A Poem: “Different Species”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom writes: “Politicians are not cats. They do not eat kibbles from a bowl, do not catch flies on the window glass, do not sharpen their claws on furniture…”

Review: The 329

When 167 members of the Canadian Staff Band of the Salvation Army perished at sea in the 1914 sinking of the Empress Of Ireland, mass public observances were held. A prominent memorial was built in Toronto. The Royal family donated $132,000 to a victims’ fund. Canadian newspapers for 40 years afterward marked the anniversary date with annual features.

When 329 people, mostly Canadians, perished at sea in the 1985 Air India bombing, there was no fund, no mass public mourning. The only memorial was in County Cork, Ireland, near the spot where Flight 182 took whole families to their death. Few Canadians recall the year this mass murder occurred.

The victims were modest people of ordinary means and little public profile. Would it have been different if 329 bankers died, or 329 tennis players? Of course. Would it have been different if 329 white Christians died? Remembering Air India answers this last, jarring question.

Tax Research Kept Top Secret

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will not release federal research justifying cabinet claims a GST holiday for builders will lower rents. Freeland called it confidential: "The Department of Finance doesn’t have very much respect for elected officials."

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Senators Rejected Paid Tweets

Senators yesterday rejected a proposal to bill taxpayers up to $54,000 a year for sponsored Twitter and LinkedIn posts. A committee balked not at the expense but a condition banning partisan posts: "You may have to change how you use social media if you take the money."

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Gov’t “Happy To Help” CBC

Cabinet is happy to help the CBC defend itself from the Conservative Party, Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said yesterday.  “It is something I hold very dear,” St-Onge testified at the Commons heritage committee: "I am really looking forward to talking more to Canadians about the future of the CBC."

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No Travel Cuts In New York

Thirty-three political aides, appointees and cabinet ministers traveled with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a September 19 climate change conference in New York, records show. It followed a budget promise to cut spending on travel this year: "A better tomorrow requires effort."

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Christ v. Rights Commission

The Commons yesterday joined in all-party jeering of a Canadian Human Rights Commission report calling Christmas a racist observance “grounded in Canada’s history of colonialism.” The House unanimously condemned the report: "It is still incredible we have to remind people Christmas is not discriminatory."

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China Cops Were Here: MPs

A Commons committee yesterday acknowledged the Chinese Communist Party operated “police service stations” in Canada. Critics had ridiculed the suggestion “so-called Chinese police stations” were spying on local communities in three cities: 'Witnesses emphasized they harass and intimidate individuals who are critical of China.'

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Christmas Report Upsets MPs

MPs yesterday condemned a Canadian Human Rights Commission report calling Christmas “an obvious example” of intolerance and colonialism. People must be free to celebrate Jesus’ birth without hectoring, the Commons was told: "I wonder if good old Santa Claus is racist. I wonder if snow has become racist."

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Committee Calls In Auditors

MPs have called in federal auditors to determine how and why $8 million was spent on a solar-powered warehouse at Rideau Hall. Members of the Commons public accounts committee called the expense extraordinary: "It is literally just one big racket, the racket at Rideau."

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Phoenix Bungle Now $3.5B

The federal Phoenix Pay System failure has cost taxpayers $3.5 billion and counting, the highest figure disclosed to date. The expense was reported to the Commons government operations committee: "How could this happen?"

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MPs OK Animal Activist Bill

The Commons yesterday by a 278 to 36 vote passed a farm trespass ban targeting animal rights protesters. “These groups encourage unlawful behaviour,” said Conservative MP John Barlow (Foothills, Alta.), sponsor of the bill: "Our family farms do not feel safe."

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Asked The Question 32 Times

MPs on the Commons government operations committee yesterday were unable to identify who awarded a sweetheart contract to an ArriveCan consultant. They asked 32 times. “Nobody wants to take responsibility,” said Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.): "While everything is broken nobody ever takes responsibility."

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Gov’t Reneges On NDP Pact

Cabinet yesterday reneged on a 2022 vote pact with New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh. A written promise to pass pharmacare legislation by December 31 will not be met, said ministers: "Well, yes, I don’t think we’re going to get it passed by the end of this year."

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Report Boosting Non-Retirees

Cabinet should adjust tax credits and benefit programs to encourage wage earners willing to remain in the workforce past 65, says a Canadian Federation of Independent Business report. It follows a July 24 appeal by the Minister of Industry to “support retirees” who choose to stay on the job: "Canada’s economy is being crippled by labour shortages."

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