Roundup: The political theatre of ankle monitors

Despite a pilot project showing that they didn’t really work as well as they’d hoped, Corrections Canada is nevertheless going forward with rolling out more anklet monitors for parolees. But it’s the sense of security that someone is keeping an eye on these offenders that’s important – right? So long as they look like they’re doing something, no matter that what they’re actually doing isn’t working is what’s really important, no? That bit of political theatre is pretty much the hallmark of their justice agenda.

Michael Petrou at Maclean’s tries to sort out the business of whether or not we’re giving aid dollars to Syrian rebels. Meanwhile, Canadian Relief For Syrian are still trying to figure out what happened on the government’s end.

Andrew Mitrovica takes on Chuck Strahl’s responses about his new role as the chair of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee, and pretty much calls him out for being a government lapdog and not someone who will be an effective watchdog of CSIS.

Experts warn that the cuts to refugee health benefits will disproportionately affect those who need mental health services, especially when you consider that a lot of refugees are coming from traumatising situations and are in most need of these kinds of services.

Stephen Harper is off on his annual Arctic summer tour.

Thomas Mulcair confirms that the NDP will be building a provincial wing in Quebec before the province’s next election. I wonder what kind of a position this will put all of his MPs who are Quebec Solidaire supporters into, let alone the (crypto-) sovereigntists in his caucus? Will it further split the federalist vote and guarantee separatist victories? Is this an example of Mulcair reading too much into the last federal election results? Plenty of things to ponder.

As the one-year anniversary of Jack Layton’s death approaches, here’s a look back at the creation of his final letter.

Over in the upcoming court case of the Council of Canadians trying to overturn the results in those seven ridings, the Conservatives have filed an affidavit that casts doubt on the survey data about robocalls that the Council are using to support their case.

More fun revelations from the Bank of Canada’s focus groups – this time about the appearance of an “Asian-looking woman” on the new hundred dollar bills. Of course, any time I hear about focus groups, I am reminded of episode two of The Thick Of It (which you must now watch to get what I mean).

And Susan Delacourt muses on the subject of mandatory voting by looking at how the decline in the use of “duty” in the twentieth century paralleled the rise of “choice,” as much as “consumer” and “citizen” had a similar oppositional trajectory. But as for mandatory voting being a cure for voter suppression tactics, well, that’s a lot like firing off a cannon to hit a fly, and there’s little in the way of actual proof that mandatory voting produces a more engaged electorate either.