“Security isn’t a dirty word, Blackadder” Oh yeah? “Security IS a doubleplus ungood dirty word, Blackadder” (and the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” -word-surfing for “security”)

December 30th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Dialogue from “Blackadder Goes Forth” General Hospital (1989):

Captain Blackadder: Can anyone tell me what’s going on?

Captain Darling: Security, Blackadder.

Captain Blackadder: Security?

General Melchett: Security isn’t a dirty word, Blackadder. Crevice is a dirty word, but security isn’t.

Actually, take it from my numerous Freedom of Information results, that when referring to Ontario “in-house” municipal security operations, “security” is indeed a dirty word —a doubleplus ungood dirty word, Blackadder.

And it’s a very bad joke.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH YouTube: “Security IS a doubleplus ungood dirty word, Blackadder”

(Click here to go to the clip on YouTube)

And the word “Security” is the focus of today’s romp through the McMurtry/Curling Report on the Roots of Youth Violence

Just repeating the intro that I wrote in my three previous Blogs…

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written six Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of all instances of the word “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” in the 468 page McMurtry/Curling primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

In today’s Blog, I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “security”.

Why search for “security”? Because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes that Ontario municipal security operations (esp: “in-house”) and their lack of ethical infrastructure and authentic accountability, are themselves a Root of Youth Violence.

If McMurty/Curling use “securityto mean “: the quality or state of being secure: as a: freedom from danger : safety b: freedom from fear or anxiety”, it will be underlined as security. If, however, they are making specific references to security operations —guards, cameras, then “security” will be in RED as security.

Here we go…

5. Family Issues as Roots of the Immediate Risk Factors

We know intuitively that strong families are a strong foundation for youth. Within a strong family, youth can learn how to establish and maintain healthy relationships and understand what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. A strong family provides youth with necessities, such as food, shelter, health care and education. The nurturing environment of a strong family also gives youth the security and emotional support they need.    p. 62

Violence and Substance Abuse in the Family

Living in a family in which verbal, physical or substance abuse is commonplace is frightening and devastating. Youth in this situation lack the support and sense of security that should be present in the home. They can experience mental and physical health problems, suffer violence at the hands of family members, or be subject to all three.    p. 66

Absent Families

Some young people grow up without any family at all. Some live in foster care or group homes throughout their youth and others are homeless and live on the street. Youth in foster care who are transferred from home to home never know what it is like to belong to a family. The lack of a sense of belonging or a feeling of security can cause them to feel alienated and to have no sense of hope or opportunity. Youth who live on the street are often the victims of violence, and the harsh reality of street living can lead to these and other immediate risk factors for violence.   p. 66

Even within our courtrooms, youth are not free from mistreatment. Graduate students in criminology acting as court observers in Toronto on unrelated matters have conveyed to us their deep dismay at seeing judicial officers, court staff and security officers upbraid youth in a demeaning way for their appearance, dress or conduct. After observing these matters on a daily basis for more than a year, they concluded that this was done in a racially discriminatory way, and that youth — and their parents — from minority groups took the brunt of this behaviour.    p. 79

Introduction

In this chapter, we outline what is known about the state of violence involving youth in Ontario, how violence is affecting youth, neighbourhoods and the province as a whole, and where we believe it is heading. For the reasons we set out in this discussion, we believe that Ontario is at a crossroads. One of the two main roads leading from that crossroads will, with strong leadership and sustained commitment, lead us towards an ever-safer society with increasing security and opportunity for all. The other will lead to an entrenched cycle of violence, which could plague this province and limit its potential for years to come.    p. 83

Focusing on school is harder for students, and teaching is harder. Living in an environment without security drains people’s mental energy. Trying to meet the needs of students with a high teacher-to-student ratio is already a difficult task, and with the added challenges created by poverty, a lot of students fall through the cracks.    p. 98

To our way of thinking, there is a very important public-private partnership opportunity here. The public sector — including all orders of government — is well placed to take on the task of assisting youth with job-readiness. Beyond education and training, this means providing the kind of coaching that many parents provide: how to prepare for an interview, how to dress and act at work and how to deal with early frustrations and pressures. In some circumstances, governments might even pre-screen candidates to reduce the interview burden on employers and to identify ways in which candidates could improve their presentations. And perhaps governments could help address concerns businesses have about even a minor criminal record by helping a youth demonstrate that they have left their past behind or perhaps, in some cases, providing a bond or some other security for an employer.    p. 264-265

♦ Community members need space to come together to build cohesion, identify local needs and strategies to address them, operate their own programs, or just to gather for social purposes. Youth share these needs, and in particular need neutral and safe places in which to gather, play, create and develop a sense of security and identity within their community.    p. 299

We think that the preferred way to make a school available as a hub is to fund a facilities management body to lease and operate school premises in non-teaching hours, with a mandate and additional funding to work with the local community to identify program priorities for the space. The managing body would provide on-site supervision of the premises and would be responsible for maintenance in the non-school hours. All operating, insurance and security costs for those hours would, in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, be a provincial responsibility.    p. 309

As outlined in Pillar 3, we base this on our belief that the Province has the ultimate accountability for addressing the roots of violence involving youth, and the responsibility to create a safe province with meaningful opportunity for all. We also believe that it has the powers needed to do so. Acting alone, if necessary, the Province can advance income security, equity, health, education, a more responsive justice system, strong communities and, indeed, most of what is required for sustained progress on all of the issues we have identified in this report as central to addressing the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 344-345

Laidlaw Foundation (2005). Youth Leaving Care: How Do They Fare? Briefing report prepared for the Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults Project. www.laidlawfdn.org/files/Youth_Leaving_Care_report.pdf. p. 391

Wortley, S. (2008). Access to Justice: Newcomer and Minority Perceptions of and Experiences with the Canadian Justice System. Paper presented at 1st Metropolis Conference on Justice, Policing and Security, Ottawa: February 25–26, 2008    p. 397

———,  Economic Analysis Committee (1996). Money Well Spent: Investing in Preventing Crime. Ottawa: Government of Canada

In this report, the Economic Analysis Committee of the National Crime Prevention Council sought to demonstrate that crime prevention through social development isa cost-effective way of promoting personal and community security.    p. 421

Ontario Human Rights Commission (2003). Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling. Inquiry Report. Toronto: Government of Ontario the Ontario Human Rights Commission conducted a study of racial profiling in Ontario and recommended that all organizations and institutions entrusted withresponsibility for public safety, security and protection monitor for and prevent racial profiling. The report also addressed anti-racism training for police and the recruitment of minorities by police services. The commission recommended that the police develop educational materials, particularly aimed at youth, to explain citizens’ rights. It called for multicultural and anti-racism policies for school boards and for school curriculums to include anti-discrimination and diversity training.    p. 422-423

The results here were so pathetic, I decided to word search through “Volume 3 COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVES REPORT” as well. And that’s when I finally found it —my personal Youth Violence Holy Grail.

Here we go:

It has compiled information and produced resource materials to improve police-youth relations, make schools safer, improve safety in local neighbourhoods and increase security at bus terminals.    p. 40

“insecurity” as part of an Appendix:

Feelings of depression, alienation, insecurity p. 53

Focusing on school is harder for students, and teaching is harder. Living in an environment without security drains people’s mental energy.   p. 77

As part of the Appendix Participant List:

Toronto Community Housing, Head of Security p.101

Although it has become common knowledge that those who are pushed out or who drop out of high school are vulnerable to economic and social insecurity, and that this can often lead them into situations of violence, there has been a shortage of critical assessment of all the institutions implicated in this situation.    p.118

“there has been a shortage of critical assessment of all the institutions implicated in this situation.” Well, well, well, FINALLY!

Cut-and-pasting the entire paragraph on p. 118:

In the super-industrialized service economy of Canada, it is well known that access to the job market is highly regulated by the mainstream educational system. The core issues in education relating to the violence that youth face are access to education, discrimination within the educational system, a Eurocentric and colonial curriculum, and limited alternative educational strategies and programs. Most of the young people implicated in youth violence have had encounters with or are still within the Canadian educational system. The policies, curricula and attitudes that shape their experiences have a lot to do with why many youth are either unsuccessful or no longer within this system. Although it has become common knowledge that those who are pushed out or who drop out of high school are vulnerable to economic and social insecurity, and that this can often lead them into situations of violence, there has been a shortage of critical assessment of all the institutions implicated in this situation.

and then the following paragraph on p. 119:

For example, in 2004 The Learning Partnership, a national organization that conducts research and develops policy alternatives for the Canadian education system, came out with a report entitled The Quality of Public Education in Canada: Students At Risk. This report used data from the Child Poverty Rate, the Dropout Rate, and the Vulnerability Index to assess what they saw as the key factors that put students “at risk” of being unsuccessful. They listed the four key factors as poverty, a child’s natural development, parental influence, and the neighbourhood (Levin & Peacock, 2004). Here we see an example of the common unwillingness to challenge the educational system head on in order to hold it responsible for the ways in which it creates the environment of insecurity invoked by its own discourse on “risk.”

And now McMurtry and Curling are finally addressing the issue of municipalities and public spaces. While this doesn’t have the word, “security” in it, to my delight, this quote from Andrea Zammit, the current co-coordinator of GYC and former Program Director of the For Youth Initiative, is a powerful validation for my series of future (2009) Freedom of Information filings with the City of Mississauga  [emphasis mine].

Having worked in many of Toronto’s underserved/ low-income neighbourhoods for the past six years with young people, access to public space has been one of the biggest challenges. Many times young people live in small apartments sharing accommodations with a lot of family members. These young people need space to hang out with friends, quiet space to do their homework, a safe place that is free from police harassment/brutality, to express themselves in the arts and to access social-recreational programming. Community Centres and programs run by mainstream social service providers that have facilities are not “youth-friendly” or accessible to youth, particularly Black youth. p. 137

Mississauga Corporate Security guard prevents black youth from entering during Malton Mississauga Youth Plan Meeting

And then I found it!

As Adonis Huggins of Regent Park Focus explained, the centre was granted space in the new Regent Park redevelopment; however, it has been made clear to them that they will no longer get this space in kind, and TCHC and the City will have to recover the market rent for it. At Strategizing Minds, he commented that “[t]he question is why is the City abdicating their responsibility to build social infrastructure in stressed neighbourhoods and why does TCHC and the City feel that it can no longer be a partner in the provision of social capital in neighbourhoods that are owned by the TCHC/City? Part of their rationale is lack of investment from the Feds as they are too busy building SuperJails yet they (TCHC) have no problems investing in security cameras, which if diverted could be spent building a neighbourhood center in every public housing area in the city.”

And the following paragraph…

As one of the contributors at the Strategizing Minds forum expressed, we are “not arguing that a community centre is the answer.” All the issues outlined in this report warrant responses that translate into capital gains, but they also warrant responses committed to engaging youth at all stages of developing these gains. As the Strategizing Minds forum and all of the texts cited in this report demonstrate, young people are qualified and entitled to be consulted and included beyond token positions in decision-making processes. Youth violence is not an issue — it is a symptom.    p. 138

And then..

Criminalization

1) Repeal The Safe Streets Act

The Safe Streets Act is a social cleansing bill that aims to criminalize and attack the most poor and vulnerable people in our city. Particularly offensive is the way it targets poor and homeless youth, and its impact on their ability to obtain jobs and social services that would address some of the root issues that they face on the street.

With a ban on “aggressive panhandling,” and no definition of what constitutes “aggressive,” poor, homeless and marginalized youth are often targeted and harassed by police officers for occupying public space in the downtown core. We believe the Safe Streets Act actually makes the streets more dangerous for poor and homeless youth and can lead to significant abuses of power by police officers and security guards.    p 142

And just to complete this task word-searching for “security”:

Community development can only happen if people have the space to congregate, build their communities, and work with each other in collaborative and creative ways. The current context of instability in funding for youth-led initiatives, and being forced to move from space to space, creates insecurity, precariousness, and an inability to maintain long-term programs in particular communities. All of these issues would contribute to the alleviation of violence, poverty and lack of resources in our communities.    p. 149

Neighbourhood Watch programs made youth feel safer and made them feel more like going home. Some felt that police helped to make their neighbourhoods safer, and in Sudbury, one youth suggested that security in co-op housing areas helped to decrease violence in his neighbourhood.    p. 167

So finally…  I, The Mississauga Muse found what she was looking for —Theee McMurtry/Curling statement that fingers theee ROOT of Youth Violence, the BIG FAT BLOATED EVIL tap-ROOT of Youth Violence.

Although it has become common knowledge that those who are pushed out or who drop out of high school are vulnerable to economic and social insecurity, and that this can often lead them into situations of violence, there has been a shortage of critical assessment of all the institutions implicated in this situation. p.118

MISSISSAUGAWATCH's stickers under "AUTHENTIC ACCOUNTABILITY"

“there has been a shortage of critical assessment of all the institutions implicated in this situation.”

In Mississauga (all of Peel Region, actually), it’s piece-of-cake-easy for people to identify “all the institutions implicated in this situation.”

They’ll be displaying this plaque ON THEIR WALLS!

PEEL (bogus) YOUTH CHARTER

And just because it’s so ridiculous —so perfectly part of the Youth-Violence-DISEASE, here (again) is Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito gushing about the “amazing” success of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network. Their progress is so “amazing” that it prompted this former City of MIssissauga employee of Public Affairs, to fling out the word “phenomenal” four times.

Mississauga Councillor PAT SAITO on the Peel Youth Charter

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube and Google Video)

END

Now try this and how it might affect Youth —especially the poor or racial minorities.

YouTube: MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL ADMITS TO NO PUBLIC COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

(Click here to go directly to YouTube)

MISSISSAUGA CITY/CORPORATE SECURITY Policy RUBBER-STAMPED

(Click here to go directly to YouTube)

Signed,

The (If you only knew what I know…) Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence


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McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -word-surfing for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”

December 29th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Just repeating the intro that I wrote in my two previous Blogs…

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse videotapes Mississauga Council

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written five Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” in the 468 page McMurtry/Curling primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

In today’s Blog, I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “munici”.

“munici” would help me find all instances of the words “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”. Why? Because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes that Ontario municipalities and their lack of ethical infrastructure are themselves a major Root of Youth Violence.

There can be no better example of municipal failure to legitimately address Youth Violence than this comment from Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito as she trumpets the “amazing” success of the Peel Youth Charter and the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.  Apparentlly, their progress is so “amazing” that it prompted this former City of MIssissauga employee of Public Affairs, to fling out the word “phenomenal” four times:

“Thank you, Mr. Chair.  As Gael said, I think we’re all amazed –those of us on the Committee, at the success and how quickly we’ve been successful over the past two years…”

–Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito  PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (October 25, 2007)

Watch Councillor Saito in action and it’ll help you understand why the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” report (and at-risk Youth) are doomed.  It’ll also go a long way in understanding why I’ve taken McMurtry/Curling’s “Roots of Youth Violence” and word-searched for “accountab-” and now, “municipal-“

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube and Google Video)

To reiterate, I have knifed through the McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS word-searching for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context. (We did not search for “local” as in “local government” and acknowledge this work as incomplete.)

Like the previous Blog, this “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” entry is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “munici“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

WORD SEARCH: “municipal” “municipality” and “municipalities” in RED.


Violence involving youth is a challenge for many Ontario municipalities and rural areas.  To help ensure a provincewide lens on available youth programs and services, we asked ministries most impacted by violence involving youth for an inventory of relevant programs and services they deliver or fund.    p. 13

We obtained exceptionally valuable information on areas of particular interest, including addressing social exclusion, crime prevention and poverty reduction through place-based policy and service delivery strategies; the structural governance initiatives necessary for success in these areas; data collection, particularly in the area of race; targeting and monitoring mechanisms; community engagement; and the United Kingdom’s wide-ranging anti-racism strategy. Our work with the City of Toronto and the United Way led to their representatives asking to join us on this visit, and we were very pleased to have the perspectives of a major funder and a municipal government at our meetings.    p. 14

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.

And yet, municipal and provincial planning and design processes are not traditionally inclusive of youth, and especially not of youth who are racialized minorities.    p. 51

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and Its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 108

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 110

Prosecution recommended that the Nova Scotia Police Commission, municipal police departments and police commission boards develop innovative outreach programs and liaison roles to provide visible minorities with more positive police interaction (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).    p. 117

The Race Relations and Policing Task Force and many other reports recommended creating a community and police advisory group on racism training to reflect the community perceptions of policing (e.g., Rolf, 1991). Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S., 1992) and Clare Lewis (Lewis, C., 1992) both recommended establishing a community-based monitoring and audit board to work with police forces and municipalities, in conjunction with the Race Relations and Policing Branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, to conduct a systematic audit of police race relations policies.    p. 119

The typical approach of provincial and federal governments remains to identify a provincial or national priority, develop a program and a service delivery model, and then either provide the service or contract out its provision in accordance with standards set by the government. While there is some experience with regional approaches, and some evidence of support for the place-based initiatives of municipal governments, the paradigm remains centrally driven universality.    p. 142

This involves looking in each neighbourhood to determine what is working already, and to find and support local sources of strength. Those sources may be municipalities, individuals, organizations, programs or institutions. What is important is that the operating orientation not be to simply focus on naming problems, but rather on finding, supporting and building on strengths.    p. 145

To advance the strategy overall, the government also created Local Strategic Partnerships with the local authorities (municipalities), community agencies and residents. These partnerships (discussed in more detail in Chapter 9) connected local funding priorities with national polices by identifying urban neighbourhoods in need of assistance, helping them form a plan and arranging necessary service agreements with other organizations.    p. 149

Before we outline Prof. Ellis’s approach in more detail, we should first indicate how we would see it being used to identify priority neighbourhoods. We would regard the rankings determined by the index as the basis to start a conversation with each affected municipality to determine areas requiring priority attention. We believe that the factors and approach used by Prof. Ellis will usefully identify areas for careful consideration, but that the Province must work with the affected municipalities to ensure that local, on-the-ground knowledge is taken into account to verify that the identified areas are indeed the most disadvantaged ones locally.    p. 155

We note, for example, that Toronto has been able to develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying priority neighbourhoods, using more indicators and looking at the local availability of services. These and any similar initiatives elsewhere should be respected by the Province, and the lessons learned from them should also be included in conversations with other municipalities. In particular, every consideration should be given to adopting Toronto’s approach of using a local mapping exercise to assess the practical availability of core public services in determining that an area warrants priority attention.    p. 155

Similarly, municipalities should have the lead in determining the boundaries of any such areas. The units of analysis proposed by Prof. Ellis are small, which permits them to be either used individually or combined into approximations of actual neighbourhoods.    p. 155

The immediate value, though, remains that the index will provide the Province and its municipal partners with an objective way to identify the areas of the province that should be considered as priority areas for a place-based approach.    p. 157

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services oversees policing in Ontario. However, costs concerning youth-related programs, including those of the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police, are not aggregated at the provincial level. We do know, however, that according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the total cost of policing in Ontario in 2006 was $3.4 billion.    p. 207

The OPP helped develop content for CyberCops in Ontario and, in partnership with the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, delivered training to teachers on its use. The Ontario government provided financial support for development of CyberCops and distribution across the province to schools, OPP detachments and municipal police services.    p. 210

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

Babies and mothers are screened to detect problems that could limit a child’s abilities later in life, allowing early interventions. The program is delivered through public health units, and the cost is shared with municipalities. Other early years initiatives include programs involving preschool speech and language, infant hearing, blindness/low vision early intervention and infant development.    p. 212

In addition to public investments in public housing, steps must be taken to improve the living conditions in private rental accommodation. We did not receive much information on the best ways to do this, but can say that the provincial interest in addressing the roots of violence involving youth may well require increased public interventions in the form of low-cost loans or other ways to ensure the necessary investments are made. Federal programs for this remain in place, but they fall short of the mark. The Province should seriously consider cooperating with municipal governments to close the gap as part of its strategy to address the roots of violence involving youth. We cannot wait to resolve theoretical turf wars among governments while the quality of the actual turf on which people live is generating violence.    p. 237

Second, the ministry needs to find ways to prevent a period of incarceration becoming a “gang-entry” program. We were advised that many youth, while in custody, develop relationships with gang members that lead to gang affiliation. They then take that association with them when they return home. In some instances where youth are incarcerated with youth from other cities, this transition jumps municipal lines and brings a new and more dangerous gang culture to areas that did not have that problem before. The ministry needs to be sensitive to this issue and should implement a strategy to prevent it from occurring.    p. 288

Our belief that the Province should fund the social infrastructure we propose for disadvantaged communities does not absolve the other orders of government of their responsibilities for services. There is an obvious need for the federal government to recognize the impact of its own cutbacks and to begin to invest seriously in the health of disadvantaged communities. The Province should continue to be vocal in this regard and to press for enhanced federal funding. The Province should also take every opportunity to nurture and build on the workmunicipal governments are doing in these neighbourhoods.    p. 301

Ontario has made some moves in the direction of using schools as delivery points for services. More than 300 Ontario Early Years Centres are located in schools. So too are many of the province’s Best Start hubs, which integrate public health, education, children’s aid, programs for children from 0 to 6, and municipal and other services. Parenting and Family Literacy Centres are also located in schools.    p. 308

The leasing body would have two key characteristics: facilities management expertise, and knowledge of community and other programming. Municipalities might want to use or establish agencies to do this, or organizations like the Y might well be interested. No doubt there are other service organizations with the skills and interest that should have this opportunity.    p. 309

In summary, we see the Province’s role in this area being to support these efforts by making clear in tangible ways that they are valued, by providing structural and financial supports, by being active participants in resident engagement work already underway in municipalities and by demonstrating a continuing commitment to work in partnership as these efforts build community capacity. We emphasize the word “support” because, if communities are to be strong for the long haul and the tough issues, it is the individuals within them who must have the will, and invest the substantial time and commitment required, to function in more cohesive ways.    p. 313

We speak largely about a provincial obligation in this regard because of the need for a provincewide approach to community building and because of the clear provincial interest in the outcomes to be obtained. Nonetheless, it is clear to us that this community development work needs to be done in close collaboration with the municipalities, which have an essential and central role at the local level. This is especially true in places like Thunder Bay and Toronto and others where this kind of foundational work is already.    p. 313

A Role for Colleges and Universities

Outside the governmental sphere and in addition to the valuable related work that many funding bodies and municipalities are undertaking, there is another very important but largely untapped public resource, which can be brought to bear on this issue. We refer in this regard to the resources and talents within our colleges and universities, many of which are located near the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and all of which we know to be interested in building and supporting their local communities.    p. 314

There are many opportunities to help community groups or agencies conduct evaluations, service mapping and needs assessments, reviews of relevant best practices and other small-scale research projects. And, on a larger scale, the community and the post-secondary sector can also work together, often with the local municipality, which knows well the longer-term research needs, to identify and carry out research agendas and projects to support long-term social investments. One leading example of this is the collective role a number of postsecondary institutions in British Columbia played with their communities in developing the evidentiary case for the early childhood learning initiative discussed in Pillars 1 and 2.    p. 315

Second, the provincial government must work with the other orders of government to create both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities across governments. We appreciate that this may be a challenge with the federal government, but there are no external impediments to the Province’s building a new governance relationship with the municipalities on these issues. As that is done, we believe that success will encourage the federal government to accept its significant and serious responsibilities in this area.    p. 327

Third, the Province must begin to work with municipalities, and if possible the federal government, to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways.    p. 327

Towards New Relationships With Governments and Communities

In this section, we move to a discussion of the other two governance elements we consider essential to advance progress on the roots agenda. The first is the creation of both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities of the three orders of government, with an initial emphasis on work with the municipalities. The second is working with municipal governments to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways as a core part of building new governance relationships.    p. 344

In our view, notwithstanding the many advantages of collaboration, the Province must move vigorously to accomplish everything it can do on its own if collaboration cannot reasonably be obtained. In doing so, the Province should of course always value and seek cooperation with other governments, and even in its absence act in a way that respects the existing leadership and knowledge that reside there, especially at the municipal level. It should also always act in a way that builds community partnerships wherever possible and that leaves space for and encourages other governments to come to the table.    p. 345

A Municipal Focus

We accordingly believe that, while the Province should pursue federal cooperation in the course of its ongoing business, the priority for seeking intergovernmental collaboration within the proposed governance framework should be with the municipalities. For reasons we will go on to discuss, we also believe that the major focus and locus for building that collaboration should be in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods discussed in Chapter 7.    p. 345

We will accordingly focus most of our analysis on building collaborative structures with municipalities in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 345

Building Collaboration With Municipalities and Communities in Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

i) Rationale and Approach

Collaboration with the regional governments and municipalities is paramount. This is due to the highly local nature of what has to be done, the knowledge municipalities have about their communities and what works on the ground, and the leadership many have already demonstrated on issues related to the roots of violence involving youth. The challenge is how to create and sustain that collaboration on matters central to addressing the roots agenda. Getting caught up in, or undercutting, the work to restructure the provincial-municipal relationship more broadly, or embarking on yet another complex and time-consuming process of structural negotiations with the large number of highly diverse municipal governments in Ontario must be avoided.    p. 346

In the result, our advice is to combine the second and third aspects of our governance model by focusing on working with municipalities in and for the identified priority neighbourhoods. In this approach, the neighbourhood becomes the place where the provincial-municipal relationship on roots issues is built, not the place it is rolled out after having been negotiated somewhere else. In this approach, residents and local service providers are inside the governance model at the outset and integral to how it is built and operated. This approach will make sure that results flow early, with any structural agreements to anchor the local work made as needed, being tailored to local reality and forged from practical experience. Agreements, where required, would follow experience rather than preceding it.    p. 346

This approach builds on the discussion in Chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter about the importance and value of focusing program and policy initiatives in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the province. Chapter 7 also outlined a methodology to identify those neighbourhoods in conjunction with the municipalities. Among the many benefits of this approach are that it allows the Province (and other partners as well) to increase the return on investments by putting resources where they are most needed and by drawing on local knowledge and strengths. To these, we would add that it creates a natural forum for collaboration.    p. 346

The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any other defined, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in which other municipalities are already focusing work to address the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 346-347

Within all of these neighbourhoods, the Province should, as a governance initiative, work closely with the municipality to engage with residents and service providers in ways that build community strengths and a provincial-municipal-community culture of collaboration. This work must, of course, be done with great care to understand what is in place and working already in priority neighbourhoods.    p. 347

ii) Our Proposal

Based on the above premises, the core of our proposal is that the Province and municipal governments should come together with local agencies and community members in a partnership in each identified neighbourhood. They would do this by forming a Neighbourhood Strategic Partnership (NSP), modelled in part on Britain’s Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), and in part on the City of Toronto’s neighbourhood action teams and partnerships.    p. 347

As that funding can constitute in the range of 50 per cent of local authority budgets, the role and influence of the LSPs cannot be underestimated. By contrast, we do not see our Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships as being involved across the whole of a municipality, nor as becoming involved in the whole provincial-municipal relationship. Our focus is on the roots of violence involving youth, and our interest in LSPs is focused on the vital governance role they can play on that issue, specifically in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 348

We believe that partnerships broadly similar to the local strategic partnerships should be established in each priority neighbourhood in Ontario. They should be anchored in representation from the provincial and municipal governments, and should also draw together the service providers in each neighbourhood and a number of community representatives. The federal government should be encouraged to take a seat at these tables and to play a significant role at them.    p. 350

For the Province, the internal alignment measures we propose, along with the public commitment to meeting the outcome targets provincewide, should already be achieving this, but those alignment measures would be strongly supported by the pressure for alignment being driven up from these partnerships. Similarly, the municipality, having endorsed this process and been at the partnership table, would also have a strong incentive to align its efforts and resources to help meet the targets.    p. 351

Similarly, we believe that the municipal focus on the roots issues at the NSP tables will drive alignment on the roots agenda at the municipal level, as the Toronto experience has already demonstrated, and lead to a desire to collaborate with the other orders of government.    p. 352

These inherent alignment pressures should mean that new structural mechanisms are unnecessary to bring governments together on the roots agenda. As well, as we have noted above in related contexts, the complexity of negotiating broad agreements encompassing numerous municipalities on the many issues relevant to the roots agenda would in all likelihood materially impede real progress on the many core issues.    p. 353

We believe that if the Province and the municipalities, and ideally the federal government as well, start their collaboration on the roots agenda at the neighbourhood level they will address the most pressing needs and also begin to develop better working relationships on the ground. It seems to us that on the basis of those relationships, and experience in these communities, they will know better whether a broader structure is necessary, and will be better placed to achieve it if it is. We also think the structure, if needed, will be a better one if brokered through experience in working together as a body involving service providers and community members.    p. 353

It seems to us that the Province and the municipalities could usefully consider making available a fund to facilitate this. That fund could support crisis counselling for youth and families who may have been traumatized by the enforcement exercise. The fund could also permit an immediate boost to key programs and activities in a community where police action has taken place. The boost to community programs and services would serve two purposes. First, the community would see immediate positive consequences following the police action, and might be more inclined to cooperate with the police as a result. And second, the increased activity in the community and on the streets could help the community take back its parks and streets before a new gang starts up to fill the vacuum created by the enforcement action.    p. 357

8.  To identify the neighbourhoods for the place-based approach, the Province should employ the Index of Relative Disadvantage we have proposed to determine on a provincewide basis the areas where disadvantage is most concentrated. Once the index results are available, the Province, through a lead ministry for community building, should immediately open discussions with the affected municipalities to identify local factors, such as the availability of services, for inclusion in the determination of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and to define the boundaries of such neighbourhoods.    p. 374

19. The Province must recognize the value of sports and arts in supporting learning, development and creativity of youth. The Province should work with municipalities, school boards and community agencies to remove barriers that include income level, transportation and a lack of usable space. The Province should move to immediately embed accessible sports and arts programs in the priority neighbourhoods. (pages 257–260)    p. 378

30. Steps Towards Community Hubs: There is an overwhelming consensus in favour of building community hubs and, accordingly, no reason to delay action on that front. In neighbourhoods where it is clear that the Index of Relative Disadvantage will demonstrate a high level of disadvantage, or where similar methodologies have already done so, the Province should promptly initiate discussions with the municipal governments, to begin to plan for a hub if none exists and in particular to determine the availability of recreational and arts facilities. Where the latter facilities are lacking, the Province should work actively with the Ontario Realty Corporation and the municipality to lease alternative space for youth and youth services until a hub is developed. Another winter and spring should not go by in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with there being no safe place for youth to gather and play.    p. 381

♦ Hold focused discussions on the Index of Relative Disadvantage with a view to finalizing it in time for an initial data run in early 2009. This will identify areas for conversations with municipalities to select and define the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods for the priority actions we outline.    p. 382

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.    p. 382

Short to Medium-term Initiatives

We believe the Province must also work to make steady progress on the following components of our strategy and appreciate that several will require more in depth consultations among ministries and with municipal governments, agencies and community groups.    p. 382

♦ Launch an assessment of recreational, cultural and other hub needs with municipalities in areas identified as likely to be determined as areas of high disadvantage when the Index of Relative Disadvantage is run.    p. 383

♦ Begin discussions with the community agency sector on ways to streamline and stabilize their funding, involving municipal governments and other funders as appropriate.    p. 383

♦ As disadvantaged neighbourhoods are formally identified, work with municipalities to define areas for joint effort and begin to establish Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships, or work within existing equivalent structures.    p. 384

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 386

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 394

Mandate

♦ Formulate recommendations on:

◊ Immediate and longer-term actions and solutions involving all related parties, including government (provincial, federal, municipal), communities, private sector.    p. 400

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, The Impact of Urban Design and Infrastructure on Youth Violence    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Youth Violence, the UK’s Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy and Housing    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing    p. 409

Expanding access to specialized courts for youth was also recommended, as well as improved availability of drug treatment, a central source of information for families and better access to mental health treatment with extension of the mandatory treatment period. Three-year funding was recommended for agencies showing positive results. The task force also encouraged municipalities to develop safe communities strategies.    p. 411

Canadian Criminal Justice Association (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31 (August), 4–23

In association with major national organizations concerned with policing, social development, children and youth, natives and municipalities, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association set out a strategy for crime prevention calling for all levels of government, police, citizens, voluntary organizations and private enterprise to take responsibility.    p. 412

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Council of Metropolitan Toronto asked Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, to act as a mediator or conciliator between the civic authorities, in particular the police and minority groups in the city.    p. 412

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group

Federal, Ontario, City of Toronto and Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto officials and members of Toronto’s Black community formed a working group to formulate proposals for specific strategies to address the concerns of the Black community with respect to justice, social services, education, youth and policing.    p. 414

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

In 1977, in the wake of incidents of violence toward the South Asian community in Toronto, Chairman of Metro Council Paul Godfrey appointed Walter Pitman, then-president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as a one-man “Task Force on Human Relations” to probe the issue of racism in the city. He found that a disturbing degree of racial tension existed in the city and that the city had not yet addressed the issue of racism directly.    p. 423

The Role of Government

What, in your opinion, is the role of government (federal, provincial or municipal) in reducing violence involving youth in your neighbourhood. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements.    p. 449

END


Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence


 


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McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -in Search of “accountable” and “accountability”

December 28th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse at the Malton school lockdown

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written four Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of the McMurtry/Curling Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence.

In this Blog we turn our attention to providing a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of the 468 page McMurtry/Curling’s primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

This MISSISSAUGAWATCH McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS cut-and-paste is viewed through the lens of My Mississauga Experience, and the most important part of the Peel Police Services Board November 17, 1994 (Youth) Community Summit – Final Report —this part,

Recommendation 1:

“A process of accountability and evaluation should be built into programs to ensure achievement of goals and cost-effectiveness.

My task was simple. I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “accounta”.

“accounta” would help me find all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” —a construct that MISSISSAUGAWATCH has documented as completely (yes, completely) lacking in all (yes, all) City of Mississauga youth-related initiatives currently under investigation.

To reiterate, this McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS cut-and-paste is not complete. I have knifed through the document word-searching for “accountable” and “accountability” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context.

This “accountable” and “accountability” is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “accounta“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

WORD SEARCH: “accounta” “accountable” and “accountability” in RED. (Note: “into account” and “to account” not included in this summary)

 

Chapter 10: Accountability, Planning, Advice, Recommendationsand a Road Map for Ontario.

Reporting and Accountability………………………………………………………………70  iv

We believe that part of the reason for the lack of action on so many excellent reports lies in their authors’ providing specific recommendations to address all of the many wrongs and good ideas they heard. While understandable, this tends to leave the government receiving the report with a hugely complicated array of options to assess and prioritize, or sometimes just a shopping list to choose from.

At the same time, many reports did not include a governance structure or accountability framework to guide the implementation of their recommendations. It seems that the absence of a clear roadmap to show how a focused and cohesive reform agenda could flow from their report contributed to the advice of some of the previous authors falling by the wayside. With governments constantly pressed to deal with numerous complex issues across the range of their mandates, the lack of attention to the “how” in addition to the “what” can lead to a report being lost within internal committees, which have no clear advice on a structure to pull together the needed work.    p. 106

For these reasons, we proceeded differently. We, of necessity, cover a lot of ground and provide much advice to the Premier, but believe that our report will be of greatest value if it focuses its recommendations on broad and sustainable long-term change and presents a viable governance structure and accountability framework to drive that change. We believe that is the best way to advance our advice and keep the faith with those who have contributed their valuable time and ideas to our review.    p. 107

1. Reports Addressing Racism and Discrimination

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association.    p. 108

The Nova Scotia report Our Kids Are Worth It (Nova Scotia, 2007) notes that young people must have a voice and be involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of programs and services affecting them. “Engage Youth, Promote Shared Accountability” is one of the key directions of this strategy.    p. 139

Youth Justice Committees

Youth justice committees may become involved when a young person, aged 12-17, is alleged to have committed a low-risk offence. Police may refer the young person to a committee before, or the Crown may refer after, a charge is laid. The youth must be willing to participate in the program, be aware of his or her rights and options and be prepared to accept accountability.    p. 209

Pillar 1 accordingly sets out both targeted and universal measures to improve the social context across the province in ways that will address the roots of violence involving youth. We proceed in subsequent parts of this chapter to discuss our other three pillars: a policy framework to guide these changes as they apply to youth, a strategy to strengthen and work with communities across the province and a governance structure designed to maintain focus and build collaboration over the long haul. Then, in Chapter 10, we outline an overall accountability structure and a road map for this work.    p. 229

In addition, we believe that Ontario needs to follow Britain’s lead by ensuring that there is a public duty on all public institutions to address racism in a measurable and accountable way. As a starting point, each Ontario ministry and agency with the potential to in any way address racism should be required to produce and publish a plan to do so. These plans must identify clear objectives and timelines and provide a clear, public articulation of how the objectives will be met. This issue has been unaddressed for so long that the publication of detailed plans is essential to generate momentum and to create confidence that meaningful, sustainable change will occur.    p. 239

To understand the phenomenon of disproportionality in the CJS [criminal justice system], it is essential that there is an effective process for collecting and monitoring ethnicity data at each stage of the criminal justice process….[The goal is] to enable CJS practitioners and policy-makers to: identify disproportionality in the CJS; understand the causes of disproportionality; performance manage the CJS in relation to race issues; and demonstrate accountability to Black and minority ethnic communities (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2007: 65).    p. 241

The policies were to address 10 major areas of focus: board policies, guidelines and practices; leadership; school-community partnership; curriculum; student languages; student evaluation, assessment and placement; guidance and counselling; racial and ethnocultural harassment; employment practices; and staff development. For each area of focus, boards were required, for example, to provide a list of resources that identified tools (human and material) needed to achieve the stated objectives, and an indication of the person or persons responsible for carrying out the plan of action to ensure consistent direction during implementation, facilitate monitoring and ensure accountability.    p. 251

(ii) Someone in Charge

The problems that flow from the lack of an overall strategy for youth in Ontario are exacerbated by the fact that no ministry appears to have overall responsibility or accountability for the system or its outcomes. The Attorney General controls prosecution policy and funds an extra-judicial sanctions program through youth justice committees. Local police services, with little or no overall guidance from the Province, have their own policies on how to police youth, when to intervene, and when to do so through criminalization as opposed to warnings or formal extra-judicial measures. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services, in turn, is responsible for funding some of the programs that can be used as alternatives to court proceedings, and thus can limit or encourage the use of alternatives by the police, but only from a distance. And that ministry controls youth corrections and probation, youth protection services and youth mental health services.    p. 170

[The following three paragraphs are included because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes they are relevant to the way the City of Mississauga Community and Corporate Services deals with Youth, as indicated through Freedom of Information.]

This divided and un-aligned jurisdiction can lead to mixed messages within the system, to resources not being allocated where they can do the most good and to the actions of one part of the system undoing the value of investments in other parts of it. One example of the lack of coordination, which makes the point, lies in the fact that about 45 per cent of all youth justice matters brought to the courts are withdrawn or stayed. Those responsible for the system advised us that this figure relates to the number of youth charged, and not simply the total numbers of charges youth face. They told us that it almost always means that the Crown attorneys have determined that these youth can be effectively dealt with through measures operated outside the traditional justice system.

Our point is not that an individual police officer was always wrong to have laid these charges or that the Crown was always right to stay or withdraw them. Rather, it is that with almost half of the youth who are charged being referred out of the courts before the courts have been asked to deal with them, there is an obvious disconnect between two parts of the justice system. Even if the 45-per-cent figure did not mean that this many accused youth have all the charges against them dropped, the problem would be a real one for many youth. A feedback mechanism either does not exist or is being ignored and, more fundamentally, it seems clear that a consistent approach to youth justice is not in place.

In our view, Ontarians are entitled to a youth justice system with shared approaches and outcome goals, and with a consistent approach to its administration. While there are various ways to accomplish this, we think that the depth of the current divide is such that a Youth Justice Advisory Board should be put in place to provide integrated policy and operational advice to the three ministers responsible for youth justice, and to the Cabinet committee we propose be created in Pillar 4.    p. 270-271

e) Best Practices

It is important that any statement of principles for dealing with youth contain core standards for service providers. In our view, these can be quite simply stated and, indeed, have been by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in the context of child and youth mental health. Such services and supports, the ministry says, should be: youth and family-centred; community-driven; accessible; coordinated and collaborative; evidence-based and accountable. To these principles we would simply add one more: youth should be meaningfully involved in the governance structures of bodies serving them to the greatest extent possible (Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2006: ii).    p. 291

To be meaningful, outcomes must be accompanied by a commitment to measured and relentless progress towards them (published indicators), along with clear timelines and specific accountabilities for meeting those indicators. We will address targeting, measurement and accountability in more detail in Chapter 10. For now, we just want to note that, to be useful in this context, the outcomes and the indicators set for measuring progress towards them should meet three conditions.    p. 294

Streamlining the Funding Process

In terms of simplifying the process by which agencies receive and account for funds, the independent blue-ribbon panel mentioned above started from the premise that the reporting and accountability regime should reflect the actual circumstances and capacities of funding recipients and the real needs of the government. We agree and believe that the goal should be to reduce the reporting burden on community agencies and rationalize reporting requirements across ministries and, to the extent possible, among other funding agencies.    p. 321

4. Core Funding for Community Development

…The resident-engagement funding would provide for outreach workers to undertake the kinds of engagement initiatives discussed in Section 2 above, including facilitating resident participation in community hubs and setting community priorities for their use. The funding for youth-led organizations would allow youth, subject to their accountability to the funding body, to determine their own initiatives, programs and priorities to address the roots agenda, and thus potentially create innovative models for emulation elsewhere.    p. 324

Once funding was provided, it would be for the local board of each entity to determine its annual priorities. There would be clear requirements for financial accountability and working within the “roots agenda,” but program content and priorities would be set at the local level.    p. 325

Although we state this matter baldly, we note that the current government inherited rather than created this situation. Silos have come to characterize most governments in the last three or four decades, for a variety of similar reasons. Prominent among these are the scope and scale of government, the short timelines between elections, the ever-heightened demand for accountability and the understandable need Cabinet ministers see to demonstrate mastery of their own portfolios and to make their mark within their own domains.    p. 328

Even where time can be found for such collaboration, there is little incentive for it. Collaboration is difficult, takes considerable time and resources, and is very much less under an individual minister’s control than work within his or her area of direct responsibility. Visible failures can occur for reasons outside a minister’s control; success, if achieved, is diffusely shared with colleagues. In many cases, success may not attach to those who contributed the most, perhaps at some cost to their success in a portfolio where their accountability is immediate and highly visible. In this context, it is to the government’s credit that it is working in at least some areas to counter these circumstances.    p. 328

Each PSA consists of a vision, performance indicators and the delivery strategy indicating delivery partners, priority actions, and accountability and governance….A lead minister is nominated for each PSA and the relevant Cabinet committee(s) monitors progress, holds departments and programs to account and resolves interdepartmental disputes where they arise. A PSA delivery board of senior officials comprised of all lead and supporting departments is also established which monitors progress and reviews delivery regularly. Each Department remains responsible for developing and meeting its Departmental Strategic Objectives covering the full breadth of its work (Institute On Governance, Volume 4: 438)    p. 342

As outlined in Pillar 3, we base this on our belief that the Province has the ultimate accountability for addressing the roots of violence involving youth, and the responsibility to create a safe province with meaningful opportunity for all. We also believe that it has the powers needed to do so. Acting alone, if necessary, the Province can advance income security, equity, health, education, a more responsive justice system, strong communities and, indeed, most of what is required for sustained progress on all of the issues we have identified in this report as central to addressing the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 344-345

[To] identify the needs of the local community and reconcile competing interests; to oversee and coordinate the community consultation and engagement activitiesof individual partners; to produce a Sustainable Community Strategy including a shared local vision and priorities for action; …to oversee the planning andalignment of resources in the locality — each partner remains accountable for its decision taken in relation to funding streams allocated to it; to review and performance-manage progress against priorities and targets (Institute On Governance, Volume 4: 449).    p. 348

In this chapter, we start by outlining the fundamental need for measurement, accountability and planning to support our proposed approach, then go on to provide our advice and recommendations. We conclude the chapter with some comments indicating how our advice and recommendations can be put into effect.    p. 366

The Need for Indicators to Track Outcome Goals

Once outcome goals and gap-reduction targets are set, the remaining issue is to set annual or sometimes two-to three-year targets for progress towards the goals and targets. This is a political exercise, involving as it does a series of financial commitments, which are more time-specific and for longer terms than governments usually make. Indicators are, however, essential to fine-tuning the strategy and to accountability and maintaining public support.    p. 369

Reporting and Accountability

It is vital that the outcome goals and interim indicators be public and well-communicated. But members of the public cannot be expected to be able to assess progress towards those goals without access to contextual and analytical information on the progress being made and any barriers being encountered.    p. 370

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association    p. 386

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations conference examined the manner in which the legal and justice system affects women, Aboriginal peoples and racial minorities, and developed policy recommendations. The report on the conference proceedings noted recommendations regarding immigration, including educating immigration officers about human rights abuses in countries of origin and preventing race-related crime issues from influencing individual immigration decisions. With respect to Charter rights, recommendations included establishing a racial minority, community-based legal clinic to uncover systemic racism through test cases and research. Recommendations regarding the justice system centred on examining courtroom procedures and the discretionary use of power by justice officials; examining police use of force to determine whether it varies by race, gender and socio-economics status; community-specific legal and supplementary services; and enhanced legal protection for Aboriginal and racial minority women. Further recommendations dealt with police accountability and training and jury participation by minorities.    p. 431


END

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence

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MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

December 26th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

I can tell you with certainty that a city’s Strategic Plans are much like a citizen’s New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight. Both are dependent on the sincerity of their drafters, commitment to follow-through —and most important, regular assessment of progress towards goals set.

It’s the time of the year when I, The Mississauga Muse must evaluate my 2008 New Year’s Resolutions and set those for 2009. To that end, it’s vital that I set down The WHY —Why it all matters. In that way, when I assess the progress (or lack thereof) of our 2008 Resolutions, I do so through the lens of The WHY.

And so, to that end…

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written three Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

I felt that it wasn’t enough for me to simply write about the Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence —I needed to create an online Roots of Youth Violence resource, if only for myself.

What follows is a searchable summary —a Readers Digest, Coles Notes version of the McMurtry/Curling Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence.

Just so readers know, what follows is a cut-and-paste of what I marked with yellow high-lighter while reading a hard copy of the Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence on an exercise bike at the YMCA.

As such this MISSISSAUGAWATCH McMurtry/Curling Executive Summary cut-and-paste is highly subjective —what I considered important, viewed through the lens of My Mississauga Experience, the Peel Police Services Board November 17, 1994 (Youth) Community Summit – Final Report, as well as The WHY -The Peel Youth Charter.

To reiterate, this McMurtry/Curling Executive Summary cut-and-paste is not complete. I have excerpted the points I consider most important, and offered them without commentary for now. I use an ellipsis (…) to indicate omissions. This is a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

Executive Summary

Introduction

However, we found no overall policy in place to guide this work and no structures to coordinate the efforts of those doing it. We found a focus on problems rather than on the roots of problems, and on interventions once the roots had taken hold rather than on actions to prevent that happening.

Overall, our analysis brought to light a number of underlying issues that call for attention in a structured and sustained way…

Roots Review •1

And that is what we call for, along with a governance structure to ensure that change happens in a coordinated and sustained way…

Before outlining our findings, we want to acknowledge the wise counsel and excellent advice we received from the two bodies our terms of reference identified as key partners: the City of Toronto and the United Way. In particular, Nancy Matthews, on behalf of the city, and Frances Lankin, on behalf of United Way Toronto, brought to our work a wealth of expertise and experience, and were instrumental in helping us appreciate the full scope of the issues before us, and the kinds of sustainable responses necessary to address those issues…

Ontario at a Crossroads

We acknowledge that Ontario has been making progress on certain of the issues we identify. Much of its work on early childhood learning is very much in the right direction, the full-day learning initiative for four- and five-year-olds has the potential to be powerfully transformative, the increased spending on education is impressive, and the appointment of a Poverty Reduction Committee at the Cabinet level is inspirational. And both before our work started and fairly frequently throughout it, the government made program announcements that are consistent with the directions we propose.

Roots Review •2

…because Ontario does not have a coordinated strategy for its youth. The very serious problems being encountered in neighbourhoods characterized by severe, concentrated and growing disadvantage are not being addressed because Ontario has not placed an adequate focus on these concentrations of disadvantage despite the very serious threat they pose to the province’s social fabric. Racism is becoming a more serious and entrenched problem than it was in the past because Ontario is not dealing with it.

…These trends are deeply troubling. They include the increasing concentration of violent crime among younger people, the increasing frequency with which guns and knives are being used in disputes that might previously have been settled with fists…

…violence, and a broader community inclined to write off these youth and these communities because they see them as the source of this problem rather than its victims.

…In these developments, we see powerful signs that core social bonds are being stretched beyond the breaking point. As those bonds break, violence is normalized, sensibilities are brutalized and communities are isolated. The sowing of the seeds for community retreat, the ceding of public space to violence and the silence that arises from the fear to speak out all increase the opportunities for violence.

Roots Review •3

…(Youth) becoming desensitized to violence, violence becoming an acceptable way of dealing with conflict, gangs proliferating, police presence increasing and leading to harassment, students having more difficulty focusing on school, teaching becoming more difficult, schools being unsafe, youth suffering from depression and social service agencies increasingly unable to keep up with the demand for services.

…What is particularly disturbing is that many of these communities are largely composed of members of racialized groups. We trace in Chapter 4 how racism and other barriers have concentrated poverty in these groups, and how the housing market has then driven them into concentrations of those who suffer from high levels of poverty.

When poverty is racialized, and then ghettoized and associated with violence, the potential for the stigmatization of specific groups is high. That stigmatization can, in turn, further reduce opportunities for those groups. If we allow these trends and impacts to grow in intensity and impact and fail to mobilize as a society to address the conditions that give rise to them, the prognosis for the neighbourhoods and for the future of this province could be grim.

…It is because this balance still exists, however precariously, that we consider Ontario to be at a crossroads.

Roots Review •4

Understanding the Roots

…as poverty were necessarily the roots of violence involving youth. If they were, we would be a far more violent society than we are now given the extent of these conditions and circumstances.

…We believe it is only if we find and address the conditions that give rise to that state of mind that we will be able to stop the growing number of youth who think that way.

It takes a certain desperation for a young person to walk our streets with a gun. The sense of nothing to lose and no way out that roils within such youth creates an ever-present danger. That danger arises from the impulsiveness of youth and the lack of foresight with which they often act. The unfortunate — and often tragic — reality is that it often takes very little provocation or incentive to trigger that latent violence once we have let the immediate risk factors develop. This most often puts other youth in danger’s way, but can do the same for any of us, because it creates a reality in which violence is unpredictable — unpredictable in location, unpredictable in cause and unpredictable in consequences…

What then are the immediate risk factors…

♦ Have a deep sense of alienation and low self-esteem

♦ Have little empathy for others and suffer from impulsivity

Roots Review •5

♦ Believe that they are oppressed, held down, unfairly treated and neither belong to nor have a stake in the broader society

♦ Believe that they have no way to be heard through other channels

♦ Have no sense of hope.

…For us, it is the roots — the conditions in which the immediate risk factors can grow and flourish — that require the urgent attention of the Premier and his government because the costs of failing to identify and address them will be ongoing, tragic and high.

What Are the Roots?

While we discuss each root separately, many, if not all, of them frequently interconnect and intertwine in ways that create devastating cumulative impacts for far too many of our youth…

Roots Review •6

Poverty

Poverty does not directly cause violent crime. If it did, then given the extent and depth of the poverty among us, our levels of violence would be truly frightening. Most people living in poverty are working hard to hold down one or more uncertain, low-wage jobs, to improve their skills or education, to hold together families and communities against a bombardment of negative circumstances, or sometimes are doing all three. All Ontarians should admire their hard work and their strong commitment to a society that fails them in so many ways.

But poverty without hope, poverty with isolation, poverty with hunger and poor living conditions, poverty with racism and poverty with numerous daily reminders of social exclusion can lead to the immediate risk factors for violence…

…In our view, poverty can lead to a lack of self-esteem, the experience of oppression, a lack of hope or empathy or sense of belonging, impulsivity and other immediate risk factors through three different but linked pathways:

♦ The level of poverty: the depth of relative deprivation experienced by those in poverty

♦ The concentration of poverty in definable geographic areas, where negative impacts grow and reinforce each other…

♦ The circumstances of poverty, in which services and facilities that most of us take for granted are not locally available or are denied by reason of cost or accessibility, or both, to those who need them the most…

Roots Review •7

Racism

…We were taken aback by the extent to which racism is alive and well and wreaking its deeply harmful effects on Ontarians and on the very fabric of this province.

…Others, in particular Aboriginal people and African-Canadians, continue to also suffer from a seemingly more entrenched and often more virulent form of racism.

…And yet, there are fewer public structures in place in Ontario to address this reality than we had in the past.

Roots Review •8

But while race is not something that can create the immediate risk factors for violence involving youth, racism is. Racism strikes at the core of self-identity, eats away the heart and casts a shadow on the soul. It is cruel and hurtful and alienating. It makes real all doubts about getting a fair chance in this society. It is a serious obstacle imposed for a reason the victim has no control over and can do nothing about.

The very real potential for this to create the immediate risk factors should not be hard to understand. How can it not erode your self-esteem to feel that, no matter what you do or what you achieve, you can be excluded or undervalued simply because of your race? How can it not be alienating to know that you can be or have often been stopped by the police or followed in a store or denied housing for that same reason? How could your willingness to study and work hard to get ahead not be eroded by a clear sense of having more limited prospects than others, and how could that not reduce your sense of hope?

And, as well, when you look to society’s major institutions for leadership in confronting these insidious realities and find almost no focus on this issue, how can all those feelings not be made more deeply hurtful and exclusionary?

…When, as is so often the case, racism is combined with poverty and other sources of serious disadvantage discussed in our report, its central role in the issue that concerns us is all too evident.

Community Design

The conditions of the communities where young people live not only greatly affect the quality of their lives and the opportunities available to them, but also how they perceive themselves, society and their role in it.

Roots Review •9

…A major concern of those we met was the lack of anywhere for youth to go. We found neighbourhoods characterized by unwelcoming environments and a disturbing lack of places for youth to gather, play or create. This leaves youth with the greatest need for such facilities with no positive outlet for their energy and time, no space or facilities for creative self-expression and no place that fosters contact with coaches and other positive mentors. When these youth hang around, for lack of anything better to do, they are then often stereotyped and harassed for so doing, further driving their sense of alienation.

There is a similar lack of space for organizations seeking to work with youth, particularly organizations led by youth themselves. This further reduces the number of services and programs available to the youth who need them the most.

Issues in the Education System

…The safe schools provisions of the Education Act promoted a policy of “zero tolerance” for “bad” behaviour in schools. Some of that behaviour is indeed serious and requires a strong response. But, under those provisions, many youth have been suspended or expelled from school without a full consideration of their circumstances and without adequate supports to maintain their learning or occupy their time in positive ways. There is a wide consensus in the community that the safe schools provisions have had a disproportionate impact on racialized students, students with disabilities and youth whose parents are not adept or at ease in dealing with teachers and school administrators.

We recognize that the recent amendments to the Education Act in relation to the safe schools provisions are a positive step. But we believe they fall short of what is required to

Roots Review •10

…Another concern is guidance counsellors who have not been trained to have an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the factors that affect the ethno-racial youth who seek their advice. For many, guidance advice often appears to be given from a perspective of low expectations based on the ethno-racial background of the youth.

Similarly, students, families, communities and advocates have long been struggling with the low expectations some teachers have for racialized students and, in particular…

The last issue is criminalization. Expulsions and suspensions put many youth on the streets for extended periods and lead to more interactions with the police, increasing the potential for criminalization. At the same time, zero-tolerance policies have led many schools to call in the police for activities that would have been addressed by the schools alone in earlier times. This has also led to the increased criminalization of many marginalized youth, with consequences we discuss below.

Roots Review •11

Family Issues

Most families provide secure and safe places for children to grow and learn. But many do not. Families can be divided, abusive, or struggling emotionally or financially. Some youth have no family. Without the support of a strong family, alienation, low self-esteem, a lack of hope or empathy, impulsivity and other immediate risk factors for involvement with violence can set in and take hold of a young person, especially if the youth is also experiencing other roots of the immediate risk factors, such as poverty, racism or mental illness. A severely troubled home life can have a damaging effect on a youth’s interest in school, ability to learn and interactions with peers and teachers.

…In the result, it is not the structure of the family, but rather the stresses bearing on the family relationships that can create immediate risk factors for violence involving youth.

…Where a father is present, what is important to the outcome is not that presence alone, but the degree of responsibility the father assumes for child-rearing and his participation in imparting positive values.

…Parents who are recent immigrants or refugees dealing with urgent settlement problems may not be able to turn their attention to difficulties their children are having in school, or they may be unable to help because they cannot communicate with the teachers or are reticent to engage with authority figures. Schools often lack the capacity to help them adjust or the creative outreach that would make them welcome, and settlement services to assist them are often far short of what is needed.

Roots Review •12

…Youth who live on the street are often the victims of violence, and the harsh reality of street life can lead to these and other immediate risk factors for violence.

Children and youth in the child protection system often “cross over” to other systems, such as the criminal justice system. We were told that a disproportionate number of youth in the young offender system have been in the care of child welfare authorities in Ontario, and that there is a trajectory from the children’s services sector to the young offender system.

Health

Across cultures, about one in five Ontario children and youth experience a mental health or behavioural disorder requiring intervention, but we were advised that 80 per cent of them do not receive mental health services or support. This lack of treatment allows the mental health condition to worsen and its effects on the youth (and their alienation, impulsiveness and self-esteem) to grow. It adds pressure and stress to the families of these youth and can lead to the youth disrupting the lives of classmates, friends and peers.

…The earlier the mental health intervention, the higher the chance of a successful outcome.

Roots Review •13

Lack of a Youth Voice

The sense that many youth already have of being alienated from society is reinforced when they do not have opportunities to be heard in areas that directly and immediately affect their lives. This can lead to a negative concept of self, a greater distrust of authority, a sense of powerlessness and a sense of exclusion from the broader community.

And yet, our experience over the past year was that youth brought many fresh insights and inspired solutions to the issues we were grappling with. In many ways, youth and youth-led organizations are best-positioned to know what will work for other youth. The absence of their voices in many areas of immediate importance to them sends a message of limited opportunity as well as excluding the youth perspective from many decisions.

Lack of Economic Opportunity for Youth

There are many barriers for youth from disadvantaged communities who seek opportunities… lack of transportation to get to a job interview and as deeply complex as racism. The experiences of parents being denied the ability to use all of their skills and experiences can also play a devastating role.

…or learn all too early that their postal code alone will act as a bar to employment.

…When these and other factors are combined with the high value our society places on economic success and possessions, the consequences for self-esteem and any sense of hope, opportunity or belonging can be serious.

Issues in the Justice System

…that Ontario’s youth justice system does not have an overall strategy or coherent vision for youth justice in Ontario. Three ministries operate parts of it, with no ministry in charge, no overall policy direction, and no ministry with the mandate to look across the whole system to identify the best ways to allocate the roughly $850 million it spends each year.

Roots Review •14

…We see this as leading to two ways in which the immediate risk factors for involvement in violence can be created.

The first is through over-criminalization… Criminalization can cause youth to see themselves as having no other future and can change for the worse the way they are seen by their peers, families, schools and communities. It can severely restrict both their opportunities and their own sense of those opportunities. It can lead directly to criminal associates. It can destroy hope and feed alienation.

…Where it is used unwisely, the youth justice system has the potential to create risks for future violence rather than reducing them.

…But some do not act professionally. It was made clear to us that when policing is done in an aggressive manner, when youth are singled out for attention because of their race and treated with a lack of civility, they can become alienated, lose self-esteem and feel that they have less hope or opportunity in this society. As well, the communities of which they are part can lose faith in the police and can cooperate less in the resolution of crime and the maintenance of public safety. When this happens, the approach to policing increases rather than addresses the roots of violence involving youth.

Roots Review •15

Concentrations of Roots

One of the central features of the advice we are giving the Premier is the need to focus attention and resources on specific locations across Ontario where the roots of violence involving youth are finding particularly fertile ground. It is clear to us that many of the circumstances that can lead to the immediate risk factors for violence involving youth — the roots of such violence — grow and are nurtured in specific places…

Collaborative: The place-based approach both requires and facilitates
collaboration among governments and with communities in ways that get the greatest value from the initiatives and assets of each.

Roots Review •16

In Toronto’s case, the city aligned its own departments around 13 priority neighbourhoods and now organizes itself at the local level to understand and meet the needs of those specific neighbourhoods through neighbourhood action teams. These are being transformed into partnerships with residents and agencies to further advance this work. This has not only brought renewed attention to these areas and the issues they face, but as well has driven greater collaboration and coordination at city hall itself. Both examples demonstrate the power of this concept to not only improve neighbourhoods, but also align governments around that important objective…

…Statistics Canada, compiles them into an Index of Relative Disadvantage…

…We propose that once those data are available, the Province then work with municipal governments where the highest concentrations are found to refine the assessment of disadvantage in light of local information. This local information could include the services available or not available to ameliorate the disadvantage.

Roots Review •17

Addressing the Roots

…four pillars is essential. These pillars will, collectively, provide a repaired social context, a youth policy framework, a neighbourhood capacity and empowerment focus and a new integrated governance system to align and sustain action to address the roots of violence involving youth.

Roots Review •18

…What we are unequivocally calling for is a firm commitment to making Ontario’s social context work for everyone and a move away from piecemeal and sporadic initiatives.

…As Pillar 1 makes clear, we see a pressing and vital need to reduce poverty and address the circumstances that accompany it. It is unacceptable that being poor should also mean having substandard services in a wide array of areas, ranging from housing to recreational and arts facilities to transportation.

Roots Review •19

…We believe that the collection of race-based statistics, as has been routinely done in England for some time, is an essential first step. We cannot ascertain where the problems are, how to address them, what the best solutions are and what is working if we have no data. We see such statistics being required throughout the justice system and in the domains of education, health, housing and employment.

We believe that the Province should require that all public sector bodies have action plans to address the systemic racism within their domains. In relation to policing, we also suggest short-term initiatives to try to address some of the flashpoints that continue to exist in the relationship between front-line police officers and many youth. These initiatives are the establishment of police-youth issues committees in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods and the provision of neighbourhood-based training on anti-racism for front-line officers. For the longer term, we note the need for a culture shift within policing and put forward the concepts that officers should be “assessed for competence” in matters of race and that the performance measures for local commanders should include community relations and support…

Roots Review •20

…Overall, we believe that Ontario, while moving in the right direction in recent years, is still overcharging youth and relying on incarceration to an excessive extent. We do not dispute the need for police interventions, nor for serious sanctions where serious conduct is involved. We are, however, very concerned that the justice system is invoked for many youth in ways that can increase rather than address the immediate risk factors for violence.

Roots Review •21

…It seems to us to be fundamentally wrong that an expensive and sometimes counterproductive formal justice system is universally available and can be invoked by any police officer at any time with a simple piece of paper, while the alternatives are funded only if and when discretionary funds are freed up, and are often difficult and complex for a police officer to access.

Our report notes that when the powers bestowed by the justice system are not used properly or wisely, the result can be alienation, a sense of injustice, a lack of hope and other immediate risk factors for violence involving youth. Based on past experience, we expect that what we say about the justice system and, in particular, the police, may well receive a significant amount of attention.

…We fully appreciate that the neighbourhood conditions we describe in chapters 4 and 5 create enormous challenges for those who police these communities, as well for as those who live in them. The same conditions that facilitate crime — rundown areas and buildings, limited through streets, poor sightlines, dead ends, dark stairwells and corridors, overcrowding — all create risks for police officers as well as potentially hardening their attitudes to those who are forced to live in these conditions. In light of these conditions, we applaud the countless ways individual officers go beyond the

Roots Review •22

call of duty to try to support youth and prevent crime, as well as carrying out their often-onerous enforcement obligations.

…This is especially so when policing or the justice system evinces racism or countenances excessive force or incivility or a lack of respect for basic rights and freedoms we all should enjoy. The police, in particular, have a great deal of discretionary power as well as widespread respect, and with that comes great responsibility to uphold high standards at all times.

Roots Review •23

Pillar 2: A Youth Policy Framework

…It is youth who must have key roles in the design and delivery of this strategy, as they will pay the heaviest price if it does not succeed.

Ontario does not have a coordinated policy for its youth and should be working towards one. We believe that the Province urgently needs a youth policy framework that is informed by research about the developmental and transitional stages through which youth pass and that focuses on desired outcomes for them.

The principles we propose include:

♦ Respecting youth by involving them in determining and addressing their needs

♦ Recognizing racial, gender and other differences among youth

Roots Review •24

♦ Reflecting the realities of the developmental and transitional stages youth pass through as they grow

♦ Ensuring that programs and services are increasingly based on proven best practices; make appropriate connections among youth, their families, schools and communities; and are truly accessible.

…To be meaningful, outcome goals must be accompanied by a commitment to measured and relentless progress towards them (published indicators), along with clear timelines and specific accountabilities for meeting those indicators.

Pillar 3: A Neighbourhood Capacity and Empowerment Focus

This pillar will enhance or create local centres, often based around schools…but just as importantly, will form hubs…

Roots Review •25

In addition to repairing the social context in which the roots grow, Ontario needs to address the lack of community cohesion and the fragmentation of programs and services that exist in many disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Areas of concentrated economic disadvantage all too easily nurture those roots and, if not addressed, will keep producing new generations of youth with the immediate risk factors for violence. The continuing violence and fear of violence that will result will have the obvious and tragic consequence of rendering those neighbourhoods ever more fragmented and isolated, and will perpetuate and deepen their disadvantaged condition, leading to yet more violence, and possibly an entrenched underclass…

…The first is by creating community hubs, wherever possible anchored in school facilities… We join with those who see schools as natural hubs. Schools are near most residents, have already been paid for by the public and go unused most of the time.

Roots Review •26

Governments have increasingly relied upon agencies to deliver services, but have done so through short-term contracts, which fail to cover the full costs of service delivery. This creates enormous problems for agencies, including making it very difficult for them to recruit and retain experienced staff…

…We also propose establishing at a university or college a Centre for Excellence through Program Assessments to conduct outcomes-based assessments of major programs and serve as a best practices resource for government, community service providers, funders and agencies. This body could also serve as a resource to promote good evaluations of smaller-scale programs.

 

Roots Review •27

…First, and fundamentally, the provincial government must organize itself to drive forward and sustain an integrated long-range strategy across the many ministries that have important roles on this issue. Without an effective governance structure at the provincial level, our experience tells us that no meaningful progress can be made…

…requires coordination across a dozen ministries…

Roots Review •28

…It also requires working effectively with the other orders of government, building local relationships and supporting community development in ways that the provincial government has not done in recent years.

Without governance mechanisms that cut across the many silos that now exist in the provincial government and facilitate aligned engagement in communities, any edifice of piecemeal change will rapidly collapse.

New provincial mechanisms are also needed to send a signal of resolve and commitment. Without alignment at the provincial level to break through the silos to prioritize, drive, coordinate, fund, monitor and report on the many provincial initiatives needed to address the roots of violence involving youth, there will be little reason to hope for anything beyond some modest ameliorations of the status quo….

…To do its job, the committee needs to be supported by a dedicated staff secretariat. We believe this needs to be positioned within the Cabinet Office to give it the profile and influence that will be required to manage this complex task. We see the secretariat being responsible for providing policy advice to the committee, but also for working within the bureaucracy on a day-to-day basis to ensure that the directions set by the committee and approved by Cabinet are carried into action. We also see it having a key role in ensuring good public reporting against defined outcome goals…

Roots Review •29

Planning, Accountability, Advice and Recommendations

…That is why our proposed youth policy framework (Pillar 2) calls not only for a shared vision and agreed-upon principles, but also asks the Province to articulate its overall policies for youth using specific outcome goals. We are confident that Ontario’s public service could produce a good initial set of such goals within a year.

…Essentially, a floor target sets a minimum acceptable level of attainment. It is how we as a societyexpress our fundamental bottom lines.

Roots Review •30

An example of a floor target would be that no neighbourhood should have an obesity or diabetes rate more than a defined per cent above the provincial average, or that no school should have a graduation or literacy rate below a certain figure. Using floor targets avoids the reality that if an average is used, the target can be met by having the best-off improve their performance even if the worst-off make no progress at all or even fall further behind. Averages hide a myriad of policy and program sins, and they fundamentally fail to identify the neighbourhoods or individuals needing the most help…

…We see it as vital that the outcome measures and interim indicators be public and well-communicated, with the communications materials including contextual and analytical information on the accomplishments being made and any barriers being encountered.

Roots Review •31

Recommendations for the Premier

Introduction

♦ Only an aligned and sustained commitment, led by the provincial government, will effectively address the roots we have identified.

…We take this approach because of the clear need for coordinated planning and close work with communities, agencies and other governments to determine the specifics of what needs to be done in each community across this highly diverse province to address the very serious issues we have surfaced.

Fundamentally, we strongly believe that, starting this fall, the Province must put at the heart of its overall agenda a sustained, aligned and structural response to the roots of violence involving youth…

A youth policy framework to guide and coordinate policies and programs for youth by reference to developmental stages and outcome goals.

Roots Review •32

Integrated governance to drive and coordinate work across the Ontario government and to work effectively with the other orders of government and with the strengthened communities.

To build and maintain support for the needed action, we are also convinced that the Ontario government must implement an effective communications strategy to bring the main findings of our report to the attention of the public. It should focus on the serious risks of failing to act now to address the circumstances that are producing alienation, a lack of hope and belonging and the other conditions we have identified as being the immediate risk factors for serious, explosive and unpredictable violence involving youth.

Roots Review •33

6.  The Province should create a comprehensive youth policy framework for Ontario to provide overall direction for the myriad of programs affecting youth.

8.  To identify the neighbourhoods for the place-based approach, the Province should employ the Index of Relative Disadvantage we have proposed to determine on a provincewide basis the areas where disadvantage is most concentrated.

9.  Within the identified disadvantaged neighbourhoods, the Province should support and ensure the funding of the following structural initiatives:

♦ Full access to schools for community activities and services, by having a body with facilities management and program experience lease the premises in school off-hours and engage with the community to identify priorities for the use of the space.

Roots Review •34

11. The Province should, by the summer of 2009, prepare and publish an integrated plan setting out how ministries, and combinations of them, will work at the provincial and at the local levels to address the roots we have identified.

12.  The Province should commit to measuring and publishing progress towards defined outcome goals as a central part of its approach to the roots agenda. To the greatest extent possible, the outcome goals should include minimum standards of achievement, a level below which no institution or community should fall (known elsewhere as “floor targets”). Progress towards those targets should be tracked by racial and other relevant differences.

Roots Review •35

…In our view, only an integrated and collaborative approach to the roots will succeed. That is why we propose a body at the centre of government with the mandate and resources to consider our advice, situate it within the context of the balance of the government’s agenda, determine priorities, make linkages among ministries and with other governments and manage a process of both building and being responsive to communities across the province…

…Among other initiatives we outline, it should also include ensuring that high-quality services, recreational and arts facilities, parks and schools are available to those who are the most disadvantaged, and that neighbourhoods are safe. Overall, where people live should not itself produce the immediate risk factors for their being involved in violence. (Volume 1, pages 229–238)

Roots Review •36

…After-school programs should be available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to promote good nutrition and positive activity, and to help keep youth off the streets in what many consider to be prime time for crime…

Roots Review •37

19. The Province must recognize the value of sports and arts in supporting learning, learning, development and creativity of youth. The Province should work with municipalities, school boards and community agencies to remove barriers that include income level, transportation and a lack of usable space. The Province should move to immediately embed accessible sports and arts programs in the priority neighbourhoods. (Volume 1, pages 257–260)

20. The Province must work actively with communities and agencies to assist every child and youth to have access to at least one adult who provides nurturing and support, and towards providing youth with a voice in matters that affect them. Among other initiatives to support youth engagement, the Province should put in place training, standards and supports for mentors across the province, and all sectors working with youth should adopt meaningful and sustained measures to include the youth voice in their governance structures. (Volume 1, pages 260–262)…

…23. The Province must bring coordination to the three ministries that operate parts of the youth justice system, ensure an overall policy focus and support a more balanced approach to resourcing by establishing a Youth Justice Advisory Board. The Province should also take steps to reduce the over-criminalization of Ontario youth compared with those in other large jurisdictions, and to reduce the ways in which the powers of the justice system can be misused to produce alienation, a lack of hope or opportunity and other immediate risk factors for violence. Overall, all parts of the justice system need to adopt a more strategic approach to youth. (Volume 1, pages 267–289)


Roots Review •38

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Roots Review •39

…Recommendations for Priority Implementation

29. Anti-Racism: It is tragic — not ironic — that 30 years ago this November, Walter Pitman entitled his report on police minority relations: Now Is Not Too Late. Since that time, 30 separate groups of five-or six-year-old children have started Grade 1 and many have gone through their school years without seeing sustained progress on these issues. For many of them, now is too late — their lives marred, their futures circumscribed and their faith in this society quite justifiably shaken. And many of them are the parents of children in the system now, with little reason and sometimes no ability to instil hope in those children.

Roots Review •40

To lay the foundation for the extensive action required to address this growing problem, the Province should proceed immediately to develop the methodology for the collection of race-based data in all key domains. As well, to ensure that action is underway before the summer of 2009 to address the pressing issues that arise in police-minority relations in a number of neighbourhoods, we believe the provincial funds that we propose for youth-police liaison committees and for front-line officer training programs should be put in place as quickly as possible.

Additionally, the Province should take immediate steps to put in place measures that will ensure that teachers and school administrators better reflect the neighbourhoods they serve.

30. Steps Towards Community Hubs: There is an overwhelming consensus in favour of building community hubs and, accordingly, no reason to delay action on that front. In neighbourhoods where it is clear that the Index of Relative Disadvantage will demonstrate a high level of disadvantage, or where similar methodologies have already done so, the Province should promptly initiate discussions with the municipal governments, to begin to plan for a hub if none exists and in particular to determine the availability of recreational and arts facilities. Where the latter facilities are lacking, the Province should work actively with the Ontario Realty Corporation and the municipality to lease alternative space for youth and youth services until a hub is developed. Another winter and spring should not go by in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with there being no safe place for youth to gather and play…

Roots Review •41

…In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.

Short to Medium-term Initiatives

♦ Oversee continuing efforts of ministries to develop action plans having regard to directions set by the Cabinet committee and the advice in this report and establish working groups with key communities, agencies and experts to advance this work.

♦ Establish the fund for youth-police community liaison committees and for the initial short-term anti-racism training programs.

Roots Review •42

…♦ Begin discussions with the community agency sector on ways to streamline and stabilize their funding, involving municipal governments and other funders as appropriate…

Roots Review •43

…The government’s plans will provide the details of how it proposes to approach that task. For our part, we strongly believe that whatever those plans may be, the government should continue to engage and involve the public in this endeavour through regular and highly accessible public reporting of progress based on published outcome goals and interim indicators in all key areas.

Conclusion

Although we now formally conclude our work on this report, we emphasize that our commitment to the issues it addresses did not start when the Premier asked us to undertake this review, and it will not end with the submission of this report. Whether in official capacities, if the Premier wishes, or as private citizens, we will continue to be active participants and willing partners in the work that must be done to ensure all youth in this very rich province lead safe, healthy lives in healthy families and healthy communities.

Roots Review •43

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Roots Review •44

END.

Just want to leave readers with the best quote I’ve ever read about Youth and a sad prediction.

“The truth is that we, as a society – all of us – simply don’t consider children very important. We talk a good game but we don’t think kids are as important as other things, like fixing the roads.”

– Jim Paul Nevins (Ontario Court Judge October 4, 2001 report)

Prediction: 2009…. Expect more talk talk talk talk talk talk…

Pastor Andrew King knows…

THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUTH BRAMPTON and MISSISSAUGA ANTI-VIOLENCE PANELS

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube or Google Video)

And here’s why the McMurty and Curling’s report and Peel-based Youth initiiatives will fail unless we get to the root causes of why governments fail, from none other than Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito (Peel Youth Violence Prevention Steering Committee)

“Thank you, Mr. Chair.  As Gael said, I think we’re all amazed –those of us on the Committee, at the success and how quickly we’ve been successful over the past two years…”

–Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito  PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (October 25, 2007)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on Google Video)


Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

Malton March 3, 2008 Youth Meeting: MISSCORPSEC guard stops Youth from entering

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My grandfather to his German officer: “Schiessen Sie selbst.” (“Shoot him yourself.”)

November 10th, 2008  

It’s still November —and in my last Blog, I committed to paper what my grandmother told me about a pit of dead —an atrocity that must surely have been part the Holocaust.

Today, to add my voice to the horrors of World War II, I have to tell you a story about my grandfather.

Back in the early 80’s I actually researched the Holocaust for a period of roughly two years. The Final Solution… If you stripped back those hellish perverted times to one thing it is that What-it-is-in-Us-that-is-Human must never let it happen again.

Reading Elie Wiesel back then had a profound effect on me. Above all, it was his conviction of the human duty to bear witness.

A reminder from THE HOLOCAUST, Crimes, Heroes and Villains:

The words of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, stand as a testament to why we must never forget this dark period of human history:

“For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. The witness has forced himself to testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future.” Elie Wiesel, Night, Preface to the New Translation (New York: Hill and Wang, c2006), page xv.

Now about my grandfather. Like my previous Blog about the Odessa Death Pit, I am the only person in my family to whom my grandmother told this next story, and I believe that I have a moral obligation to commit this one to paper as well.

Once again, I promise to share it with you through the words of my grandmother —with just one embellishment.


“Schiessen Sie selbst.” (“Shoot him yourself.”)

My grandmother said that it was the end of the war and the Third Reich was all but over. As I heard the story, it seemed that the greatest dread for the average German was not in losing but that the Soviets would get to them before the Americans. It was the time of the race to Berlin —Hitler’s last days.

The Nazis threw anything male into that last defence. Imagine the youngest of boys just big enough to hold a gun or rifle and the oldest of men capable of doing the same. My grandfather would’ve been around 45 at the time —certainly not “old”.

When the call came for all able-bodied men to join in the defence of Nazi Germany’s last days, my grandfather tried to get my grandmother to hide him. Details are sketchy other than she refused and I was told that her refusal was a sore point between them for decades after.

I know only one incident and precious little detail. I don’t know where he was assigned or the circumstances. Nothing. Just this.

My grandfather’s commanding officer called him over. He then held out a pistol, pointed to a man and ordered my grandfather to shoot him.

(I told you there’d be one embellishment and here it is.) I suspect that there was a pause… I mean think about it. Nazi Germany. Nazi officer holding out a pistol and commanding you to shoot someone. What do you do?  This was an Order.

My grandmother offered only this.

My grandfather refused the pistol and told his commander:

“Schiessen Sie selbst.” (“Shoot him yourself.”)

Then he turned and then walked away.

Just now —this morning —I phoned my mom and told her the story of her father’s courage. She had the same reaction as I did so many years ago.

When I told her that my grandfather had been ordered to shoot a man, there was a dreadful pause on the line and then, “What did he do?”

“He refused,” I said.

“Good for hm. (pause) Wow… he’s lucky he survived.” She’s now going to tell her sister to see if perhaps she knows the story.

My mother did contribute one vital piece of information. “After the war he was a changed man. He never if ever smiled.” (Yeah… no kidding…)

This feels so good to get these two stories out of me and onto the record. Such a relief! Admittedly it’s only a temporary reprieve.

Aldous Huxley wrote about “man’s almost infinite capacity for distractions.” I’ve repeatedly denounced man’s almost infinite capacity to Look the Other Way. The Two —“infinite capacity for distractions” and “I see Nothing, hear Nothing, know Nothing” are a toxic doubleplus-dangerous social brew.

End of frikkin’ story.

I’m leaving you with this pic of my grandfather and us sitting on a bridge across Cooksviille Creek at Miles Lane (no longer there —part of Mississauga Valleys now) just before Hurricane Hazel circa 1953. I am so proud of my grandfather.

My grandfather at Cooksville Creek (Cooksville) circa 1953

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Please do.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

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Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden: an aloha and farewell

October 27th, 2008  

UPDATE: Monday, October 27, 2008  11:10 pm   MISSISSAUGAWATCH visited two fire stations this morning —Fairview and Glen Erin.  This our tribute to Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden.  With Aloha

(Click here go to directly to the clip on YouTube or Google Video)


TODAY’S (earlier) BLOG BEGINS:

Hey there, Mississauga. Today from our Missy News. Here ya go.

Fire chief laid to rest today

By: The Mississauga News
October 27, 2008 09:22 AM –

The funeral of highly-respected Mississauga Fire Chief Garry Morden is expecting to draw hundreds of mourners today, including virtually all of the City’s firefighters who are not assigned to duty.

Morden, 56, died last Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He will be buried in a funeral mass this morning at 10 a.m. at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church on Cawthra Rd.

The funeral proceedings will include formal fire service honours. The flags at the Civic Centre and all City facilities have been lowered and will remain at half-staff until after the chief’s burial.

Photo Courtesy Mississauga News. hoto by Steven Der-Garabedian

Photo by Steven Der-Garabedian (Mississauga News)

“Garry was a role model for staff and he will be sadly missed by all of us here at the City, and by his colleagues in emergency services across the country,” said City Manager Janice Baker after his death.

“This is a very sad day for Mississauga,” said Mayor Hazel McCallion. “Chief Morden has been an inspiration and a great community supporter over the years.”

Hundreds of people turned out to offer their condolences to Morden’s wife Denise and their children, Jason and Shawn, at visitations over the weekend at Turner and Porter Funeral Home on Hurontario St.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH —With Respect and Appreciation

Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden at Budget Committee (November 14, 2007)Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden (November 14, 2007)

In Memory of Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden Fairview Station (October 27, 2008)Fairview Fire Station (October 27, 2008)

In Memory of Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden half-mast Fairview Fire Station (October 27, 2008)Half Mast Fairview Fire Station (October 27, 2008

Mississauga (Fairviiew) Fire Truck returns (October 27, 2008)Mississauga Fire Truck Returning to Fairview Station  (October 27, 2008)

In Memory of Garry W. Morden: Half Mast Mississauga City Hall (October 27, 2008)Half Mast Mississauga City Hall (October 27, 2008)

In Memory of Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden Glen Erin Stn (Octpber 27, 2008)Glen Erin Fire Station (Octpber 27, 2008)

In Memory of Mississauga Fire Chief Garry W. Morden Glen Erin A115 Firefighter helmet (October 27, 2008) Glen Erin Station A115 Firefighter Helmet (October 27, 2008)

Signed,

The (Garry W. Morden: EXCELLENCE) Mississauga Muse

UPDATE: MONDAY OCTOBER 27, 2008 2:40 pm  From our Missy News.

Fire Chief funeral draws hundreds of mourners

By: Louie Rosella

October 27, 2008 01:39 PM – Garry Morden was laid to rest today, not only as Mississauga’s fire chief, but as a loving father, proud grandfather, devoted husband, best friend and tireless charity-giver.

The list goes on and on.

The tears and grief as Morden’s flag-draped coffin was carried into a Mississauga church this morning by some of the Mississauga firefighters who were his closest friends were juxtaposed by laughter and fine memories at the funeral for the 56-year-old Erin Mills resident…

Staff Photo by Fred Loek MISSISSAUGA NEWS pic: Mourning our Missy Fire Chief

Staff Photo by Fred Loek(Mississauga News)

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PEEL POLICE SERVICES BOARD discusses PEEL YOUTH CRIME/VIOLENCE (Video)

September 19th, 2008  

The Peel Police Services Board met this morning and one of the items on the agenda related to the upsurge in Youth Crimes and Violence (especially homicides). This video highlights Peel Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Evans as she provides preliminary data and insights to Board members. Also in the video, Susan Fennell, Mayor of The Corporation of the City of Brampton also offers comments regarding upcoming Youth-related “challenges”.

Video: PEEL POLICE SERVICES BOARD MEETING re: YOUTH VIOLENCE (10 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip of Google Video)

As a baseline comparision, I’ve cut and pasted the  November 17, 1994 Peel Police Services Board Internal Correspondence document, “Re: Community Summit – Final Report” from my September 16th Blog entry, “Peel Regional Police Services Board Crime Prevention Community Summit 1994 Final Report (the way we were…)”

While this 1994 Peel Police Services Board report (below) didn’t have any pics, the nature of the Net being what it is, I’ve provided media enhancement as they relate to both the 2000 and 2008 Mississauga Strategic Plans, Community Engagement Visionning Charrettes and the Mississauga Youth Plan.

Once again, special thanks to Chair Kolb who knows the importance of looking back.

 

Internal Correspondence


To: Chair and Members                                                              From: Frederick Biro

Dept: Police Services Board                                                        Dept: Police Services Board   ==============================================================================

Date: November 17, 1994

File Class:

Re: Community Summit – Final Report

Backqround Information and Discussion:

The Community Summit sponsored by the Regional Municipality of Peel Police Services Board was held September 30/October lst. The 80 suggestions forwarded as a result of the workshop discussions were condensed into 12 recommendations. These were reviewed and approved by the Community Summit Steering Committee.

It was the advice of the Steering Committee that each recommendation be forwarded to the attention of specific lead agencies who would have responsibility for reviewing and implementing the recommendation if they believed it to be of benefit. This suggestion was incorporated into the Final Report.

The Community Summit – Final Report, and a “How-To’ Manual was prepared by Ms. Sonia Mistri, Community Summit Co-ordinator. The Final Report includes an Executive Summary which is attached to this memorandum.

Complete copies of both documents will be available at the Board meeting.

Recommendation:

That the information be received;

further, that the Board, following review and consultation with the police service, respond to those recommendations that have applicability to the Peel Regional Police;

further, the Board determine what action, if any, it wishes to take to advance the goal of the Community Summit.

Frederick Biro

Executive Director

P.R.P. 40


PAGE 2

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Regional Municipality of Peel prides itself on being a safe and secure environment for residents, workers and visitors. The Region of Peel has two active crime prevention associations, well supported by a dedicated police service. However, the responsibility and ownership for safety and security resides with all of Peel’s citizens and it is in this spirit that the Community Summit was conceived and developed.

The Community Summit brought together various partners from the community to share what was already being done to maintain the safety and security of the area, to determine what more could and should be done, and how it could be achieved. It was the inception of a multi-disciplinary and integrated effort within the Region of Peel to address the root causes of crime.

The Regional Municipality of Peel Police Services Board, as the link between police and community, was in a unique position to initiate and sponsor the Summit. At its meeting on April 22, 1994, the Board adopted a motion to sponsor the Community Summit with the objective of developing meaningful and practical strategies which would serve to maintain and enhance the safe and secure environment within the Regional Municipality of Peel.

The philosophy behind the Summit was based on the 1993 report from the federal government’s Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General entitled `Crime Prevention in Canada: Toward a National Strategy.’ The crux of the report, and the mandate of the Summit, required the community to take responsibility for ensuring safety and security, and to do so by addressing the underlying social issues contributing to crime. Community agencies, organizations, police, government and citizens had to be partners in the prevention of criminal activity.

In June 1994, a Community Summit Steering Committee comprised of representatives from stakeholders and constituencies in the Region of Peel was assembled. It was formed to ensure full representation, and therefore ownership, throughout the planning and implementation of this initiative.

MISSISSAUGA *choke* YOUTH PLAN

The Community Summit took place on September 30 and October 1, 1994. Over 130 delegates, representing a wide cross-section of the community members, service providers, stakeholders, and political representatives, participated. Delegates pledged their commitment to the Summit’s objectives by signing a Declaration of Intent which read:

We, the undersigned, publicly declare our commitment to the fostering of a safe and secure community through local partnerships and initiatives, through a sense of ownership of both problems and solutions, and through pride in what has been and will be achieved in the Region of Peel.

PEEL YOUTH CHARTER 2007

PAGE 3

A total of twelve workshops focusing on issues specific to Peel Region were offered on Saturday. Workshop topics evolved through considerable research with stakeholders, service providers and community members as to which issues were most important and relevant to the Region of Peel.

The workshop topics were: Crime Prevention; Collaborative Action (taking control through partnership); Revitalizing Neighbourhoods; Youth and Crime; Building Relations Between Cultural Groups; Substance Abuse; Weapons Use; Family Safety and Security; Investing in our Future; Safety in the Home (domestic violence); and the Role of Senior Governments.

From these workshops, delegates generated a total of over eighty recommendations. These have been condensed into twelve specific proposals which are listed below. This report has been distributed to all stakeholders and bodies to whom the recommendations are addressed, as well as to all delegates and interested parties. A mailing list has been created to keep the community informed as to future happenings.

The Steering Committee will reconvene in one year to discuss the progress made on the implementation of each recommendation and to determine the next step or further course of action. In the interim, it was determined the Regional Task Force (Recommendation 3) would be the group best able to encourage, monitor and record progress made on the recommendations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 1: Crime Prevention

Delegates recommend that crime prevention initiatives be unique and tailored to local communities. It is recognized that the two existing Crime Prevention Associations are the best vehicle for program development and implementation. A process of accountability and evaluation should be built into programs to ensure achievement of goals and cost-effectiveness.

Mississauga Councillor PAT SAITO on the Peel Youth Charter (3 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip of Google Video)

Recommendation 2: Security of Property

Delegates recommend that:

PAGE 4

Recommendation 3: Regional Task Force

Delegates recommend that the Regional government initiate and set up a Strategic Task Force to create a Strategic Plan for safety and security issues in the Region. The Task Force would co-ordinafe specific projects at the Regional level. This would complement and overlay the work of the local Crime Prevention Associations. A multi-disciplinary sub-committee of the Task Force should develop a youth strategy targeted at youth most at risk. The Task Force would also review funding levels and sources, and lobby the senior levels of government on crime prevention issues.

ETHICAL INFRASTRUCTURE for YOUTH


Recommendation 4: Planning

Delegates recommend that:

MissCorpSec guard prevents kids from entering (faces brushed)_

(kids’ faces slightly “brushed” for anonymity)

Recommendation 5: National Crime Prevention Council

Delegates recommend that:

—     The Justice computer network;

—     National Crime Prevention Council newsletters;

—     the creation of a database of information and contacts;

—     the Council hosting practitioners’ conferences;

—     the Council providing for training materials;

Recommendation 6: Youth

Delegates recognize the importance of preventing youth from becoming involved in criminal activity. It is recommended that:

PAGE 5

MALTON COMMUNITY CENTRE "without cause"

Recommendation 7: Programs In Schools

Delegates recommend that:

Recommendation 8: Skills Training

Delegates recommend that, for the purpose of raising individual self-esteem, recipients of social assistance be required to attend skills training sessions which focus on topics such as job skills, parenting skills and social skills.

Recommendation 9: Cultural Diversity

Delegates recommend that government funding at all levels be targeted towards:

MissCorpSec welcome wagon Malton Youth Meeting

PAGE 6

Recommendation 10: Substance Abuse

Delegates recommend that:

Recommendation 11: Weapons Use

Delegates recommend that:

Recommendation 12: Media, Television & Film Industry

Delegates recommend:

(NOVEMBER 17, 1994) DOCUMENT ENDS

 

And I might as well….

Video: PEEL YOUTH CHARTER PRESENTATION to MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL 071024 (19 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip of Google Video)

 

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

 

“I hope that the people we hire are sensitive to the fact that we are dealing with the public and we should give them every understanding possible.” (Hazel McCallion on Mississauga Corporate Security, March 17, 2007 Audit Committee Meeting)

“Social issues should not concern you.” (One City of Mississauga Commissioner, One Director, and One Manager to The Mississauga Muse)

Peel Regional Council Inaugural on 061207

`The truth is that we, as a society – all of us – simply don’t consider children very important. We talk a good game but we don’t think kids are as important as other things, like fixing the roads.’ (Jim Paul Nevins (Ontario Court Judge October 4, 2001 report)

 

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The “homeless” Mississauga Muse attracts the attention of Maui Police

August 17th, 2008  

"honu" keeps a respectful distance as 5690 excavates her nest site

My husband watches 5690 as she nests in the shadows

Every summer in an even numbered year my husband and I have had a taste of what it is to be homeless. Last Tuesday we got our first taste of what it’s like to be homeless, to be approached by three police officers at 3:15 AM, and to know that their two police cars just rolled in exclusively for you.

Yes, every summer in an even numbered year, we get a teeny taste of having No Pot-to-Pee-In.  2008 was the first summer, however, in which I experienced “homelessness” as The Mississauga Muse. (The last year we spent all night in a park was 2006, and I hadn’t yet begun my research into municipal government and especially its relationship with those “at-risk”  –those citizens who need government most.)

I’m by far a different person than I was two years ago — I now see POWER through a different lens.

MISISSAUGAWATCH BECOMES TURTLEWATCH

MISSISSAUGAWATCH turns TURTLE WATCH

The Mississauga Muse watches the sand-flinging stage through binoculars

Just like in 2002, 2004, and 2006, a Hawaiian green turtle named 5690 (for the metal tag she once bore) nests at Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. My husband and I “babysit” her — for as long as it takes.  Some nestings, she returns to the ocean well into sunrise.  Sometimes we stay all night and must return the next because 5690 “false crawled” — meaning she searched, dug, searched some more, didn’t like conditions and finally, deep into the night, returned to the ocean without laying her eggs.

So we’ve spent many a night on the beach with West Maui’s homeless.  This summer, we’d been surprised at how few people actually used Kamehameha Iki Parkto crash the night away.  Still, it’s a busy place at night and that’s why 5690 needs babysitting.  Not that we fear someone would harm her.  Rather, when a sea turtle first crawls up the beach and especially when she first starts to dig her nest, she’s easily disturbed.

We had reports from a Hawaiian guy at the canoe hale that 5690 had attracted “50 people” earlier in the summer and been forced back into the water.  Last Tuesday was the third time we’d played “bodyguard” for a momma honu. It was the first time though that she attracted enough people that we had to do some “crowd control”.

Once people realize that they’re not going to get their close looks or their photographs (no flash allowed), and the best they can get are distant glimpses of a rounded shell and flung sand, most leave.  That’s just how it is.  People don’t seem to have much attention span.

THE BEACH PEOPLE

On Tuesday night at around 9:30, when 5690 first emerged from the ocean, she inched her way up the beach.  The decent-sized moon made watching her through binoculars easier.  As she got further up to the highwater line, I noticed a man and a woman sitting in the sand by the seawall under cover of darkness. 5690 was certain to crawl right past them.  They watched motionless and I watched them watching her.

All went well until the turtle turned towards them.  That’s when I realized they weren’t just a Hawaiian couple enjoying a Lahaina night.  The woman picked up a blanket, shook it, while the man woke up two kids.  My binoculars revealed a Hawaiian family suddenly forced to sleep further down the beach.  I felt badly.

The respect they showed the turtle was impressive.  Fact is, in our experience the beach people — the ones there in the middle of the night — are always respectful of 5690 and even protective.  It’s the visitors, the people who wander over when the luau at the hotel next door is finished, the tourists out for an evening stroll on the beach, those are the ones most likely to approach and disturb 5690.

On this night, for a long time the turtle fussed about, trying to find just the right spot.  By the time she finally settled in to fling blasts of sand, she’d attracted just such a crowd.  While my husband managed to convince them that the turtle needed a respectful distance, they still caused a constant play of moving shadows over her because of the park lights.  We worried that this might disturb her, but she kept digging around until long after the crowd dispersed.

She didn’t find things to her liking, however.  She went back to the water at eleven.  We knew we were in for an all-nighter.

We feared that she wouldn’t come back until the next night, but just before midnight, 5690 made her second emergence.  She headed straight for where she’d made four of her other nests, and quickly found a promising patch of sand.  In fact, it was almost exactly where she’d laid eggs for nest #2, which fortunately had already hatched.

"Honu" checks for the quiet of egglaying

Shielding his eyes from the strong park lighting, Peter checks for progress.

No crowd this time but we needed to keep an eye on her anyway.  Hawaiian turtle nesting goes through stages: enthusiastic digging (clearing for the nest), small tufts of sand flung about (digging her egg chamber), a point where she’s almost vertical (rear feet carving out the very bottom of her nest) and then quiet (lays eggs).

We always watch for the egg drop and then use a stick to mark it for the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) people who’ll excavate the nest once the main group of hatchlings have done their thing down the beach, roughly 55-60 days after mom first planted them in the sand.

Placing the marker near the egg chamber

Ursula (The Mississauga Muse) places a stick near 5690’s egg chamber

Well, she laid her eggs at 1:26 am, finished at 1:43, and then the longest part of the nesting process began — the concealing-her-nest stage.  That usually takes her about two hours. We have to stay no matter what to make sure she returns to the ocean safely.  (Last nesting two weeks earlier, after she finished her reproductive duties, the turtle had no moon shining on the ocean to cue her.   The bright yellow lights of the park became her “ocean” and she turned the wrong way heading towards land — for the parking lot and the road! That’s why we stay for as long as she needs us.)

It’s those wee hours at Kamehameha Iki Parkwhen she’s covering up that affords us time to take turns lying down, looking up at the stars or just snoozing.  It’s also during those wee hours at Kamehameha Iki Park when people happen.

Most don’t notice the turtle, they just see us and assume we’re homeless crashing for the night. It’s those wee hours at Kamehameha Iki Park when young couples do their young couple thing.  It’s those wee hours at Kamehameha Iki Park when the drunken and the stoned find a respectful distance thinking that we too are drunk, stoned, and/or homeless.

"HONU" nn watch as The Mississauga Muse snoozes

Peter watches as The Mississauga Muse takes a break. (Yes, that’s a City of Mississauga flag…)

At one point we caught the whiff of some major pakalolo.  Through the shadows we could barely make out a local stroll into the park drawing on a joint the size of a cigar!  Quel Cheech and Chong!  A half hour later, around 3 am, we saw him swimming (head only out of the water) along the entire beach.  We both bet had he stood up there’d have been two moons over Lahaina!

Ah, the Kamehameha Iki Park night crowd.  A half dozen teens by the seawall.  A couple somewhere in the ocean swimming.  Now this head making its way along the shoreline. Who knows who else was in shadow. And through it all *THWACK THWACK* — the sound of a mother turtle covering her nest.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH's Turtle Watch

The Mississauga Muse checks in on 5690 (foreground)

THE MISSISSAUGA MUSE BAMBI CAUGHT IN HEADLIGHTS

The Maui County street cleaner truck had been by twice already.  Then we heard a car roll in — Maui Police, followed by another.  Two officers, then a third, got out and approached.  I had zero doubt they showed up because of us.  The street cleaners would’ve seen us in the strong lights of the park.

I have to tell you I was not dressed my best — baggy camouflage pants (the better to keep sand away from your rude parts when you’re lying down peering at a sea turtle through binoculars) a tie-dye shirt, my Canada cap complete with peace sign button.  Quel Throw-Back to The Sixties.

Fortunately even the oldest of the three officers looked like he’d been just a toddler back then.  I looked around to see how the others were handling this turn of events.  The teens, the toker and the quiet drunks had evaporated leaving just us and three Maui police officers.

Cordial greeting, “How you doin’ folks?” a quick glance at our sandy blanket.  Clearly we were spending the night in the park.

And so we told them we were “babysitting” a nesting sea turtle.  We pointed to 5690 and the three officers were charmed.

“WOW!  I never saw a nesting turtle before!”

Flashlight turns on.  EEK!  ACCCKK! Then another.  Only it’s not smart to say  “EEK!  ACCCKK! Turn off the lights!” to three police officers.

“Wait, officer, I have a flashlight with red filter.  Try this.”  I aim my light at 5690‘s shell and they approach for a closer look.  She heaves an impressive cloud of sand to their delight. We tell the officers that she’s almost done covering up and she’s minutes away from returning to the ocean.  We invite them to stay.

Maui Police officers Kamehameha Iki Park

Peter and three Maui police officers watch 5690 nest at Kamehameha Iki Park

One officer asked my husband how many times we’d seen this turtle nest.

“Oh, about a dozen times now”…

“Then you can’t be as excited as I am,” said the officer.  What can I say?  Sea turtles just do that to people.

Just before leaving a second officer gravitates towards our gear bag and I figure he might ask what’s in it — maybe wondering if we had alcohol or pakalolo (no).  He sees the tripod, “Foodland” grocery bag, and binoculars scattered about.  He’s satisfied.  They stay long enough to ask a few questions about baby sea turtles.

We invite them again to stay (imagine this sea turtle having a police “escort” into the ocean) but the officers say they have to make their rounds.  Actually it’s a good thing they did leave — she took a tad longer than we expected.  I do have to say that police do make a difference — for the rest of the time we and 5690 had the park entirely to ourselves…

Moon sinks past Lanai as 5690 is almost finished

5690 still covering her nest as an almost full moon sinks behind the Island of Lanai

5690 returned to the ocean at 4:02 am.  We hammered in some stakes to mark her nest, wove caution tape around, marked the location of the egg chamber for the DLNR folks and got home by 5 — *sigh* home… a real bed.

That’s the difference — a few nights every even numbered year we’re “homeless” by choice.

Mahalo nui loa to The Kamehameha Iki ParkBeach People who watch over 5690 when we can’t.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGAWATCH and TURTLE TRAX

For more about Hawaiian green turtles, please visit our website, TURTLE TRAX at: www.turtles.org

 

 

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