Sunday, July 9, 2017

But Harper simply closed his eyes and kept spending those tax dollars on his shabby cause of washing his hands of Khadr. The Liberals under Jean Chrétien did no better, as evidenced by former foreign affairs minister Bill Graham’s regrets over not pushing harder to get Khadr out of Guantanamo Bay, which was the practice of other countries.

Instead of doing the right thing, feds do the wrong thing. They waste our money on court cases that fail ultimately and they do this to avoid greater payouts. It's troubling but there you go. We have no sort of democracy in place but we sure do have folks in government at all levels who would delay justice if they can --and they sure can. We're the public bank for their frivolous legal wrangling.
Now this is a good question:
To those who are horrified about the amount of money Khadr received, I have another question: Where were you when the Harper government was blowing $5 million of taxpayer money in legal fees to keep from paying Khadr anything? Even though the federal government was dead wrong on the law and morality of this cautionary tale?
***
Heck where were all the folks who are complaining about this payout when the federal government wasted a ton of cash fighting First Nations Advocates for no damn reason?
The federal government has been billed more than $3-million for its unsuccessful attempts to keep a high-stakes battle over first nations child welfare out of the courts.
Invoices obtained through the Access to Information Act show the Justice Department, acting on behalf of Aboriginal Affairs, paid out at least $3.1-million for legal services between 2007 and June 2012.
Government lawyers were trying to quash claims from first nations child rights advocates that Ottawa is short-changing native communities by funding child welfare services at 22 per cent below provincial levels.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations launched a human rights challenge that dates back to 2007.

A lot has been written about the apology and compensation the Trudeau government has given to Omar Khadr – much of it hysterical and inflammatory. A question: Why…
IPOLITICS.CA


The hypocrisy of our political leaders is always astonishing to me but let this article say what I can't say any more:


http://ipolitics.ca/2017/07/09/cut-the-mouth-foaming-this-is-the-price-governments-pay-for-grinding-a-citizens-life-into-dust/



Cut the mouth-foaming: This is the cost of grinding a citizen's life into dust
iPolitics Insights

Khadr’s disputed millions are not a reward for his actions, real and alleged

Michael Harris
Michael Harris
 Sunday, July 9th, 2017
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A lot has been written about the apology and compensation the Trudeau government has given to Omar Khadr – much of it hysterical and inflammatory.

A question: Why do I feel as though we have all been transported back to Salem?

The Khadr commentary has been more foaming at the mouth than fact-driven – the outstanding exception being Michelle Shephard of The Toronto Star.

It has also been shamelessly political, wallowing in the same cesspool of division and hate-mongering that characterized the previous government on a range of issues, including immigration, First Nations and environmentalists.

Former PM Stephen Harper’s hopelessly self-interested critique of what the new government has done in the Khadr case clearly demonstrates one thing: Harper and his party remain frozen in their northern Republican block of ideological ice. That blue, solidly-frozen face beside Harper is Andrew Scheer. He is proving to be about as new as taxes.

To those who are horrified about the amount of money Khadr received, I have another question: Where were you when the Harper government was blowing $5 million of taxpayer money in legal fees to keep from paying Khadr anything? Even though the federal government was dead wrong on the law and morality of this cautionary tale?

This is where the facts come in. Harper spent millions in the fight against compensating Khadr, knowing that he had been a child-soldier pressed into war by his father and captured in Afghanistan at age 15. Fifteen. Think of that 15-year-old of your own playing video games in the basement.

There is a reason that the U.S. Supreme Court and international human rights groups around the world have repeatedly asserted that adolescents differ profoundly, both emotionally and intellectually, from adults. It is for that reason there are unique protocols for dealing with adolescent offenders, including child-soldiers – all of which were ignored in Khadr’s case.

After his capture, Khadr spent 13 years in the infamous Guantanamo Bay, a tropical gulag where prisoners were abused and held without trial on charges that were never allowed near U.S. courts.

It took three years before he was even charged.

President George W. Bush’s “military tribunals” amounted to a troop of kangaroos run amok. The presumption was of guilt, not innocence. Due process sometimes came down to hogtying a prisoner until he urinated on himself.

How badly did any known form of justice get off the rails in the War on Terror? The U.S. military bugged the very meeting room in Guantanamo where detainees talked to defence lawyers about their cases. The listening device was disguised as a smoke detector. So much for solicitor/client confidentiality.

It was after years of abuse at Guantanamo that Khadr “confessed” to war crimes, including tossing the grenade that killed U.S. combat medic Sgt. Christopher Speer in a fierce firefight. Khadr later recanted, claiming he only confessed to get out of Guantanamo.

Who wouldn’t? He was threatened with lifelong imprisonment without trial unless he admitted to the charges against him. At times, it must have seemed that his cell mate was Franz Kafka.

The sleazy sequel to these institutional atrocities at Guantanamo? Successive Canadian governments knew all about the sleep deprivation and extended solitary confinement Khadr was subjected to at Guantanamo – abuses expressly designed to loosen his tongue. (Interestingly, Ottawa is thinking of banning solitary confinement in this country for compassionate reasons.)

At the same time as the Canadian government was telling its citizens that Khadr was being treated humanely at Guantanamo – a Sunday school word for torture. That was a shameless ploy that effectively left a Canadian citizen to his tormentors, as Harper and Jean Chrétien both knew that he was in fact being subjected to “enhanced interrogation.”

And Khadr was no exception.

In 2010, the Harper government instructed five federal entities – the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment, the Canadian Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the Department of National Defence to share information on Canadians with foreign agencies, even when there was a “substantial risk” of torture.

Never mind domestic law, international law or this country’s commitment to UN prohibitions against torture. Harper dragged Canada into the netherworld of extraordinary rendition and brutalities usually ascribed to the other side, as though it were an article of patriotism. It was a gross betrayal of the most basic Canadian values of justice. That is what Canadians are paying for today in the Khadr case.

Harper’s shame is all the greater in this matter because at every point along the way, the Supreme Court of Canada reminded him of the illegalities he was committing in the Khadr case. For ten years the courts roared.

The list of those rulings speaks for itself.

No detained juvenile should have been subjected to the kinds of things Khadr faced in prison. It was illegal to share information about Khadr with the U.S. It violated Khadr’s most basic rights to undergo interrogation by Canadian officials at Guantanamo, even though those same officials knew that he had been tortured. And it was wrong to throw Khadr in federal prison when he was finally returned to Canada.

But Harper simply closed his eyes and kept spending those tax dollars on his shabby cause of washing his hands of Khadr. The Liberals under Jean Chrétien did no better, as evidenced by former foreign affairs minister Bill Graham’s regrets over not pushing harder to get Khadr out of Guantanamo Bay, which was the practice of other countries.

Enter the Trudeau government. Faced with a string of damning rulings from the highest court in the land against the federal government, Khadr’s outstanding $20 million civil lawsuit and the prospect of laying out millions more in legal fees in a lost cause, the Liberals apologized and paid up. It was the only way to end the compounding disasters of Harper’s illegal and abusive handling of this file and Liberal bungling before that.

I suspect in the end that the rabid-dog response that Conservatives like Michelle Rempel and Andrew Scheer are trying to inspire in Canadians over the Khadr case hangs on the dollar amount.

They have a point. It is an unimaginable amount of money to ordinary people. It conjures up comparisons to winning the lottery. Missing from that drive-through rush to judgement, though, is any calculation of what the law says, or, heaven forbid, the slightest consideration of what Omar Khadr, child-soldier, actually experienced in the belly of the whale.

In a democracy, there is no higher cause than upholding the law and basic human rights, no matter where that sometimes dark and meandering road leads. Khadr’s disputed millions are not a reward for his actions, real and alleged. They are the price government’s pay when they grind their citizens lives into dust in pursuit of an imagined higher cause.




https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawa-spends-3-million-to-battle-first-nations-child-welfare-case/article4581093/

Conservative parliament secretary Bob Dechert on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Feb. 11, 2011. Mr. Dechert is upset to think Syria is criticizing Canada on child welfare. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press Images)

Ottawa spends $3-million to battle first nations child welfare case

HEATHER SCOFFIELD
OTTAWA — The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Oct. 01, 2012 9:47PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Oct. 01, 2012 10:00PM EDT
The federal government has been billed more than $3-million for its unsuccessful attempts to keep a high-stakes battle over first nations child welfare out of the courts.
Invoices obtained through the Access to Information Act show the Justice Department, acting on behalf of Aboriginal Affairs, paid out at least $3.1-million for legal services between 2007 and June 2012.
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Government lawyers were trying to quash claims from first nations child rights advocates that Ottawa is short-changing native communities by funding child welfare services at 22 per cent below provincial levels.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations launched a human rights challenge that dates back to 2007.
They say the federal government is discriminating by not providing the same level of child welfare support to first nations children as other children in Canada receive from provincial governments.
Ottawa has challenged the advocates with legal technicalities at every step along the way, arguing that the case does not belong in the court system.
After much back and forth, and more than $3-million later, the Federal Court rejected the government’s arguments, ordering a full hearing at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
“They’ve spent that [the money] trying to avoid this hearing on the truth,” said Cindy Blackstock, the society’s executive director.
“That really raises the question of what they’re trying to hide. All we’ve wanted from the get-go is a factual hearing on whether they’re discriminating or not.”
Indeed, last week, the tribunal decided to set aside several weeks of hearings on the issue in February and March.
“I’m expecting Canada to really drag it out and use about any tactic they can to drag it out,” said Ms. Blackstock.
Ms. Blackstock obtained the federal invoices through an Access to Information request and provided the documents to The Canadian Press.
At stake is far more than federal funding for child welfare.
If the first nations advocates win the day, the case will put pressure on Ottawa to increase child welfare funding, as well as to match provincial funding in other areas of first nations services, such as schooling, special education, policing and health.
Already, first nations have started legal action on special education and policing in Ontario, using similar arguments to the child welfare case.
Victory for the first nations could cost Ottawa billions.
“We think that after these cases go through, the federal government’s programs for first nations people will need a drastic overhaul in order to deliver services equal to what other Canadians receive,” said Kent Elson, a Toronto lawyer who is involved in the policing and special education challenges.
But if the government wins, recently won powers for first nations to launch human rights complaints would be severely restricted, the acting head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has said.
“We think this is one of the most important human rights issues this decade,” Mr. Elson added.
Aboriginal Affairs officials said Monday they don’t intend to speculate on how much the case will cost at the end of the day, but spokeswoman Genevieve Guibert said in an e-mail that the government hopes the tribunal will dismiss the complaint, putting an end to litigation.
The government has increased the funding from $449.5-million a year in 2006-07 to its current level of $580-million, Guibert said.
A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said last week that the federal government does not believe the courts are the proper forum for differences over child welfare.
“We believe that the best way to ensure first nations children and families get the supports and services they need is by working together – with first nations, provinces and territories – and not through the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,” Jan O’Driscoll wrote in an e-mail.
“Our commitment to supporting first nations children and families is clear.”
Mr. O’Driscoll said funding for family services has “significantly increased” and the quality of such services has improved to focus on preventing the problems that jeopardize the welfare of native children.
“As this matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
But Ms. Blackstock said she and the AFN worked for 10 years behind the scenes to negotiate a compromise with the government, before turning to legal action.
“The bigger question is, do we want to be a country where racial discrimination is a way that we save the government money? This case is fundamentally about the type of Canada we want,” she said.
“It’s not a legitimate fiscal restraint measure.”
First nations children are dramatically over-represented in the child welfare system, mainly because of poverty, overcrowded housing and poor parenting linked to substance abuse and neglect, research shows.
Recent census data shows there were nearly 30,000 children in foster care in Canada on a given day. Other research suggests about 70,000 children pass through foster homes at some point in a given year.
Up to 40 per cent of those children are first nations kids, Ms. Blackstock said.
Last week, the United Nations committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child took Canada to task over its treatment of aboriginal, immigrant and disabled children.
When asked about the criticism in the House of Commons, Conservative parliamentary secretary Bob Dechert lashed out at the UN committee rather than address the child welfare matter.
“The sad reality is that Syria is a member of this committee,” Mr. Dechert said.

“Syria, a country whose rulers are stealing the innocence of an entire generation of its children, is criticizing Canada. Imagine that. This is no doubt to distract from the atrocities that Syrian children are currently facing every day.”

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/06/02/ottawa-spent-707000-in-legal-fees-fighting-a-rights-decision-that-protects-indigenous-children.html





Ottawa spent $707,000 in legal fees fighting decision that protects Indigenous children

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled the government was discriminating against First Nations children by not giving them equitable health and social services payments.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was asked to provide the legal costs spent fighting a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was asked to provide the legal costs spent fighting a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order.  (ADRIAN WYLD/ THE CANADIAN PRESS)  
By TANYA TALAGAStaff Reporter
ALEX BALLINGALLOttawa Bureau
Fri., June 2, 2017




Ottawa spent $707,000 in legal fees fighting a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order since January 2016 that insisted they stop discriminating against Indigenous children, according to the attorney general’s office.
New Democrat MP Charlie Angus asked Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on April 10 what the government’s total legal costs were in the battle between the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations against the government since Jan. 25, 2016.
Angus just received the answer of $707,000 for legal costs, including disbursements. That is nearly twice the $380,000 needed by Wapekeka First Nation for emergency mental health care after the northern Ontario community uncovered a suicide pact last year. Health Canada denied them the funding and two 12-year-old girls, Jolynn Winter and Chantell Fox, took their lives in January.
“How is it possible the office of (Indigenous Affairs Minister) Carolyn Bennett and (Health Minister) Jane Philpott decided it was awkward to spend money to keep those girls alive but it wasn’t awkward to spend money on lawyers to fight the tribunal?” Angus said Thursday.
After a prolonged legal fight, the tribunal ruled in January 2016, that Canada was breaking the law by not making equitable health and social services payments to Indigenous children living on reserves. On May 26 the tribunal slammed the government’s slow reaction to their ruling, saying they squandered “any chance of preventing” the deaths of Winter and Fox.
The $707,000 could have gone a long way for mental health services for children in need, said Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Family Caring Society.
“I just don’t understand it,” she said. The government has received a series of non-compliance orders from the tribunal since their 2016 ruling.
In an act of desperation, Blackstock wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to personally intervene in this case.

You

“It should be abundantly clear by now, after four non-compliance orders and the most recent order linking Canada’s non-compliance to the tragic deaths of two 12-year-old girls that these departments are either unwilling or unable to do it on their own. They need leadership from the Prime Minister’s Office to do it,” she said.
“I worry about this non-compliance as each day passes because children and their families continue to live in crisis.”
When contacted by the Star on Thursday, a spokesperson for Philpott’s office pointed to the joint statement released last week by the Health and Indigenous affairs ministries after the latest non-compliance ruling. The statement said more than 4,900 requests for health, social and educational products or services have been approved for children under the Jordan’s Principle Child-First Initiative.
“We are reaching out to First Nations families, health providers and key stakeholders to raise awareness of Jordan’s Principle, encourage families to come forward, and help families obtain the services and supports they need,” the statement said.
In an emailed statement, James Fitzmorris, spokesperson for Bennett, said the department “strongly agrees” with the tribunal’s order to put children first in its approach to First Nations health and social spending. He said the government has been responding to the legal case at the tribunal and “can’t ignore orders to appear.
“Canada fully accepted and is implementing the CHRT ruling of 2016 — all legal fees incurred since then are related to responding to orders from the CHRT to appear and explain the steps Canada is taking to ensure an end to discrimination against First Nations Children in Child and Family services,” the statement said.
Blackstock said the government knows what to do — and that is fund all children equitably — but they are just willingly not doing it.
“That is a very hard thing for me to think about. I have always believed in the goodness of people. I can’t wrap my mind around why good people would not comply with four legal orders,” she said, adding she sent the letter to Trudeau on Monday.
At the heart of the tribunal case is the definition of “Jordan’s Principle,” named after Jordan River Anderson, a 5-year-old boy from Norway House First Nation who died in 2005. Parliament unanimously passed a motion to adopt Jordan’s Principle in 2007, to ensure that all Indigenous children immediately get health and welfare services they need.
In January 2016 the tribunal ruled the government’s definition of Jordan’s Principle was too narrow in its focus on cases where children had “multiple disabilities.” This led to “service gaps, delays and denials for First Nations children,” the tribunal found.
Last year, the Liberal government committed up to $382.5 million over three years to pay for services highlighted by the tribunal’s first ruling on discrimination.
Correction – June 2, 2017: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the amount spent by the Federal government in legal fees as $770,000 in one instance.
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