Secret Study By Labour Dept

The Department of Labour commissioned secret interviews with non-union workers at federally-regulated job sites for unreported breaches of the Canada Labour Code, according to Access To Information records. The research is to conclude by September 28: "The final report will not be shared with the public."

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Libs Won’t Disclose Costing

The Liberal Party will not disclose independent costing of its campaign promises, the only major party to do so. Party headquarters yesterday would not take questions: "We are leaving it up to the parties."

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Bank Proposal Unpopular

Consumers are wary of a Department of Finance proposal to permit data mining by banks, says in-house research. The department since January 11 has reviewed the merits of what it calls open banking: "Almost all do not like it."

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Can’t Fire The Ombudsman

Cabinet has quietly rewritten terms of reference for a new corporate ethics ombudsman to prevent any future government from firing the officer. No reason was given for the change: "We are in what I call continuous improvement mode."

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Data Not Meant To Mislead

Environment Canada omitted 100 years’ worth of weather data from a federal website intended to illustrate climate change. Staff also used “modeling” instead of actual temperature readings to plot dramatic graphs, but said the result was not intended to be misleading: "It is simulated."

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Pro-Taxers Defy Election Rule

A pro-carbon tax group says it will not register with Elections Canada despite broadcasting YouTube ads ridiculing opponents. The Elections Act forbids unregulated advertising for or against any political issue during a campaign: "The provision does not apply to us."

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Candidate Cited On Ethics

A New Democrat candidate for the 43rd Parliament was twice cited for ethics breaches as a public office holder, according to records. “It was irresponsible and reckless,” wrote a City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner: "I just can't believe it."

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Transit Credit Worth $229M

A Conservative proposal to revive a “green” tax credit for transit users would cost $229 million next year, says the Parliamentary Budget Office. A similar credit was repealed in 2017 after both the Green Party and Department of Finance dubbed it a waste of money: "There was no chance in hell."

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A Sunday Poem: “Greta”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “She is the Swedish teenager who crossed the Atlantic in a zero-emission voyage. Making a statement about the carbon footprint of planes…”

Review: The Kids

Sixteen-year olds can marry in Nova Scotia but require a court’s approval in Québec. Twelve-year olds can work in Alberta with a note from Mother, but in Manitoba must obtain permission of the Minister of Labour. “In Yukon, the law requires youth to stay at home until they are legally adults” – at 19 – “and those who leave before that are considered runaways,” explains The Law Is (Not) For Kids. Authors Ned Lecic and Marvin Zuker review the hodgepodge of provincial regulation of minors in this intriguing book.

“We think Canadian youth should be asking for more legal rights,” authors explain. “At the same time, we will say very little in this book about exactly what rights we think you should have. That is a very complex question, and we encourage you to think for yourself about what rights adults should give you, and to find good reasons why you should be given those rights.”

RCMP Deployed Rock Squad

Newly-declassified files disclose the RCMP in 1970 deployed a Rock Festival Task Force to photograph hippies and the “younger radical element” at concerts from Vancouver to Manseau, Que. Undercover officers compiled hundreds of photos in a redacted 1,551-page file: "Each agent should be equipped with a camera and approximately four to six rolls of film."

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More Colourful Candidates

Confirmed candidates for the 43rd Parliament include a minor hockey coach suspended for cheating at a tournament, and a former business manager fired for “unprofessionalism and incompetence”. Conservative and Green Party organizers yesterday did not comment on their nominees.

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Low-Carbon Plan Falls Short

Two years after cabinet launched a $2 billion Low-Carbon Economy Fund, most Canadians say they don’t understand the term and are wary of the cost, according to in-house research by the Department of Natural Resources. “Many felt the government should explain to Canadians how the transition is not going to be an economic hardship,” said a report.

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Parental Benefit To Cost $1B

A Conservative Party offer of 15 percent tax credits for families drawing Employment Insurance parental benefits would cost $1 billion a year by 2021, the Parliamentary Budget Office said yesterday. The previous Liberal cabinet promised a 2020 increase in the current $24 billion tax-free Canada Child Benefit: "You're just getting by."

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Misbehaving Candidates OK

The Liberal Party yesterday defended two British Columbia candidates cited for misconduct. One failed to pay GST and was suspended from practicing law, another lied on a CMHC loan application: "I ought to have known."

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