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Ontario court case could lead to new sentencing rules for Black offenders
The appeal of a judge’s self-described “lenient” sentence for a Black man convicted of a gun infraction could lead to courts taking into account, during sentencing, the racism that Black people face in Canada. Since the Supreme Court’s Gladue decision, in 1999, judges sentencing Indigenous offenders have been obligated to consider Canada’s treatment of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. Some lawyers have expressed hope that the Crown’s appeal of the one-year sentence that Kevin Morris received last fall for possession of a loaded handgun will result in courts taking a similarly holistic view of Black offenders.
“All it means is giving the people who have to decide someone’s fate the full information,” Faisal Mirza, Morris’s lawyer, told the National Post. “It doesn’t mean the person is not going to face stiff consequences.”
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Will the premier’s recent cabinet shuffle help boost his party’s flagging poll numbers? According to Steve Paikin, the real issue that the Tories are facing isn’t who’s finance minister or education minister — it’s Ford himself. But the premier's supporters should take heart, Paikin writes: his performance on Thursday suggests that he knows he needs to change his approach if he wants to win re-election in three years’ time.
Last week, Legal Aid Ontario announced that, as a result of Tory cuts, it would be reducing funding for the province’s legal clinics by $14.5 million. In Etobicoke North — Doug Ford’s own riding — the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic is struggling to cope with the cuts and still meet its clients’ needs. As Abby Plener reports, the clinic took on about 10 new clients a day in 2018. “We’re talking about constituents who won’t be served anymore, and constituents are voters,” says Yodit Edemariam, the clinic’s acting director of legal services. “When people can’t access social assistance, [or] they can’t fight an eviction, they’re going to remember the government who made it harder for them to fight.”
Why did the former provincial government decide to spend $500 million a year to cover medications for Ontarians under 25 when that demographic is less likely than others to need prescription drugs? In Part 2 of this series on pharmacare, Matt Gurney speaks to Ontario Pharmacists Association vice-president Allan Malek about the Liberals’ ill-fated OHIP+ program. “I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. That’s true of my organization, as well,” Malek says. “OHIP+ was good news for a lot of people. But we wouldn’t have structured it the way that the government did.”
What do Queen’s Park reporters and commentators think about Doug Ford’s first year in office? Watch The Agenda to find out. Steve Paikin invites Toronto Sun editor-in-chief Adrienne Batra, Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn, National Observer reporter Fatima Syed, and TVO.org columnist Matt Gurney to assess the Tories’ recent cabinet shuffle and the political year that was.
Canadians became international heroes during the Syrian refugee crisis, sponsoring and settling thousands of refugees in 2015. But how have those good intentions played out? In this documentary, Michèle Hozer interviews a Syrian family of 13 and their sponsor community in Picton, exploring the joys and challenges that both sides have experienced.
As Canada marks National Indigenous Peoples Day, Anishinaabe activist and artist Sarain Fox talks to Steve Paikin about how a new generation of Indigenous youth is embracing cultural resilience, which involves maintaining a culture’s knowledge and practices and passing them on to the next generation.
The spirited E.L. Crossly Marching Band, from the Niagara-area town of Fonthill, unveils a mural commemorating its performances at Expo ’86, in Vancouver. The band, many members of which were students at the time, reminisces with pride about having represented Ontario on the world’s stage.