Gov’t Lists Essential Workers

The Department of Public Safety yesterday listed zookeepers but not spiritual leaders as “essential” workers in the pandemic. The Public Health Agency has advised that all masses, temple and prayer meetings be cancelled to avoid spreading the coronavirus: "Canadians want the services they rely on every day."

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Pharma Settles Out Of Court

A pharmaceutical company accused of withholding essential drug data from generic manufacturers yesterday settled out of court with the anti-trust Competition Bureau. Federal investigators had filed a Federal Court claim against Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical Inc. of Saint-Laurent, Que.: "I remain very concerned."

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Count Millions More Jobless

More than two million Canadians have applied for employment insurance in the past two weeks, says Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough. All workers and employers will pay for pandemic-related claims through higher premiums in future years: "Our employment insurance system was not designed to address a public global health crisis."

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Deficit Tops A Record $130B

This year’s deficit will top $130 billion, the highest in Canadian history, according to figures detailed yesterday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The shortfall is triple the modern equivalent of Parliament’s 1942 wartime deficit of $39.3 billion: "Extraordinary."

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We Weren’t Prepared: Feds

The Department of Health yesterday acknowledged it failed to stock up on pandemic supplies in a $300 million national emergency stockpile despite repeated warnings. The admission came seven weeks after it shipped sixteen tonnes of masks, medical gloves and face shields to China: "Someone needs to be held accountable."

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Must Rewrite Garbled Bill

Parliament must be recalled into emergency session to rewrite a garbled $71 billion wage subsidy bill. Finance Minister Bill Morneau yesterday acknowledged payments to business will now be delayed several weeks: "They should have made sure they were getting it right."

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Gave Raise To The Food Bank

Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer yesterday donated his $3,800 pandemic pay raise to the Regina Food Bank. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised all charitable donors, but did not discuss his own $5,300 pay hike that took effect yesterday: "You are doing your part."

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$350,000,000,000 For Covid-19

Cabinet has granted itself unprecedented powers to borrow $350 billion for pandemic relief programs, a sum greater than last year’s entire federal budget. Wartime spending powers were approved by Parliament in a bill that passed the Commons in fifteen minutes: "We made this decision together."

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OK’d $5.6M In Climate Cash

A federal pandemic preparedness agency that's run short of Covid-19 face masks spent millions on climate change programs last year, accounts show. Spending by the Public Health Agency of Canada included a half-million grant for “science and storytelling regarding climate change”.

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Can’t Get Answers, Say MPs

MPs yesterday told the Commons health committee they can’t get straight answers on the scope of pandemic equipment shortages. Cabinet said it is spending $2 billion on masks, ventilators, test kits, medical gowns and gloves: "Canadians have a right to know."

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Paid $70K For #MeToo Study

The Department of Women and Gender Equality paid a pollster $69,562 to gauge Canadians’ views on the #MeToo movement. Staff said the spending would “inform future efforts to shift attitudes in Canada that contribute to gendered inequalities.”

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Worried For “Food Security”

The Department of Health yesterday said it's worried about the nation’s food supply. Farmers have complained delays in allowing migrant workers into Canada may upset fruit, vegetable and greenhouse production: "Food security in particular is a topic of great concern for the government."

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MPs Finding Strings Attached

MPs yesterday complained hurriedly-announced federal pandemic relief programs have strings attached that disqualify Canadians they were intended to help. Cabinet has yet to spell out regulations for billions in Covid-19 relief: "It makes no sense."

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Memo Details Internet Fears

The Department of Industry in an Access To Information report claims self-regulation of the internet is “inadequate” and warns Parliament must police content. The 2019 memo predates a January 29 proposal to create a first-ever national registry of internet news websites: "Those words scare the hell out of me."

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Wage Subsidy Costs Billions

A pandemic wage subsidy for small business will be expanded to include large corporations, cabinet said yesterday. Subsidies for just five percent of the nation’s workforce would cost $11 billion: "These costs keep climbing."

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