Roundup: Double-bunking in solitary

The Correctional Investigator is sounding the alarm as the number of isolation cases in prisons continues to rise, with solitary being used in cases that are increasingly inappropriate, and more mind-bogglingly, there are cases where they are double-bunking people in solitary. You know, the opposite of “solitary.” But hey, Vic Toews kept assuring us that there was no population crisis in prisons, and that all of the fears of a population explosion post-mandatory minimum sentence bill passing were all overblown. Somehow the numbers don’t seem to be showing that to be the case.

Thanks to government stonewalling, the Parliamentary Budget Office is now filing Access to Information requests in order to get information that they need, and paying for those requests out of their already meagre budgets. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund is giving former PBO Kevin Page high marks for his work while he was on the job.

The Toronto Centre battle just got a little more interesting as Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig has announced that she too will contest the NDP nomination. And like Liberal nomination candidate Chrystia Freeland, McQuaig has also written a book on the gap between rich and poor. And in case you were wondering, the other two Liberal non-pundit candidates are no slouches either, though there are concerns that Freeland is the “establishment” candidate, and while it may be an open nomination, there are questions as to how open is open. Paul Wells reads the landscape of that by-election, while Economist Stephen Gordon cautions Freeland – and Justin Trudeau – about the figures behind their “middle class” narrative.

Over two thousand failed refugee claimants to date have taken up the government’s offer of assistance and a one-way plane ticket back to their home country.

The CMHC is putting a cap on the amount of mortgage-backed securities sold by banks that it will backstop – essentially forcing the banks to better evaluate the risk they’re willing to take on, rather than simply fobbing that risk onto the CMHC and ultimately taxpayers.

Oh, look – more Senate commentary that confuses regional equality with provincial equality. Here’s a hint: there is already a regional balance in the Senate, and provinces are not regions. One could argue for rebalancing the regions, as was proposed a few years ago, but I’m not sure what provincial equality would achieve. Oh, and the half-serious proposal of two senators per province? So that you’d have, what – 20 to 23 Senators to do all of the work of the Senate? Because that’s realistic.

Oh dear – less Arctic sea ice this summer is leading to rising ocean levels and an increase in the frequency and severity of storms.

The CBC compiles five surveillance-related stories that have been in the news lately that you might have missed.

Energy costs at 24 Sussex continue to climb while Stephen Harper refuses to vacate for the 18 months that the National Capital Commission needs to renovate the official residence, which is in fairly substantial disrepair at this point.

Liberal Senator Rod Zimmer has resigned for health reasons. I’m eagerly awaiting more commentary about how his May-December romance is somehow the product of an appointed Upper Chamber.

And the youngest MP – elected at just 19 in 2011 – just got married. Aww!