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Opinion

History repeats itself: overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons is alarming

By A’aishah Abdul Hameed      

The 'Indigenization' of the Canadian correctional system is a product of structural inequalities entrenched in the legal system. The numbers are even more disturbing for Indigenous women, who now make up 42 per cent of the prisoner population in Canada.

Independent Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, pictured during a prison visit in the last Parliament as part of the Senate Human Rights Committee's study on Canada's prisons. The crisis of Indigenous overrepresentation in Canadian prisons is a pressing human rights issue that calls for immediate action. The problem in part is due to the legal and political paradigms that remain an injustice to Indigenous offenders, writes A’aishah Abdul Hameed. Photograph courtesy of the Senate of Canada

TORONTO—The endemic overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons is a systemic issue that transcends beyond carceral walls. Indigenous people account for five per cent of Canada’s general population and yet, the proportion of Indigenous people in federal custody has exceeded 30 per cent, Correctional Investigator of Canada Ivan Zinger reports.

MPs back more modest option for Parliament visitors’ centre as Centre Block renos roll on

'I appreciate we’re not going for the Cadillac option. …  The larger option was much more expensive,' says NDP House Leader Peter Julian. 'We’re talking about over $110-million in savings.'

Canada ‘ill-prepared’ for potential coronavirus second wave, says Senate committee

News|By Beatrice Paez
The committee noted that the Public Health Agency of Canada has yet to revise or finalize its guidance for long-term care homes in light of concerns about its current relevance.

Cultural assessments needed for sentencing reform, say advocates, amid calls to address high Black incarceration rates

Justice advocates agree with the Black Parliamentary Caucus’ recent call for pre-sentencing reports, similar to the Gladue reports for Indigenous offenders, to be used for racialized Canadians.

Disaggregated data key to ensuring representative workplaces, say experts, as PMO skirts Black staff statistic

The PMO declined to provide a specific breakdown of self-identified Black staffers among cabinet offices when asked, but says it plans to circulate further voluntary surveys to better understand its staff ‘later this sum

Argentina, Chile, DRC, Hungary, and Madagascar say they backed Canada’s UN Security Council bid, but closest allies are silent

News|By Neil Moss
The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand were among 17 countries that wouldn't comment on whether they backed Canada's recent bid for a Security Council seat.

Feds’ fiscal snapshot puts deficit at more than $340-billion, with promise of an update in fall

News|By Beatrice Paez
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says a decision on whether the government intends to release a full budget in the fall will be dependent on efforts at managing the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Feds should more clearly verify who is allowed to repay student loans at reduced rates, says auditor general

News|By Palak Mangat
According to an auditor general report, ESDC 'did not properly check the accuracy of applications.'

Poor data, deficiencies in case management to blame for slow pace in enforcing deportation orders, says auditor general

News|By Beatrice Paez
According to CBSA, most of the cases in its 'wanted' inventory involve individuals 'considered a low risk to public safety and are not an agency priority.'

Canada needs to protect Arctic sovereignty to confront emboldened Putin, say MP and expert

News|By Neil Moss
Liberal MP John McKay says there will be 'incursions and intrusions and aggressive actions taken increasingly in the Arctic' by Russia.
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