Never Took Cash From China

Former ambassador John McCallum last night said he had “not received a penny” from the People’s Republic of China, but added he is a paid consultant for Chinese companies. McCallum was fired as ambassador in 2019 after remarking it would be “great for Canada” if it didn’t have to extradite a Huawei Technologies executive wanted on U.S. bank fraud charges: “Right now I cannot divulge names of clients.”

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‘Suspicious’ Claims For CERB

The Canada Revenue Agency yesterday acknowledged “suspicious activity” in claims for $2,000 pandemic relief cheques, including applications by people who were clearly ineligible. MPs and the Department of Employment said they relied on the Agency to verify claims upfront: “That is a simple principle that an average person understands.”

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Sees 150% Carbon Tax Hike

The federal carbon tax would have to more than double if cabinet is to meet its long-term emissions targets, says a federal agency. The Canada Energy Regulator calculated the current $50 tax cap, equivalent to 12¢ a litre on the price of gasoline, is insufficient: “It is difficult to predict.”

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Silent On We Charity Secrets

The chief clerk of the federal public service last night refused to say how many We Charity records have been withheld from MPs. The Commons finance committee has sought to censure federal agencies for concealing documents: “What you’re indicating to us is disturbing.”

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Count 800 Criminal Fugitives

Eight hundred foreign criminals wanted for deportation remain fugitives nationwide, the Canada Border Services Agency said yesterday. About 2,000 were successfully deported since auditors uncovered sloppy record-keeping at the Agency: “I don’t quite understand why we would tolerate this.”

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Vowed To First Verify Claims

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough yesterday said auditors will have to “follow up” with Canadians who claimed to be jobless in applying for $2,000 pandemic relief cheques. The program went 240 percent over-budget. Qualtrough’s department earlier claimed checks were done upfront to confirm applications were legitimate: “It was not abandoning any checks and balances at the get-go.”

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EI Sick Claims Increased 49%

Claims for paid sick leave under the Employment Insurance Act increased forty-nine percent even before the pandemic, according to a Department of Employment audit. Staff could not explain the jump in claims, “more than five times the predicted increase.”

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Fed Bank Revenues Collapse

A federal bank has doubled its estimate of bad loans due to the pandemic. Accounting by the Business Development Bank follows a warning taxpayers cannot be sure of risks in loans approved by Crown corporations: ‘It is related to economic shock caused by Covid-19.’

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Call Ex-MP For Questioning

Former Québec Liberal MP Frank Baylis is being summoned back to Parliament Hill, this time as a witness at Commons ethics committee hearings on federal contracting. Baylis’ firm Baylis Medical Company in the past year received two federal contracts: “Is that how you guys want to play?”

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$203M In Loans Unexplained

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in a report says millions in interest-free pandemic loans intended for small business went to operations in “public administration” though rules excluded government organizations. Freeland’s department did not explain the payments worth more than $200 million: “The rules are fairly clear.”

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MP Flummoxed By Acronym

A Liberal MP says he’s sorry after tweeting a profane acronym. MP Adam Vaughan (Spadina-Fort York, Ont.), parliamentary secretary for housing, said he had to look up the meaning of “wgaf” and did not know how it was posted on his Twitter account. “It might have been spell-check,” said Vaughan.

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