2017 – what’s up?

turnoverarocktoday was conceived as a monitor of human rights abuses in this country, narrowly focused in a few specific areas. All the same, looking under those rocks presented a previously unforeseen challenge where opportunities to expose the hidden outweighs the resources available to do just that.

The venerable British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, a leading champion of human rights and civil liberties in Canada, operates with a staff of ten, but has the committed support of more than 200 pro bono lawyers, and ‘countless’ volunteers and donors. Its impact is felt across the country, but even the BCCLA is forced to limit the scope of inquiries, investigations, and litigation it takes on at any one time.

Remember, we’re addressing our Canadian social environment and specifically the concerns that arise within our civil service and with our public servants. That isn’t to say we have no reason to take pride in this country or applaud the good that comes from it. For one, activist groups may come under assault and even legal censure, but the law protects our existence.

Justin Trudeau’s “we can do better” is an understatement. A prime minister with a conscientious cabinet alone will not right wrong without many more BCCLAs or turnoverarocktodays. There’s never enough of us on the one hand, and too much silence from the community on the other.

We carry on.

The criticism of segregation and solitary confinement policies in our federal prisons and provincial jails captured the media’s attention during the second half of 2016. Thanks to BCCLA and toart along with so many other social activists for forcing governments to at last acknowledge a long-standing problem with how we treat the men and women we often consider the least among us. Just as relevant, although almost never a part of any exposé, are the actions of ‘rogue guards’ who ignore their oath and code of conduct to circumvent policy, practice and even the law to abuse both their office and their charges.

What the response to the media coverage will accomplish is pending, and we shouldn’t be overly optimistic. Bureaucracies not only resist change but develop protocols to inhibit the attempts of reformers. turnoverarocktoday will take time for this issue from the beginning of 2017.

Brennan Guigue has been in provincial custody during 2016. He’s written extensively, some autobiographical, but more precisely on the realities of conditions inside Ontario’s provincial penal system. This is interesting reading and much of it will be posted in the New Year.

We carry on….weekly or biweekly in 2017…..but, we carry on.

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