In a country of 37 Million, spread over nearly 10 Million kilometers, two official languages and more than 200 languages spoken at home, Canada is known for its diversity and tolerance. Hosted by Canadian Senator Mobina Jaffer, Every Voice Counts is a unique voice in the Canadian Political landscape. Herself a refugee, Senator Jaffer and her guests will explore topics of marginalization and belonging, as well as informing Canadians about the role of the Senate in 2020.
Visit to Kent Institution
I recently had the unique opportunity to visit three federal prisons in British Columbia, accompanied by lifelong prisoner rights advocate and my friend, Senator Kim Pate. Our third and final visit was to Kent Institution, the only federal maximum-security prison for men in the Pacific Region. When we arrived, we were met by the senior staff at the prison who informed us that out of 240 men inside, 88 (about 1/3) are Indigenous, 22 are Black. We also learned that some prisoners feel the prison has created a racist and toxic environment. This is another reminder of the racism and discrimination that happens behind prison walls every day.
Visit to Fraser Valley Institution for Women
I recently had the unique opportunity to visit three federal prisons in British Columbia, accompanied by lifelong prisoner rights advocate and my friend, Senator Kim Pate. Our second visit was to Fraser Valley Institution, a multi-level (minimum, medium and maximum) security prison for women located in Abbotsford. We first met with the staff, inside the prison’s gymnasium. We were told that 61% of all prisoners and 89% of those classified as maximum security are Indigenous women. This is yet another example of the over-representation of Indigenous Peoples, in particular of women, in Canadian prisons.
Visit to William Head Institution
I recently had the unique opportunity to visit three federal prisons in British Columbia, accompanied by lifelong prisoner rights advocate and my friend, Senator Kim Pate. Our first visit was to William Head Institution, a minimum-security prison for men located just outside of Victoria. When I arrived at the prison, I felt it looked much different than what I had pictured. Throughout the prison there were very few walls, minimal barbed wire fencing and I did not see many uniformed guards. Instead, I saw communities of houses where the men cook and clean for themselves.
La fête du Canada 2021
Depuis 153 ans, le 1er juillet est réservé aux célébrations de la fête du Canada. Cependant, ce 1er juillet était très différent de tous ceux qui l’ont précédé et, espérons-le, il jettera les bases de toutes les célébrations futures. Le fait est que pour de nombreuses personnes, la fête du Canada n’a jamais été un jour de célébration. Il s’agit plutôt d’un rappel du fait que le Canada se trouve toujours sur le territoire non cédé des peuples autochtones.
Canada Day 2021
For 153 years, July 1st has been reserved for Canada Day celebrations. However, this July 1st was very different than all that have come before it and will hopefully lay the foundation for all future celebrations. The fact is, that for many people, Canada Day has never been a day for celebration. Rather it has been a reminder of the fact that Canada remains on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Indigenous peoples.
Projet de loi C-6 : thérapie de conversion
Projet de loi C-6, Loi modifiant le Code criminel (thérapie de conversion) vient d'être envoyé au Comité sénatorial permanent des affaires juridiques et constitutionnelles. Alors que ce débat se poursuit à travers le Canada, je me rappelle pourquoi le travail d'un législateur est si important. Nous devons écouter toutes les voix qui s'expriment, nous devons ensuite écouter tous les experts dont les points de vue sont opposés et enfin, nous devons arriver à notre propre conclusion sur ce que nous croyons être la bonne réponse.