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A culture of vengeance: The case of Omar Khadr

By Monia Mazigh
Image: Photo of young Omar Khadr.8 May 2015 — A few years ago when some Canadian Muslim men, accused of terrorism, challenged the Canadian government through the courts to ask for their legal rights, voices within the intelligence community rose up and insinuated that these men were waging "judicial jihad."
When the federal government appealed the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench decision to grant the release of Omar Khadr, another Canadian Muslim man who spent over ten years in Guantanamo prison for being a child soldier, none of these same voices would rise up and accuse the government of "judicial vengeance" — despite the fact that the Canadian government has been using taxpayers' money to wage one legal battle after another to defend the indefensible: the torture and the indefinite detention of a Canadian citizen. (More)

Supreme Court rejects Harper government

claim that Omar Khadr was adult offender

By Mike Blanchfield
The Canadian Press via The Huffington Post
Image: Screenshot of Omar Khadr speaking with reporters after winning his freedom.14 May 2015, OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada wasted no time Thursday as it summarily rejected the federal government's bid to have former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr declared an adult offender.
The case — the third time the Khadr file has come before the high court — centred on whether the eight-year war-crimes sentence he got from a U.S. military commission in 2010 ought to be interpreted as a youth or adult sentence. (More)

Canada’s prison watchdog is being fired after raising alarm

on race problems, solitary confinement, and violence in jails

By Justin Ling
Image: Screenshot of Howard Sapers, from interview with VICE.5 May 2015 — The man responsible for watching over Canada's prison system—one he says is rife with race and violence problems—is quietly being fired by the federal government.
At some point over the next few months, Howard Sapers will vacate his post as Canada's Correctional Investigator. The government is keeping him on the job just until they can find a replacement.
"It's a pretty clear message that the government would like to see me replaced," Sapers told VICE. (More)

Budget day letter to Music Canada confirms Harper's

copyright extension is the product of industry lobbying

By Michael Geist
Image: Partial copy of letter to president of Music Canada from STephen Harper.15 May 2015 — The government’s decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings in the budget may have taken most copyright observers by surprise, but not the music industry. I’ve posted earlier on their extensive lobbying efforts on the issue and how the extension will reduce competition, increase costs for consumers, and harm access to Canadian Heritage. The record of lobbyist meetings gives a hint of the reasons behind the extension, but a letter sent by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that I recently obtained suggests that it all it took was a letter from Music Canada President Graham Henderson to the Prime Minister. (More)

Bill C-51 violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OSCE finds

Image: Detail of photo of members of OSCE voting, via ThinkPol.ca.29 May 2015 — The Harper government’s controversial anti-terrorism bill violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Canada has ratified, according to legal analysis by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. (More)

"Perilous precedent"

National Post View: The government has been caught

re-writing the rules to suit its own purposes — again

The National Post
Image: Detail of photo of Stephen Harper wagging finger. CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld, via National Post.15 May 2015 — If the issue weren’t so serious, it would almost be funny.
Once again, the government has been caught re-writing the rules to suit its purposes, a practice that goes to the heart of the Harper Conservatives’ chronic misuse of its power.
Federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault had recommended two months ago that charges be laid against the RCMP for destroying records from the federal long-gun registry, in defiance of the access to information laws. (More)
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