‘No End’ To Fed Dysfunction

The Royal Canadian Legion yesterday told MPs there appears no end in sight to years-long waits facing veterans filing legitimate claims for disability benefits. Tens of thousands of claims are backlogged: "We do not see any end in sight."

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Pandemic Hits Stats Canada

Statistics Canada yesterday blamed the pandemic for an unprecedented drop in response in its monthly Labour Force Surveys. The agency said benchmark figures on jobless rates remain reliable, but cautioned fewer Canadians were answering questionnaires: "I don’t know that we have ever faced a large scale public health event like this."

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Calls Pharmacare ‘Inevitable’

The Commons yesterday opened debate on a New Democrat pharmacare bill with a prediction universal, taxpayer-funded drug coverage is inevitable. Data show seniors will outnumber children in Canada by 2023: "It’s been a generation since we’ve had promises around pharmacare."

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Can’t Explain Ineligible CERB Claims By More Than 800,000

Canada Revenue Agency records suggest billions in pandemic relief was paid to ineligible claimants. The Agency yesterday did not comment on its own records indicating $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheques for hard-pressed tax filers went to nearly 824,000 people who had not filed a return: "We need an audit, 100 percent."

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Foreign Sellers Dodge $247M

Cross-border vendors in 2019 avoided a quarter-billion in GST payments, Auditor General Karen Hogan said yesterday. The Commons trade committee two years ago recommended Parliament enact a so-called eBay tax: "This is astounding."

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Save Laurier, Pleads Senator

Canadians must rally to save Wilfrid Laurier from being erased from the five-dollar bill, a Québec senator last night told the Chamber. The Bank of Canada is to remove Laurier’s portrait in 2023: "It’s as if the government is shunting aside francophones."

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Lost Seat At U.N. Cost $2.4M

Cabinet spent $2,446,026 in its four-year campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, records show. It was the equivalent of nearly $23,000 for every vote Canada received in its failed bid: "There can be an unhealthy quest to get a Security Council seat at any expense."

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Exempt Themselves From Act

Cabinet yesterday introduced a bill banning third-party use of personal information without consent under threat of steep fines. Federal agencies are exempt, though in-house research shows Canadians are wary of government data collection: "Most Canadians, 81%, are at least somewhat concerned about government."

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Baylis? Never Heard Of Him

Public Works Minister Anita Anand last night denied favouritism in awarding a $237,300,200 contract to buy ventilators from ex-Liberal MP Frank Baylis’ company, Baylis Medical. “I have no idea who Frank Baylis is,” the Minister told the Commons government operations committee: "I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd."

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MPs Demand Trudeaus’ Fees

The Commons ethics committee yesterday by a 6-5 vote ordered the Trudeau family's talent agent to surrender twelve years of records detailing corporate sponsorship fees paid to the Prime Minister and his wife. Liberal MPs had filibustered against disclosure since July 22, and hinted at a legal challenge: "It is unfortunate."

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Never Tracked China Agents

The Department of Immigration last night said it does not track agents of the Communist Party of China posing as students, tourists and workers in Canada. The department said only a criminal conviction would prompt a review of any visitor’s visa: "It doesn't seem to be working."

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Gave Army Expired Goods

Federal agencies were so short of pandemic supplies the army was issued date-expired personal protective equipment, the Commons defence committee learned yesterday. A total fifty-five military contracted Covid-19: "They had nothing other than what they could get their hands on from maybe Home Depot."

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‘Drowning’ In Pointless Work

Employees in the Department of Public Works complain they are “drowning in a pool of repetitive, menial and uninspiring tasks”, says an internal report. Mental Health Ombudsman André Latreille said employees also believe they work too hard: "It is difficult."

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Still Not Sure Of CERB Fraud

The Canada Revenue Agency will not know the full scope of fraudulent Covid relief claims until applicants file their 2020 tax returns, says Assistant Commissioner Ted Gallivan. One federal estimate said ineligible claims for $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheques totaled nearly half a billion: "The fact we don’t have a global figure doesn’t mean we aren’t working very hard."

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Put Pay Equity Costs At $2B

Federal pay equity will cost nearly $2 billion over a decade, says the Department of Employment. Most expenses are to increase benefits for underpaid women in federally-regulated workplaces, said the department: "Wage inequality is complex."

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