Poverty problem systemic, writes Raphael

There is more to poverty reduction than welfare reform, wrote Dennis Raphael, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, in a letter to the Toronto Star Dec. 9. Pat Capponi’s comments are well taken: Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program are disgraces but it is dangerous to limit poverty reduction to reform of social assistance. Most poor people work and their poverty is caused by low wages, difficulty organizing and regulations that reward the hiring of casual labour.

Poverty is caused by the workings of the economic system, governmental laws and public ideas. The solution to poverty is providing working people with more political and economic power, such as is seen in nations that have virtually eliminated poverty: Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Are the McGuinty Liberals prepared to have a society where only five per cent of workers are low wage earners (earning less than two-thirds the average wage)? Today that figure is 21 per cent in Canada.

The task is not to "Break the Cycle," which implies poverty is an individual problem but rather to fix the economic system since it is the concentration of wealth and power among the business sector that causes high rates of poverty.

Osgoode’s Young comments on the first Creba murder case

Appeal courts are "very limited in terms of being able to override facts put before a properly instructed jury," notes Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and director of the Innocence Project, a student clinic that investigates wrongful conviction claims, wrote the Toronto Star Dec. 9 in a story about the first Jane Creba murder trial. "Appeal courts review legal areas. There’s very little weighing of evidence heard at trial."

The higher up the court chain, adds Young, the less those courts are concerned with the meat-and-potatoes of evidentiary content, focusing rather on purported errors in the application of the law.

Young speculated there might be grounds for appeal in the J.S.R. case over the Ontario appeal court’s reinstatement of the murder charge, using Section 229 (c) of the Criminal Code. That interpretation of the section has never been tested.