As Canada grapples with the potential consequences of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, one thing is becoming obvious.
The most high profile MP in the country at this moment is not Justin Trudeau, but rather Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Alberta’s NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips has compared Jason Kenney’s politics to the tactics of “strong men” in Syria and Hong Kong. She also compared Kenney’s policies to Joseph Stalin’s tactics in the manufactured famine of Holodomor.
Last week, Kenney move to combine both the Electoral Commissioner’s Office with the province’s Chief Electoral Office. This was a hotly contested decision, however, as the Electoral Commissioner was levying over $200,000 worth of fines towards Kenney’s UCP.
Speaking in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly, Phillips called Jason Kenney’s tactics “a strong man maneuver … we wouldn’t want in a democracy to be apart of a party that was referred to as a strong man maneuver.”
Phillips went on to say that she “knew that many of the members have deplored strong men in other parts of the world. We were at the Holodomor memorial today, and we have deplored some of the actions that we have seen in Hong Kong … we have deplored the invasion of Turkey into northern Syria … I don’t think anyone wants to be associated with that language.”
For some context, Phillips was comparing Kenney’s move to disband the office of the electoral commissioner (a body established by the previous NDP government) with Stalin’s Massacre of the Ukrainians and other modern and deplorable global incidents.
In the past, Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley wore a wristwatch with strongman Che Guevera on it.
During the third reading of Bill 17 Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Claire’s Law) Act, the honourable Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services, shared a personal story of a friend who experienced domestic violence.
Sawhney stated that domestic violence is not usually reported to the police and that “the prevalence of this issue is way more common than we think it is.”
She said that this law is relevant because “when you have this information, people can make informed decisions about their relationships as to whether they could be harmful to them.”
Premier Jason Kenney also spoke of a recent example in Alberta where Claire’s Law may have been effective in preventing domestic abuse. In this example, the woman was brutally beaten by a boyfriend who had a history of violence.
However, it’s far from enough. Jonathan Denis, Alberta’s former Attorney General, said there is “no one solution”. Instead, this is “a step forward”.
Minister Sawhney and Premier Kenney both believe that this new law can both save lives and prevent further domestic violence.
The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador has made similar efforts to develop a procedure curbing domestic violence. It recently passed its second reading.
Alberta, like it’s Prairie counterparts, suffer from high rates of domestic violence
According to a Stats Canada report report, 75,399 of 166,928 (45 percent) female victims nationwide were victims of intimate partner violence. On page 26 of the same report, women aged 25 to 34 years and 35 to 44 years were predominantly impacted, accounting for 56 and 52 percent of violence towards those respective age groups.
3,642 of said 75,399 women experienced sexual assault, accounting for 4.83 percent of all intimate partner violence towards that particular gender, the Stats Canada report states.
Alberta, like it’s prairie counterparts in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, is subject to some of the highest rates nationwide according to the report. The third-highest rate, which is exacerbated in rural areas because of “justice by geography.”
Throughout 2018, about a quarter of homicides committed in Alberta were documented cases of domestic violence.
Claire’s Law is “a step forward”, but more can be done to curb domestic violence
Despite the continued shortage of Crown prosecutors, which the UCP has committed $10 million to alleviate for rural concerns, gaps in policy still remain.
Notably, budget cuts to the specialized electronic monitoring of domestic violence perpetrators serving their sentence in the community were taken off the table.
However, individuals can find out if their partner has a history of violence by requesting records from the police, but that’s only if their history violence has been reported. The police are then able to inform that individual of their partner’s criminal history if they determine that it is necessary to ensure an individual’s safety.
Bill 17 was passed into law on Nov. 1 with unanimous support from both the NDP and the UCP. It is not with any coincidence that this law passed on the first day of November as this month is Family Violence Prevention Month.
Saskatchewan was the first province to adopt Claire’s Law. Claire’s Law is named after Claire Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in Manchester, England. After Claire’s murder, her family found out that Appleton had spent six years in prison for a previous domestic violence assault.
Had this law existed before Wood’s murder, the police could have notified Wood on her boyfriend’s violent history.
Hopefully, this law will entice further dialogue and encourage the reduction of domestic abuse in Alberta.
If you or someone you know are experiencing family or spousal violence in Alberta (and it is not urgent), please call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818. For more information, click on the following link: https://www.alberta.ca/family-violence-prevention-month.aspx
Elizabeth May is out as the leader, but the Green party certainly isn’t stopping.
According to a recent report from the CBC, Jo-Ann Roberts is considering recruiting former Liberal Cabinet Minister and now independent MP, Jody Wilson-Raybould to the party’s top job.
Wilson-Raybould is the only Independent in the House of Commons after she was kicked out of Liberal Party by Justin Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Then, attorney general, Wilson-Raybould said she was bullied and pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office to spare the SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec engineering firm with Liberal ties from prosecution.
The federal government has blocked almost all genuine investigation into the matter, with the RCMP even facing difficulties when it comes to having confidentiality waived on key witnesses.
Although hopeful, Jo-Ann Roberts has not reached out yet, as she believes former party leader Elizabeth May will take the lead on recruiting, given her close relationship with Wilson-Raybould, and the close working proximity on the hill.
May has previously attempted to recruit Wilson-Raybould, following the SNC-Lavalin affair, offering her the leadership even back then.
While the interim leader has stated her hopes to recruit Wilson-Raybould, she has also stated that her party is actively looking at other strong candidates who could join the leadership race.
The NDP MPP Joel Harden has been accused of supporting a terrorist organization after he called on the federal government to demand that Israel release a senior member of a Palestinian terror group, according to Bnai Brith Canada.
On Twitter, Harden stated that he was “Saddened, sickened and disgusted by the continued abuse of Khalida Jarrar, my parliamentary colleague, by Israeli occupation forces.” Jarrar was re-arrested on Wednesday after further suspected terrorist activities.
Jarrar was arrested by the Israeli troops due to incitement and promoting terrorist acts in 2015 and is a suspected high-ranking member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In Canada, the PFLP is a designated terrorist group.
The PLFP has been charged with the killing of innocent civilians. In 2014, it was connected to the death of a Canadian citizen, Howie Rothman. In late August this year, the PLFB is alleged to have murdered an Israeli teenager.