How about investing in people?

How about investing in people?

In my Ottawa Citizen column this week I tear a strip off anyone who thinks paying people fairly and humanely for their work is a “cost” to be kept down. When a Texas-based chain of loud and garish gas stations treats its people better than you do, you know you’re doing something wrong. 

I made an appearance in this fine piece by journalism student Brandon Martin about backyard chickens. I’m on #TeamFowl, obviously. 

In my legal writing for National Magazine you’ll find a piece warning against “consent fatigue” at the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec.

green trees near city buildings during daytime
Photo by Josh Lavallee / Unsplash

Manitoba elected a majority NDP government with leader Wab Kinew, who is Indigenous, becoming premier. This is very cool for all kinds of reasons but I’ll cite two: 1) it means finally we’ll search that landfill to find the remains of the two murdered Indigenous persons and 2) the so-called “parents’ rights” rhetoric against trans youth was clearly and forcefully rejected by voters, which I dearly hope will send a nasty shiver down the spine of anti-trans bigots everywhere, at least those with enough brain cells to read clear writing on a solid wall. 

fascinating case in America, where SCOTUS will have to decide on the meaning of “and”… 

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Pulsifer v. United States, a case that turns on a federal law’s use of “and.” Circuit courts are divided over what the word means in a statute aimed at reducing mass incarceration through an array of criminal justice reforms. For thousands of defendants, eligibility for relief from mandatory minimum sentencing depends on whether “and” in a provision of the landmark First Step Act was deliberately or mistakenly written to conjoin requirements for reduced prison time—and to what extent Congress’ intent matters. 

The article has the details and potential implications. It’s pointy-headed and also longish, but if that sort of thing is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy it mightily. And don’t forget to send me a friend request because if that is your cup of tea I want to get to know you. I’ll add that of course mandatory minimum sentencing laws are inane at best and usually unjust but I’m not expecting much more from a country whose criminal justice system is cruel, shame-based and downright inhumane. 

Before we get too smug about how much less awful the Canadian criminal justice system is: I had the immense pleasure on Wednesday to spend an hour with Ben Perrin discussing his latest book, Indictment, which I highly recommend. We have a lot of issues here, starting with: Why can’t we focus on preventing trauma instead of punishing crime? We’d be so much safer, happier and richer that way. 

En francais

Montréal qui innove encore… 

La Ville de Montréal aménagera près de 30 parcs et 400 trottoirs dits « éponges », dont l’objectif est de mieux résister aux pluies abondantes, au cours des deux prochaines années. (…) Depuis 2022, la Ville de Montréal dit avoir aménagé sept parcs éponges et 800 trottoirs éponges. Elle souhaite ajouter 30 parcs et 400 trottoirs de la sorte en 2024 et 2025 afin de freiner la quantité d’eau qui s’écoule dans les infrastructures d’égout lors des pluies diluviennes.

À Ottawa, malgré l’investissement dans les égoûts, on a encore et toujours des innondations qui rendent la vie des gens bien difficile. Avoir plus de surfaces éponges nous sauverait beaucoup de tracas, et bien de l’argent aussi.