A vile video taken by a guard inside a Nova Scotia jail and that was shared on social media violates a female prisoner’s privacy and makes disparaging comments about her medical condition.
The Halifax Examiner was provided the 20-second video clip by a person who captured it on the SnapChat app. The video was posted to the app either Wednesday or Thursday evening by someone known by our source to be a correctional officer.
The video shows a woman in her cell, and is captioned “Feeding this fat fucking retard ice cream at 1:30am so she’ll go back to sleep and stop crying ‘diabetic low.’”
The video appears to have been taken in the East Unit at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (the Burnside jail). The Examiner has viewed the entire video; in it, the woman is identifiable. Her clothing is of the same variety as worn by prisoners at the jail, and other women who have been jailed at the facility tell us the video was likely taken from the vantage point of “the bubble” — the area where guards sit to observe prisoners during the guards’ shifts.
To protect the privacy and identity of both the woman filmed and the person who provided the clip to the Examiner, we will not publish the entire video. However, here is a redacted still from it:
The Nova Scotia Department of Justice, which oversees the jail, has not immediately responded to a request for comment. We will update this article if and when they do.
Bianca Mercer, an advocate for women who was featured in the documentary Conviction was formerly incarcerated at Burnside. She said the video makes her feel “sick” and “violated.”
Just the thought of them watching me on camera being strip searched and how easy it was for them to take a video of an “inmate.”
I am feeling violated, and it’s not even myself in the video that was posted. Being a former resident of CNSCF I can’t help but wonder how many other women have been exposed in such a disgusting way.
I want to see correctional staff who took the video fired. My heart breaks for this woman, she doesn’t even know this is happening to her. I just hope she knows we are advocating on her behalf out here and someone will be held accountable.
In 1994, women in Kingston Prison for Women were held down and forcibly stripped by guards. The prison initially attempted to cover up the incident, only for video to emerge months later. The strip search led to the Arbour Report by Justice Louise Arbour.
For advocates, the video from Burnside recalls many previous incidents where incarcerated women have been violated and abused. Most recently, in March, Sara Tessier launched a lawsuit alleging Correctional Services Canada staff failed to protect women in Nova Institution from sexual assault. Brian Wilson, a guard who worked at the prison, now faces 13 charges related to sexual assaults of seven women.
Dawna Ward, whose sister Ashley Smith died in Grand Valley Institution while guards stood outside her cell door and watched, told the Examiner that the video is “chilling.”
This woman is in medical distress. She is calling out for help and the guards, instead of getting her a doctor, are filming her and treating her like she’s not a human being. I can never forget how staff watched Ashley die and then covered it up for years.
Watching video of Ashley begging for help while she was strapped down, seeing so many images of the violence and abuse she suffered, this video brings that all back. Nothing has changed.
For years we have been drawing attention to the conditions in Burnside. We hear over and over about the use of segregation, people asking for medical help and never getting it, abuse from guards, terrible conditions. and so many other horrific things. When you do nothing and allow a culture of violence to grow, this is what it looks like. Guards posting a video of a woman in public without any fear of the consequences because these women are not seen as mattering.
A “diabetic low,” known medically as Diabetic hypoglycemia is a serious medical condition. Without immediate treatment, symptoms include seizures, unconsciousness, and even death. In an editorial written in 2018 during the Burnside Prison Strike, the lack of treatment for people with diabetes was highlighted:
It’s hard to even get a Tylenol, never mind medical treatment. I’ve seen people with diabetes and asthma not get the medication they need. If you don’t believe us about the conditions in here, you should believe the auditor general’s reports, or even what staff who work here have been saying.
Diabetes Canada has established guidelines on the treatment of people with diabetes in institutional settings. They emphasize:
People with diabetes should receive care that promotes the highest quality of life, regardless of the setting. They have a right to timely, affordable and ongoing diabetes education and comprehensive treatment services provided with seamless coordination by a diabetes health-care team and other specialists, as specified in Diabetes Canada’s Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada(This link opens in a new window) and Standards for Diabetes Education in Canada(This link opens in a new window).
Reports back to at least 2017 by advocates for the East Coast Justice Prison Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society show people in the facility being denied adequate diabetic care including blocking access to medical staff and placing a diabetic prisoner in solitary confinement while his blood sugars were high. People in the facility also report that pressing the medical distress button or demanding medical care are treated as being annoying or disruptive rather than as medical emergencies.
Formerly incarcerated people who have seen the video and who have knowledge of the jail say the woman in the video may be Mi’kmaq. The violation of any woman’s privacy is serious; filming an Indigenous woman in distress to degrade and humiliate her in public also furthers the colonial violence Indigenous women and girls continue to experience. Indigenous women are now over 42% of the federal prison population.
Repeated reports by people incarcerated in Burnside testify to violent conditions, abuses by guards, the near-constant state of lockdown, and the violation of rights. In recent weeks, men incarcerated in the facility report that a man with a cane was beaten by guards, and his head was slammed into the stairs.
When an institution has no accountability, when there is no meaningful oversight, and where there has been no action for years to address worsening conditions, staff can and do act with impunity. As disgusting as this video is, it is only a small piece of the terrible things that take place every day in Burnside and other provincial jails while courts, politicians, and oversight agencies refuse to do anything.
Women in Burnside deserve a full review not only of the staff who took the video, but of all the conditions that led up to guards feeling comfortable to post such dehumanizing slurs and to violate women in the facility in this way. Firing the guards is not enough: it is past time for a full public acknowledgement of the wrongdoings committed at the jail.
Nobody should accept this sickening treatment of women. This video is only the most public expression of the treatment people receive in this facility.
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2 NDP candidates resign after social media comments on Israel, Auschwitz – Global News
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the antisemitic comments by two of his party’s candidates who resigned were “completely wrong.”
“Antisemitism is real,” Singh said during a campaign stop in Essex, Ont.
“We’re seeing a scary rise in antisemitism, and we are unequivocally opposed, and we’ll confront it.”
The party confirmed Wednesday that Dan Osborne, the candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester, and Sidney Coles, the candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, ended their campaigns and “agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism.”
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Singh said antisemitism has no place in his party and the candidates made the right decision to resign.
“In addition, they’re talking about the importance of getting training,” Singh said.
Coles, who has since deleted her Twitter account, was reported to have posted misinformation about Israel being linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a non-profit human rights organization, shared images purportedly from Coles’ account over the weekend. Coles later apologized on social media.
Osborne was reported to have tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War.
He responded to backlash about the post on Twitter over the weekend, saying he had tweeted it when he was a teenager.
“I want to offer an apology,” Osborne tweeted Sunday. “The role of Auschwitz and the history of the Holocaust is one we should never forget.
“Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said in a news release that he had been in contact with the New Democrats. He was relieved the candidates stepped down, he added.
“We thank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in ensuring this outcome,” Kirzner-Roberts said.
“Amid rising Jew-hatred in this country, all political parties and leaders must send a message, loud and clear, that antisemitism will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”
A handful of candidates from other parties have also dropped out during the election.
Last week the Conservative Party dropped Lisa Robinson, the candidate for the Beaches-East York riding in Toronto, after Islamophobic social media posts surfaced. Robinson has claimed the account is fake and she has previously reported it to police.
Liberal Raj Saini resigned earlier in the campaign after facing allegations that he harassed a female staff member, claims he firmly denies.
Singh condemned Coles’ posts during a campaign stop on Tuesday, but did not demand she step down. At that time, he said the candidate’s “unequivocal apology” was the right thing to do.
Singh didn’t say Wednesday why he didn’t push for a resignation sooner, but reiterated that it was the right decision for the candidates.
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The New Democrats are filling their schedule for the final push before the election.
Singh was greeted by hundreds of people cheering and holding signs during stops in London West and Niagara Centre _ both of which went Liberal in the last election. He told supporters to vote with their conscience.
The NDP leader has continuedto dismiss that people should follow the idea of voting strategically and kept his sights set on Justin Trudeau during the final push.
“There is a cost to voting for the Liberals,” he said.
Singh will also be taking his message to the Ontario ridings of Hamilton and Brampton East.
He will end the busy day with a livestream on Twitch, an online gaming site. Singh, who has embraced social media trends and videos, said it’s a way to connect with potential voters.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Toronto NDP candidate resigns after discovery of controversial social media posts – CTV News Toronto
A Toronto New Democratic Party candidate has resigned after controversial social media posts were unearthed in which she links a lack of vaccines in Canada to Israel.
On Wednesday, the party confirmed that Sidney Coles, who was running in the Toronto-St. Paul’s riding, as well as Dan Osborne, a candidate running in Nova Scotia, have “ended their campaigns.”
“They have agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism,” spokesperson George Soule told CTV News.
“New Democrats stand united against discrimination of all kinds. We are committed to taking lasting and meaningful steps toward ending prejudice and hatred in all its forms.”
Screenshots of Tweets posted by Coles earlier in the year started to resurface over the weekend. In the social media posts, Coles appears to indicate that Israel was responsible for alleged missing COVID-19 vaccine doses in the United States.
The tweets were shared by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, among others.
The organization demanded a “retraction and apology” for the remarks.
Earlier this week, Coles took to Twitter to apologize for her social media posts, saying that she posted “unsubstantiated theories about vaccine supply linked to Israel.”
“These comments weren’t based on evidence. I recognize this frame is a common anti-Semitic trope, though that was never my intent,” she said on Sept. 13.
“I should not have made this link and apologize and retract those statements. I will continue to stand firmly against anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination in all its forms.”
Coles’ Twitter page has since been deactivated and her profile on the NDP website is no longer available.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies acknowledged the apology, but said that the comments remain concerning given rise of anti-Semitism globally and “escalating incidences of Jew hate in her Toronto-St. Paul’s riding.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said that those comments have “no place” in the party.
“We’re seeing a scary rise in anti-Semitism,” he said. “I want folks to know that our values are values of inclusivity, making sure everyone feels welcome and making sure everyone feels like they belong.”
“Those messages were completely unacceptable and the right decision was made.”
The PPC's rise demands more fulsome media coverage – iPolitics.ca
Since this late-summer election kicked off one month ago, the campaign’s biggest surprise has been the meteoric rise of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).
An Ekos poll from Sept. 9 pegged national support for the party at a whopping 11.2 per cent, with impressive backing in Alberta (19 per cent), Quebec (13 per cent), and Ontario (11 per cent).
While Ekos has consistently shown higher support of the PPC than other polling firms in recent weeks, virtually all public polling in this campaign has revealed that it’s attracting far more voters than it did two years ago when it debuted as a national party. On election day in 2019, the nascent party earned a paltry 1.62 per cent of the popular vote and not one seat in the House of Commons.
Today, the far-right-wing party led by former Conservative cabinet minister Maxime Bernier is enjoying a new lease on life. While the PPC’s supporters aren’t monolithic, it’s safe to say they represent a minority of Canadians who are deeply angry about the sweeping government interventions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months.
Before the pandemic, Bernier’s party was known mainly for preaching pro-freedom, small-government solutions. Its emphatically right-wing platform didn’t even resonate much with the country’s most conservative voters in the 2019 election.
But the pandemic’s government-imposed lockdowns, widespread job losses, and now the vaccine passports introduced by the federal and provincial governments, have reinvigorated the PPC’s electoral prospects.
Bernier has quickly transformed his party into a sanctuary for a pernicious coalition of cult-like anti-vaxxers and Trumpist conspiracy theorists. Throughout this election campaign, many of these fanatics have repeatedly demonstrated that they’re not above mob-like protests — attended by young children — in which profanities are hurled and physical violence is sometimes triggered.
While the PPC’s most repugnant elements don’t represent all the party’s supporters, these zealots and their leader have thrust the movement into the news-media spotlight for all the wrong reasons in this campaign.
In a video posted to his Twitter account early last month, Bernier boasted to his supporters that he refuses to be vaccinated. It was a reckless message, when the Delta-driven fourth wave began spreading across much of the country.
Then, in the campaign’s third week, the president of the local PPC riding association threw gravel at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as he left a campaign event in London, Ont. The 25-year-old man has since been arrested, but his affiliation with Bernier’s party has put a chill down the spines of millions of Canadians.
Finally, on Labour Day weekend, Bernier released an inflammatory video in which he uttered this opening salvo: “When tyranny becomes law, revolution becomes our duty.” The video has since gone viral on social media, while being almost universally excoriated for quoting the words of John F. Kennedy to justify the party’s crusade against “government overreach” during an ongoing public-health crisis.
Until last week, the PPC was scarcely covered by mainstream news outlets. While that lack of coverage, and exclusion from the leaders’ debates, undoubtedly incensed the party’s brass, it also meant it wasn’t subjected to close public scrutiny.
For much of the campaign, large news outlets ostensibly ignored Bernier’s party, so as not to amplify its dangerous messages, thereby starving it of oxygen and blunting its political appeal. Although the Green party has been consistently dwarfed by the PPC in the polls, it’s received far more news coverage than Bernier’s — until recently.
But the news outlets’ initial approach was ill-conceived and unsustainable. As the PPC’s supporters have grown steadily more vicious in this campaign — often attempting to drown out Trudeau’s events by shouting expletives — the news media have been forced to reluctantly shed light on the party and its often-dubious motives.
As a result, the fourth estate has exposed an increasingly popular, albeit reckless, party beholden to anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, as our country emerges from the most prolonged economic and public-health crisis in a century.
In the campaign’s final week, Canadians are more mindful of the PPC’s surging popularity, and how it might affect the election’s outcome.
That in itself is a good thing. As a democratic society, we can’t begin to genuinely understand the menacing elements of a movement without reporting on them extensively in the press.
It’s not about amplifying their voices, but reporting on them accurately and forthrightly so we can better understand the grave danger some of these individuals pose to Canada’s pandemic recovery.
It remains to be seen precisely how Bernier’s party will affect election day. But instead of ignoring the party in hopes that its appeal will magically disappear, news outlets will serve voters better by producing stories that seek to meaningfully expose the PPC’s dark underbelly.
Andrew Perez is a Toronto-based communications and public affairs professional who has volunteered for Liberal parties at the federal and provincial levels. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewaperez.
This post was copy-edited after publication.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of iPolitics.
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