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  • Poor Food, Violence, and Inadequate Medical CareReuel S. Amdur
    October 11, 2019

    I am a social worker and I work with a lawyer who represents people seeking Criminal Injuries Compensation. Some of these people are themselves in jail. On July 19, 2018, I was in the waiting area of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (IOCDC) to meet Claude, my client. A lawyer who was there to see another inmate and I struck up a conversation.

  • GriefReuel S. Amdur
    October 26, 2019

    Grief is not just about death. It is a natural response to any loss. That is what Caitlin Sigg told an audience at the Royal Ottawa Hospital on September 24. She is a PhD candidate and part-time professor at St. Paul University. She noted that grief is a subject people are uncomfortable talking about. Yet, we all experience it, not just as an event but as a process.

  • Police MisconductReuel S. Amdur
    October 31, 2019

    As the Roman poet Juvenal put it, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers themselves? We have the police to protect us, but we sometimes need protection from them as well. There have been a number of incidents in which people have been the victims. The most glaring and public of these get attention and sometimes appropriate action is taken. One thinks of the Toronto case of Sammy Yatim, shot by officer James Forcillo. Yatin was behaving in a bizarre fashion but was no immediate danger to anyone at the time. Forcillo was convicted.

  • Medical MarijuanaReuel S. Amdur
    November 12, 2019

    Medical marijuana is in an ambiguous position. Its products lack DIN drug identification numbers. As a Health Canada web site explains, "A DIN uniquely identifies the following product characteristics: manufacturer; product name; active ingredient(s); strength(s) of active ingredient(s); pharmaceutical form; route of administration." And, "A drug product sold in Canada without a DIN is not in compliance with Canadian law."

  • Learning from the Sharansky AffairReuel S. Amdur
    November 24, 2019

    Natan Sharansky was refused an exit visa from the USSR in 1973. Hence, he was a refusenik. Four years later, because of his activities in conveying information about other refuseniks to the West, he was accused of high treason and spying for the U.S. His punishment, 13 years of forced labor. In 1986, he was released as part of a large spy swap between the West and the Communist bloc.

  • Cornwall DilemmaReuel S. Amdur
    November 24, 2019

    As a social worker, I have a client in Cornwall whom I am assisting in her claim for Criminal Injuries Compensation. I live in Quebec, just north of Ottawa, and so it is not handy to get into Cornwall on a regular basis.

  • An Appeal for Clarification on Bill 21 Reuel S. Amdur
    December 9, 2019

    The head of government in each of the provinces is termed the premier, except in Quebec where he is called the prime minister. In the case of Quebec's François Legault, the title is well chosen, as the term minister has both a governmental sense and a religious one. In the religious sense, he is the Minister of Laïcité, assuring the religious neutrality of the state. With Quebec's Bill 21, he wishes to demonstrate that neutrality by forbidding government employees in positions of authority, including teachers, from displaying religious symbols.

  • Social Prescribing for HealthReuel S. Amdur
    February 18, 2020

    The United Kingdom has a Minister of Loneliness. That is something that Natasha Beaudin noted in her talk to Ottawa's SWAG (Social Workers in Aging and Gerontology) on January 23. She is a health promoter at Ottawa’s Centretown Community Health Centre. She spoke on social prescribing, referral of patients to non-medical activities, be they arts, leisure activities, or the like.

  • The Promise of a Guaranteed IncomeReuel S. Amdur
    March 12, 2020

    While the Rob Ford Tories pulled the rug on the basic income pilot project, involving some 4,000 people, researchers have been at work trying to sort out what can be learned. Of course, the unexpected termination caused distress for many of those taking part, who saw their planning for the future unexpectedly torpedoed. Before the election, Ford had promised to continue the program were he elected.

  • It's not just RacismReuel S. Amdur
    June 23, 2020

    The reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led to the opening of a serious discussion about police treatment of people of color. It has also raised the wider issue of prejudice and discrimination in society. Putting these matters on the agenda is extremely important but focus on color in police interactions is too narrow. The wider issue is that of abuse of power in general. You don't have to be black to suffer at the hands of police.

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