The Law Union of Ontario will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Thursday October 11 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Friends’ House, 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. Click here for a map. The meeting room entrance is at the rear of the house on the west side. For wheelchair access, enter from the meeting parking lot on Bedford Road.
Come hear about the Law Union’s successes over the past year, and help chart the way forward. Please bring your ideas for new projects as well as ways to improve the Law Union. With social justice issues under siege, a strong Law Union is needed more than ever to fight oppression and to advocate for a more just, humane, and equal world.
Good conversation and refreshments to follow; agenda to be circulated shortly.
Join the Steering Committee!
We will also be forming new Steering Committee to guide us in the year to come. We strongly encourage people with diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives to lend their talents to the Steering Committee and help make the Law Union as inclusive, representative and effective as possible. Those interested in putting their names forward to become Steering Committee members should do so at the Annual Meeting. If there are more than 12 nominations, there will be an election in accordance with our constitution, though in years past this has not been required.
To endorse this call, email your 1) name/organization; 2) email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Africans in Partnership Against AIDS
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
- Criminal Lawyers Association
- Defence for Children International
- Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ryerson University
- Frontline Partners with Youth Network
- HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
- Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
- Justice for Children and Youth
- Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre
- Mothers Offering Mutual Support
- Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario
- The Canadian Harm Reduction Network
- Karen Schucher
- Sharon Crowe
- Vincent L. Nesparoli
- Carol Popovic
- Linda Newton
- Satomi Aki
- Jackie Esmonde
- Steven Sagle
- James Roundell
- Tanya Thompson
- Catherine Shortt
- Giselle Dias
In the aftermath of an Ontario court striking down another “mandatory minimum sentence” last week, Ontario lawyers and legal rights advocates are urging Ontario’s Attorney General, Hon. John Gerretsen, to take steps to mitigate the impact of the federal government’s new crime legislation before it begins coming into force on August 9, 2012. The Law Union of Ontario has written to Attorney General Gerretsen asking for the Minister to comply with the spirit of two Ontario court rulings by resisting the measures implemented under Bill C-10, the “Omnibus Crime Bill”, through provincial policies. The letter calls on the Attorney General to:
- Instruct Crown prosecutors to give serious consideration to consenting to probation in place of jail sentences;
- Encourage Crowns to pursue other reasonable offences that preserve judicial discretion in sentencing instead of those carrying mandatory minimums;
- Direct Crowns to seek non-custodial sentences for non-violent offences and for offenders who do not pose any public safety risk; and,
- Promote greater reliance on mental health and addiction diversion strategies, similar to measures expected in Quebec that promote treatment over imprisonment.
For youth in the system, the Attorney General should:
- Direct that a young person’s name only be made public in exceptional circumstances;
- Relieve prosecutors of the obligation to demand an adult sentence for someone under 16;
- Ensure that all players in the youth justice system receive proper training on the new provisions and objectives of the Youth Criminal Justice Act; and,
- Ensure that alternative measures/diversion provisions are available for populations that face special challenges.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has estimated that the Omnibus Crime Bill will cost Ontario more than $1 billion in infrastructure-related costs alone, and more than $50 million annually in additional operating expenses for new jails and correctional institutions. This is an enormous cost for policies that increase repression a do nothing for public safety and increase the risk of re-offending.
During the G20 Summit in Toronto on June 26 and 27, 2010, police trampled on the legal rights and civil liberties of thousands of protestors, legal observers, media personnel, bystanders, and other members of the public.
If you want to hold the police accountable for their wrongful actions and get compensation and justice for any wrong done to you, you may have to take action immediately. The deadline for taking legal action with respect to many of the claims arising from the G20 Summit will be June 26 or June 27, 2012. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your legal right to sue.
Deadlines for filing a police complaint or a human rights application have already expired, but you can still sue the police. You can sue the police in either the Small Claims Court (if you are seeking monetary compensation up to $25,000), or in the Superior Court if you want to claim a greater amount or ask the Court to do something other than order payment of money.
You should get advice from a lawyer immediately if you are considering taking legal action and want to make sure that you don’t miss the deadlines. Some lawyers who will provide a free one-half hour consultation about G20 legal claims are listed on pages 87-88 of the Law Union of Ontario’s Post-G20 Action Guide (www.lawunion.ca/g20guide).
For more information, please see the flier.
LUO Letter to Premier Charest
The enclosed letter was sent to Premier Jean Charest and several government ministers on May 30, 2012
May 30, 2012
The Honourable Jean CharestPremier
Government of Québec
835, boul. René-Lévesque Est, 3e étage
Québec (Quebec) GIA 1B4
Dear Premier Charest,
The Law Union of Ontario expresses solidarity with the students in Québec who continue to protest the tuition increase and more broadly, the austerity measures that are being effected throughout Canada.
The student demonstrations in Québec have sparked widespread discussion on the accessibility of education. The tuition increase proposed by the Charest government comes from the view that the current method of funding post secondary education is fiscally unsustainable and that individual students should bear the burden of their education. This view heavily deviates from the goal of democratizing post secondary education identified by he Parent Commission and results in a number of unwanted repercussions, including the
exclusion of equity groups that cannot afford a post-secondary degree. The red squares that many of us wear in solidarity of the student movement signify the impact that the proposed increase will have on student debt; it will leave students “carrément dans le rouge” (squarely n the red) and will trap students in years of debt.
Further, we recognize that the demonstrations are part of the greater struggle opposing neoliberal austerity measures that are being proposed and implemented by various Canadian governments. The tuition increases, bursary cuts, and additional efforts to encourage
donations from individuals and businesses are all part of the neo-liberal discourse of privatization. The Charest government’s proposals are indeed consonant with the way neoliberalism operates—the use of state power to create an increasingly laissez faire environment while making efforts to decrease public expenditures. We see the hikes as an attack on some of the most vulnerable members of society and find parallels in our commitment to oppose inequality that is fueled by government and corporate actors. By fiercely advocating against neo-liberal austerity measures, the students in Québec set an example for the rest of us to follow; they remind us that there is an alternative to passive acceptance of the status quo by taking deliberate steps to build a better, more equitable future.
We urgently appeal to the Charest government to repeal Bill 78: An Act to enable students to receive instruction from the postsecondary institutions they attend for the severe ramifications it poses to Charter rights. Specifically, Bill 78’s provisions, which require
protestors to give at least eight hours notice to the police force of the time, duration, and itineraries of lawful assemblies involving 50 people or more, and the various penal sanctions for failing to adhere to this protocol, will have a chilling effect on the section 2(c) right to
peaceful assembly guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The banal naming of the legislation is nothing more than a mask for the further criminalization of dissent. Further, we ask the Charest government to resume negotiations with students in good faith, and call
for a moratorium on rising tuition fees. We condemn the police brutality, the arrests of
peaceful protestors, and the intensification of policing activity surrounding the ongoing
strike. Lastly, we protest the municipality of Montréal’s attempt at hindering protestors by
adopting the anti-mask bylaw.
Nous sommes solidaires avec les étudiants. Nous sommes ensemble.
-The Law Union of Ontario
cc Madame Michelle Courchesne, ministre de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport
Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec
Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec
Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante