Libs Block House Subpoenas

Liberal MPs yesterday blocked committee subpoenas forcing ArriveCan contractors to testify under threat of arrest. “This is putting us all in a rather precarious position,” said MP Charles Sousa (Mississauga-Lakeshore, Ont.), parliamentary secretary for the Department of Public Works that okayed $59.5 million in ArriveCan contracts: "It is important I think that we take a pause." READ MORE

Unsure If Evidence Destroyed

It is impossible to know whether federal managers destroyed ArriveCan evidence sought by investigators, Auditor General Karen Hogan said yesterday. Hogan and others cited a suspicious lack of records regarding the $59.5 million program that went overbudget on sweetheart contracting: "When documentation doesn’t exist it is either they never existed or they were destroyed." READ MORE

Data Confirm Energy Poverty

As many as a fifth of Canadians face “energy poverty” due to high costs, says the Canadian Journal of Public Health. “Depending on the measure, six to 19 percent of Canadian households face energy poverty,” said a peer-reviewed study led by a McGill professor: "In Canada home heating during the winter months is a matter of life and death." READ MORE

Disinformation Law Is Dead

Cabinet is shelving a long-threatened bill to regulate truth and disinformation on the internet. Canadians consider the measure unconstitutional, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc wrote in a letter to MPs: "Policies that restrict or otherwise limit speech based on the veracity of information would undermine freedom of expression." READ MORE

Long Climb Back For Transit

New figures show federally-subsidized transit operators have yet to regain pre-pandemic ridership. Statistics Canada yesterday confirmed fare revenues nationwide remain below 2019 levels despite historic population growth: "The pandemic’s impact on urban transit was profound." READ MORE

ArriveCan Execs In Fed Court

Two former ArriveCan executives are attempting to quash a "scandalous" investigator’s report alleging criminal wrongdoing, according to Federal Court records. Cameron MacDonald and Antonio Utano, both ex-Canada Border Services Agency managers, were suspended without pay: 'Untested accusations are of such magnitude any reader could only be left to draw the conclusion of potential criminal activity.' READ MORE

Borrowing Half Trillion More

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland by cabinet order has granted herself authority to increase federal borrowing this fiscal year to a record $517 billion. The figure is $73 billion higher than estimated for the year ending March 31: "You’re simply saying, ‘Give me a blank cheque and then trust me.'" READ MORE

Guest Commentary

How Subsidies Failed

Our Submission To The Commons Heritage Committee

Lobbyists in 2019 sought direct subsidies on assertions that no Canadian newsroom can thrive without subsidies, that subsidies are temporary, fair and effective, that subsidies do not corrupt news coverage and readers will never notice. These claims are false. “The more government assistance news media get, the more broken the relationship with readers becomes,” testified Peter Menzies, former Calgary Herald editor in chief. “The more that relationship is broken, the more subsidies will be required. And so it goes.”