“Shoot Them” Tweet Was OK

Commons Speaker Anthony Rota yesterday dismissed a complaint against a reporter for Canadian Bar Association National Magazine who tweeted “shoot them” at Conservative MPs while sitting in the Press Gallery. Rota said his ruling did not excuse abusive comments: "Some comments are extreme and occasionally even violent."

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Agents Snooped 33,373 Times

More than 33,000 travelers have had smartphones, laptops and tablets searched by the Canada Border Services Agency, documents show. Searches peaked just prior to a successful legal challenge that struck random searches as unconstitutional: "How many searches involving the viewing of contents on individuals' electronic devices has the Border Services Agency conducted?"

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Left Privacy To Fund Dealers

The RCMP yesterday confirmed it emailed a blacklist of Freedom Convoy sympathizers to lobbyists like the Mutual Fund Dealers Association for distribution to members. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had claimed the blacklisting was “really targeted."

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Convoy Censure Challenged

Constitutional lawyers have filed a legal challenge on behalf of a municipal councillor censured for attending the Freedom Convoy protest. Harold Jonker, an Ontario trucking company manager, said he was proud to be among the first truckers to join the January 28 protest outside Parliament Hill: "In Canada we must tolerate strong differences of political opinion."

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We Followed The Science: PM

Cabinet followed the science in repealing the last travel-related mask and vaccine mandates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday. The remark came as one federal scientist warned hospitalization rates remained high with “continued growth” of infections this fall: "The pandemic is not over, you know."

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Bill Names, Shames Importers

Legislation expected to pass Parliament would name and shame Canadian corporations that import slave-made goods, the Commons foreign affairs committee was told yesterday. Suspicious products include China-made cotton apparel, solar panels and tomato paste, according to human rights activists: "Surely in the 21st century it should be clear we cannot base our prosperity on forced labour."

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Never Told About Allegations

Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says she was never told of allegations of corrupt practices involving Canada Revenue Agency corporate tax settlements. Lebouthillier said she first learned of one case through media: "The Minister became aware of the issue when it entered the public sphere."

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Blacklist Went Far And Wide

An RCMP blacklist of Freedom Convoy sympathizers was emailed to securities regulators nationwide to share with individual members. The Mounties would not comment on distribution of the email to potentially thousands of financial advisors: "Can you tell us what information was provided?"

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Quarantine App Cost $19.8M

Federal agencies spent almost $20 million on the ArriveCan app for cross-border travelers, records show. Cabinet defended the program as essential in enforcing the Quarantine Act: "You want to keep it mandatory?"

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Subsidized Press Not Popular

Unpopular federal subsidies have turned corporate media into targets of public scorn, the Commons heritage committee has been told. Taxpayers believe reporters are “on the take,” testified an Alberta editor: "I don’t want money from this government."

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Stick With Student Loan Vow

Cabinet says it remains committed to eventually abolishing interest charges on Canada Student Loans despite raising the charges. Authorities gave no deadline for fulfilling the 2021 Liberal Party campaign promise: "We have had students’ backs every step of the way."

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Cannot Count Jobs For $510M

A half-billion in federal spending on a China-based bank resulted in contracts for a handful of Canadian companies, documents show. Cabinet said it did not know how many, if any, jobs were created for its purchase of shares in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank of Beijing: "The Canadian government cannot estimate how many jobs have been created."

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Ottawa Lost: A Forgotten PM

The political heart of Ottawa spans a ten-square block area of the old city stretching from Wellington to Somerset Streets. Here on Somerset lived Prime Minister John Thompson, a workaholic who wrote Canada’s first Criminal Code, created Labour Day in 1893 and was an early supporter of votes for women: “About all the exercise I can get is the walk from my house up to the Hill and back.”

Review: Dreams Of Boiling Water

Explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson said the Arctic was at the very centre of national life though southerners thought of it as the edge of the frontier. The unforgiving land and its rugged people are instantly recognizable worldwide as uniquely Canadian. Say “Canada” from Germany to Japan and foreigners see Inuit art, Northern lights and merciless winters.

Johnny Neyelle, a Dene Elder with the Bear Lake people, from the 1980s made cassette recordings of ancient lore and his life experience. Neyelle had a stark purpose. As his son Morris puts it, “I realized that storytelling was changing and that kids weren’t coming to listen to the Elders’ stories anymore.”

MPs Question $218 Breakfasts

MPs yesterday demanded to see actual menus for costly in-flight meals for Governor General Mary Simon. Food expenses on a junket to Dubai were the equivalent of $218 per plate for breakfast, lunch and supper servings for Simon and 45 others: "We’d like to know whether we are dealing with caviar and champagne."

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