No Comment On $1.8B Error

Health Minister Patricia Hajdu yesterday said cabinet will be better prepared for the next pandemic, but did not comment on mismanagement of a national stockpile of medical supplies that cost $1.8 billion. MPs have demanded answers from a key official with the Public Health Agency responsible for maintaining the stockpile: “We’re talking about money.”

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Whistleblower Law Is Buried

Cabinet has buried a whistleblower law passed by Parliament to protect bank employees who document illegal sales practices. It is the only major clause of a consumer rights’ bill that has yet to be enforced though MPs and senators voted for it two years ago: “It didn’t matter.”

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Claims Internet Is Divisive

Internet users are spreading “malicious falsehoods” about the pandemic, a Liberal MP yesterday told the Commons. Cabinet advisors have proposed a first-ever federal registry of Canadian digital publishers bound by a government code of conduct: “We must be mindful of the importance of sharing reliable, trustworthy information.”

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AG Fears Foreign Takeovers

Attorney General David Lametti says he fears unchecked foreign takeovers of Canadian companies amid the pandemic. Lametti drafted legislation extending investigations of corporate buy-ups “injurious to our national security”, but did not identify China by name: “There will be real consequences for all Canadians unless Parliament takes action.”

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Working Too Hard, Say Execs

Only four percent of newly-hired federal executives strongly agree they can finish their work on time, says a public service study. Less than a third, 29 percent, felt “well-equipped” to handle their job: “I doubt the significance of my work.”

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Can’t Say That On AM Radio

Newscasters cannot make sarcastic remarks about federal regulations, a national broadcast regulator ruled yesterday. The decision came in the case of a radio announcer who ridiculed rules under the Broadcasting Act: “That’s just Dave being Dave.”

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Gov’t Discloses $1.8B Bungle

Federal failure to stock up on pandemic supplies will cost taxpayers $1.8 billion, budget documents disclosed yesterday. The expense reflects pandemic price markups of three to nine times the regular rates charged by Chinese suppliers after the Public Health Agency ignored successive warnings to stock up: “We would have saved a lot of money.”

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Turn CERB Into Basic Income

A temporary pandemic relief program for the jobless should be retooled as a permanent guaranteed basic income plan, says a Toronto Liberal MP. The $60 billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to expire in October: “There is a real opportunity here.”

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Air Aid Was “Meaningless”

Cabinet yesterday said it is “working very hard” to save airports from catastrophic revenue declines, but detailed no specific aid. One MP said a previously-announced waiver of airport rents was no help at all since payments would have fallen anyway: “Those deferrals are meaningless.”

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Don’t Like Subsidized Critics

Publishers who take federal press subsidies should demonstrate “fair balance” in content, says the New Democrats’ House leader. MP Peter Julian yesterday told the Commons finance committee a media bailout should ensure editors are “not just right-wing voices”.

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Perceive PTSD Is Common

One in four Canadians believe mental health is the biggest issue facing veterans, says a federal study. Research by the Department of Veterans Affairs contradicts perceptions ex-military are prone to suicide or long-term mental health effects of service: “What do you think is the biggest issue facing veterans today?”

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Need Cash In Dailies’ Pockets

Liberals “need to get money quickly into the pockets of newspapers” facing job cuts and closures, Unifor president Jerry Dias yesterday told the Commons human resources committee. First payouts under a $595 million federal bailout are expected by Labour Day: “Stop the carnage.”

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Vows Gov’t Spending Is Legit

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna yesterday said 20,000 public works projects are legitimate though the Parliamentary Budget Office can find no trace of them. Analysts said they have tried for months to get a complete list of subsidized projects claimed by McKenna’s department: “Can you explain?”

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Wary Of Fire Sale To China

The Commons industry committee yesterday by a 6-4 vote agreed to review measures to preempt any fire sale of cash-strapped Canadian energy companies to China. “Are we allowing authoritarian countries and government to purchase strategic assets in Canada?” asked Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner (Calgary Nose Hill).

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Want To Give Kids The Vote

Nearly half of candidates for Parliament would lower the voting age to 16, Elections Canada said yesterday. A survey of candidates in the 2019 campaign found seven percent of elected MPs – the legislators were not named – are “dissatisfied” with democracy in Canada: “How satisfied are you?”

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