Bill Blair

Bill holds a virtual press conference in Ottawa on June 21, 2021 (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Ending solitary confinement in Canada’s prisons, take 2

Justin Ling: Ottawa is reappointing an expert panel—disbanded a year ago because it couldn’t do its work—to study the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement in prisons
Machin resigned this week as head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

That’ll teach you, Mark Machin. I’m just not sure what.

Paul Wells: A quasi-public official did something the government refuses to forbid. So sure, get angry. Meanwhile I keep thinking of other things you could be enraged about.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair arrives at a news conference Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Ottawa. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair is stepping in to ensure important data is handed over to an advisory panel tasked with overseeing segregation of federal prisoners after the panel complained the Correctional Service of Canada blocked it from doing its job. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The numbers are in on solitary confinement. They’re not good.

Paul Wells: A preliminary report—which nearly didn’t happen due to government inaction—shows reform has been partial at best, with prisoners still being denied ’meaningful human contact’
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How the Nova Scotia shooting victims’ families won a public inquiry into the tragedy

Betrayed by politicians, the families forced an inquiry into the shooting. Here is how they convinced federal and provincial governments to stop dithering after months of inaction.
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Bill Blair orders prison data to be turned over, but does the data even exist?

Correctional Service Canada is trying to update its inmate tracking system, while the panel tasked to study solitary confinement is still waiting for any usable information
Blair talks on his phone while he stands with staff on Wellington Street in Ottawa on March 13, 2020 (CP/Sean Kilpatrick)

Another farce on Bill Blair’s watch

Paul Wells: How badly do things have to go for a government-appointed panel to shut down because it got no usable data and no help from the minister?
Blair appears at a news conference on June 9, 2020 in Ottawa (CP/Adrian Wyld)

The Nova Scotia inquiry: Maybe next time, listen first

Paul Wells: An unprecedented avalanche of public contempt got the fake inquiry turned into a real one. The question remains, what was Ottawa thinking?
Blair attends a news conference on June 9, 2020 in Ottawa (CP/Adrian Wyld)

The Nova Scotia shooting ’review’ and the deafness of government

Paul Wells: Everyone was demanding a public inquiry. What we got was something zero people asked for—a toothless, rickety review panel.
Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 20, 2020. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Bill Blair’s long list of priorities keeps getting interrupted by crises—and his own past

Bill Blair has barely left Ottawa all year, his agenda beset by tragedy and a pandemic. Then a national debate on policing revived the former police chief’s resume, which his critics will never forget
A member of the RCMP looks out towards the United States from an irregular border crossing at Roxham Road, near Hemmingford, Que., on March 19, 2020 (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES)

The dark side of Canada’s coronavirus response

When it comes to protecting some of the most vulnerable—prisoners and asylum seekers—Canada is not taking any extraordinary measures