National Newswatch

Fundraising amid pandemic ‘incredibly difficult’ for Green leadership hopefuls as Paul takes clear lead

Aug 12 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — The latest fundraising figures suggest one Green Party leadership candidate is pulling ahead, doubling the next nearest contender in total raised to date despite what she called an “incredibly difficult” climate for fundraising amid the pandemic. Ontario lawyer and leadership contender Annamie Paul’s $84,735 represented 38 per cent of all of the hopeful’s hauls in […]

Sitting Alberta Senators mixed on planned provincial nominee vote that raises constitutional questions

Jul 29 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — Next fall, the Alberta government plans to hold Senate nominee elections in the first contest since a 2014 Supreme Court decision on the subject. However, an election is likely a “wasted” and expensive exercise, said one constitutional expert, and would almost certainly face legal challenge—an assessment that has divided some of Alberta’s Red Chamber representatives. […]

RCMP report 62 per cent uptick in mental health, wellness call response as critics demand better data

Jul 22 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — The RCMP have seen a 62 per cent increase in mental health and well-being calls over the last five years—worrying but incomplete results that have critics demanding better data and redoubling calls for an inquiry into police-involved deaths for those in crisis. In 2019, the RCMP responded to 149,986 mental health and well-being checks, up […]

‘I felt silenced’: voices missing from Upper Chamber’s systemic racism debate, say some Senators, highlighting need for hybrid model

Jul 1 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — Witnessing the Red Chamber debate on systemic racism from afar was tough on Senators who have lived the experiences but couldn’t be in Ottawa, and while some accepted the pandemic made that unavoidable, others say it demonstrates why virtual sittings are so important. It was hard for Progressive Senator Lillian Dyck to watch a colleague […]

Black businesses say they’re left out of procurement opportunities, COVID relief despite obvious gaps

Jun 24 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — Black-owned businesses say they have been devastated by COVID-19 and the government needs to “step in,” both through funding directly to the community and by revamping a federal procurement system that they say is leaving them out. It’s heartbreaking to see so many businesses closing and at risk, said Andria Barrett, president of the Canadian […]

The ‘afterlife of slavery’: defund, reform Canada’s prisons, advocates call, after watchdog says ‘very little’ has improved for Black inmates

Jun 17 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — Seven years after Canada’s prison watchdog report detailed the systemic discrimination Black men and women experience inside the country’s prisons, the office says “very little” has changed as advocates call for “aggressive” reform. Black Canadians continue to be overrepresented in federal prisons, in segregation, and in use-of-force incidents, said Correctional Investigator of Canada Ivan Zinger […]

Black communities need more than ‘Band-Aid’ funding, say advocates

Jun 10 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — For too long Black Canadians have felt like a “broken record,” replaying the same recommendations to combat obvious inequality with only “Band-Aid money” applied to redress systemic wrongs, say Black leaders in the wake of protests across the country demanding action on anti-Black racism. Like many in her community, Federation of Black Canadians chair Dahabo […]

Health agency reveals race-based data guideline as calls grow for nation-wide collection

May 27 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — In response to calls for better demographic data to understand health inequities and COVID-19, this week the Canadian Institute for Health Information is releasing an interim race data standard that public health agencies can use. Many advocates, though, are pushing for more than advice, saying the federal government has a leadership role to play to […]

Canada’s information czar says feds need to send ‘serious message’ about access innovation amid COVID-19

May 20 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — COVID-19 is expected to cause further delays to an already “overwhelmed” system, warns Canada’s information commissioner, while also calling for stable funding to her office, which already faces a 49 per cent increase in complaints. Outside of the pandemic, Caroline Maynard says her office has at least 5,000 outstanding complaints, from the 3,346 on file […]

Quebec CPC membership votes more important than low leadership donations, say politicos

May 13 2020 — Samantha Wright Allen — All four Conservative leadership hopefuls have reported low fundraising numbers in Quebec to start the year, amounting to three per cent of all funds raised this race in a province that will be key to the next leaders’ coronation. That doesn’t mean they aren’t active and recruiting support in Quebec, suggest some Conservative politicians, who […]