Review: The 74%

Twenty-six percent of all new federal prisoners have already served time, which begs the question: Whatever happened to the other 74 percent who served time and never returned? On The Outside looks for answers. The result is fresh and compelling research on life after prison. The authors interview longtime inmates including those jailed for serious violent crimes that once earned the death penalty. One hides his past from his children and “aspires to a simple life filled with laughter.” Another complains he must learn how to buy groceries: “People have been cooking my meals for twenty-two years and all of a sudden I gotta cook my breakfast.” A third ex-convict is upset by the loss of civility in polite society: “Personal rudeness in the prison system is not tolerated under any circumstances, at least in the old days when I was there.” On The Outside is no celebration of rehabilitation. Former inmates interviewed by the authors appear broken men, some guilt-ridden, some unapologetic. READ MORE

Plead For Contractors’ Help

The $657 million-a year Public Health Agency is hiring private contractors by the hour to manage its pandemic response. The plea for outside help follows the Prime Minister’s boast that Canada was “among the best prepared countries in the world” when Covid struck. READ MORE

Oppose “Bias” In Food Guide

The Department of Health will spend more than $90,000 to encourage Canadians to eat more ‘culturally diverse’ foods. Staff awarded a contract to a Canada Food Guide consultant who complained too many white people run restaurants: "The wine industry is overwhelmingly white." READ MORE

Gov’t Denies Score-Settling

The Public Health Agency in a briefing note denies blacklisting a federal grant application by a scientist who criticized its work. Professor Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa’s School of Epidemiology told MPs he was asked to remove his name from a funding request because “I was negative.” READ MORE

PM Rejects Covid “Passport”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday rejected any scheme to require that Canadians prove whether they’ve been vaccinated for Covid-19. The issue is too divisive, he said: "There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated." READ MORE

‘Extreme Wealth’ Tax Is $1M

A federal proposal to tax “extreme wealth” would raise one million dollars next year, the Parliamentary Budget Office said yesterday. It would take more than a decade to see more serious revenues, analysts said: "Revenues generated by this new measure will gradually increase over the next few years." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Senator Scott Tannas

Remembering Georgina

We see alcoholism, crime and violence among Indigenous people and say, “Oh, well, that’s just the way they are.” We grew up this way on the Prairies. One recollection haunts me. I was a teenage lifeguard at the High River swimming pool where a little girl came to swim. Her name was Georgina.