Canada's shame

Lost in the fuss as governments of British Columbia and Canada act to expropriate rights and lands of the Wet’suwet’en people is a sad situation that already gave proof to what should be Canada’s greatest shame.

Soaring rates of Indigenous people in prison ‘unacceptable,’ says federal watchdog

Indigenous people in Canada make up about five per cent of the country’s population.

And yet, according to a new report by the Correctional Investigator of Canada, more than 30 per cent of people in federal custody are Indigenous.

That’s up from 25 per cent just four years ago — and has the investigator, Ivan Zinger, calling the “indigenization” of Canada’s correctional system a national travesty.

Another alarming number is 42 per cent of the female population in this system is Indigenous at this point…

In many ways, we can take the profile of the prison population and use it as a barometer to gauge the success or failure of our broad public policies. So something is broken.

Compare the treatment of indigenous people to that of a criminal Canada has been trying to deport for 30 years:

How Canada’s legal system helped an alleged Chinese gangster avoid deportation for decades

Government reports about Kwok Chung Tam:

discussed his alleged connections to organized crime, specifically referencing police testimony that claimed Tam was a “high-level” member of the Big Circle Boys, a loan shark and a heroin trafficker.

Revenue Canada avoids prosecution of Canada’s wealthiest tax evaders to pursue “low hanging fruit” personified by more impoverished people. In the same way, people in the justice system target the poor and unrepresented. For them, the low hanging fruit is found within the indigenous communities.

Categories: Indigenous, Justice

4 replies »

  1. Yes indeed Norm.

    This coming Tuesday I get to test the capacity of the Tax Court of Canada as to its fairness and inegalitarian practices.

    I have in writing from an officer of the Tax Court, the statement that the Court is not the least interested in fairness, even when Rev Canada and the CRA use the word fairness in their mission statement.

    Since I have had a career as an economist, both in the private sector and government, I have direct hands on expireince in finding and delivering fairness, particularly in the Federal Government’s period of wages and prices control.

    PM P Trudeau showed his passion for central control rather than democracy so we should expect his echo to go to the same place .

    Like you I worry for Canada and our grandchildren. Keep up your good work.


    • Then all the more reason for Canadians to speak up more and more, and louder and louder, and to not allow the few too ruin the democracy.


  2. A number of years ago I had a good chat with a sitting judge from Calgary. We had a good talk about the courts and our judicial system . She made the comment that about every 2nd person who stood before her in court was a male indigenous person. She found it disturbing and probably had the facts as Norm has. She was trying to find ways on turning the situation around but she made one comment that Alberta was so far behind BC in changing its incarceration policy. Another note. In 1945 Finland had the highest incarceration rate of all the European countries. The Government of the day said this wasn’t good enough and put a plan to turn their situation. They knew it would take generations, not years. Today Finland has the lowest incarceration rate in Europe. Example; all children when born are assigned a child welfare officer who helps and advises the family on the up bringing of that child. When the child enters formal schooling at 7 (no, not 6 years old or 5, but 7) years old then the welfare officer is dropped and now is the responsibility of the school. Most children finish formal schooling at 15, and start formal post secondary training in the trades. Example; Have a niece who finished formal schooling at 15 and went into nursing school, finished at 18 a fully qualified nurse and went to work in a hospital. Her brother at 16 went into electrical school and came out at 19 a fully qualified electrician. Because the nephews marks were up while in school he was invited to go to electrical engineering school. Two subjects that those kids take that we don’t do here. 1) ethics 2) How to own and run your own business. Some go until 18 but there the bright spark-plugs who’ll become Doctors and Lawyers.


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