Your friend Robert (@robert_hiltz) is back once again, sailing the good ship Daily.
Today’s voyage takes us into the choppy waters of: whether the proposed RCMP reforms are enough; the U.S. border staying closed another month; Israel gobbling up as much settlement land as it can before Joe Biden becomes president; how ‘We’re all in this together’ has led to record grocery store profits.
The RCMP Has A Plan To Modernize Itself, But Does The Commissioner Get The Problem? (Spoiler: No.)
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has a tough job. The life-long Mountie has to pretend to identify with a popular movement pointing out the many gross injustices committed by the police force she leads, and at the same time do as little as possible to actually change the cultures that breeds such injustices.
So far, she’s biffed it. But, fear not dear reader, Lucki is both “listening” and “learning” from both her public missteps and the almost-weekly revelations of abuse of the public at the hands of this or that Mountie somewhere in the country.
In a lengthy interview with the Toronto Star, Lucki talks about her “difficult year,” and the new RCMP plan to address its culture issues.
A lot of it feels a lot like a post-game interview, after a losing effort. At one point, Lucki literally says, “It’s a call to dig deeper, find out why — how I can do better, how we can do better as an organization. You check your ego at the door.” Hockey Night in Canada stuff, but the head of a national police force. Neat!
Anyway, one of the things Lucki tries to address is her inability to articulate what systemic racism is, and whether it exists within the RCMP:
“I didn’t want our members, our employees, to think I was calling them racist. And so I was trying to choose my words carefully because, you know what? Words are important and the dialogue was even more important. […] That stumble, I call it, actually opened up a lot of dialogue and discussion and so everything happens for a reason, and I am thankful for that.”
Which, I dunno, seems to miss the point of calling out the systemic racism in the department? It wasn’t about dialogue and discussion, it was about looking at the structure and history of the RCMP and making fundamental changes.
Instead, the Mounties under Lucki have proposed much smaller tweaks. They will: make anti-racism and cultural awareness training mandatory; begin collecting data on their interactions with Indigenous and racialized people; create an internal department for Indigenous collaboration and accountability; have more diverse hiring practices, and several other goals. You can see the full “Vision150” plan on the RCMP’s website.
As social justice lawyer Lara Koerner Yeo told the Star, what’s being proposed doesn’t go nearly far enough:
“When you have an institution that’s founded on racist, colonial ideas, it’s completely enmeshed in the system, the structure itself. So, while there have been piecemeal changes made to the RCMP, it’s ultimately insufficient.[…] “What’s required is a transformative rethinking. What is the RCMP? Do we need a national police force today?”
A very good question, and one Lucki doesn’t seem interested in engaging with. Ah, well.
- The federal government is set to once again extend its agreement with the United States to keep the shared border closed to non-essential traffic. The closure will extend another 30 days, until late December.
- While the pandemic is beginning to spiral out of control here, things have never been in control in the U.S., and are now reaching nightmarish levels. The U.S. is seeing in excess of 120,000 cases per day, has surpassed a quarter million COVID-19 deaths, and is on pace to have 2,000 people dying per day come Christmas.
- Fearing U.S. policy will change when Joe Biden takes office in January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is using the waning days of the Trump administration to make a massive land grab.
- On Sunday, the Israeli government announced nearly 1,300 new housing units in occupied Palestinian territory.
- “In order for there to be an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians — as remote as that seems at the moment — you need to be able to connect East Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Ramallah. That’s impossible to do with [the newly announced units.]” — Daniel Seidemann, Israeli lawyer with expertise on Jerusalem
- All the proposed settlement expansions are on territory captured and occupied by Israel in 1967, and are illegal under international law.
ICYMI: Grocery Stores Are Raking In The Cash, And Now Food Prices Are On The Rise
The parent companies of Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro all recorded profit increases in the last quarter compared to the same period last year. Loblaws saw a $11-million increase, Metro a $20-million increase, and Sobeys an eye-popping $61-million jump.
Meanwhile, inflation has risen 0.7 per cent over the last year, with most of that increase due to higher food prices. Not surprisingly, food bank visits have increased by about 5 per cent.
As Paul Taylor, executive director of FoodShare, told the Toronto Star: “Food insecurity has increased pretty significantly — we’ve never seen anything like this before.” He added, “These corporations are making major profits while people are hungry.”
But don’t forget, we’re all in this together!
That’s it for today. Who knows, maybe tomorrow there will be some good news. lol, kidding, this is 2020, the doom rolls on!
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