The House

CBC Radio's The House: June 20, 2020

This week on The House: Lawyer Danardo Jones talks reforming Canada’s criminal justice system and how change must go far beyond policing. Two international relations experts weigh in on Canada’s UN Security Council loss, plus the CBC’s Bartley Kives delivers a report on Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s pandemic politics. Also: a debrief on this week’s Conservative leadership debates and an assessment of a COVID-19 crisis among Ontario’s migrant workers.

Here is what’s on this week's episode of The House

Greg Fergus, Liberal MP for Hull-Aylmer, is chair of the Black caucus in Parliament. A group of Black parliamentarians and their allies are calling on all levels of government to take action to reduce systemic racism in Canada. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Fixing the 'conveyor belt' of Canada's criminal justice system

The Parliamentary Black Caucus demanded urgent action this week to address anti-Black racism in Canada. The caucus — created in 2015 and comprising MPs and Senators from various political parties — called on the federal government to measure systemic discrimination by collecting race-based data, help businesses owned and operated by Black Canadians and implement a new justice strategy. 

But reforming the criminal justice system must go far beyond policing, says Danardo Jones, a staff lawyer with Legal Aid Ontario and an assistant professor of law at Windsor Law School.

He says interactions with police are often quite temporary and don't result in the kind of in-custody deaths that have occurred recently in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, and New Brunswick, where two Indigenous people — Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi — were killed at the hands of police within days of each other.

"Most people make it out of those situations with their lives," Jones said in an interview airing Saturday on The House. "The problem is when they get on the conveyor belt of the criminal justice system. That's the more protracted and long-term trauma." 

Lawyer Danardo Jones talks reforming Canada’s criminal justice system and how change must go far beyond policing. 12:50

It may begin with the police, but Crown prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers all have significant roles to play, Jones said.

"The question we have to ask ourselves is, 'What are these actors doing and what role can they play in addressing structural racism within the criminal justice system?' All of these actors have been given cultural competency training, they're been given anti-bias training, they've been given you name it, but for whatever reason, we're still seeing the same outcomes. So it's not a lack of training. It's a system that they're operating within that seems to be resistant to actual change."

A Security Council setback

Canada lost its bid for a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council this week, with competitors Norway and Ireland winning the two available temporary seats. ( CBC News)

Canada failed to win a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council for the second time in a decade, losing out to Ireland and Norway in a vote on Wednesday. 

The House checks in with international relations experts Bessma Momani and Janice Stein for their thoughts on what this loss says about Canada's foreign policy — and this country's place in the world.

Two leading international relations experts, Janice Stein and Bessma Momani, debate what Canada’s failure to win a temporary U.N. Security Council seat says about Canada’s foreign policy and place in the world. 10:59

Premier Brian Pallister's pandemic politics

There are currently a handful of active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba — and the province has only had around 300 cases in total since the onset of the pandemic. 

Nonetheless, Premier Brian Pallister has been accused by provincial opposition parties of using the public health crisis as an excuse to carry out policy changes that would be politically untenable in normal times. CBC Manitoba reporter Bartley Kives joins The House for a special report.

Manitoba opposition parties are accusing Premier Brian Pallister of using the pandemic to carry out policy changes that would be politically untenable in normal times. CBC Manitoba reporter Bartley Kives reports. 6:04

Debriefing on the Conservative leadership debate

This week, federal Conservatives finally got a chance to see all four leadership contenders in the same place at the same time. Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan took part in two debates this week, one in French and the other in English

How well did they do? And how important were these debates in a race that has been largely overshadowed by COVID-19? 

From left: Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Derek Sloan, Erin O'Toole, Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis are seen at an English-language debate in Toronto on June 18. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

Chris Hall gets a debate debrief from two Conservative members: Natalie Pon, an Edmonton-based accountant and business advisor, and Chad Rogers, a public affairs strategist with Crestview Strategies in Toronto.

After the four leadership candidates met this week for debates in both official languages, The House debriefs with two Conservative members: Natalie Pon, an Edmonton-based accountant and business advisor, and Chad Rogers, a public affairs strategist with Crestview Strategies in Toronto. 11:22

A COVID-19 crisis among Ontario's migrant workers

Mexico halted efforts to send more temporary foreign workers to Canada this week after two men employed by farms in Ontario's Windsor region died of COVID-19. More than 300 migrant workers in the area have now tested positive for the virus. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the pandemic is a chance to reflect on the country's temporary foreign worker program, as other federal and provincial politicians scramble to stem the spread. 

But longtime migrant worker researcher Tanya Basok at the University of Windsor told The House that she has yet to see the concrete action needed to protect some of Canada's most vulnerable employees.

Migrant worker researcher Tanya Basok of the University of Windsor says she has yet to see the concrete action needed to protect some of Canada's most vulnerable employees after 300 migrant workers in the area test positive for COVID-19. 5:04

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