Review: Schooling

Canada, unlike Zimbabwe, has no federal department of education, to which Professor Jennifer Wallner of the University of Ottawa comments: And your point is – ? Parliament regulates the minutiae of labels on fertilizer bags; the price of mozzarella; the CDs they play at Radio CJLR in Meadow Lake, Sask. Yet in 147 years legislators have never set any federal standards on basic elementary and secondary education. Critics lament the fact. Professor Wallner argues this does not mean standards don’t exist. “Provinces can work together,” Wallner writes; “When we compare the provincial education systems to one another, all ten show remarkably strong similarities in investments, achievements and substantive policies.” READ MORE

Powerless To Stop Scammers

The patent office in Access To Information memos says it is powerless to halt scammers targeting Canadians who file records with the agency. Authorities counted hundreds of cases of trademark owners targeted with fake demands for exorbitant fees on official-looking invoices: "It should not be the entire responsibility of taxpayers to expose these scams." READ MORE

Feds To Hike Minimum Pay

Cabinet yesterday said it will increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in twenty-three years. The labour department has acknowledged employer resistance to a $15 hourly minimum in federally-regulated workplaces: "Employer organizations cited negative economic consequences for small and medium-sized businesses." READ MORE

Feds Vow “Climate Action”

Cabinet yesterday said it will take “ambitious climate action” but did not commit to maintaining a current 12¢ per litre cap on the carbon tax. The Throne Speech opening the 43rd Parliament mentioned “climate change” and “climate action” seven times: "We are inextricably bound to the same space-time continuum and on board the same planetary spaceship." READ MORE

Wireless Health Claim Nixed

An Ontario tribunal has rejected a complaint that electronic Smart Meters make people sick. A private Conservative bill mandating health warnings on wireless devices lapsed in Parliament in 2015: "When it comes to cancers, I’m not a physician so I can’t comment." READ MORE

Put $2.7M On Equity Loans

CMHC yesterday budgeted less than $3 million for the start of a new equity loan program for first-time homebuyers. Mortgage brokers have predicted little take-up of the plan due to restrictions on borrowers: "You are limited." READ MORE

First Ital-Canadian Speaker

The Commons yesterday for the first time in 152 years elected an Italian-Canadian Speaker. “Grazie,” said five-term Liberal MP Anthony Rota, son of immigrant parents from Calabria: "Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Home Cooking

Mom prepared healthy food: meat, potatoes, vegetables from the garden and fruit she’d canned herself. Dinner was on the table at 6:15 sharp every evening after Dad arrived home from work and relaxed with a cup of tea. It was a nice routine. Modern parents have more stress, particularly mothers. The McDonald’s ad that promised “you deserve a break today” was compelling on the drive home from work and knowing the children were hungry.