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Police must maintain trust of communities, says judge in charge of street check report

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Five days after the New Year’s Eve ball drop of a 300-plus page review of carding and police street checks in Ontario, Justice Michael Tulloch and his team met with reporters and the public to talk about the results and recommendations at a downtown Toronto hotel that is a brisk 10-minute walk away from the politics of Queen’s Park.

What will come of Tulloch’s street check report is dependent upon political will and the majority provincial Progressive Conservative government, led by Premier Doug Ford.

It is was one of four, highly critical major reports into policing released within the past month, including a review of Thunder Bay Police Service by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and an interim report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in its ongoing inquiry into racial profiling and discrimination by the Toronto Police Service.

The common thread to all of them is that none of the findings were news to Black and Indigenous communities in Toronto and the province.

Read more:

Police carding should be banned in Ontario, independent review says

Address racial bias in policing to stop carding, advocates say

On Friday, before a conference room at the Chelsea Hotel packed with rights advocates, the public and police brass from several Ontario police services at the Chelsea Hotel, Tulloch stressed the importance of police maintaining the trust of the communities they serve.

“The police are the public, and the public are the police,” said Tulloch, referring to one of the guiding tenets of the Peel Principles, which he said helped guide him in his review.

In order to maintain safety, there must be community and police co-operation, said Tulloch, who said he was not sure before he began his review what constituted a legitimate street check.

Tulloch, an Ontario Court of Appeal justice, and his team consulted with more than 2,200 people, including representatives from 34 police services, and received more than 100 written submissions.

He soon learned the scope of the issue, and how it disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and racialized groups.

Tulloch’s street checks report stresses the importance of training and making it clear to police what is expected of them in street check encounters, where “carding” — the complete randomness in choosing who to stop, question and document, and creating “a database for general intelligence purposes” — has no place.

Of the 103 recommendations made, many of them aimed at tweaking and adding language to existing provincially-mandated street check regulations enacted in 2017, several aim to clarify, suggesting the regulations should:

  • Expressly state that they do not apply to “attempts to confirm the identity of an individual who matches the description of a missing person, human trafficking victim or other victim of crime” or to “interactions that have a community-building purpose, meaning on-duty police contact with members of the community meant to foster positive relationships and/or assist members of the public without gathering identifying information for an investigative or intelligence purpose.”
  • Define “suspicious activity” to mean an activity where, under all of the circumstances, there are objective, credible grounds to request identifying information.
  • Direct and train officers who have identified suspicious activity and if it is “feasible to do so, a police officer should first make inquiries of an individual to confirm or dispel the officer’s suspicion without requesting identifying information.”

Shortly after coming to power, the Progressive Conservative government hit the pause button on a police reform bill that included wide-ranging changes, including enhancements to the province’s civilian Special Investigation Unit, a law brought in by the previous Liberal government in response to another of Tulloch’s reports on police oversight. The Conservatives are reviewing the bill, and intend to introduce a bill of their own.

In reaction to the report, Sylvia Jones, the minister who oversees policing, said this week that the government will review Tulloch’s street check report. Jones said “new police legislation will reflect a simple principle: racism and discrimination have no place in policing. Justice Tulloch’s report will inform our work as we fix Ontario’s policing legislation.”

Between 2010 and 2014, repeated Toronto Star analysis of Toronto police street check and carding data, obtained through freedom of information requests, has shown that Black people were more likely in each of the city’s 70-plus patrol zones to be stopped, questioned and documented than white people, and more so in predominantly white areas of the city.

While Black and, to a lesser extent, brown-skinned people were subject to higher rates of street checks, compared to what they represent in Toronto’s population, people with white skin colour represented the largest skin colour group, by sheer volume, in street check data examined by the Star.

Similar patterns emerged in other Ontario police jurisdictions, leading to the enactment of the province-wide regulations.

Toronto police suspended street checks involving the inputting of personal details into a database in 2015.

Jim Rankin is a reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @Jleerankin

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Ecology

Globe Climate: Canada’s resource reckoning is coming

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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

This afternoon, the Alberta government announced that it is restoring a coal mining policy it revoked last spring. At the time, the move provoked a widespread public backlash detailed by The Globe. The original decision, which opened up more than 1.4 million hectares to exploration, was made without public consultation. Premier Jason Kenney previously defended the changes.

Lots more on coal and Canada’s resources industry in this week’s newsletter edition.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

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Ecology

‘Incredibly destructive’: Canada’s Prairies to see devastating impact of climate change

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As the climate continues to warm at an alarming rate, experts warn if dramatic steps to mitigate global warming are not taken, the effects in Canada’s Prairie region will be devastating to the country’s agriculture sector.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the country is warming, on average, about double the global rate.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. recently found 2020 was earth’s second-hottest year on record, with the average land and ocean surface temperature across the globe at 0.98 of a degree C above the 20th-century average.

However, the agency found the northern hemisphere saw its hottest year on record, at 1.28 degrees C above the average.

“(In Canada) we are looking at about 6.4C degrees of warming this century, which isn’t much less than one degree per decade, which is just a terrifying rate of warming,” Darrin Qualman, the director of climate crisis policy and action at the National Farmer’s Union said.

Qualman said there is “massive change coming” to Canada’s Prairies, which will be “incredibly destructive.”

“It’s not going too far to say that if we made that happen, parts of the Prairies wouldn’t be farmable anymore,” he said.

According to the federal government, in 2018 Canada’s agriculture and agri-food system generated $143 billion, accounting for 7.4 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The sector employed 2.3 million people in 2018. The majority of the 64.2 million hectares of farmland in Canada is concentrated in the Prairies and in southern Ontario.

The effects of climate change are already being felt on the ground in the Prairies, Qualman said, adding that the NFU has already heard from farmers complaining of “challenging weather.”

“People are sharing pictures of flattened crops and buildings, et cetera, that have been damaged,” he said. “And we’re still at the beginning of this.”

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Insect-based dog food aims to cut your pet’s carbon pawprint

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Meat has an enormous carbon footprint, with livestock liable for about 15 per cent of worldwide emissions, as we have beforehand mentioned on this e-newsletter. That is prompted specialists to suggest consuming much less meat for sustainability (and well being) causes.

However what about your pet? One research discovered that the methane and nitrous oxide emissions generated by canine and cat meals within the U.S. alone had been equal to about 64 million tonnes of CO2, or roughly the quantity produced by 13.6 million automobiles. And it might be getting worse, with a development towards feeding pets “human-grade” meat.

That is prompted some pet meals makers to look to lower-carbon protein sources — together with bugs.

Research present that producing insect-based meals requires far much less feed, land and water and generates far fewer greenhouse fuel emissions per kilogram than meats comparable to beef, pork or rooster.

That is one of many causes increasingly more pet meals containing insect protein are hitting the market. Purina, a model owned by multinational Nestlé, launched a line of canine and cat meals containing black soldier fly larvae in Switzerland in November.

In Canada, Montreal-based Wilder Harrier began promoting canine treats made with cricket protein in 2015 and pet food made with black soldier fly larvae in 2019. It plans to broaden to launch a line of insect-based cat treats later this yr and cat meals in 2022 due to “a ton of demand,” mentioned firm co-founder Philippe Poirier.

Wilder Harrier initially labored with animal nutritionists on insect-based merchandise to unravel a unique downside — specifically, the founders’ canines had allergy symptoms to frequent meats utilized in canine meals. Poirier mentioned now about half its prospects hunt down the product due to their pets’ allergy symptoms and about half for environmental causes.

Dr. Cailin Heinze, a U.S.-based veterinary nutritionist licensed by the American School of Veterinary Vitamin, has written concerning the environmental influence of pet meals. She mentioned we’re typically “not as involved as we probably ought to [be]” concerning the environmental footprint of pets.

Alternatively, she famous that the longer-term influence of newer diets, comparable to vegan meals and people containing bugs, hasn’t been nicely examined in comparison with conventional pet meals.

Maria Cattai de Godoy, an assistant professor of animal sciences on the College of Illinois who research novel proteins for pet meals (together with bugs, yeast and plant-based substances), mentioned such substances are rigorously examined to find out their security and diet earlier than being added to pet meals. 

“This can be a very extremely regulated trade,” she mentioned, however admitted it is also evolving.

Relating to bugs, she mentioned constructive information “reveals promise in direction of utilizing them increasingly more in pet meals.” Insect-based proteins have additionally earned the endorsement of the British Veterinary Affiliation, which says some insect-based meals could also be higher for pets than prime steak.

However Godoy famous that there isn’t any one-size-fits-all resolution, and pet homeowners ought to take into consideration the wants of their very own particular person pet and analysis whether or not a specific weight loss plan can be appropriate.

She mentioned that other than the kind of protein, issues like packaging and manufacturing strategies may also make a distinction. For instance, utilizing meat byproducts that may in any other case turn into waste would not drive elevated meat manufacturing the identical approach as utilizing human-grade meat.

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