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Indigenous women now account for half of the female population in federal penitentiaries, a state of affairs Canada’s prison ombudsman calls “shocking and shameful.”

As of last week, federal prisons held 298 non-Indigenous women and 298 Indigenous women. This is the first time the ratio has reached 50/50, the ombudsman, Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger, told The Globe’s Patrick White. One out of every 20 women in Canada is Indigenous.

Ottawa has made countless pledges to address the issue of Indigenous overrepresentation in prison over the years. In its 2001 Speech from the Throne, the Chrétien government vowed to eliminate the disparity within a generation. More recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letters directed the Ministers of Justice and Public Safety to address the issue. But the trend has defied all government efforts to reverse it.

“It’s just shocking and shameful for a country that has so many resources,” Zinger said.

Canada's prison ombudsman says the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in federal prisons is 'shocking and shameful for a country that has so many resources.'Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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How Utah’s ‘trigger law’ would alter abortion access in the state if Roe v. Wade falls

For the Utah legislators and advocates who have spent decades working to ban abortion, the prospect that the Roe v. Wade decision will soon be overturned in the U.S. has produced a rush of joy – and a new determination for additional measures to constrain medical abortions and simplify adoption.

Utah is among the 13 states that have enacted “trigger laws” that can almost immediately ban most abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made it legal to end pregnancies until the point of fetal viability. A Supreme Court draft decision leaked this week suggests the imminent reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“I’m very happy – very happy,” said Karianne Lisonbee, a Republican legislator who sponsored the state’s trigger bill in Utah’s House of Representatives.

More coverage:

U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rate by half point, largest hike in two decades

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced its largest interest rate hike in two decades on Wednesday and signalled that more oversized rate increases are coming, a decision that reverberated through global markets and will set the tone for central bankers around the world.

The Federal Open Market Committee, which manages U.S. monetary policy, voted unanimously to increase the central bank’s policy rate by half a percentage point, instead of the usual quarter point move. It said that in June it will begin shrinking the Fed’s $9-trillion balance sheet, which is loaded with assets purchased during the pandemic to keep interest rates at rock bottom. This will further push up borrowing costs.

The widely anticipated move puts the world’s most influential central bank on track to reduce monetary stimulus at the fastest pace in decades in the hope of preventing high inflation from becoming entrenched.

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Ottawa urged to increase security staffing levels at Toronto Pearson airport: Some of Canada’s busiest airports are warning of excess delays, while its biggest, Toronto Pearson, is asking Ottawa to boost staffing levels at passenger screening checkpoints to alleviate lengthy waits and long lineups.

Quebec Maple syrup producer Bernard & Fils aims to tap into global market with Bain Capital takeover: One of Canada’s most storied maple syrup companies has been taken over by U.S. private equity giant Bain Capital, in a sign the amber-coloured sweetener is increasingly drawing attention from well-capitalized investors.

RCMP needs to boost Indigenous representation within its ranks to advance reconciliation efforts, review says: An evaluation of the RCMP’s progress on reconciliation found challenges that include a need for more Indigenous employees across the organization and a decline in Indigenous enrolment at the force’s training academy in Regina.

Sinn Fein eyes historic win in Northern Ireland’s Thursday election: If opinion polls are right, Thursday’s election in Northern Ireland will see the Irish nationalist party elevated to the largest group in the country’s 90-seat assembly. That would give the party that seeks union with Ireland the post of first minister in the Belfast government for the first time.


World shares advance: Global equity markets were still on the charge on Thursday on relief that the biggest hike in U.S. interest rates in more than two decades hadn’t been even sharper. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.78 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 1.34 per cent and 1.55 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 0.36 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.43 US cents.


When lying becomes normalized in politics, democracy suffers

“Our society is protected against dishonesty in so many aspects of our daily existence; there are laws against lying in court, about lying on financial documents, lying in advertising campaigns. We need to be just as protected against politicians who lie. Some of this is the job of the media. We must be vigilant in calling out politicians who disseminate information that completely misrepresents the facts.” - Gary Mason

The origins of Putin’s totalitarianism

“For Mr. Putin, strengthening the state’s security organs seemed like insurance against upheavals like those of 1991, which brought the demise of what he calls ‘historical Russia.’ And Mr. Putin takes great pride in the stability of the political system he has built – a process that was undoubtedly helped along by high energy prices and relatively competent management by some siloviki.” - Nina L. Khrushcheva


Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


For Mother’s Day, give her a book – and time at home alone to read

An evangelist for books as Mother’s Day gifts, The Globe’s Marsha Lederman shares a list of new maternal-themed titles to consider for the mom in your life.

MOMENT IN TIME: May 5, 1945

Japanese bomb kills six in Oregon

A Japanese bomb-carrying paper balloon in flight, c. 1944-1945. Between November 1944 and April 1945, Japan launched more than nine thousand balloon bombs - experimental weapons intended to kill and cause fires in North America.Courtesy of Robert Mikesh Collection, National Museum of the Pacific War

On this day in 1945, Archie Mitchell exited his car near Leonard’s Creek, Ore., with a picnic lunch. With him were five children from the Sunday school at his church, where he was a minister, and his pregnant wife. He was a short distance behind them when he heard an explosion. His wife, Elsie Mitchell, and the children, Joan Patzke, Dick Patzke, Jay Gifford, Edward Engen and Sherman Shoemaker, were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb, making them the first and only known American war casualties in the continental United States during the Second World War. One of the victims had spotted something in the woods, according to The New York Times, then called the others. “One of them tugged at a piece of the balloon and a tremendous explosion followed,” the newspaper reported weeks later. Japan’s balloon bombs floated high in the atmosphere and were carried over the Pacific Ocean by strong air currents. Of the more than 9,000 launched, 361 were eventually found in 26 U.S. states, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Office of Censorship initially asked newspapers not to publish reports about the explosives, in order to avoid panic. The Oregon bomb was described in articles as “an explosion of unannounced cause.” The U.S. government began warning the public of balloon bombs a week later, and on June 1 of that year lifted the blackout on the cause of the fatal explosion. Mahdis Habibinia

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