‘Nt’l Decriminalization’ Cited

Cabinet was willing to “use all tools at our disposal” under its drug policy including “national decriminalization,” says a federal document. The memo to Addictions Minister Ya’ara Saks is dated just five weeks before British Columbia abruptly ended its experiment with decriminalized drug use on complaints of public disorder: 'Tools include approaches to decriminalization.' READ MORE

Gun Buyback Worries Gov’t

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s department is refusing comment over its hiring of forensic auditors to assess risk of a “national compensation program.” Staff would not confirm they anticipated millions in fraud and waste through a costly gun buyback scheme scheduled in 2025: "Help." READ MORE

Phoenix Failure Is Now $3.7B

The federal Phoenix Pay System failure has now cost taxpayers $3.7 billion and counting, the highest figure disclosed to date. The latest damages are cited in a Department of Public Works briefing note: "It gives us all kinds of lessons about how to build a better public service." READ MORE

Caution CBCers Over Tweets

CBC employees should not “feel compelled to weigh in on controversial news stories” on Twitter, says a network ombudsman. The advisory followed one CBCer's tweet in sympathy with a Palestinian activist arrested for threatening to kill Jews and drink their blood: "The journalist should have included more context." READ MORE

Summer Jobs Plan Is Audited

A performance audit of the Canada Summer Jobs program is underway with investigators’ findings due by year’s end, says a federal memo. It is the first audit since program managers were accused of withholding hire-a-student subsidies from employers who did not subscribe to cabinet’s political views: 'Follow-up focuses on religious beliefs.' READ MORE

Review: Memories

Thursday, August 6, 1981 was a day to remember. At 11 am Eastern the Bank of Canada raised the prime rate to 21 percent. The country had a million unemployed for the first time since the Dustbowl. Farmers and small business owners had a hunted look. Mortgage and trust companies collapsed, 17 of them, and then the banks. No one who survived the summer of ’81 ever forgot it. “Scarring,” the economists call it now. At a 2017 hearing of the Commons agriculture committee, members were chattily debating farm debt when an oldtimer, then-MP Bev Shipley (Lambton-Kent, Ont.), spoke up. “I remember the 1980s,” he said. The room froze. Author Aaron Hughes’ 10 Days That Shaped Modern Canada omits that date to remember. Hughes acknowledges his work is necessarily subjective. Hughes’ favourite dates are neither mine nor yours. That is not the point. READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Eric Koch

CBC On A Mission

Was the CBC elitist? There was a sense of us versus them. We thought we were serving not just the country but a standard of knowledge, taste and principle that was above money. CBC-TV from 1952 to 1960 was a monopoly. They were happy days. CBC operated the only television network and issued TV licenses. It was a hierarchy built like a church. The president was Pope, the vice-presidents were cardinals and there was a gospel, the Broadcasting Act. The Act said the CBC was to educate, enlighten, inform and entertain. This was taken seriously and enforced.