Senate OKs Harassment Bill

The Senate has passed a workplace anti-harassment bill for 895,000 employees in federally-regulated jobsites including Parliament Hill. Third Reading followed secret testimony by Hill employees at a closed-door hearing of the Senate human rights committee: 'It's a very important moment in history.'

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Pull Strings For Tower Flags

Public officials have pulled strings to get Peace Tower flags for a governor of New Jersey, the widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and employees of the Department of Public Works, according to Access To Information records. The official public waiting list for the coveted flags is 74 years’ long: “I will need that flag.”

Few Railway Safety Audits

Transport Canada currently has only 25 inspectors trained to audit railway safety management plans, according to an Inquiry Of Ministry tabled in the Commons. The department had pledged stricter audits following the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster: "We have a lot of worries over this."

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Seek Millions In Media Ads

The Commons languages committee yesterday demanded millions in immediate federal advertising for beleaguered community papers. The appeal follows a 71 percent decline in government ads placed in minority language weeklies: "The federal government has neglected its responsibilities."

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Whine At Federal Tax Court

A Tax Court judge has dismissed a five-figure claim by a wine connoisseur for the value of vintage labels donated to a food bank fundraiser. The true value of wine is no more complex than putting a price on a snowsuit, the Court ruled: "It appears very clear."

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No Aid For Muslim Flier

Transport regulators have denied compensation to a Muslim Canadian who cancelled Air Canada flights for fear of being stranded in the U.S. by an Executive Order. Parliament on March 29 passed a bill mandating Canada’s first statutory compensation for air passengers: "We will move quickly."

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Gov’t Cannabis Hiring Blitz

The Department of Health has gone on a hiring blitz in anticipation of legal cannabis, according to Access To Information records. The department spent millions on new staff to license and monitor marijuana sales: "This is the tip of the iceberg."

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“I Wasn’t There”, 7 Times

MPs are expressing frustration after Deputy Public Works Minister Marie Lemay pled ignorance of key details in the Phoenix Pay System failure, expected to cost taxpayers $1 billion. Lemay in testimony at the Commons public accounts committee said “I wasn’t there” seven times: "I remain underwhelmed, Madam."

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An Amazon Shopping Spree

Government agencies went on an Amazon shopping spree in the dying hours of the last fiscal year, according to newly-disclosed accounts. So-called “March Madness” sees federal departments rush to spend unused funds before the expiry of the fiscal year at midnight each March 31: "Many expenses do occur at the end of the fiscal year."

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Feds Find Quiet Resentment

A majority of Canadians complain that “too many minority groups are seeking special treatment these days”, according to in-house research by the Privy Council Office. The findings followed earlier federal surveys that concluded nearly 6 in 10 would exempt citizenship to children born here based on the immigration status of their parents: "I feel like I no longer know what it means to be Canadian."

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Count 1,800 Bank Closures

Nearly 1,800 bank branches have closed nationwide since 1990, according to research by Canada Post unions advocating for a revival of postal banks. Closures have left hundreds of small towns without a storefront bank or credit union, officials said: "There is no reason why Canada Post cannot go ahead."

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A Poem: “Take Chances”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “Detroit International Airport, flight delayed. Need something to do. Across the hallway, guards in tactical gear…”

Book Review: Fit, Young And Fascist

Everything was political in the 1930s. It was a haunted decade that “almost made me a Communist,” as one Alberta premier put it.

Strong, Beautiful and Modern captures the oddest political expression of all, the campaign for physical culture. Archival images of mass synchronized exercises of the Pro-Rec league in the parks of Vancouver bear an unnerving resemblance to parades of bronzed youth so popular in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia.

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Need Way To Fire Managers

Cabinet must examine ways of making it easier to fire incompetent federal employees, a senior Treasury Board official yesterday told the Commons public accounts committee. MPs have questioned the government’s powers as an employer in the wake of the $1 billion Phoenix Pay System failure: "Are there enough consequences for poor performance in the public service?"

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Feds Face Carbon Tax Audit

Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand yesterday said she will audit cabinet’s carbon tax as early as 2019. Environment Canada has acknowledged neither the $50 per tonne tax nor other regulations to date will meet 2030 emission targets: "What is the plan? Let's see some details."

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