Sponsors Paid Trudeau $1.3M

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday disclosed he collected more than $1.3 million in speaking fees from private sponsors over a six-year period from 2006 to 2012. Cabinet released the records to preempt Conservative calls for wider disclosure of records: 'That would paralyze the government.'

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CRA Like Needle In Haystack

The Canada Revenue Agency admits its website is “scattered”, uses “technical language” and is so complicated that “using CRA materials to find information was like finding a needle in a haystack”. The findings of an internal evaluation follow repeated calls to simplify the 3,269-page Income Tax Act: "Our tax system has become a ponderous, unwieldy monster."

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Ponder Electric Car Mandate

The Commons environment committee yesterday voted 11-0 to study a federal mandate on electric cars. The vote follows Department of Transport data showing rebates for buyers are the costliest federal climate change subsidy: "Canada's efforts are failing."

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Would Hire CEO As Advisor

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation proposes to hire its retiring CEO as a consultant. Evan Siddall in a filing with the Ethics Commissioner said he did not vote to award any contract to himself: "I recused myself in order to avoid a situation of conflict."

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Forced Apology By Ex-MP

Former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido yesterday complied with a rare Commons order that he apologize for breaching the Conflict Of Interest Code. The code carries no formal penalty: "No one is perfect."

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Railway Losing $1.5M A Day

VIA Rail is losing more than a million a day and requires emergency taxpayers' aid to stay in business. The Crown railway in financial statements pleaded with the Department of Transport for a rescue package: "We aren't there yet."

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Wage Subsidies To Top $100B

Pandemic wage subsidies will cost $83.6 billion by year’s end and are expected to surpass $100 billion this winter. The Department of Finance would not comment on the final cost: "It was like arriving at a house fire."

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Airlines Clear To Cancel Runs

Commercial airlines may cancel domestic flights with a simple sixty-day website notice under a regulatory waiver by the Canadian Transportation Agency. The Agency said the measure should come as no surprise for smaller airports hit with pandemic shutdowns: 'Affected communities will not be taken by surprise.'

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Spent $464M Without A Plan

Parliament gave nearly half a billion in foreign aid to Ukraine without any overall plan to ensure money was spent wisely, says a Department of Foreign Affairs audit. The report concluded Canada “did not respond cohesively” to needs in the poorest parts of the country, but hired a gender equality advisor at its embassy in Kyiv: 'Ukraine remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.'

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Would Ban Men-Only Boards

Men-only boards of directors at Crown corporations would be abolished under a private bill introduced in the Commons. One federal agency to date has no women directors: "This is unacceptable."

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“Swimming In Dollars”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “Excess capital of Toronto-Dominion Bank nearly 6 billion. Bank of Montreal 3 billion…”

Review: Reindeer Ranches & Cigars

In 1919 an Arctic promoter devised a scheme to convert Baffin Island to a vast reindeer ranch, bigger and more spectacular than anything in Texas or Argentina. More than 100,000 square kilometres of tundra were leased as ranchlands. The scheme collapsed by 1923 – the reindeer died – but the promoter, Manitoba-born explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, proved the venture was at least nutritionally sound by living on an all-meat diet for an entire year. Stefansson lived to 87.

The Baffin ranches and other believe-it-or-not episodes are detailed in A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North, an encyclopedic work rich in compelling anecdotes. It documents decades of schemes – some tragic, some comic – to plant the flag north of the 60th parallel and make the Arctic pay.

MPs Fight Over Trudeau Fees

Liberal MPs last night again filibustered a vote of the Commons ethics committee over disclosure of corporate sponsorship fees paid to the Prime Minister’s mother and family. “My God there’s got to be something juicy in those documents,” said New Democrat MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.).

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Block We Charity Disclosures

Liberal MPs last night spent 11 hours and 14 minutes blocking a vote to force disclosure of uncensored We Charity documents. The filibuster at the Commons finance committee is to resume today. “They always say you have to repeat things six or seven times for it actually to sort of stick in someone’s mind,” said Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz (Davenport, Ont.).

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‘Raises Eyebrows’ Over Pay

Executive pay at a Crown bank should ‘raise eyebrows’ for taxpayers, MPs said yesterday. The Canada Infrastructure Bank last year paid more in “termination benefits” than it did in salaries for senior managers: "The Bank is pretty clearly a failed experiment."

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