OK Climate Loans & Rebates

Cabinet will introduce interest-free loans for climate change home refits and rebate a portion of carbon taxes paid by farmers, according to budget documents. It follows a proposal to raise the federal carbon tax 240 percent by 2030: "I have personally seen bills for the carbon tax of tens of thousands of dollars."

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Fix $15 Fed Minimum Wage

Cabinet will mandate a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, the first increase since 1996. The rate would apply to workers in federally-regulated private sector workplaces like airports and radio stations but is a “pace setter” for provinces, said the Canadian Labour Congress: "It should exert some upward pressure."

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‘My Job Is To Ensure Safety’

An internet censorship bill to promote “content moderation” will be introduced within two weeks, says Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault. “My job is to ensure the safety and security of the Canadian population,” said Guilbeault. “That’s what I am here for.”

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Staff Stressed ‘Success’ Stories

The Prime Minister’s Office in internal emails directed staff to “use the success stories” in public announcements on pandemic management. Staff recommended skewing information to emphasize positive news over factual reporting: "Use the success stories rather than specific delivery numbers."

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Did Absolute Best Says Hajdu

Health Minister Patricia Hajdu told the Commons health committee she is grateful for employees “doing their absolute best” this pandemic, but stopped short of an apology for mismanagement cited by auditors. “Are you the minister responsible for the Public Health Agency?” asked New Democrat MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). “Yes I am,” replied Hajdu.

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Pot Firing Worth $5K Penalty

A federal labour arbitrator has ordered Canadian National Railway Co. to pay $5,000 in damages to an employee fired for using marijuana a day before his shift. “Flimsy,” the arbitrator ruled: "I find it difficult to accept the company could possibly believe it had grounds to dismiss."

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Youth Grants Cost $117M

A national grant program for youth volunteers went about 12 percent over budget to more than $117 million, according to labour department figures. Cabinet launched the Canada Service Corps three years ago: "It helps them develop relationships."

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Poem: “Silence Of The Sea”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, writes for Blacklock’s each and every Sunday: “In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, rescuers from Canada and the U.S. try to free three whales entangled in ropes.In the port of Kushiro, a crane lifts the body of a Minke whale…”

Review: How To Become A Judge

Canadians like to think of our judiciary as a meritocracy, in the same manner we have a naïve faith that oncoming motorists will stay on their side of the white line. Of course, car wrecks happen all the time.
Professor Dale Brawn examines who’s behind the wheel in Canadian courts. The result is a beautifully-researched and entertaining study of 80 years of judicial appointments in a single province, Manitoba, from 1870 to 1950. Brawn chooses his subject well; Manitoba was for years the lone outpost of the judiciary on the Prairie frontier.
Judges were by contrast brilliant and mediocre; studious and alcoholic; a grab bag of “pretty fair lawyers” and political fixers. One appointee was rated as having “but a small amount of brains and knows absolutely no law.”

Appointee Had Ethics Breach

Cabinet yesterday named former Liberal Party national director Ian McKay as Canadian ambassador to Japan. McKay two years ago was cited for breach of the Conflict Of Interest Act in failing to disclose directorship in a cannabis company: "Nobody else seems to be outraged."

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Vaccines Paid At $18 A Shot

The Department of Public Works is paying the equivalent of about $18 per shot for Covid vaccines, data show. One manufacturer told a Commons committee there is a “fairly reasonable profit at that price.” Public Works Minister Anita Anand did not comment: "Are our contracts locked in?"

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Gov’t Knew Of $500M Error

The Department of Employment yesterday said it knowingly paid $500,000,000 in pandemic benefits to people who weren’t eligible. “From the very beginning of the design we made ministers aware,” said Graham Flack, deputy minister: "We knew when we were launching."

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Like Carbon Tariffs On China

Canada should impose carbon tariffs on imports from Chinese polluters, Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole said yesterday. Cabinet said it was “very interested in the idea": "Most Canadians don’t want to see Canadian jobs being shifted to China."

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“Shortchanged” In Bailout

Taxpayers should not be financing $1.4 billion in refunds for Air Canada passengers, a consumer group yesterday told the Commons finance committee. A $5.9 billion bailout approved Monday grants the airline an unsecured 1.2 percent interest loan to finance refunds for customers holding prepaid tickets on cancelled flights: "Taxpayers were shortchanged."

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Cash Advance, No Deliveries

The Department of Public Works paid a multi-million dollar cash advance to a federal contractor for pandemic test kits that were never delivered, the Commons government operations learned yesterday. Spartan Bioscience Inc. filed for bankruptcy court protection April 6: "Did we buy it based on the belief it was going to work and we were sold snake oil?"

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