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Placement of Police Required (Community Policing)

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Our Cop’s. Love ’em or not, they are a necessity within all societies throughout this globe. While we wait, in whatever nation we are located, for police reform to kick into our cities, I think a major rethink of the use of officers is essential. All police budgets increase on an annual basis, while crime statistics show an overall increase in violent crimes and the use of drugs, especially during this period of the pandemic. Just under 30% of homicides in Toronto are gang-related.
Lots of weapons are available on the black market, and the Police / Border Security can only capture less than  20%  of what coming to Canada from the USA, usually by vehicle transport.
Municipalities, States, and Provinces are using cameras as a road policing source, capturing road crimes on camera. Our medical essential services staff and teachers are dealing with violence in our institutions like never before. Teachers have no real authority, and medical staff should not be defending themselves from angry, often mentally charged patients.
A Pivotal approach is needed to protect all our citizens. True community policing is needed in all urban settings. Having police among those they are pledged to protect, working with them, speaking to them, and even perhaps teaching them has been proven to work.
1. Placement of male and female officers in large urban schools.
a. protect staff and students, communicate social policing policies and the law.
b. 1-year appointment at a time allowing students to become familiar with officers.
c. Enlist officers who can communicate and possibly teach civics, the law, and societal concepts.
2. Place officers with psychological/communicating abilities within large hospital facilities.
a. Officers need training in de-escalation, dementia, and mental illness. Cannot act without understanding the situation.
b. Chosen rooms within the hospital are needed where difficult patients can be isolated and receive patient care in a controlled environment.
c. Our hospital staff need “cool rooms” that would offer them a place to unwind, speak with a professional if needed.
3. There are troubled areas within each urban area where crime thrives. Community policing, with the placement of officers who live with these citizens as neighbors can be an asset in community peace and management. Citizens in need, or who are fearful of gangland crime, drug dealing can have a neighbor with authority to investigate, communicate and deal with problems as they arise.
4. Police often complain that they lack intelligence that could have prevented or forewarned a crime event. Community policing will allow civilian and security personnel to become one within the community. Hoping that “they vs Us” can evolve into “We” in the community. Citizens often complain that the police are never around when something goes down. Police trained in community service 1st, enforcing of the law second could benefit both the service’s officers and those they protect.
5. Get the cops out of their vehicles and place them within every transportation system. Biking, horses, walking, running, and mass transit too. Where ever a citizen may need assistance or a symbol of authority places officers.
We are told that Police Officers are trained to shut out feelings so they can be objective, read the situation, and respond appropriately. That there is a purposeful silencing of emotional reaction and a build-up of skills to take control, no matter what madness or sadness is taking place before them. Yes, being in the policing profession is difficult, and society must do everything possible to assist and support our peacekeepers.
We must never forget what millions of our fellow citizens have tried to accomplish these many decades. Civil rights, Police Reform, Equity for all have movements of people that need validation, that need solutions to our society’s problems. Our law enforcement agencies are armed and dangerous. What are we going to do about that? Real police reform can be found in methods of community policing. After all, all an officer needs to do is be nice, courteous, and a true professional right?
Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca
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David Milgaard, who advocated for justice after he was wrongfully convicted of murder, has died

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David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent more than 23 years in prison, has died. Milgaard was only 17 when he was arrested for the rape and murder of Gail Miller in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was released from prison in 1992 after DNA evidence proved his innocence. In 1999, Milgaard was awarded $10 million in a wrongful conviction lawsuit against the Canadian government. Milgaard and two friends had been on a road trip, driving through the city when the murder happened.

Milgaard, who was born in Winnipeg, had been living in Calgary with his son and daughter.

Milgaard maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison. His mother Joyce Milgaard, who died in 2020, tirelessly advocated on her son’s behalf. In the decades since his release, Milgaard had spoken publicly, calling for changes in how Canadian courts review convictions.

His picture is now included in the Canadian Journey’s gallery at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Isha Khan, the museum’s CEO, said Milgaard was a human rights defender.

“He is someone we know, and the reason we know is that he was able to tell his story, and it takes a special kind of person to continue to try to connect with people,” she said, adding his work is not over.

“There are people across this country in correctional institutions who have been wrongfully convicted, who need a voice and don’t have a voice that David Milgaard did for whatever reason it may be, and it is our job to listen and to look for those stories.”

Milgaard had recently been pushing for an independent review board to prevent miscarriages of justice.

“David was a marvellous advocate for the wrongly convicted, for all the years he’s been out since 1992. We’re going to miss him a lot. He was a lovely man,” James Lockyer, a Toronto-based lawyer, told CTV News Channel on Sunday.

Lockyer, a founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, joined Milgaard’s case following his release in 1992 and helped him through the process to get DNA testing done. Lockyer said as a result of the DNA evidence, a man named Larry Fisher was arrested, and charged with the rape and murder. Fisher died while serving a life sentence.

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Ontario international students, families making 'massive sacrifices' for the Canadian dream – CBC.ca

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The death of an Indian student in Toronto last month made international headlines, but while Kartik Vasudev’s story ended in tragedy, his parents’ sacrifices offer a glimpse into the hardships that many international students and their families face to achieve the dream of a future in Canada.

Vasudev’s father, Jitesh Vasudev, told CBC News he and his wife spent their entire life savings and mortgaged their house to take out a loan of $50,000, just to afford the first year of his son’s education in Canada, before he was shot and killed. 

“The only mistake of my innocent child was that he dreamt big of studying in a foreign country, and he wanted to make a name of himself while representing India,” said Vasudev’s mother, Pooja Vasudev, in a video posted to Instagram. “We had a lot of dreams and expectations with our child, he was going to be our support in our old age.”

International students who spoke to CBC News say those kinds of sacrifices are common, and can take a major toll. 

They say international students can pay almost four times more in tuition fees than domestic students, and are calling for change.

An Ontario Auditor General’s report from last year highlighted the reliance of Ontario colleges on international student tuition.

The report showed that while international students represented only 30 per cent of the total enrolment in public colleges, they accounted for 68 per cent of tuition fee revenue at a total of $1.7 billion. A majority of students — 62 per cent — were from India.

According to a 2020 report from Global Affairs Canada, international students contributed $16.2 billion and $19.7 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2017 and 2018.

A better future in Canada

Students and advocates told CBC News that many international students from India come to Canada to become permanent residents and build a better future for themselves as well as their families.

They say there are limited employment opportunities in India compared to Canada, leading their parents to go to great lengths to send them abroad.

Jobanpreet Singh knows that struggle firsthand.

Jobanpreet Singh, left, says his family spent all their savings, took out massive loans and also sold assets just to pay for his first year of college. (Submitted by Jobanpreet Singh)

“[Vasudev’s family] sacrificed a lot to send their child to Canada for a brighter future,” the 22-year-old international student said. “I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for them.”

Born and raised in a farmer’s family in Punjab, India, Singh came to Canada as an international student in August 2021, where he is studying at the Academy of Learning Career College in Toronto. 

For his first year in Canada, his family spent around $30,000 on his tuition and living expenses.

Singh said his family spent all their savings, took out massive loans and sold assets just to be able to pay for his first year of college.

“[International students] have work stress, school stress, and we have extremely high tuition fees, which is topped off with the fact that we can only work 20 hours a week,” he said.

Singh said it is very difficult to handle expenses and living costs in Toronto while working those limited hours.

According to a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), “limiting off-campus work to 20 hours per week reflect the fact that the focus for international students in Canada is on their studies.”

Tuition gap between domestic and international students

Sarom Rho from advocacy group Migrant Students United says international students who come to Canada also face rising costs of tuition fees, which are already three to four times more than domestic tuition.

“The majority of current and former international students and their families have made massive sacrifices for them, for example by selling lands, taking out massive educational loans, selling assets, just to pay for these extremely high tuition fees,” said Rho.

Rho added that because of these financial burdens, international students also face significant mental health issues.

Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities said in a statement that it understands that as newcomers to Canada and Ontario, international students can face unique challenges. 

“Student wellbeing is paramount, and we support the steps taken by Ontario’s colleges and universities to ensure that international students are well supported before and after their arrival in Ontario,” said James Tinajero, spokesperson for the ministry.

Gurpreet Singh, a 22-year-old Seneca College student, came to Canada in September 2020. His parents mortgaged their entire agricultural farmland to send him to Canada.

Gurpreet Singh has completed half of his education and the remaining two semesters of his studies will cost him about $16,000. He says he is paying for the rest of his studies on his own. (Submitted by Gurpreet Singh)

He said because of his international student status in Canada, he can’t apply for scholarships and bursaries at his college.

“That’s a huge drawback for us,” said Gurpreet. “If we’re not getting anything extra [over] the domestic students and we pay the same taxes, then why do we pay this huge amount for our tuition?”

The ministry says college and university boards of governors have the full authority to set tuition fees for international students.

“Colleges and universities are allowed the discretion to establish tuition fees for international students at levels the institutions deem appropriate,” said Tinajero.

Gurpreet has completed half of his education, and the remaining two semesters of his studies will cost him about $16,000. But instead of asking for help from his family, Gurpreet is taking the responsibility on himself.

According to the IRCC, international students can work full-time when they are on a scheduled break, like during winter and summer holidays, or during a fall or spring reading week. 

Gurpreet is currently on a summer break from his college. He says this is his last chance to work full-time before he begins his third semester in the fall.

For the next four months of summer break, Gurpreet says he’ll be working in two different warehouses doing long days of general labour.

“Right now I’ve [got] to concentrate on my work to pay off my fees, so I’m willing to compromise for the next four months,” he said.

“I know this is going to be hard, but these hardships are temporary, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Life was a struggle in Zimbabwe. Moving to Nunavut gave me hope – CBC.ca

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This First Person column is written by Francisca Mandeya of Iqaluit. Read more about CBC North First Person columns here.

I had never considered the possibility of ever leaving Zimbabwe and my children to settle in Nunavut. But eight years ago I did just that — and I am grateful for the life I found here.

I was a die-hard Zimbabwean — a daughter of the soil —  but I landed in frozen Iqaluit on Dec. 24, 2014. I had nothing but two suitcases and my mbira [an African folk instrument].

Nelson Mandela once said, “it is always impossible until it is done.”

The backstory of how an African woman got to be in the Canadian Arctic is a cocktail of political, social and economic circumstances that led to serious mental health challenges.

In Zimbabwe, every day was a struggle fending for my family as a single mother. I was traumatized, always wondering when the Central Intelligence Organisation operative that had harassed and threatened to “disappear” me would pounce. The mental and emotional burden I carried plunged me into acute depression. To add insult to injury, an abrupt break up with a man I had trusted increased my vulnerability.

My sisters Tina and Jo worried that I might have chosen to die by suicide. I think they were right.

Tina had moved to Canada 21 years ago and bought me a ticket to Nunavut where she was living. 

“That is it. you are coming,” Tina had told me over the phone from Iqaluit one day. “I am done hearing your stories and worrying I will lose you to one thing or another.”

My family gave me hope for a new life. 

As a Catholic, I was excited to arrive in Iqaluit in time for Christmas Eve mass. Heading to church with my sister, I reached for the car door, and in a flash I found myself lying on a bed of ice. That was my first of many falls. I learned that the nice suede boots I wore did not have a firm grip and that when it comes to outdoor footwear, being safe is more important than looking good. 

Francisca Mandeya in pictured in Iqaluit in 2016. The northern climate was jarring at first but she’s used to it now. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Mass was beautiful. I was intrigued to hear my sister and other congregants singing the Lord’s Prayer in Inuktitut. Three months later, I could sing it too. I have since composed my own prayer-based Inuktitut and Shona song, Attatavut, which I play on my mbira. 

As an extrovert, I’ve reached out and participated in community activities, both voluntary and paid. I remembered back home, my late mother used to sing with us, “shine, shine, shine where you are.” I reached out to find out where I could share my culture. 

When I entered a local talent competition, I was afraid to perform on my own. I was used to being on stage with my fearless children. But I remembered their words: “Mom, even when you make a mistake, the audience don’t know what you are playing. So you just continue.” 

It is great to be a teachable parent. I listened and gathered courage.

Mandeya sings and plays her mbira in Iqaluit. (M. Pucci/CBC)

“I bring cultural diversity to Iqaluit,” I said as I sat on stage in the Alianait Arts Festival tent in front of Nakasuk School. The crowd applauded me and it felt good.

I won second prize in the talent competition and got $600. Joshua Haulli, a 16-year-old Inuk, won first prize. As we shared our experiences, I learned that just as mbira was once deemed evil and banned by colonizers, so too was throat singing. It felt reassuring to know that I was not alone in reclaiming my identity and using my culture to heal intergenerational trauma.

Since moving to the Arctic, I have gone out on the land, run a half marathon twice, fallen off a skidoo, gone berry picking and fishing, and played with the Inuksuk Drum Dancers. I walk everywhere now. I have even walked in a blizzard. I am not scared of the cold anymore.

Mandeya, left, competed in a virtual Boston Marathon with friends Kearon Nyandoro and Sanele Chakonza, and her sister Tina Mandeya, in Iqaluit. (Submitted by Francisca Mandeya)

It is not always easy to be an immigrant from Africa. I have experienced both community and systemic racism in Iqaluit, and realized that anti-African racism is a global phenomenon. But I am grateful that I have felt supported by numerous allies in Iqaluit, who marched in solidarity with us during the Black Lives Matter protest in 2020

Focusing on gratitude has helped me navigate life in Nunavut and Canada. Dealing with life’s challenges with a positive mindset is a practice I am mastering. 

Today I am a mental fitness coach and trainer, author and social justice advocate. I have founded Mothers United in Iqaluit, a social enterprise bringing mothers together to change the world. I have come a long way! 

In my culture, when thankful, we say kutenda kwakitsi kuri mumoyo — “the gratitude of a cat is in the heart.”

Qujannamik.


Want to write for CBC North? We welcome pitches for 500- to 700-word essays or opinion pieces that may be of wide interest to our audience and you don’t have to be a professional writer. Read more here or send your pitch to northfirstperson@cbc.ca.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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