Randeep Sarai appointed as the new chair of LPC Pacific Caucus

SURREY, BC – Liberal British Columbia Members of Parliament chose Randeep Sarai to be the new Pacific Caucus Chair this week.

“Over the past twelve months our government has been working hard to accomplish real change and we are keeping to the promises that we made in the last federal election. It’s been a busy and exciting year for British Columbia and there is still much work to be done,” said Randeep Sarai.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by my British Columbia colleagues to represent them as Pacific Caucus Chair, I’m looking forward to working together to help build a stronger and more prosperous Canada as well as work to ensure that British Columbia is the best place to call home.” said MP Sarai.

As a community leader, a lawyer and a real estate developer, Randeep Sarai has invariably focused his efforts in Surrey. His dedication and excellency in these endeavors have framed his ability to be diligent, inventive and devoted when representing you as your Member of Parliament for Surrey–Centre.

Randeep was born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby. He graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete his Bachelor of Laws Born at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was a Founder and has served as a Director of Virsa – Supporting Youth Strengthening Families Society and helped start South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, which successfully championed for the creation of the Integrated Gang Task Force. Randeep has been engaged in community work from a very young age, much of it learned through the examples set by his late Father. “Giving back” were common words used and discussed in the Sarai household. He supported his Father to raise funds to fight against Polio thru the local Rotary Club, build their local temple, and organize food drives.

Randeep has also always been passionate about civic responsibility, including the need to make positive contributions to public policy, participation in the electoral processes at all levels, and supporting initiatives that focused on enhancing the quality of life for those less fortunate. Randeep regularly participates and comments on municipal bylaw issues, public policy issues and has been regular commentator on political issues on local Metro Vancouver media outlets.

Currently, he and his wife, Sarbjeet, are raising three children who attend Surrey schools and are very active in sports, recreation, arts and cultural activities. During his spare time, Randeep cherishes time with his family, including the newest member, a young Labrador puppy named Mr. Cuddles, and enjoys activities such as yoga, soccer and jogging.

He is committed to making Surrey the most transit friendly, low crime, metropolitan centre in Canada. Randeep believes the right voice, sound understanding and a commitment to a multi pronged approach can curb the current crime escalation that plagues the city and prevent any further increase in traffic congestion.

Sabi Marwah and Howard Wetston make list of Senate appointments

BY Barbara Shecter

Two Bay Street stalwarts are on the list of new Senate appointment recommendations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Monday: Howard Wetston, former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Sabi Marwah, who was a longtime senior executive of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Wetston, a former Federal Court of Canada trial judge and one-time chief executive of the Ontario Energy Board, retired last November from the OSC, where he had served as chair and CEO since 2010. In April, he joined Toronto-based law firm Goodmans LLP as counsel.

As head of the OSC, Canada’s largest capital markets regulator, Wetston beefed up enforcement by launching the Joint Serious Offences Team, a partnership between the OSC, the RCMP Financial Crime program and the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch. He also put the wheels in motion for the creation of a paid whistleblower program, and a disclosure regime intended to promote more women on corporate boards and in senior management.

Dale Lastman, chair of Goodmans LLP, said he doesn’t yet know whether Wetston will be able to continue working with the law firm.

“If he can stay, we’ll be delighted to have him, and if he can’t stay, then we’ll be sad from one perspective but he’ll be helping our country from another,” Lastman said in an interview.

He said the former regulator has primarily been providing internal advice and mentoring at the firm.

“If smart and classy and nice and decent and caring and being passionate are qualities that would make a good senator, then Mr. Wetston will make a good senator, as would Mr. Marwah, who I also know,” Lastman said.

Marwah, who joined Bank of Nova Scotia as a financial analyst and climbed the ranks to the positions of vice-chairman and chief operating officer, retired in 2014 after 35 years at what is now Canada’s third-largest bank. The influential former bank executive has also served as a director on the boards of Torstar Corp., Cineplex Inc., George Weston Ltd., and Telus Corp.

Marwah’s official biography posted online by the Prime Minister’s office notes that he is from India, and that he has worked extensively over the past 15 years “to showcase the rich diversity of Sikh and South Asian art and culture.”

Warren Jestin, who was chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia until his retirement in February, said Marwah’s range of experience in the business, health, and education sectors, including sitting on the boards  of the Hospital for Sick Children and Ryerson Futures at Ryerson University, make him an obvious choice for the Senate.

“You think of him as a guy who ran the day-to-day operations of Scotiabank, be his interests and skills are far wider than that,” Jestin said in an interview.

Marwah and Wetston were recommended for Senate appointments alongside, Lucie Moncion, chief executive of the Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, Gwen Boniface, the first female commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, University of Toronto School of Public Policy professor Tony Dean, and Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Trudeau’s six recommendations to the Governor General were chosen using a new merit-based process, which is intended to ensure that the Senate is “independent, reflective of Canada’s diversity, and best able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.”

For the first time, the process was opened to Canadians to apply, which generated more than 2,700 applications. The submissions were reviewed by an independent advisory board for Senate appointments, which then provided “non-binding” recommendations to Trudeau.

Parliamentary Budget Office Report Shows Liberals’ Infrastructure Spending is Failing to Create Jobs

OTTAWA, ON – Dianne Watts, Critic for Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs, and Member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock, said a report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer today reveals that the Liberal government’s ballooning deficit and plan to create new jobs through infrastructure spending isn’t working.

Between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016, the Canadian economy created only 96,000 net jobs – a figure that is just half the average job creation rate over the past five years, which typically generated gains of 192,000 per year. Even more disappointing, the job gains were part-time, with full-time and public sector employment contracting.

“The Liberals promised Canadians that their massive deficit and increased infrastructure spending was going to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Watts. “Today’s PBO report demonstrates that it’s not working, and the Liberals really have no plan to get Canadians back to work. New infrastructure dollars announced in Phase 1 concentrated only on road repairs, maintenance, and data collection, and these projects created minimal jobs.

“Furthermore, last week a report commissioned by the Finance Minister revealed that the Liberals are looking to spend $40 billion to create a new Canada Infrastructure Bank,” added Watts. “Communities are worried about where this money is going to come from and who is going to pay for it. Will the Liberals burden working Canadians with even more taxes, or will communities not receive the important infrastructure funding they were promised?”

Watts added that the Liberals promised that $48 billion in Phase 2 funding would be provided for community infrastructure projects. Now, this report is suggesting that the Finance Minister use that money to create this bank instead.

“So far, the Prime Minister has announced over $7 billion in overseas spending,” noted Watts. “He has also committed Canada to the Chinese-backed Asia Infrastructure Development Bank that will cost Canadians $2.9 billion for infrastructure projects in Asia. Meanwhile, here at home, Albertans are still waiting on the bulk of the $700 million for infrastructure that the Prime Minister promised he’d fast track in February. So far, the Liberals have only managed to approve four projects worth just two percent of the funds promised to Alberta, despite having a list of proposed projects since March.”

The Minister of Finance will be providing a Fiscal Update early next week that is expected to include new infrastructure measures. “Clearly what they’re doing is not enough, and I look forward to seeing a plan that will invest in the kind of infrastructure projects that our communities need, and that will get Canadians back to work,” said Watts.

Trudeau defends Iraq mission secrecy, accuses Tories of endangering lives

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government’s clampdown on information about Canada’s mission in Iraq is necessary to protect Canadian soldiers on the ground.

But interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says the government is trying to hide the fact the troops are engaged in combat with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The heated exchange in the House of Commons came after military officers revealed recently that Canadian soldiers are spending more time on the front lines and engaging in more firefights with ISIL.

But neither the officers nor the government would provide specific details.

Speaking in question period, Ambrose said the military held more briefings and provided more information about Canada’s role in the fight against ISIL under the previous government.

She also said Canadians shouldn’t have to learn about the mission from Twitter.

But Trudeau accused the Conservatives of putting Canadian soldiers in harm’s way with their openness while they were in power.

He said that unlike the previous government, the Liberals would not endanger soldiers for a communications exercise.

The Canadian Press

Bains will consider targets if no improvement to diversity on corporate boards

OTTAWA — The Liberal government hopes that proposed legislation requiring publicly traded companies to disclose the gender composition of their corporate boards and senior management will lead to greater diversity, but will consider imposing specific targets if the new measures don’t work.

“We want to send a clear signal that diversity is important and you need to explain what your diversity policies are and we feel that will start moving the needle,” Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said in an interview Wednesday, adding that changes happened when the United Kingdom and Australia brought in voluntary measures.

“But in a few years, if we don’t see progress — in a few years, if we don’t see meaningful results — then we will re-evaluate our position and look at all other options at that time,” Bains said.

Last month, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-25, which would, among other things, amend the Canadian Business Corporations Act to require publicly traded companies to disclose to their shareholders the number of women on their corporate boards and in senior management, as well as their policies on diversity — or explain why they do not have any.

The Canadian Business Corporations Act affects nearly 270,000 companies, but these changes would only affect those that also issue shares and report to a securities commission — including about 600 companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a government official said last month.

The bill, developed following consultations that began under the previous Conservative government, came up for a second reading debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The legislation will not include targets, which is something that Catalyst, an international non-profit organization that pushes for the advancement of women in the workplace, has been calling for as the most effective way to improve the numbers.

“The rationale is simple: it’s impossible to measure progress without first having something to measure it against,” Deborah Gillis, president and CEO of Catalyst, wrote in the foreword to a June report on the issue.

The Ontario government adopted that recommendation, setting a gender diversity target for businesses to have 30 per cent of their directors be women by 2017 and 40 per cent by 2019.

There is a long way to go.

The Catalyst report showed that in 2014, women filled 20.8 per cent of the board positions at Canadian stock index companies.

The Canadian Securities Administrators, which represents provincial securities regulators, has said that despite new rules in 10 participating jurisdictions that are aimed at improving corporate gender equity at companies traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, women occupied only 12 per cent of the positions last year.

And of the 677 companies included in the sample, the review found that 45 per cent of them did not have a single woman board member.

Bains said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing what it can to set a good example in the public sector, such as committing to gender parity in cabinet.

“We also wanted to send a clear message to corporate Canada, to businesses, that look, diversity is good for business and we need you to step up and show leadership,” Bains said.

He acknowledged, however, that even his own department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development has work to do.

More than half the members of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council are women, but two boards within the portfolio —the Competition Tribunal and the Copyright Board — have no women among their combined total of seven positions.

“We know government can and must do better,” he said.

The Canadian record on gender equity also came under some international scrutiny on Wednesday, as the World Economic Forum released a report showing that Canada was ranked 35 on the overall global index, sharing a first-place ranking when it comes to educational attainment, but coming in 36th place for economic participation and opportunity.

Bains said promoting diversity and increasing the number of women on corporate boards is the right thing to do, but it can also have a positive impact on the bottom line.

“Innovation is all about having diversity of thoughts, ideas and perspectives,” Bains said.

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

Canadian Minister of Health announces revision of the Food Guide

Minister of Health announces revision of the Food Guide, Healthy Eating initiatives, as part of a vision for a healthy Canada

Staying healthy is about more than visiting a doctor. It is the result of the choices we make every day. The Government of Canada is taking action to help Canadians make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada has started a process to revise Canada’s Food Guide to reflect the latest scientific evidence on diet and health, and to better support Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, in making healthy food choices. The announcement was made at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“Everyone can agree that eating well, staying active and living a healthy lifestyle are important to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Our Government’s actions are aimed at ensuring positive and meaningful impacts on the overall health of Canadians for generations to come,” the Honourable Jane Philpott Minister of Health.

As part of the Food Guide revision, Health Canada today launched a consultation with Canadians, which will run to December 8, to determine how Health Canada can provide better dietary guidance that meets the needs of Canadians.

In Canada, four out of five Canadians risk developing conditions such as cancer, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes; six out of ten adults are overweight and one-third of youth are overweight or obese. Poor diet is the primary risk factor for obesity and many chronic diseases, and places a significant burden on the health of Canadians and our health care system.

This revision is part of a multi-year Healthy Eating Strategy. As part of the Strategy, Health Canada will use every tool at its disposal—legislation, regulation, guidance and education—to create conditions to support healthy eating. In addition to revising Canada’s Food Guide, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Health related to sodium, trans fat, sugars, food colours, marketing to children, and the Nutrition North Program. Health Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders and experts to further refine the strategy as it moves forward.

The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.

Meeting strengthens India-B.C. partnerships

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley, today in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.

“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology,” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.

The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.

 

By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner. Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.

 

The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:

  • Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
  • Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
  • Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.

On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.

In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.

British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.

Karman Singh Grewal, and Elson Blue Joy charged in Fentanyl and Cocaine bust

By Caley Ramsay

Global News

Two people from British Columbia have been charged following a drug seizure in Grande Prairie earlier this month.

More than one kilogram of cocaine and nearly 150 fentanyl pills were seized from two Grande Prairie homes on Oct. 13.

The seizure came following a month-long investigation by members of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams and Grande Prairie RCMP.

The following items, worth more than $150,000, were seized from the homes:

  • 1 kilogram of cocaine
  • 146 fentanyl pills
  • 155 grams of marijuana
  • 175 millilitres of GHB
  • Two body armour vests
  • $56,120 cash proceeds of crime

“The seizure and the disruption of this criminal group will help to reduce the negative community impact created by the local drug trade,” Supt. Don McKenna with the Grande Prairie RCMP said.

“This seizure highlights the importance of a coordinated provincial effort to stem the movement and sale of controlled substances.”

Karman Singh Grewal, 24, of Langley, B.C. has been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drugs and possession of proceeds of crime.

Elson Blue Joy, 22, of Kelowna, B.C. has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drugs, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of stolen property and possession of body armour.

Watch Below: A member of the RCMP Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response Team demonstrates how fentanyl pills are made, during a conference in Edmonton Thursday.

The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta has drastically increased over the past five years. In 2011, there were six deaths in the province connected to the drug; that number spiked to 274 deaths in 2015.

In the first six months of 2016, 153 people in Alberta died from apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl.

Ajax doctor stripped of licence over allegations of sex abuse, harassment, drugging

Rajinder Singh Sekhon did not contest CPSO’s finding that he is incompetent and failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.

(By Toronto Star)

Rajinder Singh Sekhon’s actions as a physician were so egregious that a discipline panel of Ontario’s medical watchdog said it regretted that it could only revoke his licence once, and not multiple times.

“For such is the abhorrence the committee feels for the disgrace you have been to the profession of medicine,” panel chair Dr. Peeter Poldre told the Ajax doctor on Wednesday, after he was stripped of his licence at a discipline hearing at the Toronto headquarters of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

Sekhon pleaded no contest, meaning he was not admitting guilt, but did not contest the facts presented by the college’s lawyer, including that he sexually abused and harassed patients, inappropriately prescribed narcotics and obstructed the college’s investigation on numerous occasions.

He also did not contest the college’s finding that he is incompetent and failed to maintain the standard of practice of the profession.

“The committee is outraged by your long history of predatory behaviour in seeking sexual gratification from those who held you in a position of trust and power. You shockingly abused that power,” Poldre told Sekhon, who silently stood in front of the five-member panel.

“Your manipulation of narcotic prescribing to advance your sexual needs and your own drug-seeking and to garner personal financial gain is outrageous beyond belief.”

Sekhon, who had already resigned this summer, did not address the panel. His lawyer, Andrea Plumb, declined to comment afterward.

Both Plumb and college lawyer Morgana Kellythorne agreed on the penalty for Sekhon, which not only included revocation of his licence, but also that he pay $5,000 for the cost of the one-day hearing and present a letter of credit to the college for more than $80,000 to cover the therapy costs of the five patients he was found to have sexually abused.
“Dr. Sekhon has violated profoundly the fundamental tenets of ‘Do no harm,’” Kellythorne told the panel. “Through his conduct, he has shown himself to be ungovernable and betrayed his own profession.”

Sekhon’s misconduct stretched out over a number of years.

In the case of Patient D, whom he later dated and lived with for about two years, Sekhon provided a number of narcotics, including Oxycontin, Dilaudid, Demerol, Percocet and Fentanyl patches, according to a statement of uncontested facts filed at the disciplinary hearing.

He would supply these drugs in amounts of his choosing without actually writing prescriptions for her, according to the statement. He would also use the drugs himself and give and sell them to others.

In one instance, Patient D was with Sekhon at a hotel when she overdosed on Percocet that he had given her, according to the statement. But at the hospital, she followed Sekhon’s order to lie about what happened and said she had taken an unknown pill at a party.

On another occasion, “Dr. Sekhon tied Patient D to her bed, injected her with Demerol, and had sexual intercourse with her against her will while she remained tied to the bed,” Kellythorne told the panel.

According to Durham Regional Police, Sekhon has not been charged with a crime.

When a discipline panel makes a finding “related to any matter that raises issues of physician criminal actions,” the panel will file a report with the police, but will redact the complainant’s name if she or he does not give consent, said CPSO spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke.

She said the CPSO also suggests to the complainant that they may wish to file a report with the police themselves and that the college will assist the complainant in doing so.

Following Sekhon’s breakup with Patient D, he visited her and took two of her Fentanyl patches for himself. The woman provided college investigators with a photo of Sekhon, naked on her bed, with the patches applied to his buttocks.

The statement of uncontested facts demonstrates the great lengths Sekhon went to obstruct the college’s investigation and his attempts to threaten Patient D and her family. This included:

A threat to have her “red flagged” as a drug addict with hospitals.
Requiring Patient D to send the college a letter in October 2012 saying “Raj Sekhon never raped me or even gave me drugs!!”
Paying a lawyer to send a letter to the college indicating that Patient D was retracting her allegations;
Forcing Patient D to file a false complaint about a doctor identified only as Dr. Z, alleging that he had sexually abused her and provided her with narcotics. Sekhon “sought to retaliate” against Dr. Z, who had reported to the college allegations of sexual abuse of Patient D by Sekhon after she became Dr. Z’s patient.
This was another point addressed by the committee in its reprimand.

“The committee struggles to find words strong enough to describe your behaviour. The committee is disgusted by the number of individuals that you harmed and the multiplicity of ways in which you did so,” Poldre said.

“In the face of your regulator’s efforts, you embarked upon obstruction using harassment and threats toward the very patients you were abusing.”

Other instances of misconduct include:

“Very brief” documentation regarding one patient, who was sent to hospital unresponsive the day after his appointment with Sekhon and subsequently died. His condition is not disclosed in the statement of uncontested facts.
Making sexualized comments to his former office manager — who was also, for a time, his patient — that included: “Big breasts, love to hold them,” “New jeans — your ass looks good in them” and “Does Dr. Sekhon need to spank you?” He also referred to a Kim Kardashian photo when he asked the woman, known as Patient E, to send him a picture of her own oiled buttocks. She asked him to stop his behaviour and later quit the job.
Sekhon then filed a police report against Patient E, falsely alleging she had defrauded him. Police declined to press charges against her.

Asking another employee/patient, known as Patient F, to accompany him when he was conducting a Pap smear, telling her to “come and look at pussy” with him.
Referring to a Grade 11 student who he hired on part-time basis as “the bitch,” asking her if she would dance if he put on music and having her “tuck him in” with a blanket when he had his usual nap on the examination table.
The girl was fired after she expressed her concerns to the office manager, Patient E.

Fondled the breasts of Patient H, who he knew was addicted to narcotics, and told her — while he had an erection — that she could get any man she wanted. He also “sexualized” his examination of her rectum by leaning in and telling her she was a beautiful person.
Suggesting to Patient K, who was addicted to Oxycontin, that he should become a medical marijuana user and sell some of the marijuana and split the proceeds with Sekhon.
Of all the victims included in the statement of uncontested facts, only Patient H submitted a victim impact statement, which was read by the college’s lawyer. She wrote of how it took her years to trust her psychiatrist and family doctor and how she would relive the sexual abuse in her nightmares.

“I trusted you to take care of me, to make decisions always in my best interest,” she said. “Instead, you took advantage of me for your own personal pleasure. You are a monster. You should never be allowed to provide medical care to any women ever again. You use your medical practice to prey on vulnerable women, feeding them narcotics until they become addicted to the drugs.”

She accused him of never helping her when she confided that she was addicted to narcotics and of prescribing a sleeping pill even though he knew she had a drinking problem.

Patient H said she overdosed with her young children in bed with her, and that if it was not for one of her children going to the neighbour’s house, she would have died.

She wrote of the breakdown in her relationship, the loss of her job and being barred from contacting her young children, and of how she contemplated suicide.

“The pain became so great I carved ‘I hate you’ in my leg with a razor blade, desperate not to feel the emotional pain.”

Patient H is now employed, sees her children and helps other women who have been through similar situations. Despite everything, she said she forgives Sekhon.

“See, I had to find a way to forgive, the anger and pain I carried was eating my soul alive like a cancer,” she said. “I will pray for you that God gives you the strength to overcome your own personal addiction.”

Judge sides with Jaggi Singh over fingerprinting complaint

Well-known activist challenged established practice of fingerprinting as part of summary charge proceedings

(CBC News)

A defendant facing summary offence proceedings in a municipal court cannot be compelled to give fingerprints, a Montreal judge ruled Friday.

The ruling followed a complaint by Montreal activist Jaggi Singh, who is being tried in the Municipal Court of Montreal on a mischief charge.

Singh called the ruling is a victory for privacy rights.

“We all have our right to privacy and we all have a right to not hand over information to anybody we don’t want to,” he said.

Singh was charged with a hybrid offence, meaning the prosecution could elect to proceed with a more serious indictable offence, or a less serious summary charge, which would be tried by judge alone.

  • Jaggi Singh

Jaggi Singh called the practice of fingerprinting people facing summary offence proceedings ‘completely inappropriate and illegal.’ (Radio-Canada)

The crown chose the latter, leading Singh to argue that there was no reason for him to be fingerprinted.

Defendants are routinely compelled to provide their fingerprints and mugshots when facing summary charge proceedings in municipal court, despite their less serious nature.

Singh called the practice “completely inappropriate and illegal” and cited both the Identification of Criminals Act and a Supreme Court of Canada decision from 2009 — R. v. Dudley — to support his complaint.

Crown prosecutor Alexander Tandel asked Judge Randall Richmond to reject Singh’s motion, arguing that fingerprints allow police and the courts to better understand and consider a defendant’s previous charges.

Richmond sided with Singh in his ruling.

“I conclude that a defendant cannot be compelled to give his fingerprints for a hybrid offence after the Crown has made an election to proceed summarily,” he wrote in his decision.

Singh is due back in municipal court next week for another hearing on his original mischief charge.