The London Free Press has undermined their standing to mount a legal challenge to a bona fide publication ban and have castrated themselves of being a fair voice.

“Keeping in mind her safety. The Free Press never identified her during this week’s trial, even though there wasn’t a court-ordered publication ban.” Free Press

My father was a newspaper editor. He told me once that he often had mothers plead with him to keep Johnny’s name out of the newspaper; specifically the court reporting. My father knew all these people personally as it was a small community. It must have been difficult but he had the integrity to follow ethical and unequivocal news standards. He published my ex-wife’s name when she plead guilty to assault and he would have published mine had he been alive. It was an unenviable position but in some ways it was the easier avenue for my father. If he omitted Johnny’s name he would have to do so for others. The criteria would become chaotic. What would you use as a guide? Do I publish some, a few or just you?
What protocol was followed or not followed in the case of keeping secret the identities of those involved in this case? If the court did not proclaim any issues of safety, who revealed or how were they fashioned by the Free Press? There are rules to publication bans and I think Londoners should be informed of the Free Press instances and exclusions. Is it willy nilly? Does the court reporter throw a coin in the air and call heads? Should I contact the sports editor to find out what the exclusions are? If the court found no legal or so called safety issue and therefore imposed no publication ban what grounds did the London Free Press have? Who advised the Free Press that safety was an issue?
The first day this woman’s identity was unfoundedly protected the London Free Press coverage became prejudiced. It is difficult to protect a victim without creating an offender. It can only be inferred that the Free Press assumed the accused to be guilty prior to him being officially found or in this case claiming to be so. At the point of secrecy both individuals were only alleged.

The London Free Press and or Sun Media have undermined their standing to mount a legal challenge to a bona fide publication ban. They have castrated themselves of being a voice for the community and seem to have an agenda and or are influenced by certain agencies and individuals.
“Keeping in mind safety,” will the Free Press also refrain from revealing identities in other cases? What are the parameters? Who provides the litmus? Is it to be reserved only for alleged victims or will the accused also at times be protected? There are verdicts of not guilty. Will the London Free Press protect an alleged offender? The revelation of their identity creates conditions which are unsafe for them and their families. Some people are only ever accused. What about the accused who will never be found guilty? What about individuals who are Not Criminally Responsible? It is difficult to argue that Vincent Li who killed Tim McLean wouldn’t be safer if his identity was protected.
If find it frightening that the Free Press has taken it upon themselves to identify those worthy of anonymity for safety or any reason outside of a court decision. It flies in the face of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the presumption of innocence.
http://www.lfpress.com/2015/10/07/husbands-surprise-plea-ends-london-attempted-murder-trial

Ignoring inflation it cost $550 000 dollars to deal with my mental illness institutionally.

I read an article in the London Free Press regarding policing and mental health. In a survey Londoners were asked :

“What do you think is the most important crime-related or policing problem facing the community and London police?”

Mental illness replaced downtown safety/bar issues in the top five. Why do Londoners believe that mental health is a police concern? If physical health is not a police concern why is mental health? If diabetics deserve doctors from start to finish why wouldn’t people with mental illness? If we are ever going to view mental illness differently we need to insist on medical interventions rather than law enforcement interventions. Part of the problem is the widespread perception that mental illness is synonymous with dangerousness.

Less than 3% of violence is attributable to mental illness in the absence of substance abuse. If ever we notice someone we suspect as hearing voices or disoriented in their thoughts or actions or somewhat delusional we might cross the street. The truth is that on both sides of the street 97% of our vulnerability to violence comes from the people who have no mental illness. People with mental illness are more often the victims of crime than the perpetrator.

When we allow law enforcement to administer to a health concern it is little wonder that the health concern becomes stigmatized, related to crime and associated with violence. If the police escorted diabetics to the hospital we would all have similar impressions about diabetes. Consider what we visualize, assume, think, feel and understand about mental illness. Now imagine having similar perceptions for a cancer patient. It would be unfair to the diabetic person or the individual with cancer but for the mentally ill it is as it would be for others with other illnesses; a barrier to treatment and a difficulty of rehabilitation.

Five years of my life have been spent under 24 hour care 7 days a week in an institution. Ignoring inflation it cost $550 000 dollars to deal with my mental illness institutionally. If a tenth of that money was used for comprehensive treatment in my youth, I might not be writing this.

A mental health clinician paid $60 000 dollars per year could have treated me for one hour a day for 70 years.
If we continue to fund and access policing and correctional measures to deal with mental illness we will forever feed the wrong end of the cow.

We do not fight cancer by building more cemeteries.(King)

When I first started living in the community after the forensic hospital I saw a psychologist once a week, a specialized therapist once a week and my psychiatrist at least once a month. Those supports were needed initially and they would have been expensive but it was nowhere near the near $350 dollars a day it cost to keep me in an institution. People can be monitored and treated in their own homes.

I could simply say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but people might miss the point.

We leave mental illness unanswered and instead we deliver services mainly in times of crisis. Figure out the cost of an ambulance, two police officers and a truck or two of firefighters to respond to a suicide call and with any luck deliver that person to an emergency room and possibly a psychiatric unit for an indefinite period.

Now figure out how much it would cost for a therapist to prevent it in the first place.

If the financial realization is not enough for you consider letting heart disease progress to the point where invasive measures were necessary. With every other illness we prescribe the greatest amount of medicine at the beginning because to let any illness worsen is more devastating, difficult and expensive to treat. The social costs are immeasurable.

If you were ask a child how she feels about her father finding the best treatment for his heart she would likely answer the same for helping her father with schizophrenia. The best medicine at the beginning is not rocket science.

We are stupid to continue as we do but we are wrong and inhumane to do nothing.

To put Bill C-51 in perspective, these measures and powers would have prevented the American Revolution

As someone who speaks freely and at times controversially, Bill- C 51 has me worried. I have no terrorist ideals or sympathies but I am afraid the width of the net the conservative government is casting over us will not filter out legitimate discourse and dissension.

To put Bill C-51 in perspective, these measures and powers would have prevented the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin would not be on a currency he would currently be behind bars and Paul Revere would have a hard time mounting his horse with handcuffs. The dissenting churches of that era would have been without the ministers who preached revolutionary themes. American defiance would have been defined as terrorist activity. Closer to home the Red River resistance and the Metis who argued against and stood up to the transfer of their territory would have been unable to defend their culture. The province of Manitoba may have been something different.

We can find complacency and comfort in the conclusion that such resistance has no place in a civilized and democratic nation but we can look at history and other locals and find grievous governments. A belief that nothing of the sort should happen in Canada is now being guaranteed by Bill C-51.

It appears that Bill C-51 furthers the agenda of conservatives more than the agenda of all Canadians. If it did not fit neatly into conservative vision we would be seeing something different. It raises red flags when the government is resisting in depth analysis, expert testimony and open comprehensive debate. Many prominent and professional citizens are questioning aspects of Bill C-51 and are openly being ignored or silenced with trimmed meetings and hearings. Why would a government ignore and muzzle individuals with expert testimony and who are calling for more oversight provisions? Shouldn’t a government embrace oversight to ensure fairness and prevent abuse? Is the need to push Bill C-51 through pragmatic or political?

I can see in Bill C-51 a remedy to a degree of terrorist activity and I embrace that but as it is vaguely stated I also see the ability of government and government agencies to quell legitimate though unfavourable or disruptive democratic dissent. Organizations, individuals and activities that we would rationally recognize as being non-terrorist can and may be exposed to scrutiny and impedance. What would have been previously recognized as problematic but not sinister or threatening to national security or public safety can now be categorized, contained and diffused using Bill C-51.

Individual freedom and the right to communicate, organize and express dissatisfaction with government, government agencies or even corporations can be suffocated if they threaten economic activity. Many will consider themselves unaffected in their conservative comfort but what would happen and how would democracy operate or be disabled if we find a distasteful or fanatical government at the helm. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities for an overbearing faction to find itself in power. There are those that enjoy Stephen Harper but what if the NDP formed government and their leader lost his or her marbles? Would we have the ability to rise against or resist the potential chaos?

Presently, we can collude with others and organize and implement civil disobedience and even enact a degree of economic disruption to further our message and gain support or bring about the change we seek. Following 3 days of debate you could find your phone tapped or be detained because of your efforts. My fears are not for terrorists or for myself; they are for any citizen or group of citizens who may be unable to avail themselves of dissension, assembly and demonstration.

I am uncomfortable with security and police agencies under the direction of government deciding what is inherently dangerous. The potential for abuse exists and perceptions of what is terrorist activity can change according to time, place and circumstance. Further, it can be influenced by government. We can find some comfort that judges may be given this oversight but judges are not elected.

I do not advocate violence in any form but under Bill C-51 if I argue in favour of violence without directly urging it I will be the subject of a cavity search and more. If I say the Ukraine should resist Russia with violence does not directly threaten violence. I would simply be expressing an argument and leaving others to decide on its merits. This is not terrorism it is free speech. If you believe these measure will only be used on cowards who behead innocents I think you have lost yours.

We can argue that in a democracy we have the power and ability to remove unsavory governments using the voting system. What if government alters that ability? What if a term of office is altered by the government itself? Stephen Harper has done these things. No? What if waiting the length of the term would be catastrophic? Consider the changes a moderate party and government can enact in a term of office. Someone or a group in power could be mad and do more. Canadian’s don’t elect madmen but sometimes power itself corrupts and one is created. Should Canadians have the ability to overthrow a government?

If the ability to demonstrate and apply pressure on government is removed or impaired to any extent democracy itself is undermined. One person, one vote is a premise of democracy but protest is a promise that propels change and even if disruptive can be a protection for us all.

The London Free Press needs to do more to ensure both codified and uncodified ethics and standards are followed.#MorrisandMeghan

Some fairly literate individuals told me that there was some kind of familial relationship between Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press and Meghan Walker of the London Abused Women’s Centre. I hope I’m not letting the “cat” out of the bag but this liaison worries me as a citizen of London. I wouldn’t want to call the objectivity of the London Free Press into question for they can do so themselves.

It’s none of my business what Morris Dalla Costa does with his business but someone in a somewhat removed position might want to inquire as to the access given to Meghan Walker and the London Abused Women’s Centre by the London Free Press.

How many quotes from Meghan Walker and the London Abused Women’s Centre have made it into the London Free Press lately and in the last decade? How many questions were asked? How many journalists at the London Free Press are free enough of Morris Dalla Costa and his legacy to slide a toe beyond political pushing’s and mandates to cast a fair eye to the workings and dealings of the London Abused Women’s Centre?

What is the relationship between the London Free Press and Meghan Walker? Is what goes into and comes out of the London Women’s Abused Centre fairly scrutinized? How does the London Abused Women’s Centre translate into action? In what way does the London Abused Women’s Centre assist and accommodate unproven victims? What is the rate of conviction for cases that the London Abused Women’s Centre is involved with? What services are available to men who are in abusive relationships in the city of London? Is the relationship between Meghan Walker and the London Free Press creating favouritism in reporting?

Should a journalist use their position and the resources of the newspaper they are employed by to present, promote and publish their partner’s personal agenda? I’m not saying Meghan Walker is using the London Free Press to substantiate and disseminate her personal beliefs but I am convinced her partner has done and is doing something similar. How else do you explain someone whose sentence structure revolves around sports scores and standings vehemently voicing and in fact attacking individuals with views that differ from his partner?

To paint a similar picture, what if Morris Dalla Costa was married to the mayor? Would Londoner’s be given a clear view of mayoral mismanagement or would we have to swallow matrimonial musings? What if Morris is an abused husband? It becomes difficult to be objective. If ever Meghan Walker or the London Abused Women’s Centre become involved in something disreputable who will cover the story? Morris Dalla Costa? Morris’s colleagues?

If only for optics the London Free Press needs to make a substitution and place Morris in the bleachers.

The more someone is displayed to the justice system as a victim, prior to proof, the more someone is then presented as a perpetrator, prior to proof. We need to assist individuals who have been harmed but care must be taken not to lubricate litigation?

I’m not much of a reporter. It was my father who was the editor. I’m sure he would have altered a few of my words but I think he would have asked similar questions. My father once told me of having to deal with pleading parents who wanted him to omit “Johnny’s” name from the court news. He published the name of someone I knew once but I did not approach him with similar pleadings because I was aware of his integrity and that of his newspaper.

Outside of an editorial piece a newspaper should not be a personal playground for opinion. Readers become confused by what is fact and what is fancy. Londoners deserve and expect fair and accurate coverage of all individuals, organizations and events. Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality and fairness are cornerstones of journalism, not hurdles.

I hold the London Free Press responsible for turning the Bill Cosby affair into a circus. I am saddened that the London Free Press slipped into the seat of juror number five but what is worse is that they chose themselves for this duty and returned with a version of the verdict without hearing all the evidence.

As a community and a society we depend on journalists respecting the presumption of innocence. When journalists become judges, courtrooms become carnivals and the mob mentality of medieval times manifests itself as a modern form of justice.

In my opinion readers of the London Free Press have been deliberately manipulated with selective reporting. To maintain public trust the London Free Press must be independent and accountable.

After insulting me Morris Dalla Costa blocked me from viewing his official London Free Press Twitter account. Is that what they call “yellow journalism”? Obviously Morris is shy on wit but I would have assumed a sportscaster would be a good sport. Thanks for forfeiting the game.

In my opinion the London Free Press needs to start using all the crayons in the box. Any child will tell you that to do otherwise make interpretation next to impossible.

Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference. I am unsure if Morris Dalla Costa blocking me from his London Free Press Twitter account is interference but it is surely not accessibility. To do so in the event of harassment is understandable or even necessary but my communications were only civil. His basis for doing so seems to be a disagreement in values which in my opinion is healthy to both democracy and freedom. If we look critically at the coverage of the London Free Press it is not difficult to find media bias and sensationalism. Neither serves justice or democracy.

I don’t care what Morris muses over his morning coffee but his duties as a journalist require professional integrity. Without it his credibility and that of the paper he represents crumble.

In the case of calling me a “sheep” in an official London Free Press Tweet it should have fallen to another employee to implement independent fact-checking. Preferably one who does not sleep with Meghan Walker. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.

Journalists are required to be judicious about naming criminal suspects before a formal filing of charges. There must be a balance between a criminal suspect’s right to a fair trial and the public’s right to be informed. This I did not see.

The London Free Press must earn and maintain their reputation by implementing ethical standards. If ethical standards have no place with the London Free Press readers should be informed so the puppy can pee on the paper prior to perusal. The coverage applied by the London Free Press to the Bill Cosby case was not far from tabloidism. If the London Free Press is entertainment rather than news I apologize and will wait patiently for coverage on Elvis sightings.

The London Free Press needs to do more to ensure both codified and uncodified ethics and standards are followed.

I usually flip to the back of the textbook for answers but again, I would suggest keeping Morris Dalla Costa on the sidelines.

Dear London: To Take Action Against Bill Cosby Prior To A Finding of Guilt Undermines Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Why is Mayor Matt Brown dipping London’s paddle into the legal matters of an American citizen? Is it the city’s mandate to pressure or influence private contracts? For some reason there seems to be a lull of reality and the city or more specifically our mayor thinks he needs to officially speak to unproven circumstances. I am referring to the comedian Bill Cosby and the series of serious allegations against him.

There are cases where court proceedings seem pointless but as a civilized society we afford each and every accused the benefit of a fair hearing with rules for testimony. I don’t know what testimony has entered the public sphere but none of it has been examined using the American principles of fundamental justice. Nothing has been proven on a balance of probabilities civilly or beyond a reasonable doubt criminally.

Our governments and its institutions recognize Bill Cosby as innocent until proven guilty.

When we support a cause for justice it is counterproductive to ignore principles of law. To take action against Bill Cosby prior to a finding of guilt undermines our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter is not a menu from which we choose or ignore. It nears hypocrisy to call for equality rights while ignoring legal rights and it becomes difficult to bring about fairness and legitimacy to a cause if portions of our legal foundation are removed. Innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of justice and it is a clear premise of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why would we not apply the flavour of our Charter to an individual from another nation who is presently without legal charge?

When I was in high school they did not teach us that municipal mayors become involved with the legal affairs of American citizens. As a mayor Matt Brown has a legal position and one would hope that someone who makes bylaws respects the process of law in general. It would also be to his benefit to familiarize himself with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If our mayor starts his term and the New Year with words and positions which do not reflect the Charter I think he should step aside. One would think a mayor would recognize people as the law and Charter recognize and it is dangerous to make public statements regarding an American citizen whose affairs are nearing and entering the justice system. Does London need a lawsuit?

Mayor Matt Brown is a public official and it is his duty to act and speak according to the law not according to popular opinion. Maybe Mayor Matt Brown could do something productive and closer to his office like put a layer of ice on the rink at Victoria Park.

I would rather not have Stephen Harper and Peter Mackay making maps on thought until they are themselves good at it.

I don’t usually pay too much attention to the news but last week like many Canadians I was near my radio.

I felt a wave of something when I learned of a soldier’s death. I don’t see regiments and uniforms when I think of a soldier who has fallen. I see families and communities and now a nation. May mercy reign on those nearest to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and may resilience rule the rest of us. We are all in some sense left to take over Cpl. Cirillo’s duties; we must stand at attention to the unknown.

Those who we trust to know and those who tell us they do are scrambling like rats on a listing ship. My biggest fear is not that any will drown but that the course they steer will be political more than sensible. Will we purchase police and forms of recognizable security for an invisible foe? How do we wage war on beliefs? Soil itself has been turned red by battles of beliefs.

If we want a sense of what goes through a jihadist’s mind we might consider having bombs falling on our own church of thought. It is dangerous to police thought and affiliation. It is a slippery slope we may never find our way back from. The changes we have induced following 9/11 are with us forever and we must consider the same of future reactions to these events. If changes are war measures we may take comfort but Stephen Harper’s conservatives never really mentioned we were going to war. I heard some trifle about a half dozen aged planes but I missed the address to the nation about a declaration of war.

The threat is presently ISIS but any measures taken will be excuse for any threat, real or imagined. Are we prepared for that? The brush we use for ISIS may wander from the conservative paint by numbers and we need to guard against Muslims and mosques being suspect. We will have precedence and momentum to enact measures against any group. What happens if Jewish people are targeted? Will we monitor and mute any who are anti-Semitic? What will be the threshold of anti-Semitism; pro-Palestinian? Who will decide and who will watch those who watch the rest of us? I would rather not have Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay making maps on thought until they are themselves good at it.

I am saddened and angered by these events. These military deaths almost can’t be compared to those who died in the midst of battle at Vimy, Dieppe or Afghanistan but they must. If we recoil with a reworking of fundamental freedoms, two soldiers killed on home soil will make the very ideals and institutions that thousands have died for mute.

“It is a kind of cold and uncaring environment”

A 30 year old father has died at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. On the surface it seems no correctional officer or administrator can be faulted because it was a suicide and because this particular inmate did not voice an intention or thoughts about suicide. Corrections sidestep the corpse and deny responsibility because protocol was followed. What if protocol in fact hastens or facilitates the death? Following the rules in this case could be considered the smoking gun.

According to London Lawyer Kevin Egan, who represents hundreds of London inmates “It is a kind of cold and uncaring environment.” I hope Kevin Egan didn’t have to research too many legal documents to come up with the understatement of the century.

Inmates are screened at admission about their mental health and suicidality. “Do you feel suicidal?” if answered in the affirmative will bring about a second strip search and the inmate is placed in solitary confinement or for those who like to justify its use, segregation. The inmate is given a tear proof gown and blanket to go with their toilet and 24 hour light.

For any inmate who is familiar with this system of sadism there is only one answer to the question. “No.” Inmates in solitary confinement because of suicidal ideation or behavior are checked on every 10 minutes. Interestingly, it takes about 5 minutes to die. In the case of this young man because he was segregated but not on suicide watch he would have only been checked every 20 minutes in comparison to the usual 30 minutes in the general population. This deviation points to the admission that solitary confinement creates a dangerous situation that needs increased supervision.

I realize Elgin-Middlesex Detention Center is understaffed and poorly designed but is it not possible for “cold and uncaring” correctional staff to ask an inmate if they are suicidal after intake? Surely, while under the arguably tortuous conditions of solitary confinement an inmate could be spoken to and asked if they are suicidal. Would any institution grind to a hault if such a protocol was implemented? It would require conscience and a degree of compassion but it may save a life.

To be placed in solitary confinement deteriorates mental wellness and exacerbates mental illness. This is where it becomes difficult for guards, administrators and healthcare staff to sidestep culpability. This particular inmate was taking prescribed psychiatric medication and was placed in an environment where whatever mental wellness he possessed was compromised. His mental health was compromised by the correctional system which did little proactive to prevent his eventual death.

There have been 16 coroner inquests into jail suicides since 2007 and the recommendations of better screening and monitoring of inmates has been ignored. This is not only a dereliction of duty but it is outwardly reckless and a foundation for legal culpability.