Racial Profiling at Walmart: the case of Santina Rao

On the morning of February 19, 2020, Santina Rao will be in the Halifax provincial court for charges arising out of her arrest at Walmart on January 15, 2020, which many – including me – see as the result of racial profiling.  The proceedings continue despite public pressure on the Crown to drop the charges, including a petition signed by approximately 6,000 at last count. What happened to Rao case raises a number of issues, including human rights, culpability of […]

Public interest and climate justice protests

As another climate strike date approaches on November 29, 2019. There will be people taking to the streets and there is always the possibility of disruptive actions to create more pressure.   It is notable that the climate justice movement’s unrelenting action appears to be  creating a new normal.  On November 18, 2019, the Crown dropped mischief charges against 20 people who were arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in Toronto, which non-violently, and temporarily, occupied and […]

Ontario Legal Aid Cuts: class warfare

Legal aid is necessary because legal services cost money, and not everyone can afford them. Lives and fundamental rights to security of the person are often on the line when facing legal challenges. Our legal system doesn’t work for the poor and working poor of society. Recent cuts to Legal Aid  Ontario (LAO) represent a piece of a rotten whole and provides an opportunity to pose larger questions about access to justice beyond breadcrumbs. In this post, I will reflect […]

Health care for all: immigration status as a ground of discrimination

February 12, 2019 was a national day of action to call for the inclusion of non-status people in our health care system in Canada. The call to action touches on a gaping hole in human rights protections in Canada: the exclusion of immigration status as a ground for discrimination. Anyone who has less than Canadian citizenship status in Canada faces discrimination, with those with the lowest status, being non-status, facing the worst of all. Despite this daily reality, immigration status […]

UN Global Compact for Safe Migration: It does not go far enough

On December 8, 2018, Canada stated that it would adopt the UN Global Compact for Safe Migration. What followed was an unsurprising and reactionary set of protests across the country. People protesting did so in order to try and oppose the idea of more people – who they don’t like – coming to Canada to stay. The reality is that the Compact does not instill any formal obligations on Canada and does not go nearly far enough to respond to […]

Trying to get rid of a criminal record is further punishment: why the records suspension regime needs to be entirely overhauled

Overview In this post, I will argue that the process of trying to have a criminal record removed is fundamentally flawed and should be considered unlawful. I am not going to put any time into the subject of cannabis possession records possibly being suspended or pardoned without a fee. There has already been substantial attention on this issue, but it is a drop in an otherwise empty bucket. I will will draw attention to the rest of the bucket. I […]

Unionization for inmate workers

A worker is a worker, whether in a factory, office building, field, mine or behind bars. All workers should have the right to a union. Workers need a union in order to minimize – since present social relations will not allow elimination – the great power imbalance between bosses and workers. Where the power imbalance is the greatest, so is the need for a union. Workers in jail are the most vulnerable workers in our society, facing the enormous power […]