Book Review — Canals Or Clinics?

When they wrote the Constitution in 1867 life expectancy was 42, few cures for disease were known, and a physician’s practice was comprised mainly of delivering babies and amputating limbs. Health care was so cheap and uncomplicated the Fathers of Confederation left it to the provinces, and assigned the really heavy lifting to Parliament – like regulation of railways and canals. “The provisions of the Constitution were based on the realities of life in 1867,” writes Prof. Raisa Deber; “Things were designated as national responsibilities because they were expensive or because they were important to nation building.” “Although few realized it at the time, these provisions have proven critical in determining who would have responsibility for health care in Canada,” writes Deber. Here we are, 151 years later, with a medicare system many Canadians rate as mediocre outside of treating babies and broken limbs READ MORE

Calls To Rewrite Labour Bill

Union executives and MPs yesterday said a significant rewrite is needed to a federal workplace harassment bill. Witnesses testifying at the Commons human resources committee complained the bill does not define harassment: 'It is critical you actually have it in the law.' READ MORE

Feds Win Student Loan Case

The Canada Revenue Agency has won a $54,895 judgment against a student borrower who went eight years without making payment on a federal loan. Write-offs of unpaid loans cost taxpayers nearly $3 billion: "This is a case that is appropriate for summary judgment." READ MORE

$1M Fine In Car Rental Probe

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Canada Co. has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a federal investigation into misleading advertising. The agreement with the Competition Bureau is the latest in a probe of car rental agencies dating back seven years: 'Consumers will now be able to trust the prices they see advertised.' READ MORE

Feds Track Pot Thru Sewage

Statistics Canada is testing sewage to gauge the country’s marijuana consumption before and after legalization. The agency yesterday acknowledged the survey of trace cannabis flushed through municipal wastewater systems is uncertain: "StatsCan is using non-traditional methods to acquire as much information as possible." READ MORE

G.G. Ceremony Cost Tripled

Governor General Julie Payette tripled the budget of her predecessor for swearing-in ceremonies last October 2, according to financial records. Payette’s investiture cost nearly $650,000. The Governor General appealed for an end to poverty: 'It's our duty to diminish inequity here.' READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Major-Gen. (ret’d) Richard Rohmer

The Cold War

I was commanding two fighter squadrons. From my point of view, we understood very clearly there was a real threat from the Soviet Union, and we were the first line of defence. Contingency plans had to be made. We had to evacuate or cities if there was a bomb threat. There was some suggestion of compulsory military service. I never really considered that seriously. It’s never been something Canadians have an affinity for, even in wartime. Politicians are the only people who can make that happen, and they would never make it happen. This is Canada.