HALIFAX – Two advocacy groups are seeking to intervene in the judicial review of the case of Abdoul Abdi, a former Somali child refugee fighting to stay in Canada.Lawyers for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Justice for Children and Youth argued in Federal Court on Tuesday that their groups would offer unique perspectives about the issues surrounding Abdi’s case.The Canada Border Services Agency detained Abdi, who was never granted Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, after he served about five years in prison for multiple offences including aggravated assault.The application for judicial review seeks to challenge the government’s decision to refer his case to a deportation hearing, arguing the decision was unreasonable, unfair and contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.Both groups argued before Justice Ann Marie McDonald in Halifax that their positions would assist the court in arriving at a decision in Abdi’s case — one they claim will have wider implications for vulnerable youth in Canada.“Young people who have grown up in the care of various child welfare organizations across the country are often placed in a position where they are not provided with adequate protection, in the sense that they haven’t been provided with an opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship,” Jane Stewart, a lawyer for the Justice for Children and Youth, said outside court.“They’re then exposed to the jeopardy of deportation as adults in a way that other young people may not be. It’s a situation that affects Mr. Abdi, but unfortunately it’s a case that affects young people across the country. His situation isn’t unique and it’s a situation that plays out over and over again.”Nasha Nijhawan, a lawyer for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said her organization wants to ensure that any time government is making a decision such as this, “it does so in a manner that’s in accordance with Charter values and takes into account any Charter issues that are raised by the facts of that case.”“It raises questions about where the Charter fits into that analysis and how Canadians or permanent residents of Canada might expect the protection of their rights and freedoms in that context,” said Nijhawan.“It’s a question of perpetuating disadvantage against someone who has suffered disadvantage in the past.”But Heidi Collicutt, a lawyer representing the Minister of Public Safety, argued the groups did not meet the criteria to be intervenors in the case.Collicutt argued the groups do not offer a unique perspective, but rather bolster and supplement Abdi’s position.McDonald reserved her decision.Abdi’s lawyer Benjamin Perryman said his client is feeling stressed ahead of the judicial review hearing, scheduled for June 19 in Federal Court in Halifax.“He’s still in this place of limbo,” said Perryman. “When the government of the country you’ve lived your whole life in is seeking to deport you to a warzone, that is obviously stressful, and that uncertainty I think would be crippling to most Canadians.”Abdi, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993, lost his mother in a refugee camp when he was four and came to Canada with his sister and aunts two years later. He was taken into provincial care shortly after arriving in Canada.He was moved 31 times between foster homes. He lost his native language and developed behavioural problems that advocates say were not adequately treated. Those issues led to problems with the justice system and his non-citizenship put him at risk of deportation.Abdi’s case has prompted supporters to call on the Nova Scotia government to intervene on his behalf, and sparked protests at events with federal leaders including a town hall earlier this year with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Lower Sackville, N.S.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.?e?????|
HALIFAX – Canada’s police chiefs say in light of recent gun-related tragedies in Fredericton and in other cities across the country they are striking a committee to analyze data related to gun violence.The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which wrapped up its annual conference Wednesday in Halifax, says it wants to come up with evidence-based recommendations to help combat the problem.Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer, the newly elected president of the association, said while gun violence “ebbs and flows” across the country, the chiefs believe there has been a spike in illegal firearm use over the past year.“We are seeing in many cities, small and large throughout our country, an increase in gun violence whether its Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg or out here in the Maritimes, we are seeing an increase in that,” said Palmer.He said Canada’s current gun control regime is “actually very good” and the association is not calling for any wholesale legislative changes related to gun violence. It also isn’t calling for tighter restrictions for rifles and shotguns.“But we are going to be looking at that issue (violence) and we may come forward with recommendations in the future.”Palmer said the association does support measures to strengthen certain aspects of federal gun regulations in Bill C-71, including rules around obtaining a gun licence and the transportation of firearms.Last week, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said the latest rash of shootings had added to a sense of public urgency for Ottawa to do more to keep deadly firearms out of the wrong hands.Blair said the government’s work would include looking at “any measure which will be effective.”Palmer said the overall issue isn’t law-abiding people who want to possess firearms, but rather people who are involved in criminal activity who obtain guns through illegal means.Those means include getting illegal firearms from the U.S., through break-and-enters, and from legal gun owners without criminal records who purchase firearms and then sell them on the black market.He said less organized street gangs are a particular concern for police.“We are seeing a resurgence of lower level street gangs that are becoming quite violent, becoming ever more sophisticated and that are starting to connect themselves with organized crime at a higher level,” said Palmer.Still, Palmer said gun violence is a complex issue that will require many different approaches, from early education for children on the dangers of guns and gangs to better enforcement measures.“We are looking at different strategies,” he said. “We want to follow best practices in reducing violence.”On another front, the police chiefs announced a new online training program that will provide an “introduction to the cannabis legislation” for more than 65,000 police officers preparing to enforce the law when cannabis is legalized Oct. 17.Palmer said police forces will be ready to conduct enforcement in the fall and he doesn’t believe it’s going to be “mayhem overnight” once cannabis is legal.“It’s a complex issue, it’s a challenging issue … but we will be ready to deal with this issue.”Palmer said it would take about a year before police will be able to assess how the introduction of legalized cannabis is handled.He said the conference also discussed the opioid crisis, crypto-currency, use of force training, mental wellness, and proactive policing.The chiefs called on Ottawa to harmonize cybercrime training across the country to ensure police officers have the proper training and capability to combat the problem.They are also urging Public Safety Canada to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow the comprehensive vetting of people who import pill presses, and also to regulate their sale domestically.
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Military authorities say U.S. Air Force and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to escort two Russian bombers that were travelling near the North American coastline.The North American Aerospace Defence Command says two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter jets identified two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that were entering an area patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Friday morning.There were no reports of conflict between the Russian and the U.S. and Canadian jets.NORAD says it uses radar, satellites and fighter aircraft to patrol the skies and monitor aircraft entering U.S. or Canadian airspace.“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. Our ability to protect our nations starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace,” General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander, said in a statement.The Associated Press