes on, "Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both." In the disasters at the Massey coal mine in West Virginia and on the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, people were killed. Twenty-nine miners died in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Eleven workers died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which is owned by Transocean, working under contract for BP. There are state laws that govern manslaughter as well, and special language given for maritime deaths. So why aren't the executives of these companies behind bars?
The Toronto Star's 2010 investigative series on racial profiling proved the black community right. It is not often that disputes about perspective are conclusively settled with one side clearly right. However, the difference of opinion between the black community and the police force over whether the police engage in the practice of racial profiling may finally be settled.
That's according to a panel of experts organized by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), who at a Vancouver forum last Thursday called for immediate reform by replacing police-lead investigations with civilian teams.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana
Last week the Committee on Justice and Human Rights heard testimony on Bill C-15, legislation introduced by the Conservative Party to enact mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses in Canada.
I was one of the witnesses invited by the Committee to provide evidence to help inform deliberations. Myself and six other witnesses testified to the evidence demonstrating the ineffectiveness of mandatory minimum sentencing to address the problems of drug-related crime and violence.