Ian Mulgrew: COVID poses many legal challenges, but there are rays of hope

A surprising virtual social butterfly, Attorney-General David Eby took a moment from lamenting the legal challenges presented by COVID-19 to finding silver linings. A five-year technological upgrade of the courts happening almost overnight, streamlined processes, traffic courts being held in post-secondary institutions, virtual hearings, school gymnasiums being considered for empanelling criminal juries to ensure physical distancing… After five months, Eby is reflecting on how the legal system has responded, and the impetus it has created for long-needed change. The NDP minister has been fond of saying he didn’t get into politics to do car insurance — not that he wanted an outbreak of the coronavirus. …read more Source:: Vancouver Sun… Read More

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Roger Stone’s Commutation Was Inevitable

Forget Bernie Kerik, Scooter Libby, Michael Milken—even Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This was the presidential reprieve President Donald Trump’s critics feared most. Trump’s move tonight to commute the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, nearly five months after a federal judge sentenced him to more than three years in prison, was surely the least surprising of his many high-profile acts of executive clemency. The president, after all, had been complaining about Stone’s prosecution from the start; had telegraphed by tweet his displeasure with the Department of Justice’s sentencing recommendation; and had tried to browbeat Judge Amy Berman Jackson into granting Stone a new trial. But the seeming inevitability of Trump’s… Read More

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Vaughn Palmer: Premier talks tough about forest industry, but little to help Mackenzie

VICTORIA — The community of Mackenzie rallied last week to protest job losses from the disruption of operations in the town’s three major employers in the forest industry. The Canfor sawmill has been idled since this time last year with the loss of more than 200 jobs. The Conifex sawmill resumed operations just this week after a three-month shutdown affecting 160 workers. The Paper Excellence Canada pulp mill is in the midst of a curtailment that will put another 250 employees out of work indefinitely by early next month. …read more Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics       

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B.C. to study changing special prosecutor system — after COVID-19 pandemic

VICTORIA — The B.C. government will wait until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides before investigating how to improve the province’s delay-plagued special prosecutor system , says the attorney general. But an early examination of what might be slowing down politically-sensitive cases — involving MLAs and political staffers — has already highlighted at least one problem. …read more Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics       

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B.C. to study changing special prosecutor system — after COVID-19 pandemic

VICTORIA — The B.C. government will wait until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides before investigating how to improve the province’s delay-plagued special prosecutor system , says the attorney general. But an early examination of what might be slowing down politically-sensitive cases — involving MLAs and political staffers — has already highlighted at least one problem. …read more Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics       

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Trump’s Really Bad Bet

Donald Trump is running for the presidency of an America that no longer exists. Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly reprised two of Richard Nixon’s most memorable rallying cries, promising to deliver “law and order” for the “silent majority.” But in almost every meaningful way, America today is a radically different country than it was when Nixon rode those arguments to win the presidency in 1968 amid widespread anti-war protests, massive civil unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., white flight from major cities, and rising crime rates. Trump’s attempt to emulate that strategy may only prove how much the country has changed since it succeeded. Americans today… Read More

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Vaughn Palmer: Workplace report reveals legislature a positive, enjoyable environment

VICTORIA — There was no missing the sense of relief last week as the legislature management committee fielded the final report of a workplace review prompted by allegations from Speaker Darryl Plecas. MLAs from all three parties fell over each other in welcoming the mostly favourable findings from a Victoria-based firm with expertise in workplace health and conflict resolution. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth: “I’m encouraged by how people seem to be quite optimistic and looking very much to the future.” …read more Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics       

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Legislature to study systemic racism in B.C. police departments

VICTORIA — Provincial politicians will study how B.C. police departments handle mental health calls, complex social issues and the scope of systemic racism within the policing community. Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth struck an all-party special committee of the legislature to investigate the issues Wednesday, which includes MLAs from the opposition Liberal and Green parties. The goal, he said, is to make any necessary changes to B.C. laws that govern the policies, structures, funding, training and oversight of police. “We know many of our institutions have systemic racism built into them, often not by design, but in many cases the form of bias, for example,” said Farnworth. “The committee has wide-ranging ability… Read More

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Ian Mulgrew: Eby struggling to maintain access to justice in B.C.

COVID-19 has ravaged the country’s legal system and precipitated a long backlog of cases that has Attorney General David Eby and his counterparts in other provinces scrambling. The NDP minister has proposed a moratorium on civil jury trials, perhaps even their elimination. He has recommended mandatory arbitration for myriad ICBC claims and is puzzling over accommodating physically distanced juries in criminal trials. “In order to empanel a jury, you have to call about 200 people together and there’s a whole process where social distancing and gatherings of more than 50 people, and the rules around that, are incredibly difficult to follow for the jury empaneling process,” he explained on Wednesday.… Read More

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Mike Pence’s Entire Future Runs Through Trump

In private moments, Donald Trump has told aides that he rescued Mike Pence from a potentially embarrassing defeat by pulling him out of a tough reelection bid in the 2016 Indiana governor’s race and putting him on the ticket, a former White House official told me. Now it’s Vice President Pence’s turn to see what, if anything, he can do to rescue Trump from a more momentous loss—and keep alive a long-held ambition to win the presidency in his own right. Their fates, at this point, are wholly entwined. Pence would have trouble winning in 2024 if voters repudiate Trump in November. Yet even if he runs after a second… Read More

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