Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Poverty, isolation, hopelessness and Gladue

R. v. Attutuvaa, 2013 NUCJ 10 shows that poverty has a significant Gladue implication:

[27] The Supreme Court of Canada requires the sentencing judge to take judicial notice of systemic factors that have impacted, and are now impacting, the aboriginal communities of Canada. This Court has done so. The Nunavut Court of Justice travels to all the communities of Nunavut. The Court is acutely aware of prevailing social and economic conditions in Nunavut.
[28] Citizens growing up in Nunavut's communities are all affected, some more, some less, by conditions of extreme isolation. Employment opportunities are few. Meaningful opportunities for career advancement are often non-existent. Many youth have lost, or are losing touch with their language and culture, and with a life on the land.
[29] All Nunavummiut long for the material comforts and lifestyles depicted on television; for many citizens of Nunavut, young and old alike, these benefits remain out of reach. With no means of advancement, many are faced with a life of poverty. Poverty breeds hopelessness. For some, drug and alcohol abuse provides relief from this reality and the hardships associated with it. Anger, frustration, and depression are usually the bitter by- products of a life and lifestyle dependent upon alcohol. For others, suicide becomes a means of escape.

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