Politics Briefing: Indigenous and Black offenders remained in custody longer: Auditor-General


The Auditor-General released findings on Tuesday about systemic barriers at the Correctional Service of Canada, including that a majority of offenders were released on parole before the end of their sentences, but Indigenous and Black offenders remained in custody longer and at higher levels of security.

The audit was released as part of a batch of spring reports from the office of Parliament and looked whether the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) programs address the diversity of the population in prison to provide a successful and safe return to the community.

Its main findings include the CSC has failed to address and eliminate the systemic barriers that persistently disadvantaged certain groups of offenders in custody identified in previous audits. It also said the CSC failed to develop a plan for its work force to better reflect the diversity of the offender population.

Parliamentary Reporter Kristy Kirkup, Investigative Reporter Tom Cardoso and Reporter Michelle Carbert report here.

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HARD DRUGS DECRIMINALIZED IN BC – British Columbia will become the first jurisdiction in Canada to decriminalize possession of “hard” drugs such as illicit fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Story here.

Reporters Comment, Andrea Woo: When this exemption comes into effect in January, British Columbia will be the first province to remove criminal penalties for possessing personal amounts of illicit drugs. Spurred by the catastrophic death toll in our toxic drug crisis, it is a significant change that supporters say reflects evolving societal attitudes and understanding about substance use. It also brings B.C. closer in line with provincial and federal government messaging about addiction being a health issue that cannot be cured with punitive measures.”

NG UNDER ETHICS INVESTIGATION – The federal ethics commissioner has opened an investigation into the conduct of International Trade Minister Mary Ng over a contract given to a company co-founded by a Liberal strategist. Story here.

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES HANDGUN FREEZE – The federal Liberals have introduced new firearms-control legislation that would freeze the import, sale and transfer of handguns, but would not go as far as banning them outright. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new legislation, Bill C-21, at a news conference on Monday. The measures would allow existing owners to keep their handguns. Story here.

CANADA ANNOUNCES NEW SANCTIONS – Canada has imposed sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, who is reportedly the girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Story here.

REPORT URGES ARMED FORCES TO NEW SEXUAL MISCONDUCT MEASURES – The Canadian Armed Forces has failed in its attempts to stamp out sexual misconduct and should permanently move all criminal sexual offences to the civilian system, turn over harassment complaints to the human rights commission, appoint an external monitor and consider scrapping Canada’s military colleges, finds a sweeping new report. Story here.

PM OFFERS A PRAYER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a prayer of peace and spoke of moving together on the difficult path of reconciliation at Tuesday’s National Prayer Breakfast. Story here.

NEW LOCATION FOR CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS IN NATION’S CAPITAL – Large-scale Canada Day celebrations will return to the national capital July 1, with most of the action taking place in a park just west of Parliament Hill instead of on the Hill. Story here.

B.C.’S “TEETERING” HOSPITAL SYSTEM NEEDS FEDERAL FUNDING: HORGAN – British Columbia’s “teetering” hospital system needs more federal funding, Premier John Horgan said, as he addressed recent temporary ward closures at hospitals in rural communities. Story here.

ONTARIO ELECTION: As Thursday’s Ontario election looms, there’s a Globe and Mail guide here to the leaders and party platforms. Meanwhile Ontario Election Today traces the campaign commitments today of the major party leaders.


CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is campaigning across Ontario this week. Jean Charest is campaigning in Montreal. Leslyn Lewis is in Newfoundland and Labrador, campaigning in Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook. Meanwhile Pierre Poilievre is holding a meet and greet with supporters and party members in Saskatoon. No details available for Roman Baber and Patrick Brown.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May 31 , accessible here.

GUILBEAULT IN STOCKHOLM – In Stockholm, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault hosted the sixth Ministerial meeting on Climate Action, which occurs at the halfway point between COP26, held in Glasgow in late 2021, and COP27, to be held in Egypt in late 2022.

ALGHABRA AND PROJECT RAMADAN – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Senator Salma Attaullahjan were at the Sir John A. McDonald Building in Ottawa for Project Ramadan, a non-profit initiative under the Muslim Welfare Centre of Toronto that fundraises, assembles and distributes baskets containing staple food items during the holy month of Ramadan to families in need, regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

DION REPORTS ETHICS HIGHLIGHTS – Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has tabled a report on the highlights of his office’s activities activities and performance in the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The report is here.

TRUDEL HAS COVID – Denis Trudel, Bloc Québécois MP for the Montreal-area riding of Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, has tested positive for COVID-19 with a rapid test, and, as a result, placed himself in isolation in his residence.


On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Mahdis Habibinia talks about the subscription fatigue streaming services and subscription services more broadly (like fitness apps, grocery delivery, and meal kits) are facing after they saw a surge of consumers at the beginning of the pandemic. Ms. Habibinia reported on the story for The Globe’s Report on Business. She explains why this fatigue is setting in, what companies are doing about it and why, even though many of us are overwhelmed with the amount of choice, subscription-based services are likely here to not only stay, but actually increase in number. The Decibel is here.


In Ottawa, the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend a National Prayer Breakfast of Canada and deliver remarks, and then to chair the cabinet meeting and attend question period.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media scrum on the federal government’s firearms legislation, and attended question period.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was scheduled to attend the groundbreaking, in Oshawa, of the waterfront park named for former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent, and attend a luncheon celebrating the park.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Employment Insurance was supposed to offer employment insurance, and what happened to that goal:Reforming something as old and big as EI won’t be easy. The changes of the 1990s were provoked by a budget crisis. The pandemic – which reminded everyone of the need for a robust unemployment insurance program, even as it revealed EI’s limitations – provides a new urgent impetus.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on whether the Liberals will finally find the guts to oversee the military: Now, it is a good thing Mr. Trudeau seemed to recognize this failing, albeit under the duress of political controversy. His government appointed Ms. Arbour. A new minister, Anita Anand, was tasked with delivering reform. Better late than never. Maybe. The problem now is that Mr. Trudeau and his ministers still don’t seem to have found the guts to oversee the military. You know – beyond rhetoric. It is a basic duty of the government of the day to ensure civilian control of the military, but the Liberals have been too distracted, and too scared, to exert control.”

Jeanette Ageson, Matthew DiMera, Jeff Elgie, and Lela Savic (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada’s Online News Act needs to be transparent and equitable: “When the Liberal federal government announced its intention to support Canada’s news industry, it said it wanted to sustain local journalism, support innovation in news and ensure diversity in the news industry. Bill C-18, the Online News Act currently before Parliament, guarantees none of these things.”

Ake Blomqvist and Rosalie Wyonch (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on trying to fix the Dutch model to fix Canadian health care: Canada should give serious thought to drawing on the Dutch example and modifying our model of universal health insurance so that it would also allow consumers to choose among alternative competing plans, whether public or private. The Dutch multipayer model of “managed competition” preserves the principles of universal insurance and an equitable sharing of health care costs. Universality is ensured by means of compulsory insurance, and equity is attained through requirements that plans have open enrollment.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on Alberta’s finance minister entering the leadership race, with others in a holding pattern: Alberta is entering a strange leaderless period just as the province needs strong, sensible government. Premier Jason Kenney is entering a lame-duck phase. There will be no new legislation before fall. He’s said to be going on vacation soon. Another politician who will run is Todd Loewen, the Central Peace-Notley MLA who was kicked out of caucus for demanding that Kenney resign. [Finance Minister Travis] Toews, from Grande Prairie-Wapiti, will be backed by many (although not all) of Kenney’s campaign team, and by some donors. The Kenney connection may not be the best recommendation to the voters. Toews’ candidacy would remind some veterans of Jim Dinning, who ran as the steady-hand successor to Ralph Klein in 2006.He lost. It’s hard to maintain a lead over many months while dragging along the history of your government.”

Vaughn Palmer (The Vancouver Sun) on what B.C. will do if Ottawa refuses a health-care funding boost: “[Premier John] Horgan has been reluctant to entertain the possibility that talks with Ottawa on increasing the health transfer could fail. “I don’t want to imagine that,” he told reporters earlier this month. “I believe the federal government understands their role. We had a very collaborative relationship through COVID. … So I don’t want to imagine what will happen if we don’t come to agreement.” That was the premier on May 19. On Monday, he indicated that the province is having to consider the possibility that Ottawa’s cheque will never be in the mail. “We are planning, assuming, that we don’t get the money,” he conceded.”

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