Repealed A Law On Thieving

A law against thieving by public employees was quietly repealed by Parliament though prosecutors used it dozens of times over a ten-year period, according to Access To Information records. The Department of Justice said the law was slated for repeal because it was “obsolete”.

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Feds OK Sweetheart Contract

A media start-up that complained of the corrosive influence of federal money in Canadian newsrooms has won a sole-sourced Department of Public Works contract worth more than a quarter million. David Skok, former Toronto Star editor who launched the business website The Logic Inc. two years ago, declined an interview: “I founded The Logic on the belief that journalistic independence comes from financial independence.”

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Freeze Legislator Pay: Senator

Legislators would take a pandemic pay freeze for up to three years under a Senate motion debated yesterday. Senator Lucie Moncion (Ont.) said she donated her own $3,700 raise to charity this year, and recommended cabinet waive all increases: ‘It is an expression of our solidarity with Canadians in these difficult times.’

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Senate Nervous On Spending

Senators including a Liberal appointee yesterday questioned a lack of public information about federal finances. Mandated disclosure of borrowing ended when the Prime Minister suspended Parliament August 18: “It’s not being transparent.”

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Feds Delete Mask References

Canada’s chief public health officer yesterday in an official report on the pandemic deleted all references to garbled advice on masks. Dr. Theresa Tam as late as April 3 claimed there was no evidence masks protected Canadians from Covid-19: “It is absolutely mind-boggling.”

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MP Warns Censure Is Costly

Cabinet cannot risk censure for concealing We Charity documents for fear of losing control of Parliament, a Liberal MP said last night. MP Julie Dzerowicz (Davenport, Ont.) made the remarks as Liberals continued a three-week filibuster against disclosure: “It’s unpredictable.”

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Privacy Office ‘Dysfunctional’

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien spent four years and assigned seven investigators to a cursory review of a privacy complaint, records show. The complainant, a retired policeman, described Therrien’s office as slow and dysfunctional: ‘If I conducted investigations the same way they did I would have been charged.’

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No Doctor’s Note Required

Labour Minister Filomena Tassi yesterday rewrote rules to save federally-regulated employees from having to get a doctor’s note in claiming unpaid sick leave. Tassi did not comment, but acknowledged in a regulatory notice that employers protested the change: “Of course we believe Canadians are honest.”

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Agency Halts Computer Sales

No state secrets were disclosed in the inadvertent sale of encrypted hard drives to a used equipment dealer, the Communications Security Establishment said yesterday. The foreign spy agency said no one was fired for the security breach, but that it’s halted all resale of used computers: “We now physically destroy our electronic assets.”

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‘What Is Average Wait Time?’

The Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday said it will take at least until 2022 to eliminate a lengthy backlog of benefit claims by disabled veterans. Officials testifying at the Commons veterans affairs committee could not estimate current average wait times: “There are a variety.”

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Plastics Ban “A Fight”: Exec

Cabinet appears to have skewed data to justify tighter regulation of consumer plastics, an industry executive said yesterday. MPs have yet to open hearings on a proposed ban of six products and blacklisting of plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: “We find ourselves in a fight with our own federal government.”

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Wants Teeth In Regulations

Federal agencies that breach contracting rules should have to pay the true cost of compensation to suppliers, Procurement Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic said yesterday. Current rules limit damages to a few thousand dollars: “At times like these, Canadians must be assured their government is exercising responsible stewardship over public funds.”

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