Allegations that cabinet ignored misconduct by foreign agents will not alter New Democrats' pledge to support the Prime Minister until 2025, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh yesterday told reporters. Withdrawing support and triggering a snap election made no sense, said Singh: "I don’t see how it’s logical."
O’Toole Outlines China Claim
The House affairs committee must investigate attempts by Chinese agents to cost Conservative votes in the 2021 campaign, MP Erin O’Toole (Durham, Ont.) yesterday told the Commons. “My parliamentary caucus and myself were the target,” said O’Toole following a secret briefing with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service: "My parliamentary caucus and myself were the target of a sophisticated misinformation and voter suppression campaign orchestrated by the People's Republic of China."
Privacy Chief OKs Mandates
Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne has dismissed all complaints over federal vaccine and quarantine mandates. Pandemic measures enforced by cabinet were necessary and justifiable under the Privacy Act, he said: "The urgency of limiting the spread of the virus was understandably a significant challenge for government."
Johnston Refusing To Testify
David Johnston refuses to take questions by MPs over his work at the Trudeau Foundation. Members of the Commons public accounts committee yesterday threatened to issue a summons for Johnston, a first for a retired governor general: "It does seem like a drastic step."
Fed Censor Bill By Year’s End
Cabinet will attempt to reintroduce an internet censorship bill by year’s end. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez yesterday told the Commons heritage committee he would “have more to announce shortly,” adding: "We have worked a good deal on this issue."
Get Ethical Suppliers Says MP
The Department of Public Works must uphold human rights in federal contracting, Conservative MP Stephanie Kusie (Calgary Midnapore) yesterday told the Commons government operations committee. Kusie served notice of proposed amendments to a Government-Wide Integrity Regime blacklist of ineligible suppliers: "It is astounding to me actually that McKinsey passed the Integrity Regime."
Homeless Are Rights Holders
Homeless people occupying tent cities are “claiming their rights,” says a report issued by Federal Housing Advocate Marie-Josée Houle. The report proposed a national ban on park evictions with free legal advice for tent city residents: "Residents have been arrested and criminalized under bylaws outlawing behaviour such as camping, bathing or defecating in public."
House Upholds Drug Policy
The Commons yesterday by a vote of 209 to 113 upheld cabinet's “safe supply” drug policy. The vote followed federal decriminalization of simple possession of cocaine, opioids and methamphetamine in British Columbia: "This is not about encouraging drug use."
Filibuster Must End: Cabinet
Cabinet seeks to break a month-long filibuster that has tied up Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s omnibus budget bill in the Commons finance committee. One Liberal MP called it “arbitrary filibustering” to upset cabinet's calendar: "The point is quite clear."
Vax Exemption Gets Hearing
A federal labour board has agreed to hear the case of a government employee denied a waiver from the vaccine mandate on religious grounds. Data show the overwhelming majority of requests for religious exemptions were denied, often with no reason given: "The grievance is neither trivial nor vexatious."
Chiefs Want To Intercept Mail
Parliament must change federal law to permit police, postal inspectors or First Nations constables to open letters in transit, says one of the nation’s largest Indigenous groups. Letter mail is a leading source of narcotics, says the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs: "Postal shipments have become the most common method of distribution for illegal substances."
Pot Dealers Behind In Taxes
Collapse of the legal pot trade has seen two thirds of marijuana dealers fall behind in tax payments, says a federal report. Dealers owe the Canada Revenue Agency millions: "The total amount of unpaid cannabis excise duties has continuously been rising since legalization."
Curb Lobby By Party Workers
A new federal code curbs lobbying by Canadians involved in “political work” including unpaid campaign volunteers. Revisions to the Lobbyists’ Code Of Conduct, the first in eight years, are to take effect July 1: "There will be plenty of time for people to look at it."
Sunday Poem: ‘Up In The Air’
Poet Shai Ben-Shalom writes: “They charge for selecting a seat. A new way to dip into my pocket…”
Review: Witness To The Crimes
The Education Of Augie Merasty is an odd and absorbing memoir. The subject and his writer met only twice. Many details are unverified. There is no beginning, middle or end. Yet the book documents a dark corner of our nature that psychologists call “social proof.”
Imagine you are walking on a desolate beach and spot a lone swimmer in distress. Would you call out? Of course you would. You are a good person. Now imagine you are among hundreds on a very crowded beach and spot the same sudden drowning. Then what? Here no answer is required. Canadians drown at crowded beaches every summer.
This is “social proof,” a type of group think where individuals seek cues from those around them on how to react to upsetting developments. “Very often an emergency is not obviously an emergency,” psychologist Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University wrote in a 1984 bestseller Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion. “In times of such uncertainty, the natural tendency is to look around at the actions of others for clues. We can learn, from the way other witnesses are reacting, whether or not the event is an emergency.”