“Shocking”: Feds OK 20-Year Sale Of Toxins Without Study

Senators are demanding answers from Health Canada over disclosures that toxic pesticides suspected of environmental damage have been licensed for decades without risk assessments. The Senate agriculture committee learned regulators allowed the sale of 35 chemicals linked to bee deaths from as early as 1995 without requiring that manufacturers submit scientific data on their toxicity: "This is shocking". READ MORE

A Website So Bad Even Gov’t Scientists Couldn’t Fathom It

The National Research Council is being cited for creating a “knowledge management” website so convoluted its own scientists can’t manage it. An internet consultant hired by the government reports the website is “cluttered”; “difficult to search”; “slow” and “cumbersome”: 'The article is in English but the link leads to a page in German'. READ MORE

Tolls No Profit Maker: Report

Another federal report confirms commuter tolls are no certain fix to finance new roads and bridges. The Parliamentary Budget Officer reported tolls needed to recover costs of refitting a federal bridge in Montréal are so high, thousands of commuters would avoid payment by taking alternate routes: 'It will be catastrophic'. READ MORE

Fear Regs Are Now Running On Feds’ Election Timetable

Federal inspectors acknowledge “lots of questions” from processors over long-awaited revisions to regulations on food safety. Industry analysts expressed wariness that cabinet will rush changes in anticipation of a 2015 election: "We haven't yet seen a shift in thinking". READ MORE

Tax Dep’t To Create Secretive “Informant” System At Work

Canada Revenue Agency is launching a secret surveillance system to spy on employees and managers suspected of “fraudulent activities”. The agency stresses the network will rely on anonymous tips from inside informants, and must operate outside the Access To Information Act. Two-thirds of the tax department's 40,000 employees have electronic access to tax files, by official estimate: "Fraud and integrity lapses pose a serious threat". READ MORE

Farmers Eye Wheat Board Bid

The group Farmers of North America is bidding for majority ownership of the Canadian Wheat Board as a 'once in a lifetime' investment. The board will be privatized under cabinet order by 2017: 'It's a rare opportunity'. READ MORE

Privacy Act Draws A Shrug

The latest federal report on the Privacy Act finds little consultation between government departments on personal information requests. Of 81 applications from Canadians for their own files and documents from government agencies, most were redirected to other departments: "Where are they?" READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Senator David Smith

The Man Who Came To Dinner

Visiting Canada and the U.S. in 1984, Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang told me, "I've only eaten in two houses in North America, the White House and your house -- and you have better food." It was a strange dinner; we waited 25 minutes while a food tester examined all the dishes as a precaution against poisoning. I wasn't about to cross-examine our guests.

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