Debt Costs To Double: Giroux

Rising interest rates will see a doubling of federal debt charges within four years, Budget Officer Yves Giroux last night warned the Senate banking committee. New figures indicate interest on the federal debt will eclipse the military budget next year and keep on rising: “That is something that will have a major impact on public finances.”

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Media Face Crisis Of Mistrust

Media subsidies have provoked historic mistrust of reporters, the Commons heritage committee was told yesterday. The best-known federal subsidy, a $595 million payroll rebate and tax credit scheme for cabinet-approved publishers, expires in 2024: “People who today think media are toadying up to the Liberal government will at some point in the future believe they are toadying up to someone else. It doesn’t really matter whether they are or they aren’t. What matters is people won’t believe them.”

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Bill Mandates CBC Disclosure

The CBC faces mandatory disclosure of top salaries for announcers and executives under Broadcasting Act amendments proposed yesterday by Senator Percy Downe (P.E.I.), a Liberal appointee. It follows disclosures the CBC paid itself $30.4 million in pandemic bonuses while petitioning cabinet for more subsidies: “I do have a concern about transparency.”

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MPs Told Of Border Mayhem

The ArriveCan app intended to speed vaccine checks at border crossings instead slowed traffic with a third of travelers unsure of how to comply, the Customs and Immigration Union testified yesterday. Lineups were so long travelers urinated on themselves while waiting to clear Customs, MPs were told: “I think that says it all.”

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“Shoot Them” Tweet Was OK

Commons Speaker Anthony Rota yesterday dismissed a complaint against a reporter for Canadian Bar Association National Magazine who tweeted “shoot them” at Conservative MPs while sitting in the Press Gallery. Rota said his ruling did not excuse abusive comments: “Some comments are extreme and occasionally even violent.”

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Agents Snooped 33,373 Times

More than 33,000 travelers have had smartphones, laptops and tablets searched by the Canada Border Services Agency, documents show. Searches peaked just prior to a successful legal challenge that struck random searches as unconstitutional: “How many searches involving the viewing of contents on individuals’ electronic devices has the Border Services Agency conducted?”

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Convoy Censure Challenged

Constitutional lawyers have filed a legal challenge on behalf of a municipal councillor censured for attending the Freedom Convoy protest. Harold Jonker, an Ontario trucking company manager, said he was proud to be among the first truckers to join the January 28 protest outside Parliament Hill: “In Canada we must tolerate strong differences of political opinion.”

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We Followed The Science: PM

Cabinet followed the science in repealing the last travel-related mask and vaccine mandates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday. The remark came as one federal scientist warned hospitalization rates remained high with “continued growth” of infections this fall: “The pandemic is not over, you know.”

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Bill Names, Shames Importers

Legislation expected to pass Parliament would name and shame Canadian corporations that import slave-made goods, the Commons foreign affairs committee was told yesterday. Suspicious products include China-made cotton apparel, solar panels and tomato paste, according to human rights activists: “Surely in the 21st century it should be clear we cannot base our prosperity on forced labour.”

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Never Told About Allegations

Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says she was never told of allegations of corrupt practices involving Canada Revenue Agency corporate tax settlements. Lebouthillier said she first learned of one case through media: “The Minister became aware of the issue when it entered the public sphere.”

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Blacklist Went Far And Wide

An RCMP blacklist of Freedom Convoy sympathizers was emailed to securities regulators nationwide to share with individual members. The Mounties would not comment on distribution of the email to potentially thousands of financial advisors: “Can you tell us what information was provided?”

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Subsidized Press Not Popular

Unpopular federal subsidies have turned corporate media into targets of public scorn, the Commons heritage committee has been told. Taxpayers believe reporters are “on the take,” testified an Alberta editor: “I don’t want money from this government.”

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Stick With Student Loan Vow

Cabinet says it remains committed to eventually abolishing interest charges on Canada Student Loans despite raising the charges. Authorities gave no deadline for fulfilling the 2021 Liberal Party campaign promise: “We have had students’ backs every step of the way.”

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