Rights Claim On Furlough

The Canadian Human Rights Commission will formally intervene in a complaint over curbs to paid Covid furloughs for federal employees, the largest public service union said yesterday. Cabinet last November 9 restricted payments to employees who were neither sick nor working from home after costs reached $1.1 billion: "It is largely being used only when necessary." READ MORE

Per Capita Net Debt Up 33%

The federal per capita debt jumped by a third last year to the highest rate in the nation’s history, says Statistics Canada. Each Canadians’ share of the net federal debt is expected to pass $23,000 this year: "There will be a day of reckoning." READ MORE

MPs Scattering On Censor Bill

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault's bill to regulate YouTube is stalled under Opposition filibuster as one Liberal MP acknowledged “not all Liberals are the same” on the legislation. The current bill would subject YouTube videos uploaded for private viewing to the same Codes Of Conduct as TV and radio shows: "Content individuals post on social media should not be regulated." READ MORE

Vote To Abolish Organ Trade

A bill banning organ transplant tourism has passed the Senate. The bill’s sponsor called it the “culmination of over twelve years of parliamentary work” to outlaw organ trafficking: "It is a violation of the principles of equity, justice and respect for human dignity." READ MORE

Wary Of Late Ballot Counting

Federal returning officers say they will accept mailed ballots a day after polls close in an expected 2021 election, the Commons was told. Opposition MPs oppose terms of a cabinet bill that would permit the practice in a pandemic vote: "We do not want to do anything to open the door to even perceived influence in our elections." READ MORE

Need An Artist, Say Senators

The Senate has passed a bill to appoint a part-time, $20,000-a year parliamentary artist laureate. “Some people don’t have much use for art,” complained one senator: "Many see it as mere decoration or curiosity. Worse, some see it as an escape from reality." READ MORE

A Poem: “No Comparison”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, writes for Blacklock's each and every Sunday: "Boston’s transportation system. The Big Dig. Scheduled to complete in 1998 for $2.6 billion. Completed in 2007 for $14.6 billion..." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Senator Donald Plett

The Church Steps

A university professor wrote me a letter recently, describing my “baggage”: a “highly assimilated, unilingual, unhyphenated, Canadian born and bred, white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian male,” she wrote, in big block letters. The author identified me as a Christian, and therefore member of a group deemed an appropriate target of scorn. Freedom of religion is not being applied equally in our country. Self-described Christians represent 69% of Canadians; our Constitution is based on Christian principles; our national holidays follow the Christian calendar; yet when it comes to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, we are leaving Christianity out. We are falling into the trap of political correctness, the trap of what should be said and what cannot be said.