Gov’t Took Too Long: Survey

Hope faded yesterday that Parliament will pass a $71 billion wage subsidy bill before Easter. Rebates are already too late for more than a third of small employers surveyed, said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business: "They will not be able to access it."

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May Redirect “Goofy” Grants

The Department of Social Development yesterday advised seniors’ groups to transfer federal funding for bocce courts and ukulele lessons to pandemic relief programs. “We’re providing new flexibility,” said Seniors Minister Deborah Schulte.

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No Prison Release, Say MPs

MPs yesterday appealed to the Correctional Service of Canada to prevent any pandemic parole of convicts. Wardens count twenty of 14,000 inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19 to date at prisons in British Columbia, Ontario and Québec: "Anxiety is at an all-time high."

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Senator To Bang Pots & Pans

An Ontario senator is recommending colleagues bang pots and pans at home after the Chamber voted itself into adjournment for a month. Senator Donna Dasko (Independent-Ont.) called it a symbolic call-out to doctors and nurses fighting the pandemic: "It’s a wonderful way to connect with people."

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Protest “Toxic” Plastics Ban

A cabinet proposal to regulate plastic as toxic now makes no sense, a plastics manufacturer told the Commons finance committee. The Department of the Environment prior to the pandemic said it would list plastic along with asbestos and mercury as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: "Masks, ventilators, hoses, intravenous bags, that sort of thing."

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No Special Subsidy To Media

More federal aid for corporate media is untenable amid mammoth pandemic-related job cuts in other industries, says Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer. A publishers’ lobby that earlier won a $595 million federal bailout complained of crashing advertising revenues: "There’s a lot of hurt out there."

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Feds May Cancel Canada Day

Canada Day may be cancelled, says the Department of Canadian Heritage. Public health officers have warned July 1 would coincide with an expected second wave of pandemic infections: 'The top priority is health.'

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Replaced Execs After Audit

Cabinet has replaced top management of the Crown-financed Canada Infrastructure Bank only nine weeks after MPs ordered an audit of all federal infrastructure spending. The Prime Minister gave no explanation: "If they know, they aren't telling us."

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Demand Carbon Tax Rollback

Any new pandemic relief bill must include the rollback of a fifty percent increase in the carbon tax, say Conservative MPs. House leaders are negotiating a return of Parliament into emergency session to pass a $71 billion wage subsidy bill: "We don't believe it makes any sense."

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Eye Pandemic Prison Release

The federal prison system says it is considering release of some inmates due to fears of Covid-19 infection. Wardens have already suspended all public visits and temporary leave for 14,000 convicts “unless medically necessary”: "They don't even know what is happening."

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Sunday Poem: “Coronavirus”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “To increase awareness of the new pandemic I named my cat Covid. It seems to do the trick…”

Book Review: 1968

1968 is so layered in mythology it takes a surgeon’s scalpel to cut to the facts. Historian Paul Litt of Carleton University deftly slices and trims until the truth emerges in Trudeaumania. Even in death Pierre Trudeau remains a polarizing figure; Professor Litt traces the phenomenon to that long-ago campaign.

Yes, Trudeaumania was invented by media, writes Litt: “Yet the media could not have made Trudeau without a complicit audience.” Most strikingly, it could never happen exactly the same way again. The ’68 phenomenon was a collision at the intersection of time and place. Many political fixers have schemed to recreate the experience, and many have failed.

Prepared For A Million Calls

The Canada Revenue Agency yesterday said it is prepared to handle a million calls a day for $8,000 pandemic relief payments to uninsured workers. MPs said application criteria are so restrictive many people will lose out: "We’re going to get lots of questions, I guarantee."

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No Wreaths For Vimy Heroes

Pandemic fears yesterday prompted the Department of Veterans Affairs to cancel a wreath-laying ceremony for the dead of the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the National War Memorial. A planned May 8 pilgrimage of Second World War veterans to the Netherlands is also cancelled: "These events would have resulted in the gathering of large groups."

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800,000 Restaurant Staff Gone

Two-thirds of restaurant workers nationwide have been laid off, a total 800,000 people, says a trade group. New data follow the Prime Minister’s March 27 appeal to restaurant owners to keep staff amid Public Health Agency of Canada warnings that customers should stay home: "Nobody even had time to plan."

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