I missed it yesterday, and there won’t be any Flyer Friday on the 10th, either. I’ll be heading home for Thanksgiving in the land of dial-up so expect a double whammy on the 17th (assuming I have any readers. My “popularity” took a nosedive this week. Novelty wear off or something? Sheesh.)
This week I had not just one, but two postcards about hearing loss and the need to be tested. One’s offering a free trial period with the Ion 200 hearing aid. Cripes, check out the price to buy that puppy! I’m glad I’m not in need. Quality Hearing Centre is offering a $500 rebate on a hearing aid trade-in and $200 off if you mention you saw their website. They don’t advertise the cost of their ear pieces, though.
Turning now to the election recyclables, NDP Patti Gieni is running for the Blackstrap riding in the Federal election and she’s sent me a little card:
As a working mother of four young men I know what it means to overcome difficulties and do what it takes. I have been a councilor, mayor, school board member and union activist and I am ready to work for you.
The union thing is good, as I’m in one. The library is not really considered a “vital service” in this city, except to the people who can’t seem to go a day without walking into one. Prior to working for the library, I had no idea people would actually line up before it opened to get in. People want their newspapers, their internet, their holds, the bathroom so they can get high in privacy… whatever the reason.
Jack Layton, leader of the same party, also has a flyer this week, focused on the need for affordable housing and Layton’s promise to make it happen. His slogan is, “A Prime Minister who’ll put you and your family first.” That would be a first. I wonder if Canada will experience a similar mortgage meltdown to what’s happening in the States. I would like to own a house (so I could vacuum at 6am if I felt like it, early bird that I am) but I’m never going to be able to afford it the way I’m going. I’ll inherit one, but hopefully not for a long time yet. I think I’d wind up selling it anyway, not because I don’t like it, but because I can’t imagine moving home again.
Out of curiosity, I’m poking around at current Saskatoon house prices. Caught a whammy of a deal outside of the city on a 140 acre farm. Owners want over five million dollars for it. I think Dad has 160 acres (a quarter-section of land) but he’d never get that kind of money for the works. A cousin of mine sold his farm for a million or so but I don’t know how big it was. Maybe he could have gotten more if the place was closer to an urban center. Here’s what might be the most expensive house for sale in the city — for Remax anyway. $1,999,900 CAD. Property tax alone would be crippling for most people. Even if I had half that money, I could think of better uses for it, that’s for damn sure.
I see Layton is also promising better job and economic security, improved, affordable health care, more doctors and nurses, and “will ensure Canada lives up to the challenge of climate change” by looking for ways to lower pollution levels and supporting sustainable solutions. It all sounds good. Too bad he won’t get elected.
Lynne Yelich is still pounding the campaign trail, asking people to re-elect her. She’s sent a list of everything the Conservatives have done in their quest to care for Canadians and their hopes for another term – expanded maternity benefits that would benefit the self-employed, cut tax on diesel fuel, give “up to $5000 for the closing costs of a new home” for first time homebuyers, improve other programs and revamp the Young Offenders legislation so youth convicted of the more violent crimes have sentences that fit.
It’s been a while since I took that course in human justice (and nearly failed it), but the Young Offenders Act has always been something of an interest to me. It came into effect in 1984 to replace a Juvenile Delinquent Act that had been in place since 1908.
JDA took a social welfare approach to youth crime. The different focus is immediately apparent in section 38 of the Act, which states: “the care and custody and discipline of a juvenile delinquent shall approximate as nearly as may be that which should be given by its parents, and that as far as practicable, every juvenile delinquent shall be treated, not as a criminal, but as a misdirected and misguided child” (Source: The Young Offenders Act: A Revolution in Canadian Juvenile Justice, p. 132).
Sounds good, looking back, but it was flawed.
The unintended results, however, were often arbitrariness, unfairness, and neglect of the interests of youth, consequences of the discontinuity between the ideals expressed in the JDA, and the actual delivery of services to juveniles. Moreover, juvenile delinquents were denied basic elements of due process: such things as a clear right to counsel, rights of appeal, and definite, as opposed to open-ended, sentences.
The YOA adopts what is known as the “justice” model of juvenile criminal justice. It recognizes the special needs and vulnerability of youth, but also places emphasis on both protection of the public and the rights of young people. The result is a considerably more detailed and explicit code governing criminal proceedings against youth. The emphasis is less on social intervention, and more on the delineation of rights and obligations.
JDA would sentence kids as young as 8, all the way up to age 18 in places. YOA starts at 12 and will send teens (16 and up) to adult court if the crime merits it, and the rules of the Act allow for it. So, police, like my cousin, get laughed at by 10 year olds who know they’re breaking laws. It’s also been argued that harsher sentencing of these kids doesn’t help them. Frankly, isn’t an extended stay in juvie just going to give first offenders a chance to rub noses with the habitual offenders and get some new ideas?
In 2003, amendments were made to the now Youth Criminal Justice Act, which included increased and harsher sentencing. But it also brought back the Youth Justice Committee, which hasn’t been used since the JDA was replaced, to look for alternatives to prison for some offenses and increasing community service and restitution when possible. It’s never going to please everyone, though.