By Tim Moen
I recently sat down to talk with Keith Gall who is a disabled Multiple Sclerosis patient who has a federal license to grow medical marijuana. Recently a green team including police, Calgary city inspectors and an Alberta Health Services (AHS) inspector came calling and AHS issued an order that would cost Keith over $30,000 to comply with. The reason..."suspicion of mold" because he has a humid room which grows plants. Never mind that there was zero evidence of any mold, never mind that zero moisture was found in walls, never mind that there is a higher probability of finding mold behind the drywall of any bathroom, never mind that there is no clear evidence that mold represents a health risk except to a small subset of sensitive individuals.
With this standard of "I feel suspicious" it seems there is nothing stopping Alberta Health from issuing the same expensive order the minute Mr. Gall complies and starts the grow op again. Mayor Nenshi is on record expressing his desire to shut down these legal grow ops citing a public nuisance. With talk of state controlled cannabis production and distribution by "progressive" politicians like Kathleen Wynne and/or the crony capitalist model the Conservatives were leaning towards during their term it seems clear that legalization will be a far cry from the relative freedom offered by jurisdictions like Colorado. It seems clear that people on the margins, people like Keith Gall, will continue to suffer from state oppression.Read more
By Marty Gold
Justice Murray Sinclair, Author of Truth and Reconciliation Report, Embroiled in Controversy
The Native Women's Transition Centre Inc. is a longtime non-profit organization that operates 3 facilities for women in Winnipeg, including second-stage housing in the Lord Selkirk area and a halfway house for federal parolees in the west end. Although the website has barely been updated since 2011, their flagship, namesake facility
"Our Centre embraces Aboriginal traditional values and cultures in order to heal the generational scars of colonialism and residential schools. Aboriginal healing methods are used to help women and their children achieve stability and initiate the process of healing.
... During their residency, women are encouraged to return to their cultural roots to meet life’s challenges, build on personal gifts and strengths and grow and learn together as women – reclaiming their rightful place in the community."
One year ago today, a brave group of 11 women in the residence program wrote an extensive letter to the Board of Directors of NWTC , with itemized complaints from 5 of them, accompanied by a separately submitted complaint.
The women were urgently pleading for help with the Executive Director, who had been chair of that Board immediately before assuming her new role months before.
The residents, struggling to rebuild their lives and move on to raise their families, said they were threatened and intimidated, with grown women being treated like children.
Enrolled in the NWTC program to recover from family violence, addictions and systematic abuse, the group referred to "unfair and aggressive treatment", warning "we no longer feel this is a safe supportive environment".
"We feel the new ED is aggressive in her style with bullying tactics and verbal abuse. She has belittled us as women, mothers and parents.. are extremely controlled and made to feel as children.. we feel we have no rights and no say in anything (and) face strict consequences if we speak up."
After 3 pages detailing specific incidents, they made clear
“We are taking a chance on writing this letter due to the consequences that Katherine holds against us for speaking out…"
They re-iterated the Mission Statement and continued “NWTC is not living up to this and something needs to be done."
The residents requested a review of their complaints and offered to meet with the Board personally.
The women described experiences that were startlingly contrary to promises made by the non profit about client rights. The website stated the "service philosophy" that it bragged was endorsed by Amnesty International:
"If nothing is done about this we will be forced to leave Native Women's. We feel the ED shows no empathy or compassion towards our situation."
To show the faith the clients had in the Board of Directors, their letter was also cc'd to the Executive Director.
The Executive Director is Katherine Morrisseau Sinclair.
She is not some longtime social services minion who had risen from obscurity to helm the organization, but the wife of Associate Chief Justice of Manitoba, and Truth and Reconciliation Report author, Justice Murray Sinclair.