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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welcome To Ontario The Land Where It's Government Says The Hell With Your Civil Rights

Ontario ombudsman criticizes government for unfulfilled promises

Globe & Mail - Ombudsman AndrĂ© Marin says the Liberal government should be best remembered for what it didn't do — including not living up to a promise to protect Ontarians' civil rights.
In presenting his 2012-13, 88-page annual report Tuesday, the provincial watchdog cited several cases where the governments of Premier Kathleen Wynne and predecessor Dalton McGuinty failed to follow through on recommendations from his office.
Chief among them is the government's failure to replace the World War II era Public Works Protection Act that resulted in "massive violations of civil rights" during the G20 summit in 2010. The little known law gave police sweeping powers of arrest and detention.
"But thanks to last year's prorogation, this is more unfinished business," he said in opening remarks, adding also that nothing has been done to strengthen the legislative mandate of the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates serious police incidents.
The government finally tabled the legislation in April — now known as Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act — but it hasn't yet passed.
In an earlier report , Marin said the little-used law suspended normal civil rights, resulting in more than 1,000 people being searched and or detained by security forces and recommended then that it be replaced with more modern language as early as February 2012.
Marin's office reviewed 19,726 cases in the past fiscal year, but he complained his team could do even more if the government would only agree to give the him the power to investigate the MUSH sector, referring to municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, long-term care homes, as well as children's aid society and police.
"We are still dead last — the only province with no Ombudsman oversights of hospitals, children's aid societies and soon, thanks to a new law in New Brunswick, long-term care," he said.
"Political wrangling aside, there is simply no well-articulated, rational justification for barring Ombudsman oversight in the MUSH sector. Sadly it seems that 'anybody but the Ombudsman' is the rallying cry for some government insiders," he stated.
Marin said the Liberal government after two years still hasn't lived up to its promise to regulate the non-emergency medical transfer industry in order to protect the "hundreds of thousands of patients transported annually in these ambulance-like vehicles."
The ombudsman, however, said there is "encouraging" progress by the Ontario Provincial Police in dealing with serious operational stress injuries, including post traumatic stress, and suicide among its officers.
In his October 2012 report , In the Line of Duty, Marin criticized the OPP and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for being "reluctant" to acknowledge or take action to support police officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, likening the response to a "bureaucratic brush-off."
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