You heard it here first. The Ontario government has ordered police forces across Ontario to test older model Tasers, electric stun guns, to ensure they’re working according to specs. The province’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services issued the directive today to all police services, after a troubling investigative report by CBC television. It found that some older Tasers, the X26 model, can deliver more juice than the manufacturer says is possible. Many municipal police departments use this model. The findings raise questions about the reliability of the weapons and the claims of the manufacturer, Taser International, which has insisted that Tasers are safe. Amnesty International has called repeatedly for a moratorium on their use.
Police across Ontario are letting near drunk drivers off the hook by ignoring tough new rules in the province’s traffic law, the Highway Traffic Act. It’s kind of hard to imagine police wouldn’t use a bigger stick to whack drunks if they have one, but that’s just what they’re doing.
View Kingston, prison capital of Canada in a larger map
Locating more than 2,000 convicts who call the Kingston area home is a matter of geography. They’re all mapped up. This cancrime map (click the view larger map link to explore) charts the location of the eight federal penitentiaries in the Kingston region that house prisoners serving sentences of two years or more. Kingston has the largest concentration of federal pens of any region in the country and is home to the nation’s oldest joint, Kingston Penitentiary, a stone fortress built along the Lake Ontario shoreline with convict labour. It opened in 1835.
The drug subculture is a cesspool of violence. Need an example?
It’s also a glimpse of one piece of a twisted puzzle. If a drug dealer is willing to snip off a man’s toe with garden shears, slice his body, rub salt into his wounds and bag his head, all because the victim is believed to have stolen marijuana, what will he do in prison, locked in a stifling and dehumanizing cage, when he takes offence to the daily misery and frustration of life behind bars?
The answer: He’ll do just about anything.
2015-07-ES William George Thompson, Applicant v. Pinnacle Roofing Systems Inc., and Director of Employment Standards, Responding Parties.
Employment Practices Branch File No. 21207535
To find the really good jobs, of course. Like coppersmithing, which annually pays nearly as much as the premier of Ontario earned in 2007.
A coppersmith, like William Thompson of Kingston, often pockets $85 an hour – that’s more than $175,000 yearly. Thompson’s jaw-dropping pay scale is the hidden gem in this 2008 decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OK, not technically court, but a quasi-judicial body that renders decisions, sometimes after conducting court-like hearings). Thompson was stiffed by an employer so he went to the board to collect. The board ordered the employer to cough up roughly $5,300. The dispute between Thompson and Pinnacle Roofing Systems is pretty standard stuff in labour circles, but the revelations about how much Thompson earns are stunning and the kind of fascinating tidbits that often bob to the surface when disputes are litigated. Thompson was doing custom roofing work at Royal Military College in Kingston, for Pinnacle, at the discount rate of $50 per hour. Typically, he makes $85 per hour. Inspired to switch careers? You can order DVDs to learn coppersmithing or take an eco-friendly holiday where it’s taught.
Is it any wonder average folks have a hard time understanding the criminal justice system when they read that a convict’s last two years in custody were spent on parole.
Police knew Gratton was living in northeast Edmonton, but he didn’t meet the criteria for them to notify the public, Chief Mike Boyd said.
Normally, notification of a high-risk offender is sent out if the offender is untreated and ineligible for early release or parole. Gratton’s last two years in custody were spent on parole, while he attended the Phoenix Program for serious sexual offenders at Alberta Hospital.
Huh? He spent two years in custody, on parole? Isn’t parole when you’re out of custody? How can he be out of custody, yet in custody, on parole?
Most media reports ignored some controversy in the Brenda Martin (inset) parole case. She’s the Trenton, Ont., woman who spent two years in a Mexican prison. She was convicted there of money laundering. After a furious public campaign in Canada, she was transferred to a Canadian prison, then quickly paroled. She has maintained she was railroaded in Mexico. Corrections Canada staff who assessed her recommended she be ordered to undergo psychological counselling after release, according to a record of her May 9, 2008, parole decision (read it after the jump). The parole board refused to order it.