“Astronaut In Rideau Hall”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “The Governor General could go easy on those who prefer astrology, alternative medicine, or biblical stories, over facts and reason…”

Book Review: The Red, White & Blue

Border towns have a unique world view rarely documented by historians. The city flag of Lethbridge, Alta. is red, white and blue. The Columbia in British Columbia is named for an American schooner. New York’s Buffalo News used to publish a monthly commentary of legislation passed by Parliament. Most residents of Emerson, Man. can name the best place to eat in Fargo, ND.

Author Brandon Dimmel documents this border culture and its cataclysmic change born from fears of terrorism more than a hundred years ago. Engaging The Line is a smart, crisp account of the First World War’s impact on border life. The topic is not merely timely but compelling.

Most interesting in Dimmel’s account is the story of Windsor, Ont. and neighbouring Essex County, a place so Americanized newsboys used to hawk the Detroit Free Press on local street corners. Longtime residents still speak with a slight Michigan accent discernible to fellow Canadians.

Auditors Target U.S. Property

The Canada Revenue Agency yesterday said it will review six years’ worth of U.S. real estate transactions in a hunt for Canadians with unreported income. Auditors will examine “current and historical records”, the Agency said: "Penalties and interest associated with unreported real estate sales can be substantial."

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Wife’s Charity To Run Grants

Cabinet yesterday appointed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s favourite charity to manage a pandemic grant relief program. The Prime Minister’s wife has appeared as an "official ambassador" and public speaker at We Charity events in New York: "I’m curious how that’s not a conflict of interest?"

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Record Spending Bills Pass

The Senate today will pass into law the last of a flurry of spending bills that drive the federal debt to a trillion dollars. One Senator noted bills received scant scrutiny: "A $44 billion supply bill whipped through here in forty-six seconds."

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Warns Of Internet “Experts”

The Governor General yesterday said Canadians must be wary of “self-appointed experts” on the internet. The remarks by Julie Payette came as cabinet ponders mandatory registration of all digital media: "It’s difficult to decide what is real."

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Senate Apology For Meredith

Senators yesterday expressed regret for misconduct by ex-legislator Don Meredith. An unnamed "independent expert" is to recommend compensation for employees who accused Meredith of lewd behaviour: "It is just so exasperating."

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Turn CERB Into Wage Bonus

Arbitrary rules under the $71.3 billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit program discourage people from working, Opposition leader Andrew Scheer said yesterday. Conservatives proposed a descending scale of benefits instead of an all-or-nothing regulation that disqualifies applicants who earn more than $1,000 a month: "Workers are penalized for picking up shifts."

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Agency Ignored Own Advice

The Public Health Agency of Canada paid more than $300,000 to host a convention including meetings at a ski hill at the same time it ordered cancellation of hockey games, church services and other public events, records show. The Agency yesterday confirmed it cannot get a refund: "We take that extremely seriously."

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Ex-Chief Predicts Job Cuts

The ex-chief of the federal public service predicts job cuts in the aftermath of the pandemic. “The federal service will be smaller,” said Michael Wernick, former $326,000-a year clerk of the Privy Council: "We saw that before."

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Cop Unions “Huge Problem”

Police unions have “frequently been a huge problem” in protecting bad officers, says the Liberal chair of the Commons public safety committee. The RCMP Commissioner told a hearing on police abuses she “won’t appreciate getting thrown under the bus” by union members.

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Doctors Seek Death Benefits

The Canadian Medical Association is petitioning Parliament for $300,000 grants to families of front line health care workers who die of Covid-19. Dr. Sandy Buchman, association president, blamed the Public Health Agency for failing to stock up on masks, goggles, face shields and other pandemic supplies: "We would never permit a firefighter to go into a burning building without adequate protection."

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Senate Suspension Extended

Legislators will extend until September a suspension without pay for Senator Lynn Beyak (Ont.). The Senate deferred a vote on reinstating Beyak after she was compelled to attend hours of Indigenous sensitivity training: "She has learned."

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Ask If Shouts Are Off Limits

A federal judge is being asked to rule on whether shouting constitutes workplace harassment. A National Research Council investigation that dismissed a 'raised voice' complaint is being challenged in Federal Court: 'You are a lowly advisor, nothing else.'

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Public To Pay For Ex-Senator

Taxpayers are to compensate ex-staff of former senator Don Meredith following a sexual harassment investigation. The Senate committee on internal economy meets tomorrow to discuss claims: "What are you wearing? Can you send me a picture?"

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