Border ‘Glitch’ Fuels Lawsuit

A computer error in a cross-border Customs database has prompted a federal lawsuit. A British Columbia trucking company says it was unfairly fined thousands of dollars over an electronic glitch at the Canada Border Services Agency: "Nobody wants to listen to our side of the story."

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Won’t Divulge Pot Arrests

The Public Prosecution Service will not disclose the number of Canadians arrested for marijuana possession since cabinet introduced its bill to legalize cannabis. More than 15,000 were arrested in the 18 months prior to the bill's tabling: "What is really going on?"

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420,000 Skip Gov’t Benefits

More than 420,000 low income Canadians have skipped millions in benefits by failing to file a yearly tax return, says an Access To Information memo from the Canada Revenue Agency. Earlier federal research concluded many poor Canadians find dealing with the Agency to be stressful and unpleasant: "Others are fearful they will get in trouble."

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Can’t Hide Air Safety Reports

Air Canada has lost a bid to block disclosure of safety inspections that found the airline in breach of Canadian Aviation Regulations. The Federal Court ruled that, while disclosure “could cause the public to be concerned”, it was no reason to conceal records: "Airlines have had negative disclosures in the past."

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Takes 13 Years To Catch Up

The Department of Finance estimates it takes immigrants about 13 years to work their way up to the Canadian average on employment income. “New immigrants have a more difficult time,” said the memo to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

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$5M Won In Copyright Case

A federal judge has issued a $5 million award in a copyright case. The default judgment cited an internet TV operator for ignoring years’ worth of warnings to stop the broadcast of bootlegged programming: "There is no reasonable explanation."

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Sunday Poem: “Hawking”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “Like Einstein before him, Newton before him, Galileo before him, Copernicus before him…”

Book Review: High Noon At Lakeside

One day in 2004 two co-workers – one black, one white – had an unpleasant physical alteration at a slaughterhouse in Brooks, Alta. The black man was fired. About 200 Sudanese employees protested the wrongful dismissal. “Management told them, go back to your jobs or we’ll fire you,” one witness recalled. They refused. Sixty were fired.

The incident set in motion an extraordinary series of events documented in Defying Expectations by Prof. Jason Foster of Athabasca University. Foster is a former policy director with the Alberta Federation of Labour, and a skillful writer whose account reads like a screenplay. The Brooks plant was the least promising candidate for a union drive anywhere in Canada. Merely posting an NDP lawn sign was an act of bravura.

Fed Bias Inquiry At VIA Rail

VIA Rail faces an inquiry by the Canadian Human Rights Commission into alleged discriminatory hiring practices against women, according to Court documents. The railway in its last Annual Report described itself as a “leader in diversity".

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Juice Lobby Protests Guide

Lobbyists have pressed cabinet not to write fruit juice out of the Canada Food Guide, according to Access To Information records. The industry fears lost sales in the $1.6 billion-a year trade after a 2016 Senate committee report on obesity described 100% fruit juice as “little more than a soft drink without the bubbles.”

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Wants Carbon Data Disclosed

Cabinet should disclose any data it has on the financial impact of its national carbon tax, says the former chair of the Senate energy committee. Access To Information files indicate regulators as early as 2016 calculated costs and impacts on jobs, but would not release the information: "Our economy is going to hell if we continue to do this."

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See Pressure On Fed Pensions

A typical federal employee will now spend as many years in retirement as they do in the workforce, says a pension report. Chief Actuary Jean-Claude Ménard said longer life spans are putting “upward pressure” on public service pensions: "For recent retirees, average working life is less or equal to average retirement life."

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Feds’ Fake News Cost $577K

Ten federal agencies last year paid a national broker almost $577,000 to distribute newspaper stories ghostwritten by government employees. The payments came as Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly lamented “fake news” in Canada. Joly’s office yesterday did not comment: ‘Creators of fake news are not constrained by research or fact-checking.’

14% Of Restaurants Audited

Restaurant owners suffer a high rate of tax audits, according to Canada Revenue Agency records obtained through Access To Information. A total 14 percent of all restaurants nationwide have been targeted by auditors since 2013: "Canada Revenue Agency dedicates too much energy to minor issues with small businesses and individuals."

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Sued On Copyright, Library Seeks To Explain Copyright

The Library of Parliament, defendant in an ongoing federal copyright lawsuit, yesterday announced it will host a seminar to educate parliamentarians on copyright. The notice made no mention of the Federal Court case in which librarians admit to copying others’ work without permission or licensing fee: “As a library, we expected that a minimal amount of redistribution to clients would be permissible.”