Dear Toronto Sun Editor………

……Brennan Guigue comments.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Khadr settlement has nothing to do with Omar Khadr……it has to do with Canada’s complicity in the torture of a human being.

Ottawa is apologizing for its lack of adherence to the values Canadians profess to hold dear.

Get off this trip about the soldiers who died by his actions. When U.S. Marines went into that house, they went in with guns blazing. Khadr’s throwing of the grenade was simply the knee- jerk reaction of a scared 15 year-old kid.

Why isn’t it okay to argue that kids of his age are not capable of making rational adult decisions as their brains have still more development to undergo?

He’s an adult now because he was held in an adult prison – which was infinitely worse than the public was led to believe – and subjected to devastating mental, emotional, AND (yes) physical torture – for several years of his childhood.

Is it so hard to believe that a smart, manipulative, scheming adult couldn’t have indoctrinated a young, impressionable teenager into believing he was involved in something honourable or righteous?

No?

Okay…..then if a 25, 26, or even 30 year-old has sex with a 16 year-old girl because……she wanted to, why do we condemn the man involved as a predator, or rapist?

Double standard……?

After all, EVERY single person in uniform going into a HOT ZONE EXPECTS TO BE IN THE LINE OF FIRE!

They, as adults, enter into that risk freely and willingly, knowing their enemy is NOT going to be throwing tulips at them.

Geeze…..!

I am not trying to diminish the sympathies felt for the family and friends of the deceased soldier….they are no doubt suffering for their loss.

I just think everyone should keep things in perspective.

Also…..

The lack of financial support for our physically and mentally wounded veterans should not be placed at the feet of Omar Khadr….that problem existed long before he came along.

Once again though, here’s the Toronto Sun, Liberal-hating RAG of a newspaper, distracting people from serious issues.

Enough already!

Oh, by the way……

I have been meaning to ask you, Mr. Editor, why aren’t you advocating for a national day of mourning for all the wrongfully convicted, or all those who’ve been murdered by police?

Hey….I don’t anticipate a worthwhile response……., just curious.

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No vigilance. No democracy.

A letter went out to the Parole Board of Canada’s office in Abbotsford, British Columbia in the spring of last year with a comment on a recent decision the board made. We weren’t critical of its work but rather offered an opinion on an issue raised around the efficacy of programs available in our federal prison system.

The regional manager replied by email, apologizing for not using regular post as he preferred to make an immediate response. The board was thankful for the input, asked if the letter could be shared with stakeholders, and fundamentally supported what we had to say.

As well, this parole board member noted how much he agreed with the footer on our letterhead…….No vigilance. No democracy.

Barack Obama’s farewell address from Chicago on Tuesday evening, January 10th, could easily be described with the same words. He made a call for participation by every person as a safeguard against the dangers of apathy and indifference.

turnoverarocktoday.com is forced to match the scope of its activity with the limits of available resources, just as its forerunners did over the years. This leaves a lot of ‘rocks to turn over’, and more, contends with restraints even in those areas where it concentrates what assets it has.

There is no hope of stirring a mass involvement towards the greater good, or persuading most that the individual is a relevant power to overwhelm the darker forces that “work their wily ways”, as Churchill alliterated. We can argue that willfully stepping over the rocks underfoot marks a path towards such a degree of corruption that the democratic institutions we take for granted are compromised. This is like climate change. It’s not something we should be anticipating. This is with us now.

Spend a half day in a courtroom. Any courtroom. Show up for a municipal council meeting just once. Live in a city that is a government centre? Check out the legislature’s public gallery. Total this at five or six hours a year. The point? Your presence is warily welcomed but the scrutiny not so much. That should be warning enough.

No vigilance. No democracy. They’re more than just words.

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.

….the answer is blowin’ in the wind…

Justin Trudeau has set a very different social agenda for the government he heads from the previous administration’s regressive backslide to the caves. Now that the troglodytes have been banished to the political hinterland, fresh breezes are breathing relief into many federal ministries.

No doubt though our staid civil service bureaucracy has entrenched elements committed to components of medieval feudalism, a characterizing resistance to change predating Confederation, and favouring traditional conservative perspectives. Too often, the most protectionist of the senior mandarins are in the best position to exert a negative influence on the best the service has to offer.

Mr. Trudeau, his ministers, and the members of his caucus are likely to experience a baffling frustration in executing the progressive measures they’ve promised. The more liberal the policy proposals, the tougher the going may be, and might easily resemble a nightmarish prospect akin to herding cats in the rain.

It is up to us in the community who support the initiatives this government is undertaking to be encouraging, a buttress against the darker self-serving forces of yesterday, and a prod to the turtles who people so much of the Canadian landscape.

The window of opportunity to move this country forward before the inevitable cynicism and lethargy eventually engulfs even today’s best-intentioned reformers may be short lived.

Cheer the dragon slayers now!

It’s a simple matter of a few key strokes to send your support to government members through their sites, and avoid what’s become the onerous task of actually putting pen to paper, and the attendant coping with envelope, stamp, and a walk to the mailbox. It should be noted however that our best information indicates that politicians pay the most attention to hand-written letters, believing the sender feels strongly enough about a position to go to those lengths to air their opinions.