May 5, 2015 4:13 pm
Updated: May 5, 2015 4:33 pm

Conservatives seek replacement for hard-hitting prison watchdog Howard Sapers

Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers speaks during a news conference to highlight areas of concern documented in the 2012-13 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator Tuesday November 26, 2013 in Ottawa.


OTTAWA – Canada’s hard-hitting corrections investigator Howard Sapers has been told by the Harper government he’s out of a job as soon as a replacement can be found.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says Sapers has been given a temporary contract of up to a year while the government searches for suitable candidates to take over the role of prison watchdog.

Spokesman Jeremy Laurin would not provide a reason for Sapers’ dismissal other than that he had been in the job for more than 10 years.

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“We thank Mr. Sapers for more than a decade of service as correctional investigator and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Laurin said in an email.

Sapers has been a vocal ombudsman for prisoners since he was first appointed in 2004. His most recent reappointment came in February 2012 and expired in March, when he was put on a short-term contract.

Among a number of reports that have caused the Conservative government discomfort was Sapers’ recommendation that Omar Khadr, the former child soldier and Guantanamo detainee, be given a lower security classification in light of his exemplary prison record.

His most recent annual report, delivered last October, took the government to task for reducing parole options and freeing unprepared inmates without adequate supervision.

“This is not how Canada’s corrections and conditional release system was designed and certainly does not reflect best practice,” Sapers said at the time.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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