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Stories by Samantha Wright Allen

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.
The timing of the new status order—coming days before countries, including the 55 AU member nations, voted on Canada’s bid for the UN Security Council seat—is notable, say former diplomats.
Plus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is convening a virtual cabinet retreat Monday ahead of Wednesday’s first summer hearing where he's likely to face questions on the government’s fiscal plan and yet another ethics inves
Senator Mobina Jaffer is among those who say the in-person-only approach to spring Senate sittings limited participation and worries it will remain in place when Parliament returns in September.
‘We need to address poverty and support community programs to prevent many of the situations that police are being asked to handle with guns and handcuffs,' says NDP critic Don Davies.
In May organizations logged 1,998 lobbying reports, with economic development, health, and industry among the most discussed matters.
Black business associations say Canada has mechanisms in place that could immediately help their members have equal access to federal procurement from which they say most are 'shut out because of race.'
‘It’s a racist system. We live it,’ says one Black prisoner of Canada's correctional system. ‘We’re seen as rigid, defiant, very combative, non-compliant. These are the labels we get.’
The COVID-19 crisis is not an environment that favours opposition parties, which need to be wary of public perceptions given Canadians' support for cross-partisan co-operation, says pollster Frank Graves.
Promises to address racism are ‘meaningless’ without good data, says researcher Malinda Smith, who says Canada’s collection is ‘very poor.’
‘There has to be a faster way that these measures can support Black communities… We don’t have time,’ says Federation of Black Canadians chair Dahabo Ahmed Omer.
Consultations are ‘dragging on,’ say some who argue COVID-19 shouldn’t be used as an excuse for slow work and bad communication from the Liberals.
Four hours to study $87-billion in government spending is inadequate, says Liberal MP John McKay, calling it ‘short-term gain for a long-term pain.’
'We’re living a gigantic world-wide experiment of geology, economy, and psychology, and we will only know later what happened,' says German Ambassador Sabine Sparwasser.
The government says it’s developing a new portal in ‘record time’ to help fund arts, culture, and sport organizations, while opposition MPs say a plan for the sector has been too slow.
‘Until we know where the discrepancies and inequities in health are, we can never tackle them,’ says the Alliance for Healthier Communities.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino says about 30,000 agriculture workers have arrived in Canada since the start of 2020.
‘Deep change is possible and it can happen fast,’ says the CEO of Ocean Wise Conservation Association, which helped push the Environment Minister among the most-lobbied in cabinet in the last two months.
Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard says the limitations some departments are facing to fill access requests, like needing to print out electronic documents, are ‘ridiculous.’
Taiwan was the most frequent— and expensive—destination, totalling $90,000 and making up 40 per cent of all claimed travel.
Quebec donations to CPC leadership candidates made up three per cent of the total they raised in the first quarter— down from seven per cent in the 2017 race—despite the province making up 23 per cent of the vote.
'We are getting too close to our worst-case scenario,' says CAPE, the union representing staff interpreters on Parliament Hill.
With the operation to bring far-flung Canadians home in the face of COVID-19 about ’80 per cent’ done, Liberal MP Rob Oliphant reflects on the Herculean task.
‘How do we tackle the core issue here around misogynist violence against women?' asks Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard. ‘That has to be a national issue.’
‘It’s been a season of virtual or e-lobby days for every single sector, all at the same time because the entire economy has been impacted,' says Yaroslav Baran. 
‘The land is there, the people are there, the need is there, the funding is there,’ says prison advocate Calvin Neufeld.
Air carriers could be weeks away from grounding fleets if more support isn’t given, warns Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson. 
Every year on April 24, the embassy participates in a march to remember the more than 1.5 million people who died during the First World War.
Communities halting construction on clean drinking water solutions say they face an unfair choice: ‘protecting yourself from one health risk in order to eliminate another one.’
‘We cannot be deprived for a long time from this tool to reach out to our constituents,’ says Bloc MP Stéphane Bergeron.
MPs say COVID-19 case work is consuming their days, and they're turning to ‘imaginative’ ways of reaching out to make sure constituents' needs are met and their voices heard.
‘We are very worried,’ echoes one psychiatrist whose association is preparing a ‘call to action’ to governments.

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