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2016.01.07 Thursday | Jeudi

Tuesday | Mardi
Service Fair
Foire des services
All new and returning Members, as well as their employees,
are invited to attend this exclusive event, which is held only at
the opening of each Parliament.
Tous les députés, nouveaux et réélus, de même que leurs
employés sont invités à participer à cet événement exclusif
qui a lieu uniquement à l’ouverture de chaque législature.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hall of Honour, Centre Block
Le jeudi 28 janvier 2016
De 10 h 30 à 16 h
Hall d’honneur, édifice du Centre
Discover how the House of Commons, the Library of
Parliament, the Parliamentary Protective Service, the Office
of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner as well as
the Translation Bureau can advise and support you as you
carry out your parliamentary functions.
Découvrez comment la Chambre des communes, la
Bibliothèque du Parlement, le Service de protection
parlementaire, le Commissariat aux conflits d’intérêts et à
l’éthique ainsi que le Bureau de la traduction peuvent vous
conseiller et appuyer dans l’exercice de vos fonctions
More than 30 kiosks will feature products and services
grouped under the following themes:
• Managing a Members’ Office
• The Parliamentary Precinct Environment
• Parliamentary Work
• Public Outreach
• Learning and Development
• Accessing and Managing Information
Plus de 30 kiosques présenteront des produits et services
regroupés autour des thèmes suivants :
• Gestion d’un bureau de député
• L’environnement de la Cité parlementaire
• Le travail parlementaire
• Relations publiques
• Apprentissage et perfectionnement
• Accès et gestion de l’information
D. Bosnjak, C. Gingras, C. Gravel, P. Perron
Issue | Numéro : 1998
Tel. | tél. : 613-995-1166
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 / mardi, 12 janvier 2016
[News / Nouvelles]
Tories press government to justify Saudi deal ............................................................................................................................................. 1
Droits de la personne ................................................................................................................................................................................... 2
Feds target of resettling 10K Syrian refugees could be met on Tuesday ..................................................................................................... 2
Defence minister reaches out to Syrian refugees in wake of pepper-spray attack ....................................................................................... 3
New senators coming in February ............................................................................................................................................................... 4
Trudeau, Canada on agenda for international meeting of economic elites .................................................................................................. 5
Liberals' election campaign promises on 'social infrastructure' back in spotlight ........................................................................................ 5
Pre-election poll told Tories their tax cuts were liked ................................................................................................................................. 6
Federal finance minister paints bleak picture of economic growth prospects .............................................................................................. 7
Quand le pessimisme s'installe_ .................................................................................................................................................................. 8
As Poloz ponders, don't rule out rate cut ..................................................................................................................................................... 8
Les gouvernement Trudeau souhaite aller de l'avant ................................................................................................................................... 9
Unpacking UNDRIP: How Trudeau could take Crown/First Nations law into uncharted waters ............................................................. 10
Trudeau's schedule now available for the public to see ............................................................................................................................. 12
Trudeau to reimburse government for air fare in family's beach holiday .................................................................................................. 13
Le Bloc sera très "présent" en 2016, sur le terrain et dans les réseaux sociaux ......................................................................................... 14
Cullen calls for investigation of Ridley Terminals .................................................................................................................................... 14
Canada mounts UN anti-nuke effort .......................................................................................................................................................... 15
DND's plan faces major problems ............................................................................................................................................................. 16
Incentives proposed to push efficiency ...................................................................................................................................................... 17
Ottawa mulls options to give Bombardier financial boost ......................................................................................................................... 18
CSIS loses bid to keep closed-door hearing a secret in B.C. terror trial .................................................................................................... 18
No Ransom paid for canadian, envoy says ................................................................................................................................................ 19
Detain immigrant children only as 'last resort,' Red Cross tells Canadian agency .................................................................................... 20
Les immigrants boudent le programme fédéral ......................................................................................................................................... 21
Farmers, ranchers, food exporters urge Ottawa to ratify TPP .................................................................................................................... 22
Pact with China promises $7B gain ........................................................................................................................................................... 22
Judges seek compromise to allow doctor-assisted death ........................................................................................................................... 23
Shared Services Canada encouraging 'dialogue with employees' in response to reports of very low morale within the department ........ 24
Nouveau gouvernement, même résultat pour Sylvie Therrien ................................................................................................................... 26
Liberals urged to give up control of events................................................................................................................................................ 26
Pre-inquiry meeting in Yukon gives voice to families of missing, murdered women ............................................................................... 27
Le cabinet Trudeau s'invite au N.-B. ......................................................................................................................................................... 27
Sunny days ahead? ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 28
Mayor asks PM to halt pipeline hearings ................................................................................................................................................... 28
Wynne backs Blair's lead on weed ............................................................................................................................................................ 29
Mail order marijuana a challenging problem: police ................................................................................................................................. 30
Cause of Nipigon bridge fissure unclear .................................................................................................................................................... 30
Vehicles vandalized prior to Sir John A. event .......................................................................................................................................... 31
[Commentaires / Comments]
Time to stop kidding ourselves - our health care system is flatlining ........................................................................................................ 32
Canadians need ground rules for electoral reform debate .......................................................................................................................... 33
Harper's shadowy appointments cast dark pall over Trudeau's sunny ways .............................................................................................. 34
Who watches the watchlists? ..................................................................................................................................................................... 36
Trudeau finds balance in vacation costs .................................................................................................................................................... 37
Trudeau Grits right to engage with China .................................................................................................................................................. 37
Ottawa should address ugly stain on aboriginal record ............................................................................................................................. 38
Men must star in murdered women inquiry ............................................................................................................................................... 39
Don't sell heavy weapons to Saudis ........................................................................................................................................................... 40
Bienvenue dans le réel ............................................................................................................................................................................... 41
It's 2016 - stop the Saudi deal .................................................................................................................................................................... 41
All signs point to a grisly year for the Canadian economy ........................................................................................................................ 42
Ottawa et les valeurs mobilières - Non coopératif ..................................................................................................................................... 44
Canada needs a national securities regulator, but Morneau has stayed away from the battle .................................................................... 45
Attitude to terrorist attacks has to change .................................................................................................................................................. 46
Drowning in debt ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 47
Library of Parliament
Bibliothèque du Parlement
Intended for consultation and research by parliamentary clients only.
The articles above cannot be reproduced nor distributed externally.
Destinés exclusivement aux clients parlementaires pour consultation et
recherche. Les articles ci-dessus ne peuvent être ni reproduits ni
distribués à l’externe
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Globe and Mail
News Page: A1
Tories press government to justify Saudi
The Liberal government is facing increasing pressure to make
public the most important deliberations on Canada's $15billion sale of combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia: precisely how
the transaction is justified under this country's strict weapons
export control regime.
Ottawa has so far declined to spell out how the biggest military
sale it has ever brokered passes muster under Canadian export
control rules that place restrictions on shipments to countries
with a "persistent record of serious violations of the human
rights of their citizens." The government cites commercial
Former Conservative cabinet minister Tony Clement called on
the Liberals Monday to release or pledge to make public any
details of the assessment Ottawa has, or will conduct, on the
implications of the shipment for human rights in Saudi Arabia.
"Canadians don't want these weaponized vehicles to be used
against innocents in Saudi Arabia," said Mr. Clement, now
foreign-affairs critic for the Conservatives in opposition.
"We need to know, given this rapidly changing environment in
the Middle East, that the weapons are going to be used for the
purposes that are intended and that there has been sufficiently
rigorous assessment of Saudi Arabia."
Canada is selling weaponized armoured fighting vehicles to the
Saudi Arabian National Guard in a contract first announced in
2014 when the Conservatives were in office.
The federal government lobbied for the sale, arranged the
transaction and remains the prime contractor for the deal,
which will keep about 3,000 workers employed for nearly 15
General Dynamics Land Systems, the manufacturer in London,
Ont., is still gathering parts and material to make the vehicles.
The Liberals have already pledged to make available a
redacted version of an internal 2015 report on the state of
human rights in Saudi Arabia, one that will be stripped of
sensitive information and advice.
Mr. Clement calls that "not even a half measure."
Federal export rules say Ottawa must assure itself that Saudis
will not turn these light armoured vehicles (LAVs) against
their own people. The export-control regime stipulates that
shipments cannot proceed "unless it can be demonstrated there
is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the
civilian population."
Mr. Clement acknowledges that the Conservatives are asking
for information they refused to release while in office under
Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
But he says the new leadership of the Conservative Party feels
"This is a [Liberal] government that has promised more
transparency. I think that is consistent with the times in which
we live," Mr. Clement said.
"So don't take the signal from the last government. If you want
to be true to your principles and values, which the
Conservative Party under new leadership shares, let's move
New Democratic Party caucus spokeswoman Véronique
Breton said the NDP is urging the release of this assessment, as
well. "We have great concerns about human rights in this
country and we haven't had many clear answers from the
Asked last week for the deliberations on how the Saudi arms
deal passes the export control test, the Global Affairs
department said it can't comment on the export permits or the
approval process. It did not immediately reply when asked
again Monday. Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said
last week that the Liberals would revisit the process by which
future contracts are assessed but would not block this contract.
It's not clear how much assessment the federal government has
already done to determine whether these weaponized fighting
vehicles might be used by the Saudis against their own
As The Globe and Mail reported last year, Ottawa gave
General Dynamics early assurances over whether the arms
could be exported, telling the manufacturer in late 2013 or
early 2014 that it could find no "red flags" regarding the deal.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, since renamed Global
Affairs, was careful to leave itself a margin of manoeuvre in
this informal review of the transaction, with one bureaucrat
saying in a Feb.12, 2014 e-mail that at no time did the
department guarantee to General Dynamics that the sale was
officially approved.
The export will also be reviewed when General Dynamics
applies for permits to ship the vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
The government refuses to offer any insight into when this will
take place, again citing commercial confidentiality.
Activists allege Saudi Arabia sent Canadian-made fighting
vehicles into Bahrain in 2011 to help quell a democratic
uprising. The Canadian government does not deny this
happened. It says only that it does not believe the vehicles
were used to beat back protests.
Library of Parliament
Bibliothèque du Parlement
Intended for consultation and research by parliamentary clients only.
The articles above cannot be reproduced nor distributed externally.
Destinés exclusivement aux clients parlementaires pour consultation et
recherche. Les articles ci-dessus ne peuvent être ni reproduits ni
distribués à l’externe
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Presse Canadienne
Droits de la personne
la sécurité des sources en Arabie saoudite préoccupe
OTTAWA _ Le ministre des Affaires étrangères Stéphane
Dion affirme qu'il ne veut pas mettre en danger les sources qui
donnent au gouvernement des informations sensibles sur l'état
des droits de la personne dans leur pays respectif.
M. Dion répondait ainsi à la clameur publique grandissante au
sujet de la décision du gouvernement de permettre à une
entreprise ontarienne de vendre pour 15 milliards $ de
véhicules blindés légers à l'Arabie saoudite malgré son bilan
discutable en matière de respect des droits de la personne.
En raison de ce contrat, Amnistie internationale a demandé au
gouvernement de dévoiler une analyse fédérale interne sur le
respect des droits de la personne en Arabie Saoudite.
M. Dion a dit lundi qu'il voudrait rendre publique une version
censurée du rapport et a demandé l'aide de ses fonctionnaires
pour voir comment procéder.
Il a précisé que ces analyses sont réalisées pour usage interne
et sont classifiées. Il a dit qu'il serait heureux, sur demande, de
dévoiler des versions non classifiées de ces analyses,
expliquant qu'il voulait s'assurer de la sécurité des sources
identifiées dans les documents.
Affaires mondiales Canada est en train de mettre à jour son
analyse de 2011 sur l'Arabie saoudite.
Le Canada fait des analyses régulières des pays étrangers, mais
ne réalise pas de rapports tous les ans, notamment en raison du
rythme lent des changements dans plusieurs pays.
L'analyse actuelle de la situation en Arabie Saoudite pourrait
compter plus de 50 pages, a déclaré un responsable canadien
sous le couvert de l'anonymat.
Les libéraux ont hérité des conservateurs d'un système de
rapports sur les droits de la personne qui encourageait les
informations honnêtes provenant de l'intérieur de chaque pays,
dans lesquels étaient nommés les individus et les organisations
qui contribuaient aux analyses, a ajouté ce responsable.
Les rapports ont donc été classifiés pour protéger les sources
contre d'éventuelles représailles.
Des responsables fédéraux ont déclaré au premier ministre
Justin Trudeau que les intérêts économiques et de sécurité du
Canada pourraient être bien servis par le renforcement des
liens économiques avec le géant du pétrole qu'est l'Arabie
saoudite en raison de sa position influente dans le golfe
Cet avis apporte une certaine lumière sur les raisons qui ont
incité les libéraux à continuer à rejeter les appels à l'annulation
de la vente de véhicules blindés canadiens en Arabie saoudite
après l'exécution, au début de l'année, de 47 personnes,
incluant un chef religieux chiite.
Lors de la récente campagne électorale, l'ancien premier
ministre Stephen Harper et Justin Trudeau avaient tous deux
soutenu le contrat.
Les rapports sur les droits de la personne en Arabie saoudite
s'entendent généralement pour condamner ce pays. Ils citent la
discrimination contre les femmes et les minorités et une
intolérance envers la dissidence.
La blogueur saoudien Raif Badawi, dont la femme et les
enfants vivent maintenant au Québec, purge actuellement une
peine de prison de 10 ans et a été condamné à 1000 coups de
fouet pour sa critique des dirigeants religieux saoudiens.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
Feds target of resettling 10K Syrian
refugees could be met on Tuesday
OTTAWA _ Tuesday could be the day that the influx of Syrian
refugees hits the 10,000 mark, but resettlement groups are now
looking far beyond that milestone.
Flight arrival data on the Immigration Department's website
suggests the 10,000th Syrian will arrive on one of two flights
bound for Toronto on Tuesday though the department could
not confirm that number.
``We expect to achieve our goal of welcoming 10,000 Syrian
refugees to Canada this week,'' said spokesman Remi Lariviere
in an e-mail, but he added that information online is still
subject to change.
In November, the Liberals said 10,000 Syrians, mostly
privately sponsored, would arrive by the end of 2015, but
failed to meet that target.
They say 25,000 Syrians in total should be here by the end of
February and then a further 10,000 government-assisted Syrian
refugees will come by the end of 2016.
What's unclear is how many more privately sponsored refugees
will be accepted after the end of February.
There are upwards of two hundred applications a week being
submitted by private groups looking to sponsor Syrians, said
Chris Friesen, the president of the Canadian Immigration
Settlement Sector Alliance.
But nobody knows how those applications will be treated
without knowing the government's overall immigration plan
for 2016, he said.
Ordinarily, the government sets a range of privately sponsored
refugees it will accept from around the world each year, but it's
unclear whether the Syrian program will be part of that or on
top of it.
Library of Parliament
Bibliothèque du Parlement
Intended for consultation and research by parliamentary clients only.
The articles above cannot be reproduced nor distributed externally.
Destinés exclusivement aux clients parlementaires pour consultation et
recherche. Les articles ci-dessus ne peuvent être ni reproduits ni
distribués à l’externe
``I'm assuming the government has a range, a target, as part of
the 2016 plan but all of this impacts funding going into the
next fiscal year, particularly settlement support, because some
regions of the country have significant wait-lists for some or
all settlement programming,'' he said.
The levels plan is contained in the legally mandated annual
report on immigration. It lays out how many immigrants in all
categories the government anticipates accepting each year.
``That 2016 immigration level plan is going to be critically
important for everybody,'' said Friesen.
``Are we talking about a pre-existing number of 250,00 to
260,000, but we've rearranged the focus towards more
humanitarian at the expense of economic class? Or are we
talking about increasing the overall numbers? And how does
this play into 2017 planning?''
The report is supposed to be tabled by Nov. 1, but the election
delayed its release. The law says that if the House of Commons
is not sitting on Nov. 1, the report must be tabled within 30
sitting days after the Commons meets.
It also usually preceded by public consultations as the
government seeks input from the private sector and from the
provinces on what their capacity and demand is for new
residents in a given year.
This year, consultations don't appear to have taken place.
A spokesman for Ontario's Immigration minister says the 2016
plan did come up in ministers' meetings in December, but there
have been no formal talks yet with the federal government.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister John McCallum did
not return a request for comment.
Opposition immigration critic Michelle Rempel said the
complex nature of the plan makes consultation essential. The
number of immigrants affects everything from schools to the
labour force and consultation is necessary to know what the
system can absorb, she said.
``It's surprising that they wouldn't consult but it's not surprising
that they're flying by the seat of their pants on the immigration
portfolio and I think this is indicative of things to come,'' she
As of Jan. 7, 7,671 Syrians had arrived in Canada, according to
the latest available data on the Immigration Department's
About half are privately sponsored, the rest assisted by
government or by a combination of both. The Liberals had said
the 10,000 slated to arrive by the end of 2015 would be mostly
privately sponsored.
The military is gearing up for the arrival of greater numbers of
government-assisted refugees in the coming days.
Unlike refugees with private sponsors, arriving governmentassisted refugees do not immediately have homes to go to. So,
three Canadian Forces bases _ Valcartier in Quebec and
Kingston and Borden in Ontario _ are expected to house
thousands of people, potentially beginning later this week.
_ Follow ?StephanieLevitz on Twitter
Published | Publié : 2016-01-10
Canadian Press Newswire
Defence minister reaches out to Syrian
refugees in wake of pepper-spray attack
VANCOUVER _ A prominent member of Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau's cabinet is reaching out to Syrian refugees after
a group of newly arrived migrants were pepper sprayed at a
welcome event in Vancouver.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan described Friday night's attack
as an ``isolated incident'' and said the Syrian refugees he met
with the following day were resilient and happy to be in
``In the last 24 hours I was able to visit a mosque, a church and
a Sikh gurdwara, all communities who are supporting and
welcoming refugees. That's the real Canadian way,'' he said on
``It's so good to see communities rallying around after an event
like that to be able to say that, 'No, this is who we really are.'''
A crowd was gathered outside a Muslim Association of
Canada centre during an event for government-sponsored
Syrian refugees on Friday around 10:30 p.m. when a man on a
bicycle rode by and pepper sprayed about 15 people, said
Vancouver police spokesman St. Randy Fincham.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Sajjan spoke with some of the Syrian refugees present for the
attack during a welcome gathering in his Vancouver-area
riding Saturday evening that was planned before Friday's
pepper spray incident.
``They're so happy to be able to be here in Canada,'' he said,
describing the event's atmosphere as celebratory.
``Because of the positive reaction that they're getting from
everywhere they go, a horrible but isolated incident like this
can be quickly forgotten and they can get on with their life.''
Tima Kurdi, a prominent member of Canada's Syrian
community, dismissed the attack as a one-off event that doesn't
reflect how the majority of Canadians view the newly arrived
She said the support Canadians have shown to refugees is
``unbelievable'' and they shouldn't be blamed for Friday night's
``To be honest, Canadian people would not do this, the
majority of them,'' she said. ``They are big supporters to the
Kurdi became an overnight spokeswoman for the plight of
Syrian refugees after a photo of her three-year-old nephew
Library of Parliament
Bibliothèque du Parlement
Intended for consultation and research by parliamentary clients only.
The articles above cannot be reproduced nor distributed externally.
Destinés exclusivement aux clients parlementaires pour consultation et
recherche. Les articles ci-dessus ne peuvent être ni reproduits ni
distribués à l’externe
lying dead on a Turkish beach drew global outrage and
attention to the migrant crisis in the Middle East.
Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum described
Friday's pepper spraying as an ``isolated incident'' that won't
tarnish the country's migrant-friendly reputation.
The world recognizes that Canada is very welcoming to
refugees, and that message will continue to resonate, said
Canada has been praised on the world stage for its pledge to
take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next month, and a
photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming migrants at
the airport was published around the world.
McCallum said his government utterly condemns the pepper
spraying and says Syrian refugees have no reason to feel
unsafe in Canada.
``I think that the experience that the vast majority of them
have, of being welcomed at the airport, and given what they
need, clothing and hats and boots, and large numbers of
welcoming Canadians ... I think that sent a very clear
message,'' he said in an interview Saturday.
``I think that experience shared by so many of the refugees is
going to easily trump this one isolated incident.''
British Columbia's jobs minister Shirley Bond said Saturday
that she was dismayed that the province will be talked about
across the country because of a ``shameful act.''
She said the incident is entirely contrary to what she's seen
across B.C., where people have opened their homes and
offered generosity to Syrian refugees.
``British Columbia is known as a place that is inclusive, that is
incredibly multicultural,'' she said.
``I was heartsick, because this is not who we are. It does not
reflect our values. I think British Columbians need to stand up
and condemn what happened, and I think that will be the
strongest message we can send.''
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
New senators coming in February
Delay in forming advisory board means Liberals miss
their target
Mark Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen
The Liberal government is poised to reveal within days the
membership of a new advisory board that will recommend who
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should appoint to the Senate in
But a delay in the establishment of the board - which was
initially expected to be constituted in December - means that
Trudeau won't make his first round of five Senate
appointments, as hoped, by the end of this month when
Parliament resumes.
One of those five new Independent senators will be named the
Liberal government's "representative" in the upper chamber.
With the Senate set to resume sitting Jan. 26, current senators
are waiting to learn what the role of that government
"representative" will be.
In particular, Conservative senators want to know whether that
person will fulfil the same function as a government leader in
the Senate, to be held accountable in the chamber and to
answer questions from senators on the opposition benches.
It's expected Trudeau will be in a position to make the five
Senate appointments in February, after the advisory board has
enough time to conduct consultations and make
As a start, the advisory board will provide a list of proposed
senators from Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.
The process is unprecedented in Canada. For decades, prime
ministers have used the Senate as a patronage dumping ground,
sending political cronies, party fundraisers and failed
candidates to the upper chamber.
Under the new system, Trudeau will not be legally bound to
follow the board's advice, but will be politically obliged to pick
a name from the list he is sent.
The Independent Advisory Board on Senate Appointments will
consist of five members who propose names. Three permanent
federal members will be involved in all matters, and for each
time the board considers filling a vacancy, another two "ad
hoc" temporary members from that specific province will
Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef said in early
December that the government expected to create the
independent board by the end of the year. "We will move
quickly to appoint the independent advisory board in order to
make the five initial Senate appointments early in the New
Year." Dominic LeBlanc, the government house leader in the
House of Commons, also tasked with working with the Senate,
said at the time he hoped the process would move quickly
enough so that Trudeau could appoint "five extraordinary
people" to the Senate "at the end of January."
Since then, say Liberals, the government has been consulting
with affected provinces about the ad hoc members to be
appointed to the advisory board. Paul Duchesne, spokesman
for Monsef, said Monday the advisory board's membership
will be publicly announced "shortly.
"The intent is to establish it soon and they are actively working
on that."
Monsef says the advisory board, once established, will hold
consultations with "community and indigenous organizations,
labour groups, local elected leaders, business groups, arts
councils and others" about potential new senators. Since the
Library of Parliament
Bibliothèque du Parlement
Intended for consultation and research by parliamentary clients only.
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recherche. Les articles ci-dessus ne peuvent être ni reproduits ni
distribués à l’externe
Liberals were elected last fall, it has been unclear how the
upper chamber will operate.
Trudeau removed Liberal senators from his national caucus in
2014 and says future senators will be appointed as
Independents upon the advice of the advisory board - with all
22 current vacancies to be filled this year.
He has moved away from the longstanding tradition in which a
senator serves as the government leader in the upper chamber,
formally shepherding legislation through the chamber and
answering questions from opposition senators.
Instead, the Liberal government says it hopes to create a new,
more independent and less partisan upper chamber.
Sen. Claude Carignan, leader of the Conservatives in the
Senate, expressed reservations in December. Sen. James
Cowan, leader of the Senate Liberals who were removed from
Trudeau's caucus, has adopted a different tone, saying senators
are "optimistic."
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
Trudeau, Canada on agenda for
international meeting of economic elites
OTTAWA _ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will head overseas
at the end of the month to sell his economic policies to
international leaders and some of the world's wealthiest and
most powerful people.
Trudeau's office says the prime minister will attend the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and will speak about
his government's infrastructure promises and tax changes the
Liberals expect will give the Canadian economy a boost.
Many of those details will be outlined when Trudeau and a
cadre of his cabinet ministers answer questions in a session
that the conference agenda describes as a discussion of the
country's future and its role in the world.
Trudeau is also expected to have a key speaking slot during the
open day of the four-day conference that kicks off Jan. 20.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper famously used the
meeting in 2012 to announce changes to retirement benefits,
including raising the eligibility age for federal pension
payments to 67 from 65.
Trudeau ran on a platform of reversing that decision.
The meeting with some of the world's most powerful business
leaders comes as the Liberals talk to Canadians about the shape
of the upcoming federal budget.
The Liberals had promised to not run a deficit of more than
$10 billion, but have since softened that stance after finding
that federal finances were not as rosy as they appeared before
the election campaign began.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Globe and Mail
News Page: A4
Liberals' election campaign promises on
'social infrastructure' back in spotlight
Expectations that Canada is in for another year of sluggish
economic growth have turned a spotlight on how the Liberals
will carve up their promised spending of $20-billion for "social
Pressure is mounting on the federal government to provide
stimulus as soon as possible with promised infrastructure cash.
The Liberals' use of the term "social infrastructure" raised the
ire of the NDP during last year's election campaign because it
included spending in areas such as child care that are not
usually classified as infrastructure.
The Liberal platform said the 10-year fund would be spent on
affordable housing, seniors' residences, early learning and
child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure. The
government has not said how the fund will be divided among
these issues.
"People are holding their breath waiting to see what happens
next," said Sharon Gregson, spokeswoman for the Coalition of
Child Care Advocates of B.C., one of many child-care
advocacy groups that have written to the federal government
requesting a meeting but not received a response.
"Nobody wants to have a situation where we're fighting over
the same piece of pie, so I think it would be to the federal
government's benefit to avoid that and make sure that there are
dedicated streams of funding for each of those, which are very
important subject areas," she said.
Tim Ross, interim executive director of the Canadian Housing
and Renewal Association, agrees clarity is needed and said he
will be pushing for a strong pledge for affordable housing. "I
know this is perceived to be in competition with other
priorities, but we strongly believe there is a lot of public
support around affordable housing investments," he said.
The Liberals are also promising two other $20-billion funds
focused on transit and green infrastructure for a total
infrastructure package of $60-billion over 10 years.
Yet more than two months after the cabinet was sworn in, a
senior minister responsible for delivering key sections of the
Liberals' social infrastructure program has not yet hired a chief
of staff.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
JeanYves Duclos is also operating without any
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communications staff. A public servant is filling in until
political aides are hired.
A reference in the platform that was not clearly worded left
advocates with the impression that a federal-provincial meeting
on child care would take place within the first 100 days of a
new Liberal government. But that early February deadline is
approaching with no signs that such a meeting will take place
by then.
The 100-day deadline was not mentioned in the mandate letters
of Mr. Duclos and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn
Bennett, who has also been asked to work on a national earlylearning and child-care framework.
Child-care advocate Martha Friendly, executive director of the
Childcare Resource and Research Unit, said her initial
understanding was that a federal-provincial meeting would
take place by early February with consultations leading up to
that, but she no longer expects that will happen.
"There hasn't been anybody to set up the meetings," she said.
"It won't be a surprise to me if child care doesn't move ahead
by the time of the federal budget."
Mr. Duclos declined an interview request. His office said the
minister is communicating with provinces and child-care
"Work on child-care issues is indeed commencing within the
first 100 days of the government," said Alain Garceau, the
public servant who is on loan to the minister's office for
communications work.
Andrée-Lyne Hallé, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau, said the political promise was that work would begin
on child care within 100 days and not that a federal-provincial
meeting would take place. Ms. Hallé said the breakdown of the
social infrastructure fund will be announced in the future.
Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to Mr.
Trudeau, said housing is the lead component of the social
infrastructure fund.
"It's primarily housing," he said in an interview. "But we also
know - and you see this in Toronto - that when you build
housing, you have to do more than just put bedrooms and
kitchens together. You've also got to put together seniors' dropin centres. You've got to be able to put in daycare or
recreational space in order to be able to make complete
communities work functionally."
NDP MP and finance critic Guy Caron said child care should
have clear funding that goes beyond simply new construction.
He said the Liberals need to clear this up in the budget.
"Social infrastructure, since they launched it during the
campaign, I always wondered what it was," he said. "It was
basically - I won't say a slush fund - but a big roof to put all of
the other investments... I'm not even sure they have an
explanation as to what exactly it encompasses."
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
NEWS Page: A7
Pre-election poll told Tories their tax cuts
were liked
Mark Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen
The Conservative government went into last summer's election
campaign armed with internal polling that showed Canadians
strongly supported Stephen Harper's much-touted tax cuts.
The taxpayer-funded poll, conducted for the federal Finance
Department just weeks before the campaign began and recently
made public, gauged public sentiment about the strength of the
It also specifically tested whether Canadians supported the key
tax measures in the government's April budget - including the
childcare benefit, income splitting for couples with children,
and an increase to the annual contribution limit for tax-free
savings accounts (TFSA).
The pollster also tested various proposals for reforming the
Canada Pension Plan and found the strongest support for one
particular option - voluntary premium hikes for workers - that
the Conservatives were floating as a trial balloon.
The survey helps explain why Harper put so much emphasis in
the campaign on promises to reduce taxes, specifically for
Despite the apparent initial support he had on that front,
Canadians rejected Harper's pitch and put their trust in Justin
Trudeau's Liberals, who promised to rescind the Tories' tax
proposals in favour of other measures they said were fairer to
the middle class.
The national survey by NRG Research Group was
commissioned in June by the Finance Department, then led by
Joe Oliver. The poll was conducted June 12 to 24 and was part
of a larger research contract that included focus groups. The
contract cost taxpayers $157,661.
Among the findings: ¦¦ 76.7 per cent of Canadians supported
the Tories' plan to increase the Universal Child Care Benefit to
$160 per month for each child under the age of 6 and create a
new benefit of $60 per month for children aged 6 through 17.
In the campaign, the Liberals said the plan was unfair because
benefits would go to wealthy Canadians who didn't need them.
They promised a new child benefit geared to income.
70.4 per cent supported the Tories' policy to allow income
splitting, for tax purposes, by couples with children.
In the election, the Liberals criticized the policy as unfair and
expensive, with benefits going to "only a few." It is being
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75.8 per cent supported the Tories' plan to increase the annual
TFSA contribution limit to $10,000 from $5,500.
Trudeau promised to return the limit to $5,500, saying the
higher limit disproportionately benefits the wealthy.
In both the run-up to the campaign and the race itself, Harper
strongly opposed CPP reforms that would involve premium
hikes. He called them "tax" hikes and jousted with Ontario
Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was advocating a
beefed-up pension scheme. Instead, Oliver said the Tories
would study whether to allow employees to voluntarily
contribute higher premiums.
The poll showed 36.9 per cent of those surveyed supported
voluntary premium increases; 29.8 per cent wanted mandatory
increases; and 29.1 per cent wanted the CPP to remain
The poll of 3,010 adult Canadians had a national margin of
error of plus or minus 1.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Despite a taxation platform that appeared to be supported by
Canadians, the Tories took only 31.9 per cent of the vote in
October's election.
The Liberals won a majority of seats, with 39.5 per cent of the
vote. The New Democrats captured 19.7 per cent.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
Federal finance minister paints bleak
picture of economic growth prospects
HALIFAX _ The federal finance minister spoke of pitch-black
moments in his morning shower and some darkening clouds
for the Canadian economy as he kicked off his national budget
consultation tour in Halifax on Monday.
Bill Morneau drew chuckles from a business audience at the
Halifax Chamber of Commerce as he described a morning
power outage that occurred while he was covered in soap
The minister said it's just the latest in a series of challenges he's
facing as he sets out to prepare his first budget amidst a
declining economy.
Within a few minutes of beginning his speech, Morneau
launched into a series of slides that painted a bleak picture of
economic growth hampered by plunging commodities prices.
He repeated prior statements that the Canadian economy is
suffering from slower growth than originally projected by the
former Conservative government due partly to oil prices that
are less than half those of 2014.
``We knew when we were campaigning we were facing a
slow-growth environment,'' he said.
``The challenge is greater than we expected.''
The minister said there's hope that oil prices will improve, but
as it stands a declining tax base means his department is
expecting a $15 billion per year reduction of GDP beginning
this year, compared with what was projected in the last budget.
``It's important to have a frank view of where we're starting
from,'' he said.
Morneau is travelling across the country this week to seek
input as he draws up his first federal budget.
The finance minister spoke on the same day as the Bank of
Canada's latest business outlook survey was released indicating
companies' investment in equipment and hiring intentions for
the next year are tumbling to their lowest levels since the 2009
The former executive chairman of a human resources firm told
reporters the survey indicates his party's infrastructure
spending will assist in retaining business confidence.
He also repeated the party will keep its campaign promises to
bring in middle class tax breaks and spend billions on
But during a news conference, Morneau offered few details
when local reporters asked about how Ottawa will stimulate
the Nova Scotia economy and help with the upkeep of aging
He said he couldn't comment on whether the number of federal
ships being built in Halifax yards will remain.
He also said he had little information about the Victoria
General, an aging Halifax hospital beset by routine floods and
leaks, and couldn't say whether helping fix the problem falls
within the planned infrastructure spending.
Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia's Liberal minister of finance, said
in an interview he's content to wait for more details about how
his federal counterpart's infrastructure program will work _ and
whether he can ask for help with the decrepit facility.
During a news conference, the federal minister was also asked
whether Ottawa will continue efforts by the former
Conservative government to create a national securities
He said his government will work with provinces who want to
create the regulator, but respected that Alberta and Quebec
weren't interested in proceeding with the plan.
``We do favour a collaborative national securities regulator,''
he said. ``We recognize we'll do this together with those
provinces willing to be part of this initiative. We think it's
important for Canada find a way to be efficient in all things we
Late in the day, the minister answered a wide-ranging series of
questions from students at Dalhousie University, the first of
series of forums that will be held at universities.
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
La Presse+
Quand le pessimisme s'installe_
Rudy Le Cours
Une expression bien de chez nous décrit le climat économique
actuel au Canada : ça va s'empirer avant de s'emmieuter.
Après l'entrée de la Bourse canadienne dans un marché baissier
(bear), le passage en phase de contraction des intentions des
décideurs d'achat du secteur manufacturier (indice PMI RBC),
des chiffres médiocres sur la croissance, voici que la confiance
des ménages et des entreprises marque le pas.
En décembre, l'indice de confiance des consommateurs du
Conference Board a fortement reculé, au point de se situer à
son niveau le plus faible depuis deux ans.
Pareille morosité est contagieuse parmi les entreprises
canadiennes qui réalisent l'essentiel de leur chiffre d'affaires au
pays. Si on se fie aux données de l'Enquête sur les perspectives
des entreprises (EPE) de la Banque du Canada, « les
entreprises tournées vers le marché intérieur et celles exposées
au secteur des ressources rev[oient] leurs plans pour tenir
compte du ralentissement de l'activité ».
En somme, les perspectives d'investissements resteront faibles
encore cette année. En fait, pour la première fois depuis la
Grande Récession, le nombre d'entreprises qui prévoient
diminuer le rythme de leurs investissements au cours des
prochains mois surpasse le nombre de celles qui prévoient les
Les autorités monétaires précisent que les projets destinés à
augmenter les capacités de production diminuent, les
entreprises se contentant de remplacer ou de réparer leurs
équipements. Et ce n'est pas uniquement dans le secteur des
ressources que ce comportement inquiétant est observé : il fait
tache d'huile dans les autres régions. Les entreprises n'ont pas
confiance dans la vigueur de la demande intérieure et
s'inquiètent des incertitudes entourant la réglementation et la
Le ministre des Finances Bill Morneau, qui amorce cette
semaine une tournée du pays dans le cadre de ses consultations
budgétaires (il est à Montréal aujourd'hui), aurait intérêt à
dissiper ces inquiétudes au plus tôt.
La seule note optimiste de l'EPE est fournie par les
exportateurs qui ne font pas partie de la chaîne
d'approvisionnement du secteur des ressources et qui veulent
profiter de la hausse perçue de la demande étrangère.
Si la volonté d'investir paraît faible, il en va de même de celle
d'embaucher. Les perspectives demeurent légèrement positives
: 31 % des firmes répondantes ont l'intention d'augmenter leur
effectif au cours de l'année alors que 19 % prévoient le réduire.
Le différentiel de 12 % est le plus faible depuis 2009 alors qu'il
avait plongé en territoire négatif.
Ce faible écart positif est gage d'une faible croissance de
l'emploi au cours des prochains mois.
Compte tenu du fait que la population active continue
d'augmenter légèrement, notamment parce qu'on incite les 55
ans et plus à rester sur le marché du travail, il faut s'attendre à
une hausse du taux de chômage. Vendredi, Statistique Canada
a indiqué qu'il était resté stable à 7,1 % en décembre, grâce
avant tout à l'augmentation du travail autonome.
Ces perspectives moroses sont déjà perçues par les
consommateurs. Selon le Board, seulement 9,1 % des
répondants s'attendent à une augmentation du nombre
d'emplois dans leur région. Cette perception est observée dans
toutes les régions, à l'exception de la Colombie-Britannique.
Les consommateurs s'inquiètent davantage de l'état de leurs
finances. Ils sont aussi moins nombreux à envisager un achat
important, comme une voiture ou une maison.
Les conditions de crédit offertes aux entreprises se sont
légèrement resserrées l'automne dernier, en particulier celles
liées au secteur des ressources. Pour les ménages, la hausse de
quelques taux hypothécaires annoncée par la Banque Royale la
semaine dernière n'est pas non plus de bon augure, bien qu'elle
ne soit pas suivie par d'autres institutions jusqu'ici.
Sans surprise, la faiblesse des perspectives économiques fait en
sorte que les entreprises ne s'attendent pas à pouvoir augmenter
leurs prix cette année, d'autant que l'effet à la hausse sur le prix
de leurs intrants découlant de la faiblesse du dollar canadien
paraît s'estomper. Bref, les attentes inflationnistes, déjà
modestes, se sont affaiblies quelque peu.
Tout cela paraît confirmer les pronostics du gouverneur de la
Banque du Canada Stephen Poloz, la semaine dernière. Les
ajustements à la chute des prix du pétrole seront longs et
parfois pénibles.
Les enquêtes de la Banque et du Conference Board confirment
qu'entreprises et ménages en sont fort conscients et inquiets.
© 2016 La Presse inc., une filiale de Gesca. Tous droits
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Globe and Mail
Report on Business Page: B1
As Poloz ponders, don't rule out rate cut
Economic Insight
The Bank of Canada's decidedly bleak Business Outlook
Survey presents a near-textbook argument from the corporate
sector for another interest-rate cut.
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The question is whether the central bank feels inclined to listen
to it just now.
The quarterly survey of business executives, published by the
central bank Monday, showed that the prolonged oil slump is
taking a deepening toll on the mood of the country's corporate
leaders. It also shows that, increasingly, the negative impact
and mounting pessimism are infecting parts of the economy
beyond the resource sector.
What's more, the details press on many of the hot buttons for
the bank's decision on interest rates, the next of which comes
Jan. 20. Spending intentions for new capacity and hiring are at
their lowest since the Great Recession; businesses still have
ample excess capacity; already-tepid inflation expectations are
Falling inflation expectations and a fading horizon for the
economy to absorb its excess capacity?
That's pretty much the Bank of Canada's standard recipe for a
rate cut. When the bank cut rates twice last year, its primary
explanation was that the timing for closing the so-called
"output gap" (the spread between capacity and actual
production) looked unacceptably remote, and it needed to
stimulate the economy to shorten that time to something it
could live with. As for inflation, that's the single most
important economic measure underpinning the Bank of
Canada's monetary policy - officially, getting the economy on
track to sustain 2-per-cent inflation is its sole policy goal.
The results of the Business Outlook Survey, then, would
appear to tilt the Bank of Canada considerably closer to
another rate cut when Governor Stephen Poloz and his
colleagues make their decision next week. The bank's key rate
is already very low, at just 0.5 per cent; but research released
by the central bank last month estimated that it could push its
key rate into negative territory by as much as half a percentage
point before hitting an effective bottom, giving the bank more
theoretical room for further cuts.
Neither the bond market nor the majority of economists expect
a cut next week, but the Business Outlook Survey has made a
cut look like a serious possibility at some point in the next few
months. At least one prominent central-bank watcher - Merrill
Lynch economist Emanuella Enenajor - is convinced that the
survey seals the deal on a quarter-point rate cut next week.
"The consensus expects the BoC to stay on hold ... but we don't
think the governor will wait. Monetary policy operates with
lags, so a near-term cut would help ease the pain further out,"
she wrote in a research report Monday.
Still, there were significant clues in a speech Mr. Poloz gave
just last week that suggest that he's leaning away from another
rate cut, at least for now. The speech argued that with the
Canadian economy in the midst of a transition - away from
resources and toward non-resource exports - the most effective
tool to smooth the way is a flexible exchange rate. The
Canadian dollar has already flexed its way sharply downward;
wherever there was strength to be found within the Business
Outlook Survey, it was in businesses with high exposure to
export markets and the weak Canadian currency.
The currency is already doing the work of a rate cut in terms of
stimulating the parts of the economy that are receptive to
stimulation - and probably more effectively than another cut
would, given that borrowing costs are already more than
attractive. Having already cut rates twice in the past 12 months
- cuts that are still working their way through the economy Mr. Poloz looks inclined to let the currency stimulus do its
work, at least for now.
And the economy could very well brighten over the next few
months. Commodity prices could stabilize and recover some of
their losses. Demand from the much healthier U.S. economy is
expected to be a catalyst for export growth, supported by the
weak Canadian currency. Ottawa will soon step in with a
promised major boost to infrastructure spending - a stimulus
that the Bank of Canada has yet to incorporate into its
economic outlook, as it prefers to await the details.
Still, observers are all too keenly aware that Mr. Poloz is the
same central banker who caught them all asleep at the switch a
year ago, when he announced a surprise rate cut in the face of
an erosion in business sentiment that wasn't all that different to
what we are seeing today. Another cut next week might not be
the most likely call, but it wouldn't be unreasonable, either and Mr. Poloz's capacity for a pre-emptive strike is now well
known. Fool me twice, shame on me, right?
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
La Presse+
Les gouvernement Trudeau souhaite aller
de l'avant
Joël-Denis Bellavance - OTTAWA
Le gouvernement libéral de Justin Trudeau caresse à son tour
le désir de créer une commission nationale des valeurs
mobilières _ un projet controversé qu'avait commencé à
échafauder l'ancien gouvernement conservateur de Stephen
Harper malgré l'hostilité du Québec et de l'Alberta.
Le bureau du ministre fédéral des Finances Bill Morneau a
indiqué à La Presse que le gouvernement Trudeau n'a pas
l'intention d'abandonner ce projet, bien au contraire.
Résultat : la bataille juridique entreprise par le gouvernement
Couillard devant la Cour d'appel du Québec l'été dernier va se
poursuivre de plus belle, même si le ministre des Finances du
Québec, Carlos Leitao, s'était montré optimiste, pas plus tard
qu'en novembre dernier, à la suite de la prestation de serment
du nouveau gouvernement libéral, de voir Ottawa faire marche
arrière dans ce dossier.
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En juillet dernier, le gouvernement Couillard a soumis un
renvoi devant la Cour d'appel du Québec afin de stopper la
deuxième mouture du gouvernement fédéral d'une commission
pancanadienne des valeurs mobilières. Québec soutient
qu'Ottawa tente de nouveau de s'immiscer dans un champ de
compétence qui relève des provinces.
Le tribunal avait donné aux procureurs généraux jusqu'au 30
septembre 2015 pour déposer un avis de comparution. Cet
échéancier tombait en pleine campagne électorale, au cours de
laquelle la création d'une commission nationale des valeurs
mobilières n'a guère été abordée.
Deux provinces réfractaires
En 2011, la Cour suprême du Canada avait déjà donné raison
aux provinces qui contestaient la constitutionnalité d'un
premier projet fédéral de créer une commission des valeurs
mobilières (notamment le Québec et l'Alberta), en statuant qu'il
était une « intrusion massive » du Parlement fédéral dans le
champ de compétence des provinces.
Toutefois, le plus haut tribunal du pays affirmait que rien
n'empêchait le gouvernement fédéral et les provinces, dans «
l'esprit du fédéralisme coopératif », d'exercer «
harmonieusement » leurs pouvoirs respectifs dans ce domaine.
La Cour suprême reconnaissait à Ottawa un certain rôle dans la
gestion des risques systémiques et la stabilité du système
financier canadien.
L'ancien ministre des Finances Jim Flaherty s'est servi de cet
élément du jugement pour revenir à la charge avec un autre
projet de commission pancanadienne des valeurs mobilières à
laquelle les provinces seraient libres d'adhérer. Jusqu'ici, cinq
provinces (l'Ontario, la Colombie-Britannique, la
Saskatchewan, le Nouveau-Brunswick et l'Île-du-PrinceÉdouard) ont accepté de participer au projet. Ces provinces
représentent environ 55 % de la capitalisation boursière du
Dans les rangs libéraux, on fait valoir, à l'instar des
conservateurs, que ce projet demeure pertinent.
Les libéraux soutiennent que ce projet favorisera « le
fonctionnement au Canada de marchés des capitaux plus
efficients et concurrentiels à l'échelle internationale ».
On affirme aussi que ce projet va assurer « une protection
accrue des investisseurs, partout au Canada, au moyen
d'activités d'observation et d'application de la législation qui
seront plus intégrées et mieux coordonnées ». Enfin, on
souligne que cela va « renforcer la capacité du Canada à cerner
et à gérer les risques systémiques liés aux marchés des
capitaux à l'échelle nationale et permettre au Canada de
présenter une position plus forte et d'être plus influent en ce
qui a trait aux initiatives internationales de réglementation ».
Mais jusqu'ici, ces arguments n'ont pas permis de convaincre
les deux provinces les plus farouchement opposées au projet, le
Québec et l'Alberta. Le gouvernement du Québec de même que
tout Québec inc. soutiennent que le régime, même dans sa
nouvelle mouture, aura pour effet de centraliser à Toronto
l'encadrement de ce secteur au Canada.
On affirme aussi que le régime actuel de passeport a bel et bien
fait ses preuves, même si le Canada demeure le seul pays du
G20 à ne pas avoir d'organisme national de réglementation des
valeurs mobilières.
© 2016 La Presse inc., une filiale de Gesca. Tous droits
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Unpacking UNDRIP: How Trudeau could
take Crown/First Nations law into
uncharted waters
Mackenzie Scrimshaw - Ontario
The Trudeau government, anxious to turn the page on an often
fraught relationship between the federal government and First
Nations, says it plans to implement the United Nations'
sweeping Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
What that means, said aboriginal law expert Tom Isaac,
depends on how the government answers one "key question":
What exactly do they mean by "implement"?
"If 'implement' means adopt into domestic law every provision
of UNDRIP, then we're going to have some real challenges in
Canada," he said. "And that's putting it lightly."
Although UNDRIP has resurfaced in Canadian political
discourse recently, the document itself is not new. The UN
General Assembly described it as a "landmark declaration"
when it passed in September 2007 with the support of more
than 140 member states.
A small group of countries chose not to vote on UNDRIP and a
handful of nations - the United States, Canada, Australia and
New Zealand - actually opposed the non-binding declaration.
In time, the naysayers came around, starting with Australia in
April 2009. New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. followed suit in that order - in 2010.
Now, the Liberals are promising to 'implement' the declaration
the Conservatives signed five years ago - but haven't said
exactly what that might mean.
To Isaac, a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and the
head of the firm's Aboriginal Law Group, "implement" could
have multiple meanings.
"If 'implement' means, 'Look, we're going to take all the stuff
out of UNDRIP that isn't contrary to Canadian law but moves
us forward,' then that's laudable," he said.
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That approach would exclude, he said, the so-called "consent
provision" in UNDRIP - which Isaac describes as running
"counter" to existing Canadian law.
This provision moves the bar on how far governments must go
in consulting aboriginal communities and First Nations about
legislation or acts of government that affect their interests requiring their "free, prior and informed consent" before
advancing. That phrase appears in six different articles of the
declaration, outlining the situations in which states must obtain
the consent of indigenous peoples before moving forward situations which include resource projects that could affect
aboriginal lands.
That standard - and the question of whether it amounts to a
blanket veto for aboriginals - is the subject of heated debate in
aboriginal and resource law circles. Isaac said it's not a
technical veto but it could amount to one in practice - assuming
that "consent" does, in fact, mean consent and not something
else, like 'consultation'.
"And that, in a Canadian legal context, is problematic because
it runs directly in the face of state sovereignty and the ability of
the federal and provincial governments to make laws in their
respective areas, subject to not infringing aboriginal treaty
rights," he said.
And because UNDRIP leaves the definition of "aboriginal
lands" rather loose, Issac said, its consent principle could give
aboriginal communities an effective veto over any act of
government that could affect them, anywhere in Canada.
In fact, the declaration doesn't define "aboriginal lands" at all.
And in Canada, aboriginal land rights have been hotly
contested for decades. Since the early 1970s, however, Canada
has recognized comprehensive and specific land claims, which
are established through modern treaties and settlements for
historic treaties, respectively.
Other aboriginal law experts suggest that Issac is overstating
the risk in UNDRIP. Larry Innes, a partner at Olthuis, Kleer,
Townshend LLP, argues that the Trudeau government has in
UNDRIP an opportunity "to make it clear that 'free, prior and
informed consent', in fact, can be integrated into Canada's
domestic law in a way that's consistent with our Constitution
and within our federal framework."
To do so, the Liberals could refer to the Tsilqhot'in decision,
Innes said. That 2014 Supreme Court of Canada ruling settled
a dispute between the Tsilqhot'in Nation, a group of bands in
British Columbia's central interior, and the provincial
government over what the Tsilqhot'in said was its aboriginal
In the ruling, Innes said, the Supreme Court concluded that
governments must have aboriginal consent in order to use
aboriginal title land - but also outlined how governments could
justify moving forward without that consent. With Tsilqhot'in
setting the boundaries of UNDRIP in Canada, he added, the
concept of free, prior and informed consent does not amount to
a veto.
Ken Coates, director of the University of Saskatchewan's
International Centre for Northern Governance and
Development, said UNDRIP could mean anything from
"nothing" to "an awful lot" under Canadian law - depending on
whether the government sees it as an 'aspirational' or a legal
If it's the former, then "the government of Canada has
officially agreed that it will work in the long run toward
achieving what are really admirable ends," he said - adding
that he thinks the government intends to take the 'aspirational'
interpretation. But if the Trudeau government means to apply
UNDRIP as a legally-binding document, he said, then "we
have to review sort of every single legal relationship we have
with indigenous peoples to see if it matches up to the terms and
conditions of UNDRIP."
As far as project approvals go, said Coates, the same logic
would apply: If UNDRIP is aspirational, the government could
argue that Canada has achieved the goal of free, prior and
informed consent already through modern treaties and
Supreme Court decisions - although he admits most aboriginals
likely would disagree.
If UNDRIP is intended as a legal document, he added, the
consent principle becomes "a legally-testable point."
"What does free, prior and informed consent mean?" he said.
"There's not a lot of evidence that people thought that free,
prior and informed consent meant that indigenous peoples
would have a veto over all resource development. But, in fact,
it meant they had to be fully involved and engaged."
Others don't see UNDRIP moving the dial on aboriginal rights
that far at all. Merle Alexander, a partner and practitioner of
aboriginal resource law at Gowlings LLP, said he thinks
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett is
going to start implementing UNDRIP by looking at policies
and consulting aboriginal groups - something he doesn't see
dramatically changing existing laws. On the other hand ...
"The implications of it could be extraordinary," Alexander
added. "It really depends on sort of how fulsome the
implementation is."
Thanks to the Tsilqhot'in decision, he said, "consent already is
the requirement" in B.C. on title land.
"The only real hot-button aspect of implementing (free, prior
and informed consent) across Canada comes down to the word
'consent'," Alexander said. "I think that that (consent) could be
codified by thoughtful people and thoughtful legislators."
And unlike some lawyers, Alexander said he thinks
implementing UNDRIP's approach to consent could happen
without halting resource development or economic growth.
To implement UNDRIP, Alexander said, the government ought
to start at the policy level and compare the current federal
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"duty to consult" standard to the declaration and see where
they differ. He said Ottawa probably will have to revise its
comprehensive land claims policy - which advises the federal
government on its role in the negotiation of comprehensive
land claims or modern treaties - and the inherent right of selfgovernment, which recognizes the right of aboriginals to
govern themselves.
Although Alexander describes these policies as "very large
starting points," he said he thinks the government also will
have to make some legislative changes.
Isaac, meanwhile, said Canada is already "a world leader at
protecting indigenous rights at law." While he's reluctant to
suggest approaches to implementing UNDRIP, he suggested
that the document could be useful as a guide for best practices,
although likely only on social issues.
"What I would underscore here ... is that we're not starting
from scratch in Canada," he said, pointing to the fact the
Supreme Court has ruled at least 50 times in the last 25 years
on the section of the Constitution that deals with aboriginal
treaty rights.
"I think whether it's UNDRIP or anything else, I think we
should look at it as we typically do in this country - with open
eyes, not dismiss(ing) it, and see where it may fit."
In Innes' opinion, governments in Canada see aboriginal
'consultation' as their only duty when it comes to project
development, an approach he likens to the "colonial frame."
"'We're the boss, you're not,'" Innes said, describing what he
sees as the typical government approach to aboriginal
stakeholders. "'We'll listen to you because we have to. But
once we've listened to you, given you the opportunity to blow
off steam, we're going to proceed with our plans.'"
And in order for UNDRIP's implementation to mean
something beyond the symbolic, "it's going to have to change
that status quo," he said. "Governments are now going to have
to approach the conversation as one of potential partnerships."
That, he said, would involve taking steps toward an approval
process that requires "two keys to go" - in other words, the
approval of the aboriginal group and the federal government.
And in situations without the former, Innes says, "the public
government would have to consider very carefully, in
accordance with the case law that's fairly well-developed,
whether the justification for infringement is such that they still
wish to proceed."
Approached this way, Innes said, the government could
enforce UNDRIP first through rethinking Canada's
environmental assessment process by restoring aboriginal
An "appropriate starting place," Innes said, would be a policy
statement from Ottawa: "'As a government, our preference is
going to be to approve projects where aboriginal consent is
This "would make for a sea change in how proponents
currently pursue these projects," he said.
Innes also sees a role for legislation - specifically, for the
amended Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which
Innes said "gives the cabinet a great deal of discretion."
In this case, he said, the Liberals could use that quality to
decide whether aboriginal consent figures as part of their
decision on a project.
Coates said that if UNDRIP is an aspirational statement, then
implementing it is "fairly straightforward."
That, he said, would involve telling government policymakers
that UNDRIP is considered the "new standard" and then
checking new laws and processes against the declaration.
"I think as an aspirational document, there's a huge amount to
be celebrated in UNDRIP," Coates said, adding that he hopes
this is how the government sees it.
If, however, UNDRIP is a legal document, he said, the
government could adopt the declaration or entrench it in the
Constitution, making it law.
That, Coates said, would require revisiting "many, many, many
laws, regulations, processes and policies in Canada.
"There isn't a line in UNDRIP that isn't contestable."
Copyright 2013 iPolitics
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
NEWS Page: A6
Trudeau's schedule now available for the
public to see
PM's daily itinerary, while short on details, catches
up with other leaders' practices
Bruce Campion-Smith Toronto Star chief
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had private meetings scheduled
So, what's the news in that? Well, the mere fact that the Prime
Minister's Office released a daily itinerary saying so.
In a practice that catches up with other political leaders,
Trudeau's office says it will now release an overview of his
day's activities.
"It will be a daily practice. . . . Those will keep you abreast of
what he is up to," said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for
the prime minister.
"I think the overarching objective is openness and transparency
as much as possible so at least people know what their prime
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minister is doing, where he is and have a sense of his
activities," Ahmad said in an interview Monday.
The details of Trudeau's Monday schedule were fairly scarce,
saying simply, "The prime minister will be in private
It offered no specifics on either the people the prime minister
was meeting with in Ottawa or the topics of their
But Ahmad defended the first day's notice.
"Sometimes they are meetings that can't be disclosed but at
least you know he is here doing meetings," he said.
The release of a daily itinerary is a new development in
Ottawa, where previously the Prime Minister's Office would
release details of only public events. Trudeau's itinerary can be
found on the prime minister's website.
And if the Prime Minister's Office wants to keep details of
some meetings secret, that's fine, said Chris Waddell, a
journalism professor at Carleton University.
Some discussions have to happen "beyond public attention," he
"Who he meets with in the office on a daily basis I think it's
reasonable to sort of say that doesn't need to be public
information," he said.
"But I do think it's a problem if he's going out and delivering
speeches to private groups and we don't know about it,"
Waddell said an interview.
"If he's out speaking to a constituent group, I think the public
needs to know about that," Waddell said.
Still, he noted that Trudeau's new practice is a contrast to his
predecessor Stephen Harper.
"Mr. Harper almost carried it to the other extreme in that we
really didn't know what he was doing or where he was going a
huge amount of the time," Waddell said.
The premier's office in Ontario has long released the daily
schedule of the province's top politician, dating back to the
days of Mike Harris.
So, too, has the White House.
On Monday, for example, U.S. President Barack Obama and
Vice-President Joe Biden were to receive the daily presidential
briefing in the Oval Office, according to the schedule released
by the White House.
But as the experience south of the border has revealed, the
practice of releasing a daily schedule is no guarantee that all
will be revealed.
In a 2012 article, the Politico website found that many events
were never listed on Obama's public schedule, such as a
meeting with actor George Clooney or the former senate
Politico analyzed more than 4,000 photos publicly posted by
official White House photographers and concluded that some
one-third of the events shown were never on his public
© 2016 Torstar Corporation
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
NEWS Page: A7
Trudeau to reimburse government for air
fare in family's beach holiday
Glen Mcgregor, Ottawa Citizen
Justin Trudeau will reimburse taxpayers for part of the costs of
taking his family on a government jet for a Caribbean getaway
over the holidays.
The Prime Minister's Office said Sunday that Trudeau will pay
the government for the equivalent economy-class flights for
himself and wife and kids to travel to the tiny island of Nevis,
where he spent 10 nights at an exclusive resort.
Like all prime ministers, Trudeau cannot fly on commercial
airlines for security reasons and must instead travel on
Department of National Defence Challenger jets, which cost
about $10,000 per flying hour to operate.
It's a necessary upgrade on his past travel. In a 2013 interview
with the Citizen, Trudeau said other passengers were often
surprised to see him and his family flying to Florida on
discount charter airlines. His predecessor, Conservative PM
Stephen Harper, did on occasion reimburse DND for flights,
but in amounts that appeared to represent the lowest possible
economy fare prices.
In Nevis, the Trudeaus stayed at the Paradise Beach Nevis
resort, a brand new collection of seven beachfront villas that
come with their own personal butler and, apparently, monkeys.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ reported that Trudeau paid
US$2,500 a night for a 3,400-square-foot villa.
"Every villa is replete with a full kitchen, barbecue, outdoor
shower, personal butler, bespoke fridge, private pool, vervet
monkeys and goats," according to, a website
devoted to luxury products and travel.
"The villas are massive, so guests need not leave, and with
little around but each other, offer all the amenities you need for
Resort general manager Steven Tyson confirmed that the
Trudeaus were guests of the resort but would not comment
further. The St. Kitts-Nevis Times posted a photograph of
Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau posing with the
resort staffand reported they had spent New Year's at the "posh
"As for the friends of the Trudeau family who were also
present in Nevis, they did not travel on the Challenger but
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made their own way there," PMO press secretary Andrée-Lyne
Hallé said.
Trudeau personally picked up the bill for the pricey resort stay,
she said.
"All accommodation and other personal expenses of the Prime
Minister and his family while vacationing were covered by him
and are therefore private."
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-10
Presse Canadienne
Le Bloc sera très "présent" en 2016, sur le
terrain et dans les réseaux sociaux
MONTRÉAL _ N'ayant pas le statut de parti officiel à la
Chambre des communes, le Bloc québécois entend obtenir de
la "visibilité" cette année en intervenant régulièrement sur le
terrain, dans les réseaux sociaux et par le biais de médias.
C'est ce que déclare à La Presse Canadienne le député et
président du Bloc, Mario Beaulieu, précisant que sa formation
assurera une présence constante pour défendre les intérêts du
Québec à Ottawa.
M. Beaulieu affirme que la "belle ouverture" manifestée par le
premier ministre Justin Trudeau dès son élection s'est déjà
tansformée en "fermeture" lorsqu'il s'agit du Québec.
Le député de la Pointe-de-l'Ile donne en exemple les récents
propos du premier ministre qui a fait un parallèle entre les
commentaires sur les musulmans du candidat à l'investiture
républicaine aux États-Unis, Donald Trump, et la Charte des
valeurs que voulait faire adopter le dernier gouvernement
Mario Beaulieu constate également que Justin Trudeau serait
disposé à négocier de "nation à nation" avec les peuples
autochtones, ce que le Bloc appuie, mais qu'il ne serait pas prêt
à le faire avec le Québec sur la même base.
Questionné sur la possibilité qu'il tente de solliciter de nouveau
le poste de chef du Bloc québécois, Mario Beaulieu dit que
"rien n'est écarté", mais il affirme du même souffle que le
député Rhéal Fortin fait un travail exceptionnel et rassembleur
comme chef intérimaire. Il ajoute toutefois que "l'avenir
réserve parfois des surprises".
M. Beaulieu souligne que ce sont les membres qui décideront
de l'avenir du parti, et que le prochain conseil général,
probablement à la fin du mois de février, permettra de faire le
Pour l'instant, Mario Beaulieu entend se consacrer notamment
à la campagne sur l'indépendance lancée par le Bloc.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-09
Cullen calls for investigation of Ridley
Elizabeth Thompson - Ontario
New Democratic Party MP Nathan Cullen is calling on the
federal auditor general to investigate Ridley Terminals, saying
the board of directors' appointment of a Conservative political
organizer to be a vice-president violates normal business
"In any other walk of life, this would be corruption, this would
be illegal if companies acted this way," said Cullen, MP for the
B.C riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, where the Prince Rupertbased crown corporation is located.
"Why (do) political parties think they are somehow special
when they are in government."
Cullen said he is drafting a letter formally asking Auditor
General Michael Ferguson to examine how a former top
political advisor for Conservative Industry Minister James
Moore landed a lucrative job with a federal crown corporation
in the final days of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's
government - hired by a board of directors dominated by
Conservative Party donors and chaired by Byng Giraud, a
longtime Conservative organizer.
Colin Metcalfe, who worked for several years as advisor to the
Conservatives' political minister for British Columbia, was
appointed in August to the brand new position of vicepresident corporate affairs for Ridley Terminals (RTI), a coal
shipping facility in Prince Rupert.
"The auditor may want to look at this specific case but also
more broadly is this an effective way for peace, order and good
governance to realize itself. Is this what Canada should be
about - putting your political buddies into long-term positions
as you're walking out the door and being defeated by
Cullen said he would also like to see the House of Commons
Transportation Committee hold hearings into what has been
happening at the crown corporation.
Ghislain Desjardins, spokesman for Auditor General Michael
Ferguson, said the office is not currently investigating Ridley
Terminals. The auditor general is Ridley's official auditor and
is supposed to conduct special examinations into the crown
corporation ever 10 years in addition to its annual audits but
has not conducted a special examination of Ridley since 2005,
he said.
While the president of federal crown corporations normally
appoint a vice-presidents, former president George Dorsey
confirmed Metcalfe was hired directly by Ridley Terminals'
board of directors without his input. He said the position did
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not exist previously and he said he played no role in the
Metcalfe has denied his new job is the result of political
patronage and says he was cleared by Ethics Commissioner
Mary Dawson's office to take the job. Over the last two days
he has failed to respond to a number of questions posed by
iPolitics, including reaction to Cullen's call for an investigation
as well as the length and equivalent public service pay range
for his contract.
Cullen, however, questions whether Metcalfe's appointment
respects the spirit as well as the letter of the ethics rules.
"It is very unusual to start going around normal business
practices - you have to say, well why? And if the only reason is
politics and patronage then I think the Liberals have to find a
better way to remove these people and then change the whole
system," he said, pointing out that Liberals governments did
similar things before the Conservatives came to power.
Appointments like Metcalfe's help the Conservatives continue
to implement the policies favored by former Prime Minister
Stephen Harper's government despite the fact the Liberals are
now in power, Cullen added.
"It's also a way for Harper to govern from the political grave.
He can make these long term appointments to all sorts of
important bodies and have his policies continue - the National
Energy Board would be a good example.... Even after
Canadians have tossed them from government."
The Ridley board also recently decided to not renew the
contract of its longtime president George Dorsey, who has
been credited by many with turning around the crown
Metcalfe said the board made the decision because it wants to
diversify beyond coal and has named board director David
Kirsop as interim president.
However, Cullen doesn't buy the argument that Dorsey was
pushed out and Metcalfe was hired in order to diversify
operations, saying that the move to diversification began long
"This facility has been looking at diversifying for years. If
that's his reason for taking all this money from the public, then
this thing stinks even worse than I thought."
Cullen said there are a number of proposed projects in the
works in the area including shipping oil by rail. He said the
community also has a lot of concerns about the Harper
government's decision to change the ports act through an
omnibus bill to enable the port to sell land for a terminal to
ship liquid natural gas. Malaysian oil and gas giant Petronas is
planning a project near the Ridley site, he said.
"These assets are so key when you get into these transportation
pieces, how incredibly important they are to Canada's health
and the fact that they are being sold off like little political gifts
is disturbing on a whole bunch of levels."
"This is just the most blatant use of patronage and it then begs
the question as they then try to sell an asset how much political
motivation is behind every move that is being made."
Copyright 2013 iPolitics
Published | Publié : 2016-01-10
Canadian Press Newswire
Canada mounts UN anti-nuke effort
Trudeau joins Obama fight on nuclear terror
OTTAWA _ Canada plans to kick-start a long-stalled
international effort aimed at ridding the world of the key
ingredients needed for nuclear weapons, The Canadian Press
has learned.
The renewed push this week by Canada's United Nations
ambassador to Geneva to spearhead the creation of a Fissile
Material Cut-off Treaty or FMCT, comes as Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau is expected to attend U.S. President Barack
Obama's Nuclear Security Summit.
Trudeau's presence at the Obama summit, March 31 and April
1, would come just three weeks after his scheduled March 10
gala state dinner at the White House.
Canada's renewed focus on nuclear non-proliferation efforts
has been in the works for months, but the effort has new
urgency because of North Korea's recent claim to have
conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb.
``I think it sent a chill through the world community and
reinvigorates this discussion and this debate,'' Rosemary
McCarney, Canada's permanent representative to the United
Nations in Geneva, told The Canadian Press.
McCarney said she'll be starting the first of a series of
meetings this week at the Conference on Disarmament, the
UN's main arms-control body, with the aim of re-starting
negotiations this year towards creating the fissile material
McCarney may have her work cut out for her, because
Trudeau's own briefing book says the UN effort towards
crafting such a treaty dates back almost six decades and has
been beset by ``deadlock.''
``An FMCT has been on the UN's agenda since 1957,'' says the
memo to the prime minister, which was obtained under the
Access to Information Act.
In 1995, Canada brokered an agreement on a negotiating
mandate for the treaty, but in the intervening years, the effort
stalled. ``Since 2008, Pakistan has blocked work on an
FMCT,'' the memo states. But Canada has also worked with
Germany, the Netherlands and Australia to make progress.
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Canada got the ball rolling again in 2012, when it sponsored a
resolution at the UN General Assembly establishing a
commission of experts to push the matter forward. More
meetings and reports followed.
Trudeau now plans to support another process _ Obama's
fourth and final nuclear security summit, an effort he launched
in 2010 after a landmark speech in Prague a year earlier.
In that speech, Obama highlighted the threat posed by nuclear
terrorism, as he announced an initiative aimed at securing
nuclear materials and cracking down on the illicit trafficking in
Trudeau said last fall he wants to look for ways to work with
Obama on major international issues in the president's final
year in office.
``A nuclear terror attack anywhere in the world would have
catastrophic human, political, economic and environmental
consequences,'' Trudeau was told by federal officials who
prepared the briefing documents. ``While the immediate risk of
such an attack may appear to be low, states and terrorist groups
are known to be actively seeking nuclear or radiological
weapons capabilities.''
The memo states that former prime minister Stephen Harper
announced $28 million in funds aimed at nuclear security at
Obama's last summit in 2014, and that Trudeau will likely
bring some money of his own to the table this year.
``A package of programming deliverables is already being
prepared to inform the prime minister's participation in the
2016 summit,'' it says.
Another memo to Trudeau stresses that Canada views progress
to a total ban on nuclear weapons _ the yet unattainable
Nuclear Weapons Convention _ to be ``not politically feasible''
because some of the states that have those weapons refuse to
negotiate. But it cites a successfully negotiated FMCT as one
step towards that.
``We want to get to a Nuclear Weapons Convention without
question. Section 1 of any Nuclear Weapons Convention is
going to be fissile materials because if we don't stop the
production of fissile materials we can't get to a Nuclear
Weapons Convention,'' said McCarney.
She also heralded the Iran nuclear deal, which the United
States brokered with five other countries, as a major step in the
right direction. The deal would prevent Tehran from
developing the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon.
``It's one of our success stories for 2015,'' said McCarney. ``So
we can be cautiously optimistic that we'll be able to say in the
years to come that here's a great example of a country that was
certainly on a path to nuclear armament that has stepped
On the vexing question of North Korea, McCarney had a more
sanguine view. Canada will continue to work closely with its
allies, and maintain the pressure of sanctions.
``Do I have an optimistic view in the immediate future on
North Korea?'' she asked. ``I do not.''
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
DND's plan faces major problems
Privatizing upkeep of military equipment meets PS
David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
A Defence Department plan to have the private sector play
more of a role in maintaining the new ships and other
equipment the military expects to purchase is plagued with
problems, including a lack of accountability and resistance
among federal public servants to the proposal, according to a
report obtained by the Citizen.
The Department of National Defence has already started a
number of pilot projects on what it is calling its Sustainment
Initiative and hopes to formally launch the program in June.
But a Dec. 17 draft report prepared for the DND by consulting
firm KPMG raises concerns that a detailed plan is lacking,
there are problems with accountability, and federal employees
aren't entirely convinced the initiative will work.
The sustainment initiative could mean billions of dollars of
new work for private companies, but there is the potential for
layoffs for the public servants who now perform jobs related to
maintaining and servicing military equipment.
For instance, the jobs of about 1,000 public servants including 200 in the Ottawa area - who are involved in ship
maintenance could be affected by the new initiative, union
leaders have warned.
Although they don't expect layoffs, at least yet, they see the
federal jobs disappearing over time through attrition as
employees with private companies take over maintaining the
new ships the federal government intends to purchase in the
coming decades.
The KPMG staff, who interviewed those involved in the
initiative at various levels, pointed out that a number of
problems have already surfaced.
"Risks and issues are not well understood or clearly reported,"
the report noted. "No consensus exists on progress to date and
chances of success.
"The Sustainment Initiative has not utilized a number of
fundamental program management components necessary for
the success of such a large and complex initiative," the KPMG
report added.
Among the concerns is a lack of significant involvement by
Public Services and Procurement Canada, the federal
department that co-ordinates purchasing equipment and
arranging contracts for the DND.
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The DND hopes to use the sustainment initiative on the new
Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and the Joint Support Ships.
Construction of the Arctic ships has begun but the program has
faced delays. Construction on the support ships won't start until
On the positive side, the KPMG report points out that the
sustainment initiative has strong support from the senior DND
leadership and wide support from industry.
But those involved in the initiative have also raised concerns
there is a lack of formal schedule or a detailed plan. "There is a
lack of a clear understanding of how decisions are made, or on
what timeline results are expected," the KPMG report added.
Although some of the initial focus of the initiative has been on
the new ships, the plan is to extend it to army and air force
equipment as well.
The DND spends about $2.5 billion annually to maintain and
service military equipment. Companies provide some support
to current naval fleets, but much of the work is done by the 800
federal employees split between the East and West coasts.
They handle repairs, inspections on hulls and on-board
systems, and work on sonar, radars and other equipment. The
workers are also involved in logistics support and running
warehouses containing parts and other equipment for the
In the Ottawa area, about 200 employees are involved in the
longterm life cycle of the ships, with some federal workers
spending their entire careers involved with a particular vessel
The DND hopes the sustainment initiative will save money,
provide a more flexible system to maintain equipment, and
provide more economic benefits.
DND spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said the KPMG report
is still under review and is subject to change.
"In a nutshell, however, they have found we have a strong
foundation, clear vision, strong leadership support, wide strong
support from industry and the right approach regarding the use
of pilot projects to learn lessons and identify risks," he
explained in an email.
"Based on the progress of this initiative so far and interactions
with experts, we feel confident that the Sustainment Initiative
has developed a clear vision, a robust strategy with strong
senior leadership support and industry support." Le Bouthillier
said the DND would continue to learn lessons from the
initiative's pilot projects. "We will use the KPMG report to
inform the way forward - which is the reason they were asked
to conduct this review," he added.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
NEWS Page: A5
Incentives proposed to push efficiency
David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
Federal government managers should use various incentives to
convince public servants to get behind a program that could
potentially see some of their jobs farmed out to the private
sector, a consulting firm is recommending.
Some federal employees, particularly at the lower levels, have
been less than convinced about a Department of National
Defence initiative that could see the private sector take on
more work maintaining Canadian military equipment, the
report by consulting firm KPMG pointed out.
A change in behaviour, and new skills, would be needed in the
federal workforce to move the plan, dubbed the Sustainment
Initiative, along, the report prepared for the DND noted.
"While financial incentives may not be widely available, a
formalized approach to incentivizing and rewarding
participation in the activities of the Sustainment Initiative, and
acting as a champion for its principles in various departments
could drive wider participation," concluded the draft KPMG
study obtained by the Citizen.
It recommended that the DND "determine the feasibility of
various incentives (i.e. monetary, professional development
opportunities, celebratory)" in its quest to convince staffof the
value of the initiative.
But defence union president John MacLelland said it would
take more than plaques or other rewards to convince public
servants of the value of an initiative that might make some of
their jobs redundant.
"People's livelihoods could be affected and we're being kept in
the dark about this initiative," said MacLennan, national
president of the Union of National Defence Employees.
MacLennan said the union had asked the DND for a copy of
the KPMG report but was not provided with one.
André Fillion, chief of staff for the assistant deputy minister
for matériel at the DND, said Monday he couldn't comment on
specific recommendations in the report because it is in draft
form and could change over time. But he noted the initiative is
not aimed at cutting jobs.
"It's about maximizing value for money, flexibility, readiness
and socioeconomics," he explained. "It's about hitting the right
balance so we can get the job done. So it does not start with a
mandate to reduce the footprint of government employees."
Jobs could be eliminated. But Fillion also said it is also
possible in some cases for an argument to be made that
expanding the amount of work done by federal employees
would boost readiness and increase flexibility in equipment
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maintenance. "Clearly value for money is a key element and
flexibility is a key element," he explained.
The DND spends about $2.5 billion annually to maintain and
service military equipment.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Globe and
Ottawa mulls options to give Bombardier
financial boost
Company is seeking up to $1.3-billion from Ottawa
for its troubled C Series aircraft
The Liberal government is looking at several "creative"
options to bolster the financial viability of aerospace giant
Bombardier Inc., with a decision expected before the end of
March, federal officials say.
The Montreal-based company is seeking up to $1.3-billion
from Ottawa for its troubled C Series aircraft. The Quebec
government already pledged $1.3-billion in October to help
Bombardier complete the aircraft.
Officials from the Department of Innovation, Science and
Economic Development and the Prime Minister's Office are
actively examining whether to provide direct investment or
credit financing to Bombardier.
"These are all the options under consideration right now. It will
move fairly rapidly. If anything happens, it's going to happen
this winter," according to a senior federal official, who was not
authorized to speak on the record because of the sensitive
business and political nature of the discussions.
The government must decide whether to directly invest in the
C Series, as the Quebec government did, make a direct
investment in Bombardier or provide a line of credit.
One official suggested the government favours credit
financing, which would send a strong message to the
marketplace without taxpayers having to make an immediate
cash infusion. The company would be required to guarantee
repayment or give Ottawa a stake in the company.
"The real issue for Bombardier right now is that they need to
have the full support of the federal government to boost their
confidence in the markets," the official said.
"It has to be done in a way that doesn't cause a trade challenge.
We don't want a trade war."
A line of credit - backed by the federal government - would
assure leery buyers that "if you place an order in 2016, you
will get the plane in 2019 or 2020," the official added.
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, which represents some
Bombardier workers, said he has approached Finance Minister
Bill Morneau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep
Bains about the urgent need to invest in Bombardier.
"They are listening. They understand the strategic importance
of Bombardier," the union leader said. "They understand the
amount of jobs it creates. They understand that in order to have
a viable aerospace industry, the government has to play a role
just like every other country in the world."
In an Oct. 19 briefing note to the incoming government, a
Privy Council official described Bombardier as a "key anchor
firm for Canada's aerospace industry," and added that
governments around the world have to "pay to play" in this
increasingly competitive sector.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under heavy pressure to assist
Bombardier, particularly from aerospace companies and
unions. The aerospace sector represents $29-billion to the
Canadian economy and accounts for 180,000 jobs, including
40,000 in the Greater Montreal Area.
"Look at the amount of jobs. The fact of the matter remains
that the aerospace industry to the province of Quebec is what
the auto industry is to Ontario. They are good-paying jobs,"
Dave Ritchie, Canadian general vice-president of the
International Association of Machinist and Aerospace
Workers, said in an interview.
Bombardier has had difficulty expanding the list of orders for
its troubled 100-to-160-seat C Series, which some analysts say
is stuck between demand for smaller regional jets and the more
popular 150-to-180-seat models.
In October, Bombardier failed to convince Europe's Airbus to
buy a majority stake in the new mid-sized jet. The C Series has
so far received 243 firm orders and represents the company's
main hope for generating revenue over the next decade.
Thousands of workers in Quebec, Ireland and China will make
parts for the aircraft and assemble it.
2016 All material Copyright (c) Bell Globemedia Publishing
Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
CSIS loses bid to keep closed-door
hearing a secret in B.C. terror trial
VANCOUVER _ Canada's spy agency has lost a fight to keep
information from a closed-door hearing out of the public's eyes
in a court ruling expected to provide a deeper look into the
organization's involvement in a British Columbia terrorism
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce ruled on Monday
that it is possible to protect the privacy and safety of a
Canadian Security Intelligence Service source without the need
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to keep a hearing entirely confidential in connection to the
investigation of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody.
The fundamental principle of open court means that in-camera
hearings should only be used as a last resort when other
security measures won't work, Bruce said in her ruling.
``I find there is scope for a more limited order than was
originally proposed.''
Nuttall and Korody were found guilty of planting bombs at the
B.C. legislature in 2013. The conviction has been put on hold
while their lawyers argue the couple were entrapped by police
in an elaborate undercover sting.
Part of the trial was held in camera last week, and lawyers for
the Crown and CSIS argued that any information revealed
during the hearing would risk identifying the alleged spyagency operative who may have been connected to the
Bruce's ruling came after several media outlets, including The
Canadian Press, filed a motion opposing the in-camera order.
The judge said redacted transcripts of both the hearing and her
ruling would be released by Wednesday after she had removed
any sensitive information.
``Editing out the material that could identify the human source
deals with the concern raised by CSIS,'' she said.
Lawyers for both the agency and the Crown argued last week
that an in-camera hearing was essential because anyone present
for long enough in the courtroom's public gallery could readily
identify the individual in question.
In her ruling, Bruce emphasized the importance of
safeguarding public access to the courts while also protecting
the privacy and safety of CSIS sources whose lives could be
endangered if identified.
She rejected the spy agency's argument that last year's changes
to the CSIS Act granting human sources the same protection as
police officers applied in this case.
Bruce referenced a federal court decision that found the
legislation isn't retrospective, meaning it didn't affect the
events discussed during the in-camera hearing, which took
place prior to the law's enactment.
Lawyer Dan Burnett, who represented the media outlets,
described the ruling as a win for the open-court principle.
``Courts are the public's business,'' he said, speaking outside
the courthouse.
``The decision to limit publication through a publication ban,
or to even go further and shut the courtroom doors, is a
momentous decision.''
Burnett also said the judge's decision implicitly confirmed the
existence of a human source, which neither the Crown nor
CSIS have so far done, repeatedly referring to the individual as
an ``alleged'' CSIS human source.
``The indication today was that there's actual information that
has to be edited out to protect a source. If there was no source,
presumably there wouldn't be any information to edit out,''
Burnett said.
``That would suggest, at least implicitly, that it's more than just
an argument there might be a human source, that there is
information that needs to be taken out here to protect some real
The judge gave lawyers until Tuesday afternoon to suggest to
her what information should be excluded from the released
_ Follow ?gwomand on Twitter
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
No Ransom paid for canadian, envoy says
'It Wasn't Easy' Taliban free Colin Rutherford after
five years
Stewart Bell And Jake Edmiston, National Post
A Canadian abducted in Afghanistan more than five years ago
was released on Monday without payment of a ransom,
according to Qatar, which played a key role in securing Colin
Rutherford's freedom.
Qatar's ambassador to Ottawa, Fahad Mohamed Kafoud, said
in an interview that "a lot of people were working behind the
scenes" to win Rutherford's release and that "it wasn't easy" but
that no money had changed hands.
"No, I'm sure no," the ambassador said.
In a brief statement announcing that "efforts undertaken to
secure the release of Colin Rutherford have been successful,"
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion thanked the Persian
Gulf nation "for its assistance in this matter."
The minister did not elaborate on what role Qatar played but
Kafoud said instructions to help free the 30-year-old Canadian
had come directly from the tiny Arab state's monarch, Sheikh
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
"We received direct instruction from our government and from
His Highness the Emir to facilitate and to do our best to help
our friend in Canada," he said. "So we did some contacting, we
did some kind of efforts through the ministry of foreign affairs
of Qatar ... and this has been a successful outcome for Mr.
Rutherford who was released today."
Reached at home in Toronto, Rutherford's mother, Wendy,
said she knew little about what had happened. "Of course I'm
elated but officially I'm supposed to say I have no comment at
the moment," she said. "I also don't know anything much right
now except what you see on television."
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A former University of Toronto student, Rutherford left for
Afghanistan in October 2010. He had reportedly intended to
visit the warravaged country for a twoweek vacation, which his
brother Brian later acknowledged was "a poor decision."
Canadian police informed the family in November 2010 that
Rutherford had been kidnapped and the following May a video
showed him answering questions posed by a heavily accented
interviewer who was not visible to the camera.
Among the questions he was asked was whether he had ever
worked for the Canadian government, to which he replied he
had not.
He said he was only interested in Afghanistan's "history and
historical sites, old buildings, shrines." "I'm an auditor from
Canada and I came as a tourist," he said, adding he had spent
two days in Kabul before leaving for Ghazni. He said he had
been "apprehended" on his second day in the city, 150 km
southwest of Kabul. The Taliban said they had captured
Rutherford and accused him of being a spy. They have
operated a political office in Qatar since 2013. Qatar played a
role in brokering the 2014 release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe
Bergdahl, who was swapped for five Taliban officials held at
Guantanamo Bay. A U.S. Special Forces officer told a U.S.
Senate committee hearing last June that while trying to find
Bergdahl he had come across details of Rutherford's
whereabouts. Lt.-Col. Jason Amerine testified that Rutherford
was being held in Pakistan, as were another Canadian, Joshua
Boyle, and his American wife Caitlin Coleman. But he said the
U.S. State Department had scuttled plans to rescue them
because it wanted to focus on freeing Bergdahl. "I failed them.
I exhausted all efforts and resources available to return them
but I failed," said the decorated Green Beret. Boyle is a former
Ottawa resident who converted to Islam and was married
briefly to Zaynab Khadr, eldest daughter of Canadian al- Qaida
financier Ahmed Said Khadr. He and Coleman were abducted
in Afghanistan in 2012.
A Foreign Affairs official declined to answer questions about
Rutherford's release, saying the government did not want to
"compromise ongoing efforts." Dion's statement did not
indicate the Canadian's whereabouts or when he would return
home. "We look forward to Mr. Rutherford being able to return
to Canada and reunite with his family and loved ones," the
minister said. "The government of Canada will continue to
provide Mr. Rutherford with consular assistance and will assist
in facilitating his safe return home."
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
Detain immigrant children only as 'last
resort,' Red Cross tells Canadian agency
OTTAWA _ Canada should lock up child immigrants only as a
``last resort'' and must find alternatives to detention for such
vulnerable newcomers, the Red Cross says in its latest
confidential inspection report.
Many of the humanitarian organization's findings _ and those
highlighted in its previous annual studies _ remain ``largely
unaddressed,'' with some requiring ``urgent attention,'' says the
report obtained by The Canadian Press.
It makes 37 recommendations to improve conditions for
detainees, including better access to mental health services and
an eventual end to the practice of holding some in provincial
jails where they are mixed with criminals.
The Canada Border Services Agency holds people who are
considered a flight risk or a danger to the public, and those
whose identities cannot be confirmed.
As Canada extends a gracious welcome to thousands of Syrian
refugees, the report is a stark reminder that the reality for many
other newcomers is much different.
The Canadian Red Cross Society's latest review of the border
agency's immigration detention system, finalized last
November, was released under the Access to Information Act.
``The Red Cross sees persons in detention as potentially
vulnerable,'' the report says. ``Their freedom of movement has
been limited to a restricted area and their security and wellbeing are directly under the control of the detaining authority.''
Through an agreement with the border agency, the Red Cross
monitors the treatment and conditions of people detained in
Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
In 2013-14, the border agency held 10,088 immigrants _
almost one-fifth of them refugee claimants _ in a variety of
facilities, including federal holding centres and provincial and
municipal jails.
Among these were 197 minors, held an average of about 10
days each. However, the number of young detainees is almost
certainly higher because the figures do not include those who
were not formally part of a detention order, but nonetheless
found themselves behind bars with a parent or guardian.
The border agency should detain minors in only ``extremely
exceptional cases'' and even then for the ``shortest period
possible,'' the report says.
The Red Cross calls for a national policy on holding minors
that sets out treatment standards. ``This policy should
specifically address minors who have additional
vulnerabilities, such as those who are unaccompanied, those
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who may have been trafficked or those who require special
physical and mental health support.''
The report identifies the mental health of detainees as a
``growing area of concern,'' saying the Red Cross wants to
carry out a fuller study of the issue in Canadian detention
During the reporting period, a woman at the British Columbia
immigration holding centre attempted suicide and later died.
``This death underscores the challenging nature of and
obligations to respond to mental health needs in detention,'' the
report says.
The border agency did not have immediate comment on the
report. However, an accompanying briefing note about a draft
version of the study says the agency was in the process of
developing national detention training that would include
mental health and suicide prevention components.
Follow ?JimBronskill on Twitter
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
La Presse+
Les immigrants boudent le programme
Le programme fédéral boudé
Jean-François Bégin
Un projet pilote lancé par l'ancien gouvernement conservateur
à Ottawa pour remplacer le programme fédéral d'immigrants
investisseurs qu'il avait aboli il y a deux ans n'a connu aucun
succès : à peine 7 candidatures ont été présentées en 2015,
alors qu'on en espérait jusqu'à 60.
Une demande d'accès à l'information faite par l'avocat en
immigration Richard Kurland avait déjà révélé en juin que
seulement six dossiers avaient été soumis dans le cadre du
Programme pilote de capital de risque pour les immigrants
investisseurs, lancé au début de l'année. C'est donc dire qu'une
seule nouvelle candidature a été présentée au cours des six
derniers mois.
Citoyenneté et Immigration Canada (CIC) n'accepte plus de
nouveaux dossiers depuis le 30 décembre. « Dans l'ensemble,
la demande pour ce programme pilote a été faible, a indiqué le
porte-parole René Larivière. À l'heure actuelle, le Ministère
examine des options et établit les prochaines étapes. Il est
encore trop tôt pour émettre d'autres commentaires. »
L'impopularité du programme ne surprend pas Me Kurland. «
C'était beaucoup trop risqué pour l'investisseur, qui a d'autres
options au Canada et à l'étranger », dit-il.
L'ancien gouvernement conservateur avait éliminé en 2014 le
programme d'immigrants investisseurs créé sous Brian
Mulroney, au milieu des années 80. Similaire à celui du
Québec et maintes fois imité ailleurs dans le monde, il avait
longtemps été perçu comme un modèle.
Mais le gouvernement Harper a jugé qu'il ne créait pas
réellement de richesse au Canada.
Une étude de CIC réalisée en 2012 a même révélé que les
immigrants investisseurs gagnent entre 12 000 $ et 20 000 $ de
moins en revenus d'emploi que la moyenne canadienne. « Ça
s'explique par le fait que leurs revenus proviennent souvent
d'affaires qu'ils brassent à l'étranger », nuance l'économiste
Pierre Emmanuel Paradis, de la société AppEco.
Il reste que les revenus d'intérêts du programme fédéral étaient
refilés aux provinces qui, dans bien des cas, les versaient au
fonds consolidé du revenu plutôt que dans des programmes
ciblés comme celui du Québec, qui fournit de l'aide financière
à des PME. « Ça servait à renforcer les dépenses
gouvernementales et ce n'était pas ça l'objectif », dit M.
Le programme pilote lancé il y a un an était plus exigeant pour
les aspirants immigrants. Le candidat devait :
_ disposer d'un avoir net personnel d'au moins 10 millions de
dollars obtenu licitement grâce à des activités d'affaires ou
d'investissement (ce qui excluait donc les fortunes familiales) ;
_ maîtriser le français ou l'anglais ;
_ être titulaire d'un diplôme ou d'un certificat d'au moins une
année d'études postsecondaires ;
_ s'engager à faire un investissement non garanti de 2 millions
dans un fonds de capital de risque pour les immigrants
investisseurs, sur un horizon de 15 ans.
Ces critères exigeants, en particulier le dernier, ont refroidi les
ardeurs des aspirants immigrants, qui ont boudé le programme.
« Les immigrants devaient prendre tout le risque et n'avaient
aucun contrôle après avoir fourni le capital », note Me
Réduire les temps de traitement
Le nouveau gouvernement libéral relancera-t-il le volet
investisseurs de son programme d'immigration ? On l'ignore
pour l'instant. Mais le pays devra composer avec une
concurrence sans cesse grandissante. « Les gens ne viendront
pas ici à n'importe quel prix, dit Pierre Emmanuel Paradis. Si
les immigrants potentiels doivent attendre cinq ans pour que
leur dossier soit traité, ça ne va peut-être pas leur tenter de
venir ici. »
C'est justement pour réduire les temps de traitement que
Québec impose de son côté, depuis quelques années, une limite
annuelle de 1750 demandes d'immigrants investisseurs. Les
candidats qui maîtrisent le français ne sont pas soumis à ce
© 2016 La Presse inc., une filiale de Gesca. Tous droits
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Farmers, ranchers, food exporters urge
Ottawa to ratify TPP
Trade minister visits Alberta as part of consultations
on 12-nation pact
Bill Mah, Edmonton Journal
Canada's international trade minister got an earful Monday
from Alberta farmers, ranchers and food exporters urging the
federal government to ratify the trans-Pacific Partnership
Chrystia Freeland met with industry and government officials
in Edmonton as part of national consultations on the 12-nation
trade agreement inked Oct. 12 by the previous Conservative
government after years of talks.
"I just had a round table with people representing all different
agricultural sectors - from canola to eggs to cereals to
cattlemen," Freeland said.
"Around this table, there was a lot of strong expressions of
support for the TPP. That's a really important point of view
that I'll take back to Ottawa.
"Around this table, there were not a lot of concerns voiced
around the TPP."
Dave Solverson, president of the Canadian Cattlemen's
Association, said he strongly encouraged the Canadian
government to ratify the deal because beef exporters see huge
opportunity for expanding their Asian markets.
"The prize for us is Japan," Solverson said.
"Japan currently has 38.5-percent tariffs on beef going in and
the TPP will catch us up to Australia, which has a bilateral
(agreement) at 27-per-cent tariff. It'll catch us up to that
immediately and then it will diminish to nine per cent over a
period of years.
"It's very important for us if we want to grow our market share
in Japan, where they do like our beef, but this tariffhas been
very prohibitive."
Cattle producers expect exports to Japan could double or even
triple under TPP.
Along with Canada and Japan, the pact covers 40 per cent of
the world's economy and includes Australia, Brunei, Chile,
Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United
States and Vietnam.
China is not part of the agreement.
The emerging markets of Malaysia and Vietnam are also
important because their populations are growing wealthier,
along with their appetites for beef and pork, Solverson said.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance also threw its formal
support behind the deal Monday and urged Ottawa to sign the
agreement and press for its quick ratification by all parties.
"The TPP will open new markets, provide a level playing field
for our exporters and secure unprecedented access to the fastgrowing Asia-Pacific region," said alliance president Brian
"Ratifying this deal will also preserve Canada's privileged
access to our No. 1 trading partner, the U.S., and, most
importantly, put us on an equal footing with our global
competitors in the TPP region." Alberta Agriculture Minister
Oneil Carlier said the quicker the deal is made official, the
better it will be for the province's farmers and ranchers.
The federal Liberals have also heard from labour unions
worried about possible job losses if the deal comes into effect.
Freeland said she's still listening to all sides and gave no firm
information on Canada's ratification timeline.
The deal comes into force if six countries ratify it, including
Japan and the United States.
"What we have committed to is a full parliamentary debate
ahead of ratification and we will ask the trade committee, when
the House returns from its winter recess, to take a take a
serious study of the TPP as well," Freeland said.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Pact with China promises $7B gain
Study provides impetus for eager Liberals
John Ivison, National Post
The first study to quantify the benefits of a free-trade deal with
China suggests Canada could see its exports rise $7.7 billion
over the next 15 years - growth of nearly 45 per cent over
current levels.
The Canada-China Business Council/Canadian Council of
Chief Executives survey, to be released later this week,
explored whether a free-trade deal with China makes sense.
The model suggests the answer is a resounding yes, with up to
25,000 new jobs being created in such sectors as automotive,
chemicals and seafood by 2030. The authors were at pains to
point out these are very conservative estimates.
The survey will provide impetus to the Liberal government's
enthusiasm for a trade deal with the Chinese.
Under the previous Conservative government, Stephen Harper
said he wanted to see "clear benefit for both sides."
The Tories were always wary of Chinese enthusiasm to secure
access to Canadian resources. "We have a willing partner on
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the Chinese side, which is often an indicator of how much the
other side will benefit," said Adam Taylor, a trade consultant at
Ensight and former communications director to Conservative
trade minister Ed Fast. "The full benefit to Canada was not
fully explored."
Back in 2012, the two sides carried out a study that concluded
there was "untapped potential for further growth" in sectors
such as agriculture, clean technology, natural resources,
services and aerospace. The next step was expected to be the
launch of exploratory talks, but before an announcement could
be made, China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd. intervened with a
$15-billion bid for Calgary-based oil company Nexen.
Harper approved the Nexen deal but made it clear "this is not
the beginning of a trend, this is the end of a trend" - a sop to
his Conservative base, which was suspicious of China and
rankled by lack of reciprocity in investment policies.
There followed reports of widespread industrial espionage by
Chinese companies in Canada, and the moment was gone.
The Liberals' return to power has created the opportunity to
reset that relationship.
The Chinese often dwell on the past when making decisions in
the present, and the Trudeau name has carried great weight
since the current prime minister's father opened diplomatic
relations with the People's Republic in 1970.
The other major shift since 2012 was the conclusion of a freetrade deal between China and Australia, one of Canada's
biggest competitors as a source of natural resources and
financial services expertise. The deal was 10 years in the
making but, when fully implemented, it will see 95 per cent of
Australia's exports gain tariff-free access to China.
"That hits right at the heart of Canadian sectors like coal that
are all at once at a three-per-cent disadvantage," said Sarah
Kutulakos, executive director of the Canada China Business
The Harper government was always concerned about
"reciprocity" - the opening of China's economy to Canadian
companies - but Kutulakos said Australian banks and insurance
companies will now have preferred access to the Chinese
market under the new trade agreement. So, she said, "why are
we at the back of the bus?" Canada currently exports about
$17-billion worth of merchandise to China - paper, ores, wood,
minerals - and imports nearly $60 billion of goods.
Critics of a China deal complain about the continued threat
from stateowned enterprises if current restrictions are lifted;
the prospect of floods of cheap labour (the Australian deal
allows the granting of visas to Chinese nationals); and the
persistent violation of intellectual property laws that have seen
counterfeiting of everything from BlackBerry devices to
Canada goose parkas. Under the World Bank's governance
indices, China is considered a medium-range risk for
corruption, regulatory quality and the rule of law.
Steel producers, textile manufacturers and the automotive
unions can all be expected to howl in protest. But Kutulakos
said the Australia deal suggests Canada can hold out in areas
where it believes it will be disadvantaged, such as by the influx
of state-owned enterprises. "The Australians gave up very little
on investment policy," she said.
The benefits to industries like pork, lumber and canola are
obvious. As trade consultant Peter Clark wrote three years ago
when it looked like a deal was possible: "Free trade with those
countries whose food needs exceed their production capacity
are made for Canada."
The Liberals are keen to open up economic opportunities in
Asia, particularly with China and India. Chrystia Freeland, the
trade minister, said she has already had "productive meetings"
with China's commerce minister.
Trudeau's team are also mulling the relaunch of prime
ministerial-led Team Canada trade missions that were out of
fashion in the Harper years but have proven effective for the
British and Australians.
However, the fruits of such negotiations are unlikely to be
enjoyed by the government in its current mandate.
Personal relationships and patience are more important to
doing business in China than low tariffs. I was in Shanghai
three years ago with a number of Ontario agri-food producers,
including Charlie Pillitteri, chief executive of Pillitteri Estates
Winery, who said he visited China for a decade before it
started paying off. But when it started paying off, it paid off
big, with exports of $150-a-bottle ice wine tripling in volume.
"The Chinese want to buy into the Canadian lifestyle. They
love everything about us," he told me, as he wondered why
more firms don't try to break into a market that is still growing,
despite its recent travails. "We don't show. We need to get out
more," he said.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Globe and Mail
News Page: A1
Judges seek compromise to allow doctorassisted death
In an extraordinary hearing on Monday, judges on the Supreme
Court of Canada said there may be ways to permit a doctorassisted death for grievously suffering individuals beginning
next month, while also allowing the federal government the
extra time it is requesting before the Criminal Code ban on
assisted dying is lifted.
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One such compromise solution would be to let individuals who
are suffering unbearably apply to a judge for approval, thus
clearing the way for a doctor to help end that life without fear
of being criminally charged.
The federal government is asking the court to do something it
has rarely done before - grant an extra six months on top of the
12 months already allowed before its ruling takes effect.
That request puts the Supreme Court in a corner. Having
declared last year that Canadians have the constitutional right
to escape unendurable suffering, the court is being asked to
make them endure it a little longer.
Somewhat in the manner of abortion, for which there is no
criminal law, the matter could simply be left to doctors,
patients and medical regulatory bodies.
However, the federal Liberal government says it intends to
legislate. Among the provinces, only Quebec has a law setting
out how medical aid in dying works.
"We're talking about the line between killing and not killing,
and Parliament has difficult choices," federal lawyer Robert
Frater told the court. The government says it needs the extra
time to develop a framework with the provinces for a system in
which grievously suffering people can apply for a doctorassisted death.
Justice Rosalie Abella asked Mr. Frater whether individuals
could go to a judge for approval during an extension in which
the right to an assisted death would not yet be in effect. Mr.
Frater said no, adding that the court's ruling last year
contemplated a carefully designed and monitored scheme, not
one overseen by judges. Justice Abella then asked what harm
would be caused by allowing the right to take effect
immediately. Mr. Frater said it was unclear whether doctors
would participate; Justice Abella replied that the court has
already ruled they are not required to do so.
When asked about Quebec's law, Mr. Frater said the federal
government does not object to it being in effect during the
sixmonth extension.
Then Justice Michael Moldaver asked if Parliament could
simply assume that the Quebec law, which took effect last
month, would be in force in the rest of Canada during an
extension. Mr. Frater told Justice Moldaver the legislative
process must be allowed to take its course federally.
"It's a new Parliament," he said, taking aim at a criticism that
hung over the hearing, that Ottawa has dragged its feet.
"And the democratic process is slow." The ruling was released
on Feb. 6, 2015, and the Conservative government did not draft
new legislation before the election that brought the Liberals to
power in October. The Trudeau government has created a
parliamentary committee with instructions to report by Feb. 26.
Lawyer Joseph Arvay, speaking against an extension, told the
court that no harm would be caused by letting the right to an
assisted death take effect next month. (Mr. Arvay represented
the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and Lee
Carter, the woman who brought the initial court challenge. Her
89year-old mother, Kathleen, had the degenerative disease
spinal stenosis, and went to Switzerland for an assisted death in
2010.) Justice Moldaver replied bluntly that harmlessness
could not be taken for granted: Parliament "might want to put
in measures that ensure as far as possible that we are not
killing people who really ought not to be killed."
Underlying that exchange was the question of the court's role
in Canada, and how deferential judges should be to Parliament.
When the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the right
exists - saying that the sanctity of life includes the passage into
death - it overturned its own 1993 ruling in a case brought by a
woman dying of ALS, and rejected the federal government's
position that vulnerable people would be at risk of being forced
into an unwanted death.
But legal scholars say the court still managed to defer to
Parliament's lawmaking authority by allowing a year to craft
the rules.
Justice Russell Brown, an outspoken conservative who was
prime minister Stephen Harper's final appointment to the court
in July, asked Mr. Frater if the government really needs the
court to declare an extension: "Can't the [Justice] Minister ask
Parliament for a suspension by way of override?" (The
Constitution has an override provision that lets a government
opt out of a particular ruling.) Mr. Frater replied that the
government has said it would respect the court's ruling, but he
added that it was certainly possible.
The court reserved its decision.
Malliha Wilson, a lawyer representing the Ontario government,
which supported the request for an extension, said key issues
are unresolved, such as whether a "mature minor" can qualify,
and whether a request for an assisted death should be respected
even if it is given 20 years ahead of a diagnosis, and the person
is no longer able to consent.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Hill Times
Shared Services Canada encouraging
'dialogue with employees' in response to
reports of very low morale within the
In an email to The Hill Times Monday afternoon, the
department said Shared Services Canada is
'committed to addressing any issues that affect
employee morale, whether such issues are identified
in the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey or
through other means.'
Rachel Aiello
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Shared Services Canada says it's "committed to addressing any
issues that affect employee morale," following The Hill Times
story published Jan. 11 that revealed that morale at the
department is "very, very poor right now."
This, according to sources, is a result of staff struggling to
maintain outdated systems with little resources, and frequently
changing management, as the department tries to complete its
troubled and delayed massive IT consolidation.
In an email to The Hill Times Monday afternoon, the
department said Shared Services Canada is "committed to
addressing any issues that affect employee morale, whether
such issues are identified in the 2014 Public Service Employee
Survey or through other means."
In the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey, Shared Services
Canada was ranked as the worst department to work in. When
the survey was released, The Hill Times was told some
managers told employees to not even discuss it because it was
only going to make things worse.
As well, employees say that nearly every meeting is
"dominated" by the discussion of the poor morale and concerns
over job security because of decisions being made by upper
management around outsourcing.
In response to these allegations, the department said, "SSC
maintains a program to engage and encourage dialogue with
employees which includes activities such as face-to-face
discussions with senior managers, staff webinars, and
management blogs on departmental initiatives and topics of
The Hill Times also reported that morale started to degrade
when Shared Services Canada employees who are maintaining
the current system were being forced to deal with frustrated
staff from various departments over the IT delays and
computer issues under the new system.
"They [upper management] keep telling us we have to operate
at zero cost," said the source. "We're literally keeping it
together with string, and Band-Aids, and gum. ... They keep
saying it's a 'world-class organization' but you can't even get a
pencil around here."
In response, the department did not directly address this claim,
saying: "Shared Services Canada is putting in place a robust
and sustainable information technology (IT) platform, systems
and practices that best serve government organizations and the
services they deliver to Canadians."
The department was created in 2011 to consolidate and
modernize the government of Canada's IT networks and
personnel. According to SSC's 2015-16 plans and priorities, it
is mandated to deliver new standardized email and
telecommunication services to 43 federal departments. In
addition, it is responsible for consolidating existing data
centres and networks, providing WiFi to public servants, and
purchasing any of the government's technological devices. The
department reports to Parliament through Public Services and
Procurement Minister Judy Foote (Bonavista-Burin-Trinity,
Currently, the department's annual budget is around $1.4billion.
The Email Transformation Initiative: The YourEmail, or, $398-million integrated governmentwide email system's original deadline was March 31, 2015.
But, according to the source with knowledge of the email
systems, the current planned date of completion-September
2016-is likely to be pushed back further because the migrations
were put on hold in early December after departments that had
already made the transition were complaining of problems with
the new system now being worked out.
"On Nov. 19, 2015, Bell Canada stopped migrations to the new
email service due to hardware component issues. Once Bell
Canada has assured Shared Services Canada that the issues
have been resolved and they are able to sustain the email
activities of the government of Canada, a date to resume
migrations will be established," said SSC.
According to the department, just 12, not the originally
reported 21 departments have made the switch to the new
email system, but SSC said it is still targeting the completion
of the Email Transformation Initiative for September 2016, and
these delays will not result in any additional costs for the
The contract to migrate 63 different email systems, more than
600,000 mailboxes and more than 370,000 users to the new
"enterprise email solution," to one, integrated email system
was won by Bell Canada and CGI Information Systems in
2013. The seven-year contract is $398-million or $56-million a
Shared Services Canada is in the process of consolidating 485
data centres that house large computing systems and
government servers into four or five "purpose-built enterprise
data centres." The department has already established three
centres in Gatineau, Que., Borden, Ont., and Barrie, Ont. The
final number of data centres will be confirmed based on the
needs of our partner and client organizations, said SSC.
The government is also working towards consolidating its 50
different wide area networks (WANs) within Canada. In 2014,
two contracts were awarded to Telus and Allstream, with
another contract planned to be awarded in the future to
consolidate the government's networks outside of Canada.
In addition Shared Services Canada is working on making
WiFi available to more public servants, switching 295,000
landline phones to phones made via an internet connection and
implementing videoconferencing in all departments.
The Hill Times
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Nouveau gouvernement, même résultat
pour Sylvie Therrien
Celle qui a dénoncé les quotas de l'assurance-emploi
lance un cri du coeur à Trudeau
Guillaume Bourgault-Côté
Pour avoir dénoncé l'existence des quotas de l'assuranceemploi -- et plus largement, les politiques conservatrices en la
matière --, Sylvie Therrien a été renvoyée de la fonction
publique en 2013. Trois ans plus tard, elle lance un cri du
coeur à l'endroit du nouveau premier ministre, Justin Trudeau,
pour qu'il réhabilite une femme qu'il a encensée.
Au téléphone, la voix de l'ex-fonctionnaire est fatiguée : " J'ai
dit la vérité à la population sur ce qui se passait derrière les
portes closes à l'assurance-emploi et j'ai perdu ma job pour ça,
dit Sylvie Therrien. Depuis trois ans, j'ai été traitée d'une façon
incroyable, comme si j'étais une criminelle. Et là, on a un
premier ministre qui m'a personnellement félicitée pour ce que
j'ai fait, qui voulait m'avoir comme candidate en 2015, mais
qui ne fait rien pour corriger cette injustice. "
Mme Therrien a effectivement été courtisée tant par les
libéraux que les néodémocrates en vue des dernières élections.
Elle a ainsi rencontré Justin Trudeau en tête-à-tête pour
discuter de son intérêt, et elle certifie que le chef libéral a alors
été " très élogieux " envers elle. " Il m'a dit : "on vous veut
comme candidate non pas malgré ce que vous avez fait, mais à
cause de ce que vous avez fait", relate-t-elle. Il m'a dit que
c'était un honneur de me rencontrer. "
Mais près de trois mois après les élections, Sylvie Therrien
attend toujours un coup de fil des libéraux qui viendrait donner
de la consistance à ces bons mots. " A mon sens, j'ai été
victime de représailles du gouvernement Harper parce que j'ai
dénoncé leur politique, dit-elle. Il me semble que M. Trudeau
devrait poser un geste politique pour réparer ça. "
Mme Therrien est cette fonctionnaire qui, en janvier 2013, a
transmis au Devoir des informations démontrant que les
enquêteurs des services d'intégrité de Service Canada sont
soumis à des quotas de prestations à couper de l'ordre de 485
000 $ par année.
Rapidement démasquée, elle a été congédiée en octobre 2013.
On lui reprochait d'avoir violé la Politique de communication
du gouvernement et le Code de conduite du ministère des
Ressources humaines. Le crime ? Avoir communiqué à un
média des informations protégées.
Une campagne de soutien lancée peu après par le
Conseilnational des chômeurs a permis de récolter près de 40
000 $. Un baume. Mais pour Sylvie Therrien, le mal était fait.
Et elle n'a pas retrouvé de travail stable depuis.
Mme Therrien a choisi de contester son congédiement avec
l'aide de son syndicat. Mais elle accumule les revers, et il ne lui
reste qu'un vague espoir que la Commission des relations de
travail et de l'emploi dans la fonction publique (CRTEFP)
annule la décision de Service Canada. Elle y témoignera ce
Le problème, c'est que la situation dénoncée par Mme Therrien
ne constituait pas un acte répréhensible au sens où la Loi sur la
protection des fonctionnaires divulgateurs l'entend.
Au cabinet de M. Trudeau, on rappelle que le gouvernement
s'est engagé " à se pencher sur la question des dénonciateurs
afin d'établir si les mesures de protection sont suffisantes ".
Mais on ne veut pas commenter le cas de Mme Therrien,
puisqu'il fait l'objet d'un litige devant la CRTEFP.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
NEWS Page: A3
Liberals urged to give up control of events
Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Tourism wants the federal government to return
responsibility for events such as Winterlude and Canada Day
to the National Capital Commission. The not-for-profit tourism
organization also wants the federal government to revive the
project to transform the former U.S. embassy on Wellington
Street into a portrait gallery and forge ahead with the
redevelopment of LeBreton Flats. The ideas are among five
short-term priorities Ottawa Tourism has shared with Catherine
McKenna, the MP for Ottawa Centre and minister of the
environment and climate change. Dick Brown, the
organization's president and CEO, plans to discuss them with
McKenna later this week.
In an interview Monday, Brown said Ottawa Tourism was
caught off-guard when the previous government transferred
responsibility for events such as Winterlude to Canadian
Heritage from the NCC in 2013.
Since then, he said, things have become "cumbersome."
Having Canadian Heritage run the events is "just not the right
model, in our view," he said, adding there "have been some
stumbles along the way." The NCC, which delivered the
programs for years, was "more nimble.
"It's very difficult for a political organization to partner with an
organizations like Ottawa Tourism in the delivery of some of
these events," Brown said. "Yet they're at the heart of the
tourism business here."
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The plan to transform the former American embassy, across
from Parliament Hill, into a national portrait gallery was
shelved after Stephen Harper's Conservatives took power in
2006. The building has remained vacant ever since.
"Boy, it's a sin, almost, that we've left that hole in the fabric for
almost 10 years," Brown said. "How we could have allowed
that to happen is beyond me."
Transforming the former embassy into a portrait gallery "made
a whole lot of sense," he said. "We would hope that the
government would look at plugging that initiative back in."
Ottawa Tourism also urged the government to continue with
the selection of a development proposal for LeBreton Flats.
The NCC has received two proposals - both of which include a
major arena - to develop a large section of the vacant property
just west of downtown Ottawa.
"Please don't stop the process," he said, "because if you do,
whatever momentum has been gathered will be lost. " Another
priority for Ottawa Tourism is optimizing the experience and
animation of the Rideau Canal. "The Rideau Canal really is an
underused asset and could contribute so much more to the life
of the capital."
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Canadian Press Newswire
Pre-inquiry meeting in Yukon gives voice
to families of missing, murdered women
WHITEHORSE _ Families of missing and murdered
aboriginal women in Yukon have met privately with federal
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett in Whitehorse.
The sharing circle Monday was part of preliminary meetings
held across the country by Bennett prior to the launch of a
national inquiry into missing women.
Bennett heard stories from families in a sharing circle and
heard how an inquiry should be shaped.
She said she's heard some common themes on her tour,
including the importance of getting to the root causes of the
problem to prevent tragedies.
``Everybody wants to seek justice for the victims, supports for
the families, but this issue of prevention keeps coming back to
the forefront.''
Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Doris Bill was pleased that
Yukon is one of the first stops in the pre-inquiry process and
said families were anxious to speak with the minister and share
their views before an inquiry.
The federal government announced an inquiry last month and
launched an online survey, phone line and website, as well as
cross-country meetings to gather input on the inquiry format.
Bennett will be at meetings in Vancouver on Wednesday and
in Prince George on Friday. (CKRW)
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Le cabinet Trudeau s'invite au N.-B.
Patrick Lacelle
La première réunion du Cabinet Trudeau en 2016 sera tenue au
Nouveau-Brunswick, à St. Andrews.
Le premier ministre en a fait l'annonce lundi. Les 31 membres
du Cabinet tiendront leur réunion à l'hôtel Algonquin du 17 au
19 janvier.
Au cours de la réunion, le groupe reviendra sur 2015 et
discutera d'autres plans visant à créer des emplois, à renforcer
la classe moyenne et à stimuler la croissance économique.
«Passer deux jours ensemble dans une région du pays qui fait
face à des défis économiques différents et pas mal sérieux, ça
va permettre - je sais - à mes collègues de discuter et de
réfléchir à des mesures ou des décisions qui pourront affecter
directement le Nouveau-Brunswick et les provinces de
l'Atlantique», a confié à l'Acadie Nouvelle, Dominic LeBlanc,
leader du gouvernement à la Chambre des communes.
Le premier ministre espère, par cette réunion, démonter que
toutes les régions du pays sont prises en compte dans le
processus de décision.
«Le premier ministre voulait donner une indication assez claire
au Nouveau-Brunswick, et aux différentes régions du pays, que
le gouvernement allait être présent dans les différentes régions
du pays à certains moments de l'année. C'est la première
réunion de 2016 et la première retraite de deux jours où on sera
tous ensemble», a ajouté le député de Beauséjour.
Le politologue et professeur de l'Université de Moncton, Roger
Ouellette, voit en cette grande rencontre au NouveauBrunswick un symbole; une façon de remercier la province
dont toutes les circonscriptions sont devenues libérales lors du
scrutin du 19 octobre 2015.
«C'est une symbolique, une façon de reconnaître l'Atlantique et
le Nouveau-Brunswick dans la dernière élection. C'est aussi
une bonne pratique. J'imagine qu'il y aura d'autres
déplacements du Cabinet. Ce n'est pas mauvais que le premier
ministre déplace son cabinet en région. C'est bien que les
membres du cabinet aillent sur le terrain», indique M.
Ce genre de déplacement du Cabinet n'est pas chose courante.
C'est en fait plutôt rare, soutient le politologue. Or, c'est une
expérience que compte répéter à mainte reprise le
gouvernement Trudeau, selon M. LeBlanc.
«Ça ne sera pas rare pour nous. C'est la première fois, mais ce
ne sera pas la dernière. C'est l'intention du premier ministre de
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déplacer le Cabinet en entier au cours de l'année dans
différentes régions», a-t-il déclaré lundi.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
FRONT Page: A1
Sunny days ahead?
Ball, Tootoo stress friendly relationship, with few
James McLeod
Premier Dwight Ball has opened the door to cutting provincial
government fisheries research in the face of a gargantuan
budget deficit.
On Monday, federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo was in
St. John's for a full day of meetings, and around lunchtime
Tootoo and Ball spoke to reporters at Confederation Building.
The relationship between the federal and provincial
governments has been littered with fighting in recent years,
and many of those spats have been over fisheries issues.
But then the voters threw out the federal Conservative
government in October, and the N.L. Progressive Conservative
government in November.
On Monday, the new Liberal premier and the new federal
Liberal minister were all smiles.
Both men stressed the friendly, co-operative relationship
between Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador.
But when it came to specifics, there wasn't much either Ball or
Tootoo would say.
On the contentious issue of shrimp quota allocations, Tootoo
said he's waiting to see the scientific analysis, which is
expected in March.
Similarly on cod stocks, Tootoo said until he looks at the
science, it would be premature to say whether he'd favour an
expansion of the recreational food fishery, or allow for a larger
commercial catch.
On the Manolis L, the sunken paper carrier full of oil near
Change Islands, Tootoo said a plan is being developed, but
again, no specifics.
On the matter of federal government fisheries research, though,
Tootoo said the Liberals are going to beef up funding.
"We've committed to put $40 million back into science that,
over the last decade, has been stripped out of the department,"
he said.
Ball was asked whether that increased funding would give the
province cause to revisit their parallel fisheries science
program. Started in 2010, the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems
Research (CFER) was started as an answer to the federal
government's budget cuts to fisheries science.
Over the past five years, the government has spent more than
$15 million on provincial government fisheries research, and
another $2.6 million was budgeted in 2015 to continue the
Fisheries research and management of fish stocks is supposed
to be the responsibility of the federal government.
Asked about it Monday, Ball said the government will have to
decide whether to keep funding fisheries research.
"When you open up a budget process, I think you look at all
options you have," Ball said. "I don't think it's lost on anybody
in the room the significant challenges that we have in the
The "challenges" Ball is talking about are low oil prices and
ballooning deficits. The government is expecting to run a
budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion this year, and Ball has
signalled that drastic action must be taken to deal with the
Twitter: TelegramJames
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Globe and Mail
News Page: S1
Mayor asks PM to halt pipeline hearings
Burnaby's Corrigan sends letter to Trudeau saying
review process for Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain
project is 'broken'
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is asking Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau to suspend federal hearings into Kinder Morgan
Canada's proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain oil
A National Energy Board panel's review of the $6.8-billion
expansion project began last year, and arguments from
intervenors are scheduled to be heard later this month in
"It is evident that the NEB process is broken, and there is little
value in a fact-finding process that has no reasonable prospect
for testing evidence," Mr. Corrigan said in his three-page letter
sent on Monday to Mr. Trudeau.
He said the NEB needs to revamp its flawed procedures so that
environmental and community views are properly taken into
account, including examining the pipeline route's impact on
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"We therefore urgently request that you put the current NEB
panel review on hold until the new process and a broadened
panel have been implemented.
We ask that you immediately suspend the current hearings,"
Mr. Corrigan wrote.
Kinder Morgan is seeking NEB approval for a pipeline from
Alberta's Strathcona County to Burnaby that would nearly
triple the total capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.
Industry analysts say twinning the existing Trans Mountain
pipeline would be an attractive way for Canada to diversify its
oil exports.
Earlier on Monday, the B.C. government said it cannot support
the pipeline expansion project because Kinder Morgan has
provided insufficient details of its spill-response plans.
"These are real conditions. They are not a straw man put up to
ensure that nobody can ever meet them," B.C. Environment
Minister Mary Polak said during a conference call.
The B.C. Liberals said Monday that they would be willing to
reevaluate Trans Mountain if the company delivers information
that addresses the province's concerns. Kinder Morgan's plans
would increase the number of oil tanker shipments from
Vancouver's Burrard Inlet to 34 a month from five.
"A seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic through
Vancouver's local waters is simply not worth the immense
risks posed to our economy and environment in the event of a
major oil spill," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a
Kinder Morgan countered that the project would be carried out
to the highest environmental standards and continue
consultations with aboriginals and other groups. "The project,
as outlined in [a] report by the Conference Board of Canada
earlier this month, is expected to generate $46.7-billion in
government revenues and 802,000 person-years of
employment over more than 20 years," the company said.
Last year, the NEB process was interrupted when an energysector expert, Steven Kelly, who provided some of Kinder
Morgan's evidence, was named to the board, albeit without a
role in the pipeline's proceedings. This led to a delay in the
original schedule.
After Mr. Trudeau led the Liberals to victory in the October
federal election, some had speculated that the regulatory
process would be thrown into limbo as a result of the party's
position that reviews were lacking in environmental
However, Jim Carr, the federal Natural Resources Minister,
has said Kinder Morgan would not have to go back to square
one with its application.
"There will be a transition phase, and I will be working with
my colleagues in order to be clear about what that transition
phase means, and we will do that as soon as we can," he said
late last year.
The energy sector has turned its attention to the Trans
Mountain expansion for its oil export hopes since U.S.
President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline in
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
NEWS Page: A6
Wynne backs Blair's lead on weed
Rookie MP's backing of proposal to sell marijuana in
LCBO heartens premier
Robert Benzie Toronto Star
The Blair roach project has won a powerful supporter.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is pleased Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau has asked former Toronto police chief Bill
Blair, now Scarborough Southwest MP, to lead the marijuana
legalization efforts.
"I have a lot of respect for Bill Blair. I think that he'll do a
great job and his taking on of that role is the beginning of that
national conversation that I said we have to have," Wynne told
reporters Monday at Queen's Park.
The premier added that she was heartened that Blair is
embracing her proposal to have cannabis sold through
government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlets.
"I'm encouraged that he had, as a preliminary approach, that he
thinks that it might make sense to use a distribution network
that's in place, ... (although that's) not a foregone conclusion,"
she said.
"He's got a lot of people to talk to and he's got a lot of
questions to ask and a lot of decisions to make over the coming
months, so I look forward to that conversation."
Blair, a rookie MP who is parliamentary secretary to Justice
Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, will work with a threemember cabinet team and a soon-to-be-named federalprovincial-territorial task force to develop the policy for
legalizing marijuana.
On Friday, Blair said Ottawa will look to Colorado and other
jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana sales.
"We have pretty robust systems of regulation for other
intoxicants in this country, mostly overseen by the provinces,
and so we've already got a model, a framework we can build
on here," he said.
"I think there are certain modifications or adjustments that we
may have to make for cannabis as opposed to alcohol, but I
think there is already a strong system in place for the control
and regulation" of marijuana sales here.
The police veteran, who himself has never smoked marijuana,
pointed out that it is "very difficult" for underaged Ontarians to
buy booze at the LCBO.
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"You're going to come up against a government employee
who's got regulations to enforce and is going to ask for
identification and if a person's under age, they're not going to
be able to buy that," said Blair.
"And that's a far better way to regulate access (to marijuana)
for kids than leaving it up to some criminal in a stairwell.
Frankly, in most urban centres across this country, it is far
easier for a kid, an underaged youth, to acquire marijuana than
it is to acquire alcohol."
With files from Tonda MacCharles
© 2016 Torstar Corporation
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11 Edmonton
Mail order marijuana a challenging
problem: police
Enter the words "mail order marijuana" into Google and you'll
find plenty of websites illegally offering marijuana for sale and offering to ship it straight to you through Canada Post.
Typically, dealers collect payment online, process the order
form, and ship the drugs to an address provided by the buyer.
One seller, Mary Jane Mail, claims to have been in operation
for a few years, and says on its site "we have never once had a
client get arrested or have any police problems."
University of Manitoba criminology and sociology professor
Frank Cormier says that's a sign of the times.
"It really does look like an awfully bold move to so openly and
blatantly offer to commit a criminal offence," he said.
But with the federal government promising to legalize the
recreational use of marijuana, Cormier says sellers and users
may feel the risk of running into trouble with the law is lower.
"The whole climate around the use and sale of marijuana is
really changing," he said.
And it can be difficult for police to seize illegal drugs in the
mail system. The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs says
the Canada Post Corporation Act prevents them from obtaining
warrants to seize mail, except in rare cases where there's a
national security risk.
Greg Preston, co-chair of the law amendments committee of
the CAPC and superintendent of the Edmonton Police Service,
says illegal marijuana shipments through the mail are a
problem, and not uncommon.
Preston says police can get warrants to seize mail and packages
once they're delivered.
But he says that often requires the cooperation of multiple
jurisdictions. This summer, the CAPC passed a resolution to
ask the federal government to loosen the rules around
searching mail still in transit.
Preston says Canada Post employees will contact police if they
discover a suspicious package. But when it comes to ordinary
mail and small packages, the Crown corporation doesn't try to
detect contraband.
"They are not an enforcement body," Preston said. "Their job
is to deliver packages."
Canada Post provides instructions on marijuana shipping
And Canada Post may, however inadvertently, be helping
some dealers figure out how to effectively send marijuana by
That's because authorized distributors of medical marijuana are
allowed to ship through the mail. And Canada Post offers
explicit instructions on how to do that.
It says, for example, that marijuana must be sealed in such a
way that the product can't be smelled, and the package can't be
labeled in any way that would indicate what's inside.
The intent is to reduce the chance of theft within the mail
system. But the guidelines effectively offer tips on how to ship
illegal marijuana as well.
And illegal marijuana sellers aren't the only ones who have
tested the limits of sending pot by mail.
Last week, marijuana legalization advocate Dana Larsen sent a
"sample" to every Liberal member of Parliament. He said his
goal was to "refamiliarize" the MPs with the substance's
"pleasant effects," and remind them to keep their election
In a statement to Radio-Canada, Larsen said "I do not expect to
hear from the police over this."
Date: 2016/01/11, Time: 14:53
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Globe and Mail
News Page: A13
Cause of Nipigon bridge fissure unclear
Breakdown of crucial link between Canada's east and
west highlights just how isolated many Northern
Ontario communities remain
A wobbly bridge in Northern Ontario has reminded Canadians
just how tenuously their country is sometimes strung together,
as a fresh span of road that crosses Nipigon River buckled on
Sunday afternoon and ground traffic to a halt.
Less than two months old and three years in the making, the
bridge forms a two-lane bottleneck along the Trans-Canada
Highway in the province's remote Northern bush, requiring all
eastwest traffic to pass over it. So when a portion of the bridge
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inexplicably rose about 60 centimetres on Sunday afternoon, a
crucial link between the country's east and west was severed.
"When traffic is stopped here, the country is cut in half," said
Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey.
"There aren't even any back roads."
While the bridge was closed, he said, the only detour would
have taken drivers through the United States.
A single lane of traffic on the road was opened on Monday
morning after an all-night effort by provincial Ministry of
Transportation workers to level the bridge using
counterweights, the ministry said in a release. But questions
remain about how such a new and important piece of
infrastructure could have failed so quickly and dramatically.
"A brand-new bridge that doesn't even have two months of
traffic on it, and already there are problems," Mr. Harvey said.
"So how could this have happened?
What was missed?" It remains unclear what caused the fissure
in the bridge. Some have speculated that the cold played a role,
but with temperatures hovering around -30 degrees with wind
chill, the area has been unseasonably warm this month.
The provincial Ministry of Transportation (MTO) did not offer
an explanation for the malfunction. "The ministry is not in a
position at this time to be able to determine costs, timelines for
repairs or responsibility," said spokesperson Bob Nichols in a
statement. "That will be our next focus."
In a news conference Monday morning, Premier Kathleen
Wynne called the bridge closing "very concerning."
"There will be many questions that will be asked about why
this has happened. I don't have the answers at this point. I don't
think anybody knows exactly what the problem was. But we'll
get to the bottom of it; we'll figure out what it was and we'll
make sure it gets rectified," she said.
The Nipigon River Bridge is in the midst of a $106-million
rebuild that had already seen the dismantling of an older, twolane bridge and will culminate in the construction of a fourlane highway across the river. The portion that skewed was the
first half of the new bridge.
The engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald was
administering construction of the project and "performing
quality assurance testing," according to its website.
Spokesperson Donald Flood declined to comment, saying that
the company's contract forbade it from communicating with
the public on the issue.
MMM Group Limited, a building services firm, designed the
cablestayed bridge, the first of its kind in Ontario. The
company also declined to comment. Bot Construction Canada,
the contractor on the project along with Spanish firm Ferrovial,
could not be reached for comment.
Ashley Littlefield, of nearby Dorion, Ont., was driving to a
First Nations reserve to buy cigarettes with her husband on
Sunday when she saw the bridge buckle.
"It was kind of like the wind came under and blew the bridge
up," she said.
Failing to heed the couple's warnings, two pickup trucks
continued on to the bridge and slammed nose first into the
pavement when they reached the unexpected rise - "almost like
the Dukes of Hazard car coming over, but failing," Ms.
Littlefield said.
No one was injured in the incident, which Mr. Harvey
attributed to luck. "It could have been so much worse," he said.
The breakdown highlights just how isolated many Northern
Ontario communities remain, often hundreds of kilometres
removed from the nearest large town and strung together in
places by a two-lane road.
"It's mind-boggling to think that Canada's such a vast country
and it bottlenecks to roughly 100 feet wide," said Eric Pietsch,
deputy mayor of Greenstone, Ont., the nearest large town east
of Nipigon.
Greenstone remained under a precautionary state of emergency
Monday evening, as it braced for travellers staying overnight
to avoid traffic lineups at the bridge, where Ontario Provincial
Police were escorting cars over the river.
The ministry said Monday that the contractor, Bot Ferrovial
Nipigon Joint Venture, will continue work on the bridge,
including repairs to the damaged portion.
The full four-lane road was scheduled for completion in 2017.
Two spans, each more than 100 metres long and two lanes
wide, will carry traffic east and west, respectively.
Opposition-bench politicians assailed the government for the
bridge snafu on Monday.
"Right now, the Liberal government's infrastructure plan for
Northern Ontario seems to be: 'Drive through the United
States,' " said Michael Mantha, the NDP's critic for northern
development and mines.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Vehicles vandalized prior to Sir John A.
Celebration organizer and local MP have tires
slashed, paint poured on vehicles at their homes
Michael Lea, The Whig-Standard
Art Milnes, organizer of Monday's planned celebration of the
201st birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, woke up Monday
morning to find his car's tires slashed, red paint poured over it,
and a burned Canadian flag underneath it.
MP Mark Gerretsen's cars were also vandalized, Milnes said.
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But the ceremony at noon in City Park at the statue of Canada's
first prime minister went ahead as planned.
"Kingston is not going to stop commemorating Sir John A.
Macdonald," Milnes said.
Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty was one of the main
Milnes didn't know who was responsible for the vandalism, but
the Idle No More movement has protested the ceremony in the
past and did so away Monday within earshot of the main
In 2013, red paint was thrown onto the Sir John A. Macdonald
statue and the words "Murderer" and "This is Stolen Land"
scrawled on its base.
Milnes said police are investigating Monday's vandalism. "We
just woke up to it," he said. He saw the paint and slashed tires
but didn't know at first about the burned flag. "The police
found it under my car."
He was aware of the opposition by Idle No More to the
ceremony due to its opposition to Macdonald's treatment of
indigenous peoples.
"They (threatened) to disrupt it.
They (wanted) it cancelled."
But "the show will go on," Milnes said.
He did have to make one change, however.
"For safety reasons, I had to pull the school choir."
What concerned him most was that someone attacked him
personally, he said.
"This took planning. You actually had to take steps to find out
where Art Milnes lives and where Mark Gerretsen lives. That
has got my wife and I freaked out. The police have now
recommended that my wife and I install video surveillance at
our home."
A private security officer in a car was sitting next to the statue
Monday morning. Milnes said that was a result of the 2013
Milnes said Idle No More protested last year's celebration,
which was held inside City Hall for security reasons since
Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended.
"It was a peaceful protest. I have no problem with that, nor
would John A. Macdonald," Milnes said.
Idle No More protesters did try to drown out the speakers on
City Hall steps.
"I didn't like it, but John A. could heckle, too."
Gerretsen said one of his car's tires was slashed and red paint
was poured on both of his cars.
He still attended the event. "I wouldn't be discouraged by this,"
he said.
He declined to comment further on the incident.
"I am not interested in giving attention to the individuals who
did this because that is exactly what they are looking for and I
am not interested in that."
Const. Steve Koopman, city police media relations officer, said
Monday morning that police were aware of the ceremony and
officers were prepared for any occurrences.
"It is disappointing to see any personal or city damage occur.
We understand and respect the right to peacefully protest, but
when it becomes a criminal nature then it is something we will
© 2016 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Time to stop kidding ourselves - our
health care system is flatlining
Tasha Kheiriddin - Ontario
More from Tasha Kheiriddin available here.
On November 2, 2015, an elderly man presented himself at the
emergency room of St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal,
complaining of severe abdominal pain. He lost consciousness;
an ultrasound revealed an aortic aneurism, likely accompanied
by severe internal bleeding.
The patient needed immediate surgery. Instead of operating,
the hospital transferred him by ambulance to another
institution. He died before he could be treated there.
Why wouldn't St. Mary's operate on this critically ill patient?
Because the requisite procedure was deemed "eccentric to the
mission" of the hospital. Translation: It was no longer
performed there, even though a vascular surgeon was on call at
the time and could have saved the man's life.
Tragically, this isn't the first time such a policy has killed a
patient. At a press conference last October, Ontario doctors
decried the health care rationing which resulted in the death of
a terminally-ill patient in the emergency room. In
Saskatchewan, a hospital is under investigation after a man
with heart disease died after waiting three and a half hours in
the ER complaining of chest pains. Earlier that year, in P.E.I., a
woman recounted how her father-in-law died after waiting
days for an ambulance to transport him to another hospital for
In 2014, a Fraser Institute report on wait times and mortality
found that, between 1994 and 2009, "increases in wait times
for medically necessary elective treatment may be associated
with 44,273 additional female deaths ... (representing) 2.5 per
cent of total female deaths during the period or 1.2 per cent of
total mortality (male and female) during the period." For non
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life-threatening procedures, such as knee or hip surgery, overlong wait times are also routine, according to the Canadian
Institute for Health Information; while they may not mean
death, they do lead to prolonged agony, lost productivity and
dependency on pain medication.
So it's no surprise that more and more Canadians are seeking
care outside the country. Another Fraser study found that
52,523 patients travelled outside the country to obtain medical
treatment in 2014, up from 41,838 patients in 2013. The main
reasons were delays in obtaining treatment, followed by a
desire to obtain state-of-the-art care.
Yet addressing this persistent problem does not figure on the
new government's priority list. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's
mandate letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott tasks her with
supporting home care, digital health, prescription drug and
mental health initiatives. During the campaign, the Liberals
promised to spend $3 billion over four years on these priorities.
The government also is insisting that a new multi-year health
accord include a "long term funding arrangement", one which
presumably would transfer more federal dollars to the
provinces than under the current rules.
But pumping more taxpayer money into the system isn't going
to be the answer this time. Canada already spends 10.9 per cent
of GDP on health care, higher than the OECD average of 9.3
per cent. We are the eighth-highest spender in the club, ahead
of more than 25 other countries - including Sweden, the U.K.
and Australia. According to CIHI, in 2012 Canada spent
$4,602 per capita on health care - 70 per cent of which came
from public sector sources, with the remaining 30 per cent
coming from private funds. By comparison, the OECD
averaged $3,590 per person, split 73-27 between the public and
private sectors. The United States, which spent the most at 16.9
per cent of GDP, averaged $8,745, with a 48-52 public-private
So the current system doesn't efficiently spend the public funds
already allocated to it, while the strictures of the Canada
Health Act prevent Canadians from spending their own money
on health care insurance or other private forms of care. Health
authorities and hospitals impose rationing to stay within
budget, resulting in extended wait times - or, in the worst
cases, denial of care altogether. Meanwhile, Canadians with
the money to do so take it outside the country to spend on
private alternatives.
Instead of simply pumping more money into a broken system,
the current government should address the elephant in the
room: our refusal to acknowledge that Canada's single-payer
system is failing and, quite frankly, illusory. Giving provinces
the ability to innovate in health care delivery - and allowing a
private health care sector to flourish alongside the public
system - would be a first step towards injecting competition
and incentives into a sector that sorely needs them.
Heath care shouldn't remain on life support. If this government
is truly looking for real change, there's no better place to start.
Tasha Kheiriddin is a political writer and broadcaster who
frequently comments in both English and French. After
practising law and a stint in the government of Mike Harris,
Tasha became the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers
Federation and co-wrote the 2005 bestseller, Rescuing
Canada's Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution.
Tasha moved back to Montreal in 2006 and served as vicepresident of the Montreal Economic Institute, and later
director for Quebec of the Fraser Institute, while also lecturing
on conservative politics at McGill University. Tasha now lives
in Whitby, Ontario with her daughter Zara, born in 2009.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics
columnists and contributors are the author's alone. They do
not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or
positions of iPolitics.
Copyright 2013 iPolitics
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Canadians need ground rules for electoral
reform debate
Unfair: While it's true that every adult citizen can
vote in Canada, it is demonstrably not the case that
every vote counts equally
Andrew Coyne, Vancouver Sun
The great electoral reform debate is scarcely underway, and
already it's in serious danger of running off the rails.
Something about the topic seems to bring out the irrational in
The status quo is described in terms that bear only the faintest
resemblance to its actual workings, while any proposed reform,
where it's not extravagantly caricatured, is treated as if it were
the first time it had ever been tried anywhere.
Let us resolve, then, as a starting point, to deal with the
systems as they actually exist, in Canada and in the many
dozens of countries around the world that use a different
If there are hazards lurking in, say, proportional representation,
let them be identified in the actual experience of the many
places that use it, from Sweden to the Netherlands to New
Zealand, not in vague jeremiads about what "could" happen or
the absurdly unrepresentative examples of Israel or Italy.
Likewise, let us, in discussing potential reforms, stick to
models that have any practical likelihood of being adopted. In
particular, those who are concerned to preserve the principle of
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local representation should be assured here and now: there is
exactly zero possibility of any system that didn't do so even
being proposed, in a country as vast as this, let alone passed
into law. It's the very definition of a red herring.
A still greater problem, if the early debates are any indication,
is the tendency of both sides to talk past each other, without
common terms of reference. It is not possible to disagree with
someone, in any intelligible sense, until you have agreed on
some benchmark against which to measure the truth or
falsehood of your respective positions.
Absent that first step, it is as if the two sides are speaking
different languages. Thus, to the objection of the reform camp,
that the present system regularly results in "majority"
governments being elected with less than 40 per cent of the
vote, its defenders respond: exactly! That's not a bug, that's a
Presumably all would say they believe in democracy. But it
seems we have differing ideas about how to describe it, or
what are its essential features. I might have thought we could
agree it meant rule by the majority, but very well: if not that, is
there some other principle we might agree on?
How about this? In a democracy, each person's vote should
count for as much as every other. This strikes me as one of the
core promises of democracy. Universal adult suffrage - "one
person, one vote" - is a foundational principle of every modern
democratic state. And yet, while it's true that every adult
citizen can vote in Canada, it is
demonstrably not the case that every vote counts equally.
Leave aside the vast and unconscionable discrepancies in size
that persist between different ridings: between the 20,000 or
fewer electors in some ridings in Atlantic Canada or the North,
and the nearly 100,000 in some ridings in Ontario, Alberta and
British Columbia. But notice what that means: effectively,
residents of the former ridings have five times the voting
power as those of the latter. Their votes are worth five times as
The point to note here is that same discrepancy is observed in
other respects; not just between voters in different ridings, but
between voters for different parties.
For example, it took roughly 38,000 votes to elect each Liberal
MP in the last election. By contrast, it took 57,000 votes to
elect each Conservative, 79,000 to elect each New Democrat,
and 82,000 to elect each member of the Bloc Québécois.
And of course, the nearly 603,000 people who voted Green
were rewarded with exactly one seat.
And this was one of the less distorted recent results! In the
1993 election, you'll recall, the Conservatives, with 16 per cent
of the vote, were reduced to a humiliating two seats.
Meanwhile, the Bloc surged to 54 seats on the strength of ...
13.5 per cent of the vote, while the Reform Party, with less
than 19 per cent of the vote, got 51 seats.
The issue here isn't fairness among the parties. Rather, it's the
unequal treatment of different voters that represents a
fundamental breach of the democratic promise.
Notice also the source of that inequity. The present system
rewards parties that can bunch their votes geographically,
compared to parties whose support is more evenly distributed,
since only the party with the most votes in each riding is
represented. So, parties that take an aggressively regional
approach to politics - as Reform and the Bloc did - benefit
disproportionately, at the expense of parties with a broader
national outlook.
Even national parties will find themselves shut out of particular
regions, or dominating others, out of all proportion to their
actual support in either. The Liberals took all of the seats in
Atlantic Canada this time, with less than 60 per cent of the
vote. Similarly, in elections past the Liberals would commonly
take nearly all of the seats in Quebec, while the Conservatives
won nearly all of the seats in the West.
Canada is divided enough as it is, without the electoral system
pouring salt in the wounds.
Defenders of the present system like to ask: what is the
problem reform is supposed to solve?
There are a couple, for starters. I'll turn to some others in
another column.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Harper's shadowy appointments cast dark
pall over Trudeau's sunny ways
Michael Harris - Ontario
More from Michael Harris available here.
The big blue meanies just won't let go of Justin Trudeau's
Yellow Submarine.
Stephen Harper is now long gone from office, but there may
not be a damn thing the new government can do about most of
the damage he's done to the Canada. By handcuffing the new
government's ability to implement its agenda of change,
Harper continues to exert his influence despite being
massacred at the polls.
Towards the end of Harper's reign of error, it was painfully
obvious that his political pedigree was Northern Tea Party
through and through. The mantra was identical at the
ideological level - deregulate, privatize, and bust the unions.
He also brought in police-state security legislation that the
current government must not so much amend as expunge.
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Just like the National Security Agency in the U.S., our
electronic spy agency, the Canadian Security Establishment,
was spying, and continues to spy illegally on Canadians whatever euphemism they come up with to describe their
clandestine and unconstitutional activities.
As for CSIS, it will remain beyond Parliamentary oversight
and, as such, above the Charter of Rights and the rule of law,
until Bill C-51 and the rest of its corrupted mandate is
Harper purposely conflated patriotism to belligerence. Like
Donald Trump to the south, Harper carried wedge politics very
close to the politics of hate. The country moved from
championing disarmament to selling vastly increased quantities
of weapons to oppressive civil rights abusing regimes like that
of Saudi Arabia.
The Conservative Party under his leadership became the
anything-for-a buck/yuan/euro party. They even tried to keep
selling asbestos abroad long after it was taken off the domestic
market as a known carcinogen. Canada became a shabby
huckster led by the huckster-in-chief, Stephen Harper.
But the damage goes much deeper than a tattered global
Harper's Republican credentials were most clearly on display
on the energy file. Throughout his entire term as PM, he
promised to regulate emissions in the oil-patch but never did.
Remember, this is the guy who didn't even think the
environment was an issue in the 2015 election after essentially
gutting environmental safeguards with omnibus Bill C-38. This
is the guy who gutted Fisheries and Oceans and put the
National Energy Board in charge of endangered fish species if
they had the misfortune of existing too close to a proposed
pipeline route.
Just 11 months before the last federal election, Harper finally
came clean about the fact that he had no intention of reducing
Canada's carbon footprint. In fact, he said it would be "crazy
economic policy" to impose climate change regulations on the
oil and gas sector. Lesser corporate minds would say it would
be crazy to not - and they did just that in Paris.
His government even cancelled support for a climate change
art show by renowned Canadian artist Franke James because of
her "controversial" views on the tar sands. Controversial in that
context meant at odds with Harper's position as cheerleader-inchief for the oil and gas industry and the project.
Then came the final tawdry move, as reported over the past
month by Elizabeth Thompson in iPolitics. In the final weeks
of his regime, Harper and his cabinet, including current interim
leader Rona Ambrose, "stacked" crown corporations and
agencies with 49 "future appointments." One of those agencies
just happened to be the National Energy Board, the outfit that
regulates the construction of pipelines and the import of oil and
natural gas.
One of the people appointed to the NEB was Steven Kelly, a
Calgary oil executive. Kelly was a former consultant on
contract to Kinder Morgan. According to Mychaylo Prystupa
writing in the National Observer, Kelly authored Kinder
Morgan's report to the NEB justifying the $5.4 billion TransMountain pipeline expansion.
Unless Kelly voluntarily steps down from this misbegotten
appointment, he will be advising the Trudeau government on
the same project he was paid to promote. Thanks to Harper's
devious and unethical appointments, the NEB is now fossilfuelled for years to come. Harper has appointed all but one of
the Board's members.
Unless the new PM takes Penny Collenette's advice and
disbands the NEB, it will be run by Harper appointees for
years before Trudeau gets to make an appointment of his own.
That's far from what the public probably had in mind when it
voted decisively to turf the Conservatives and elect a new
At the time, the former head of BC Hydro told the National
Observer that Harper's appointment was outrageous.
"It's utterly incredible the Government of Canada would
appoint such an industry consultant to a regulatory agency that
presumably is interested in the public interest, and not in the
interest of multinational oil corporations...The NEB have
totally become a captured industry regulator," Marc Eliesen
Canadians can get a pretty good idea of what can happen when
the energy sector gets to regulate itself from what is unfolding
right now in California. Governor Jerry Brown has belatedly
declared a state of emergency in response to a massive
methane leak from a storage facility located in Aliso Canyon
close the community of Porter Ranch. The leak has led to the
evacuation of thousands of people and could trigger a fullfledged disaster if the methane were to explode.
According to LA Weekly, Well SS-25, which was first drilled
in 1953, originally had a sub-surface safety valve that ought to
have been able to deal with the methane leak. The problem was
that the well's owner, the Southern California Gas Company
(SCGC) removed the decrepit safety valve in 1979 because
they were under no legal obligation to keep a safety valve
installed. New parts to repair the old valve were hard to find.
Technically speaking, SCGC was playing by the book. But as
LA Weekly observed "Having a reputation for doing things by
the book doesn't count for much, it turns out, when the book is
written by the industry and the regulations are mostly
Now you know yet another reason why Green Party leader,
Elizabeth May was barred from the consortium televised
debates in recent federal elections. She would have raised hell
over the fact that the NEB's reviews of the two pipelines
seeking regulatory approval, Energy East and Kinder Morgan,
are seriously flawed. She would have denounced the NEB and
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its often bizarre hearing process and she would have declared
in plain english that the reviews as they now stand are
worthless from an environmental point of view.
So here is Trudeau's dilemma. His preoccupation these days
seems to be avoiding costly lawsuits. He is refusing to cancel
the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which I am
certain offends every bone in his body. There was a contract
involved and cancellation would have certainly led to a major
court battle.
So far, he has not moved precipitously on Harper's conniving
and reprehensible "future appointments" because that too
would almost certainly lead to major lawsuits. He is hoping at
least the honourable ones might step aside without having to be
forced out. But let's face it, the Harper Conservatives and
honourable behaviour are not often found in the same area
Which brings us back to the case of former Kinder Morgan
consultant Steven Kelly's appointment to the NEB. The PM's
principal secretary, Gerald Butts, has repeatedly pointed out
that order-in-council appointments have the status of contracts.
The only way Kelly could be forced out would be by order of
the Governor General after approving votes in both the House
of Commons and the Senate - an unlikely outcome when the
Conservatives have a majority in the Red Chamber.
There are also the two NEB reviews themselves. At one point,
Trudeau was promising to halt all ongoing pipeline reviews
until he could overhaul the regulatory agency. Now he has
decided to continue with the reviews that were started by
Harper with his handpicked board. Again, the legal
consequences of stopping or canceling the reviews could be
And when you throw in all those free trade deals that allowed
corporations and trading partners to bypass both Canadian
courts and Parliament with corporate controlled dispute
resolution mechanisms, it makes you start to wonder.
In a perverse way, it almost seems like Harper's leadership in
Ottawa is still large and in charge -- only this time with even
less public scrutiny.
--Michael Harris is a writer, journalist, and documentary
filmmaker. He was awarded a Doctor of Laws for his
"unceasing pursuit of justice for the less fortunate among us."
His nine books include Justice Denied, Unholy Orders, Rare
ambition, Lament for an Ocean, and Con Game. His work has
sparked four commissions of inquiry, and three of his books
have been made into movies. His new book on the Harper
majority government, Party of One, is a number one best-seller
and has been shortlisted for the Governor-General's Literary
Award for English-language non-fiction.
Readers can reach the author at
Click here to view other columns by Michael Harris.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics
columnists and contributors are the author's alone. They do
not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or
positions of iPolitics.
Copyright 2013 iPolitics
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Globe and Mail
Editorial Page: A10
Who watches the watchlists?
The federal government brought a small dose of common sense
to a controversial policy last week when Ralph Goodale, the
Minister of Public Safety, reminded airlines that the only risk a
small child poses on a flight is that he or she might cry the
entire journey or kick the back of the next seat 1,000 times in a
Consequently, said Mr. Goodale, the airlines do not need to
waste time vetting small children against Canada's no-fly list,
even if their name is the same or similar to one on the list.
This is what keeps happening to Syed Adam Ahmed of
Markham, Ont., who is six years old, and to Sebastian David
Khan of London, Ont., who surely presents a limited risk to
national security given he is 21 months old.
Both children are routinely and rather absurdly subjected to
special scrutiny at airports. Young Mr. Ahmed became a minor
social media phenomenon on Dec. 31 after being delayed
while travelling to see his beloved Montreal Canadiens play in
Mr. Goodale's useful reminder to airlines is the kind of
responsive government Canadians voted for when they elected
the Trudeau government. He says he is now looking into
changes to regulations that would make it easier to differentiate
people who have similar or identical names as so-called "listed
There's more he can do, however. The no-fly list remains a
crude, secretive and slightly sinister tool in the fight against
terrorism. As Minister, Mr. Goodale is responsible for the list
and has the sole discretion to add and remove people from it,
but he is not obliged to make his decision-making public.
Listed persons only discover their fate when they receive
written notice to that effect. They don't get an opportunity to
defend themselves. And once on the list, it is difficult to get
This Kafkaesque approach is overwrought. It is done to a large
degree to satisfy the United States, which will close its airspace
to any country that doesn't make a proper show of fighting
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But Canadian due process requires a more even-handed
The Liberal government should bring the policy in line with
our values by giving listed persons a legitimate shot at
The parents of Sebastian David Khan rightly wonder what will
happen to their son as he gets older. Will he enjoy the same
freedoms as other Canadians? Or will he be doomed to
exaggerated scrutiny because of his name? Surely he deserves
to be treated more fairly than that.
It's a symbolic gesture, but the right one.
Thankfully, Canadian taxpayers have it better than their
American counterparts who have to shell out tens of millions
of dollars to pay for all the security and logistics associated
with their president's vacations.
While we don't intend to make a big deal out of Trudeau's
vacations, it's healthy for the public to pay attention to them.
Sometimes politicians do go overboard -like the incredibly
poor judgment shown by former Alberta premier Alison
Redford when it came to her flight arrangements.
It'simportantpolitical leadersfacesome scrutinyof this
kindwhileoverseas. Itkeepsthem honest. It
© 2016 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Trudeau finds balance in vacation costs
Calgary Sun
It's not the first time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been
international tabloid fodder. Nor will it be the last.
So let's use this occasion to put things into perspective.
Trudeau made headlines around the world courtesy of gossip
siteTMZ for vacationing in St. Kitts and Nevis over the
holidays. He and his family spent 10 days at an exclusive
Caribbean resort.
TMZ reported it cost Trudeau at least $2,500 US per night to
stay in a 3,400 sq. ft. villa. His downtime at the lavish resort
has garnered a lot of attention on socialmedia.
Nice digs if you can afford them!
Apparently Trudeau could.ThePMO explained Trudeau paid
for his own lodgings.
None of the fun was had at the expense of the taxpayers and
family friends in attendance made their own way there.
For security reasons, thePMcan't fly on commercial airlines.
We wouldn't want him to. It would be a security threat for him
and those around him.
Instead hemust travel on Challenger jets operated by national
defence.These cost $10,000 per hour to operate.
Some Canadians are complaining on social media about this
whole affair.
But to us, it looks like thePMfound the right balance.
It's unreasonable to expect our political leaders should never
take a vacation. It's a stressful job and everyone deserves a
It's also unreasonable to expectthemto ponyup$10,000 per hour
to cover theirflights.
Trudeau has done what Stephen Harper did: He reimbursed the
government for comparable economy class airfare.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Trudeau Grits right to engage with China
Postmedia Network
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be signing as many free
trade deals as he can. The good news is, there are signs the PM
wants to head in this direction.
Recent reports reveal Trudeau wants to broker a deal with
China - the planet's second largest economy when it comes to
nominal GDP.
In terms of purchasing power, the Asian superpower is
Despite its current slowdown, the country is an economic force
that cannot be ignored.
Canada's relationship with China under the Harper
Conservatives was rocky at times.
The Chinese government wasn't overjoyed when Stephen
Harper criticized them for their dealings with Tibet.
But by 2014, Harper had signed an investment promotion deal
with the country. It's encouraging to read reports that Trudeau
wants to build upon the direction Harper was heading in.
While we have concerns with many elements of the Liberals'
agenda, as an opposition leader and now as prime minister,
Trudeau seems to recognize the importance of free trade in
growing the Canadian economy and enhancing our political
influence abroad.
It would have been easy for Trudeau to have campaigned
against the Harper government's participation in the Trans
Pacific Partnership - he could have trotted out the kind of
1980s-vintage criticisms levelled by Tom Mulcair and the New
Democrats. Instead, Trudeau has described his Liberals as
firmly "pro-trade."
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"We understand how important it is to engage the world," he
told an audience in London, Ont., back in October.
Those words will surely be put to the test in the years ahead.
The Canadian economy's current struggles highlight the
importance of having a diverse approach to growth.
Enhanced trade with China would be worth a great deal to the
Canadian economy. China's final GDP for 2014 stood at $9.65
trillion US. Food and lumber have been cited as just two
sectors of the economy that would benefit substantially.
The Harper government had legitimate concerns about human
rights issues in China.
We hope Trudeau keeps these in mind while pursuing trade
Regardless of some current economic challenges of its own,
China will be a major economic player on the world stage for
generations to come.
© 2016 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Ottawa should address ugly stain on
aboriginal record
Carol Goar Toronto Star
The week before Christmas, every newly elected MP received
an unsettling letter. It wasn't a threat or a warning. It was a
polite reminder they'd inherited a festering injustice.
A was attached to the note, emblazoned with
the words "Cultural Genocide." It referred to the "Sixties
Scoop," a modern-day echo of the schoolsEND nightmare. Between 1961 and
1985, Canadian child welfare authorities thousandsEND of First
Nations children from their homes, their families, their
communities. They transplanted them in non-aboriginal
families, guided by the belief they would be better off growing
up "white." A generation of indigenous Canadians, now in its
40s and 50s, was stripped of its culture, language, identity and
The adoptees, unlike the survivors of Canada's notorious
residential schools, never received any acknowledgement of
their loss. No government took responsibility for uprooting
them, apologized or tried to rectify the damage.
After years of inaction, they launched a action
lawsuitEND in 2009. They identified a lead plaintiff, compiled
evidence, retained a lawyer and cleared all the procedural
hurdles to get the case to trial. Throughout the process, federal
officials used every legal tactic at their disposal to block the
case and silence the claimants.
"They had 12 lawyers. They refused to sit down with us.
Through five years of litigation, they kept appealing every
ruling," said
WilsonEND, legal counsel for class action. "So we're pushing
That was the situation on Oct. 19, 2015, when Justin Trudeau
was elected Canada's 23rd prime minister. Although he
promised "a relationshipEND between the federal
government and indigenous peoples built on trust, recognition
and respect for rights," the Liberal leader said nothing - and his
agenda contained nothing - about the Sixties Scoop or its
painful legacy.
Fearing they would have to start afresh, a group of survivors
from Ontario sent parliamentarians a double-edged holiday
greeting: "We wish you the best of festivals and religious
celebrations. Our case - Brown v Canada - now proceeding to
trial, is about our children, our culture, our festivals, our
celebrations and what it means to lose them. We are First
Nations' people. We believe the case may be a lesson for all
peoples and their children."
The Sixties Scoop is not century-old history. It happened
within the lifetime of most Canadians. Yet most citizens know
little about it. They were never told that public officials, acting
in their name, continued to "reprogram" aboriginal children
even as Canada's disgraced residential schools closed. Brown MartelEND, 52, who initiated the
lawsuit, was taken from her home at the age of 4. Her original
name was Sally Susan Mathias. Her family belonged to the
Temagami First Nation. Her home was in the Beaverhouse
Community near Kirkland Lake.
She and her 6-year-old sister, Doris Lynn, were scooped in
1967. Child welfare authorities told their bereft mother they
were mentally handicapped. The girls made a vow never to
forget they were members of the Beaverhouse community.
They spent five years in foster care. Then Sally was adopted by
a non-aboriginal family in Trent River, 50 kilometres east of
Peterborough. Her new parents renamed her Marcia.
At first they treated her relatively well, but the relationship
deteriorated when her adoptive mother moved to Texas. By the
time the teenager reached the age of majority, it had broken
down completely. Her estranged mother shipped her back to
North Bay. The 17-year-old arrived with no proof of her
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identity, no legal papers, no memory of the Ojibway language
and no link to her biological family.
She applied for her birth record from the Registrar General of
Canada, seeking to affirm her Indian status, only to be told
Sally Susan Mathias was dead. This meant she could not claim
benefits such as housing and post-secondary education to
which she would have been entitled under the Indian Act. For
five years she struggled, lost and lonely. But she never gave
Today, Brown Martel is chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation.
Her mission is to ensure that no aboriginal child has to go
through what she endured. The court case is scheduled for
There is still time for the Liberal government to avoid a costly,
rancorous legal showdown. Although the members of the class
action are seeking damages of $85,000 apiece, most are willing
to accept a negotiated settlement much lower than that. Their
primary motivation is to establish, once and for all, that the
government of Canada breached its constitutional duty to
protect aboriginal children, allowed provincial child welfare
officials to extinguish their rights under the Indian Act, failed
to provide services to which they were entitled and encouraged
a policy of cultural assimilation. They want an ironclad
assurance it will never happen again. "It's not about money; it's
about systemic change," Wilson said.
For Trudeau, it is about reconciliation, fairness and respect. It
is his first chance to right a wrong that has festered for too
Carol Goar's column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
© 2016 Torstar Corporation
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Men must star in murdered women
David Akin, Calgary Sun
Later this year, the federal government will launch an inquiry
into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. But
really, it will be all about men.
Men must play the unavoidable starring role as the perpetrators
of the violence against aboriginal women and girls. There is no
getting around this fact and, though it may be obvious, it is a
fact that men, in particular, need to own.
There will be many recommendations coming from this
inquiry and their sole objective will be to reduce or eliminate
instances of men committing acts of violence against
indigenous women and girls.
All of which means this inquiry must put men, oddly enough,
at the heart of their deliberations into acts of violence against
women. A trio of senior ministers in Justin Trudeau's cabinet
has been and will be criss-crossing the country soliciting ideas
from survivors, family members and loved ones of victims of
this violence about how this inquiry ought to be designed.
Aboriginal leaders will also be asked for their input.
One of those ministers, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn
Bennett, was in Thunder Bay, Ont. and Yellowknife last week
and was in Whitehorse Monday.
And when Bennett, along with Justice Minister (and aboriginal
leader herself) Jody Wilson-Raybould and Status of Women
Minister Patty Hajdu settle on the inquiry's terms of reference,
it is almost certainly going to direct the inquiry to take the
testimony of the victims. Indeed, most of the participants at
these "design" meetings so far are victims themselves or are
sisters, mothers, and daughters of victims.
There is no question that those voices need to be heard. But for
this inquiry, those voices - the voices of the victim - are but
one half of the story.
Men - be they male police officers or band councillors or
doctors as well as husbands, fathers and sons - must also be
heard. And that is going to be the challenging part.
It will be challenging because the inquiry must find men who
will testify about their failures as fathers, husbands, sons,
chiefs, teachers, doctors, and so on. Men - and I'm one of them
- have to change.
"We need to change our behaviours or we're just forever going
to have more shelters, more rescues because we're not
addressing the behaviour," Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of
the Native Women's Association of Canada, told me during a
chat we had about this issue.
Men have to meet this challenge.
If aboriginal men testify, we will hear of crushing poverty on
many reserves, the lack of job opportunities, poor education
and, of course, deep racism that makes victims of many men
who, in turn, physically victimize those more vulnerable than
they are. The inquiry should not (nor would I expect it to) be
looking for excuses for men but until we understand what
drives aboriginal men to violence, the vicious cycle will not
Non-aboriginal men must confess to their appalling ignorance
of the aboriginal experience in Canada and to their racism as
contributing factors to this violence. The inquiry's challenge
will be to find white guys who have the guts to 'fess up to that.
The women who testify and share their stories will show great
courage. The men who testify to their failures may show even
more courage.
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But both voices are vital to fixing this horrific problem.
© 2016 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Winnipeg Free Press
- Page: A6
Don't sell heavy weapons to Saudis
Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has looked pretty amateur
in its handling of the controversy over the sale of armoured
fighting vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
First, the prime minister said the sale was only for jeeps, then
the government said the deal was a private transaction between
a Canadian manufacturer and a foreign government.
And on Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion
promised to release a portion of the government's top-secret
assessment of the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia, which
presumably is intended to provide some sort of cover for the
Under Canadian law, military exports are banned to countries
that might use those weapons against their own people. Since
the Saudis' favourite weapon for dealing with jailed dissidents
is the sword, perhaps the armoured vehicles aren't a human
rights problem in the government's eyes.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other groups
have regularly named Saudi Arabia as one of the world's worst
violators of human rights.
Canada and other western democracies have routinely sold
weapons to Saudi Arabia and other tyrannies over the decades,
as well as trading with countries such as China.
The $15-billion deal for Canadian army vehicles, however, is
one of the largest sales by a Canadian exporter. Some 3,000
manufacturing jobs across the country are at stake.
Historically, the sale of weapons to countries with dodgy
human rights records has been justified on the grounds the
country was an ally against a mutual foe, or a force for stability
in a turbulent region.
Canada and Saudi Arabia, for example, share a mutual distrust
of Iran. But even Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have
diplomatic relations, have found it mutually beneficial over the
years to support one another in various ways.
The problem for arms traders, however, is the dynamics of the
Mideast have utterly changed over the last 15 years, and some
of the old arguments and justifications for selling arms to bad
people may no longer be valid.
The conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims, for example,
was never a strategic divide, as it is now.
The collapse of Sunni-dominated Iraq in 2003, followed by
uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere, has left the
Saudi sheiks feeling vulnerable and exposed. Shia-ruled Iran
has also been threatened by the collapse of its Syrian ally and
the rise of Islamic State and its Sunni brand of radicalism.
The emerging sectarian divide has led to the slaughter of both
Shias and Sunnis. The recent beheading of a prominent Shia
cleric in Saudi Arabia on specious grounds of sedition led both
countries to break off relations.
The Saudi sheiks have used the conflict to portray themselves
as the defenders of the faith against the Shia, thus weakening
accusations from extreme Sunnis they are decadent and weak.
Under these circumstances, the threat to Saudi Arabia's Shia
population and to Shia in adjacent countries has increased
dramatically, as has the threat to Sunnis in other parts of the
It means Canada must reconsider or at least postpone any sale
of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The armoured vehicles were
destined for the Saudi national guard, whose job is to defend
the homeland against internal attacks.
Ottawa may have a human rights report that downplays the risk
of the weapons being used internally, but such an analysis is
outdated and undoubtedly prejudiced in favour of domestic job
It won't be easy to give up 3,000 jobs in Canada, but the risks
of a human rights catastrophe are much worse.
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Journal de Montréal
Actualités Page: 8
Bienvenue dans le réel
Deviendrais-je cynique avec le temps? en tout cas, peu de
choses me surprennent moins qu'un nouveau gouvernement,
tout feu tout flamme, qui se heurte immédiatement à la dure
Souvenez-vous des critiques de Justin Trudeau à l'endroit de la
politique étrangère de Stephen Harper, qu'il trouvait dénuée de
principes et de hauteur.
On vient d'exécuter 47 personnes en Arabie saoudite, ce
royaume enchanteur des droits et libertés. Malgré cela, le
gouvernement Trudeau confirme le maintien du contrat de
livraison de blindés canadiens au régime saoudien, estimé à 13
mil - liards US $, signé en 2014 sous le gouvernement Harper.
Le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Stéphane Dion, a
froidement expliqué que s'il fallait couper les ponts avec les
pays qui recourent à la peine de mort, on ne ferait plus
d'affaires ni avec les États-Unis ni avec la Chine. Bienvenue
dans le réel!
Les hauts fonctionnaires fédéraux ont même recommandé au
nouveau gouvernement de resserrer ses liens avec l'Arabie
saoudite en raison de son influence dans cette partie du monde.
On comprend mieux l'extrême discrétion avec laquelle les
autorités canadiennes abordent, avec le gouvernement
saoudien, le cas du blogueur Raïf Badawi, qui est emprisonné
là-bas et condamné à 1000 coups de fouet, et dont la famille est
installée à Sherbrooke.
Souvenez-vous aussi des 25 000 Syriens qui devaient arriver
au Canada avant le 1er janvier.
Il est rapidement devenu évident que l'équipe Trudeau avait eu
les yeux plus gros que le ventre.
La collision frontale du nouveau gouvernement avec la réalité
ne se limite pas à la politique étrangère.
La hausse des impôts des gens qui gagnent plus de 200 000 $
par an devait rapporter, disait-on, environ 3 milliards $.
On estime aujourd'hui qu'elle rapportera entre 1 et 2 milliards
$. Conséquence: alors qu'il était prévu que le déficit de la
première année ne dépasserait pas 10 milliards $, plus
personne ne s'avance à prédire le vrai déficit qui nous attend.
Vous allez me dire que tout parti politique dans l'opposition
sait parfaitement qu'il ne réalisera pas toutes ses promesses une
fois au pouvoir.
Dans les ordres de marche remis à ses ministres, alors qu'il
était déjà aux commandes, Justin Trudeau a cependant indiqué,
noir sur blanc, qu'il s'attendait à ce que TOUS les engagements
pris soient réalisés.
La cerise sur le sundae? Allez lire la conclusion du rapport
Vérité et réconciliation sur la situation des Autochtones au
Quand on a demandé à Justin Trudeau lesquelles des 94
recommandations il entendait mettre en application, il a
répondu en anglais: «All !»
Le problème, c'est que celles qui sont relatives à l'éducation, à
l'emploi et aux réparations pour les torts passés coûteraient des
Remarquez, ne pas faire tout ce qui était promis n'a jamais
empêché un gouvernement d'être réélu.
Dans le cas de Trudeau, on nous avait cependant dit que
l'arrivée au pouvoir d'un homme d'une autre génération
changerait la façon de faire de la politique.
Mon oeil! Il y aura seulement plus de belles photos.
******************** Ne pas faire tout ce qui était promis
n'a jamais empêché un gouvernement d'être réélu
Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
It's 2016 - stop the Saudi deal
Michael Den Tandt, National Post
There is not a shred of doubt about why the government of
Canada is pressing ahead with a $15-billion, 14-year contract
to sell Ontario-made armoured troop carriers to Saudi Arabia.
At issue is whether doing so is in keeping with Liberal rhetoric
about human rights, and Ottawa's explicit rules governing arms
sales to foreign countries. The answer in both cases is no.
There's no doubt about that, either.
Cutting to the chase, we can identify two core rationales in
favour. The first is local and specific to southwestern Ontario.
The second is international and applies to the whole
industrialized, democratic world, led by the United States.
London, Ont., where the LAV III is built by General Dynamics
Land Systems, is an economically hard-pressed regional hub,
looking for a lifeline. This is not new. Traditional
manufacturing and food processing has been departing
southwestern Ontario for a decade. Soaring electricity costs,
courtesy of the McGuinty-Wynne Liberal government, have
neutralized any benefit that might have accrued from a weaker
Canadian dollar. So much for "Dutch disease."
Until late 2014 there seemed to be a prospect of looping the
eastern Canadian manufacturing economy more fully into the
western oilsands bonanza. Then said bonanza collapsed -
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courtesy of a precipitous decline in the price of crude oil
brought to us by, coincidentally, Saudi Arabia, which
continues to flood global markets with crude in an attempt to
squeeze out higher-cost North American production.
So the Saudi arms deal, brokered by the federal Canadian
Commercial Corporation under the previous Conservative
government, was a big economic win, providing 3,000 wellpaying jobs over the next 14 years. In politician time that may
as well be forever - particularly with Ontario's population, and
southern Ontario's seat count in the House of Commons,
continuing to grow.
This is likely why, during the fall campaign, only New
Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair was the only leader
of a national party to raise objections to this contract, and then
only in muted fashion. The Liberals were four-square in
favour, alongside the Tories. Speaking on Quebec current
affairs TV show Tout Le Monde En Parle, Liberal leader (now
Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau downplayed it as a matter of
some jeeps - move along, nothing to see here.
Last week, Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion responded in much
the same way following the latest rash of Saudi human rights
outrages, including the execution of a prominent cleric, Sheik
Nimr al-Nimr, who was guilty of nothing other than peacefully
defending his country's Shia minority. Canada deplores these
regrettable beheadings but a deal is a deal, was essentially
Dion's position.
This has long been official Canadian policy: to look the other
way. "Canada and Saudi Arabia share common interests on
many peace and security issues, including energy security,
humanitarian affairs (including refugees) and counterterrorism," chirps the foreign affairs department website.
The U.S. State Department puts it more bluntly: "Saudi
Arabia's unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its
possession of the world's largest reserves of oil, and its
strategic location make its friendship important to the United
States."This is why, to restate the obvious, President George
Bush Sr. pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in 1991.
Inconveniently, independent observers report that Saudi
Arabia, a medieval monarchy possessed by a single extended
family, is a human-rights horror show. Here's Amnesty
International's current overview: "The government severely
restricted freedoms of expression, association and assembly,
and cracked down on dissent, arresting and imprisoning critics,
including human rights defenders. Many received unfair trials
before courts that failed to respect due process, including a
special antiterrorism court that handed down death sentences."
According to Human Rights Watch's World Report 2015:
"Saudi Arabia's discriminatory male guardianship system
remains intact despite government pledges to abolish it. Under
this system, ministerial policies and practices forbid women
from obtaining a passport, marrying, travelling or accessing
higher education without the approval of a male guardian,
usually a husband, father, brother or son."
These "jeeps" are, of course, nothing of the sort. They are
heavily armoured and can also be heavily armed, with roofmounted machine guns and small cannons. They are not bound
for the regular Saudi army, but to the National Guard, which
serves as the House of Saud's praetorian guard. In the event of
a popular revolt, they logically would be deployed against
Saudis themselves. There has been no declaration from any
quarter, that I am aware of, that "there is no reasonable risk
that the goods might be used against the civilian population,"
as required under Ottawa's export control rules, in countries
where there is a record of human rights violations. The
courageous thing, given the above, would be for the Trudeau
government to freeze this arms deal pending public
commitments of redress from the Saudi government, then use
the delay to quietly scour the globe for a more suitable buyer.
It should be possible, given ambition and effort, to backstop
London, Ont. workers while also not turning a blind eye to
blatant injustice. Should it not? This isn't the dark ages, after
all. It's 2016.
National Post
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
Published | Publié : 2016-01-09
All signs point to a grisly year for the
Canadian economy
L. Ian MacDonald - Ontario
More from L. Ian MacDonald available here.
Oh for the days when the Canadian dollar was a petro-currency
- when the loonie had a certain swagger, trading at par with the
greenback and even above it. In those days, at the beginning of
this decade, oil was well over $100 per barrel.
Actually, the loonie is still a petro-currency - which is why,
when the price of oil plummeted, the dollar fell with it. At the
beginning of 2015, the loonie was at 86 cents U.S. In the first
week of 2016, the loonie traded below 71 cents, a 12-year low.
That's a decline of more than 17 per cent in a year - the second
worst year in the currency's history.
It's no mystery. As recently as the beginning of the federal
election campaign in August, oil was at $55 a barrel. In early
November, when the Liberals took office, oil was still at $49
per barrel. At midday on Friday, oil was at $33, also a 12-year
That's for the benchmark West Texas Intermediate and doesn't
measure the discount on Western Canada Select heavy oil in
the U.S., which accounts for more than 99 per cent of
Canadian oil exports. After trading around $23.50 per barrel in
December, the Canadian discount took WCS below $20 this
week. With production costs around $40 per barrel in the
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oilsands, those are money-losing numbers for Canadian
Short of a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there is no
prospect of a spike in oil prices any time soon.
The sinking price of oil, down 11 per cent this week alone, is a
matter of serious concern to Finance Minister Bill Morneau as
he prepares his first budget. In the short span since he moved
into the James Flaherty Building on November 4, oil has
plunged $16 a barrel, with every $5 drop costing the federal
treasury $1 billion in foregone revenues. That's a shortfall of
$3.2 billion.
But it isn't just the price of oil bringing the loonie down. "Next
in line in loonie drags," writes BMO Chief Economist Doug
Porter in the bank's weekly Focus report, released Friday
afternoon, "would be the direct divergence in monetary policy
between the U.S. and Canada."
While the U.S. Federal Reserve has finally raised the federal
funds rate to a range of 0.25 to 0.50 per cent (from the 0 to
0.25 per cent range it's held since the Great Recession of 200809), the Bank of Canada's overnight rate remains at 0.50 per
cent. The market thinks it might go still lower. As Porter
writes: "Suffice it to say it is exceptionally unusual to have the
two central bank rates travelling in opposite directions."
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz sees this divergence
through a different lens. "The recent move by the Federal
Reserve is the first step in a long and measured process of
policy normalization," Poloz said in an Ottawa breakfast
speech Thursday. "This is a welcome development because it
means the U.S. recovery has put behind it the conditions that
led to the financial crisis."
Quite apart from its near-zero interest rate policy, the Fed also
flooded the market with cheap liquidity in its buyback of bonds
through a quantitative easing program which peaked at $85
billion per month. The U.S. doesn't need cheap money any
more. In December, the U.S. economy added nearly 300,000
jobs, for a total of 2.6 million jobs created in 2015. The U.S.
unemployment rate has been steady at only 5 per cent for the
last three months - practically a full-employment economy.
The Canadian economy added 23,000 new jobs in December
and 158,000 jobs over the year. The unemployment rate, in
monthly numbers released Friday, stubbornly remained at 7.1
per cent.
Other than oil prices and divergent monetary policies, BMO's
Porter attributes the loonie's miseries to the "underlying
strength in the U.S. dollar more broadly, a story that just won't
quit." The greenback, he notes, "has been the strongest major
currency in the world in each of the past two years, and there is
good reason to believe that 2016 will make it three years in a
As a final factor in the fall of the loonie, Porter cites "the
deterioration of Canada's fiscal outlook." Elected on a promise
of running a $10 billion stimulative deficit, the Liberals may be
looking at a final figure twice that. From a projected
Conservative surplus of $1.4 billion, the Liberals instead
inherited a deficit of $3.5 billion - a miss of nearly $5 billion
right at the start. The Liberals then had a $1.2 billion miss of
their own when the middle class tax cut wasn't offset as
planned by revenues from a tax increase on top marginal rate
payers. That's not to mention the hit on oil revenues, to say
nothing of the cost of the stimulative infrastructure dollars to
provinces and municipalities, sure to be in the billions.
To make matters even worse, this week the stock market
tanked on fears of declining growth in China, where markets
closed Thursday after plunging 7 per cent in just the half-hour
after opening. In Toronto, the TSX moved into bear market
territory, 20 per cent below its 2014 high. On Thursday alone,
the Toronto index was down more than 2 per cent. On Friday,
Toronto flatlined under 12,450.
In Canadian currency, oil and equity markets, the first week of
the year looked rather like a perfect storm.
L. Ian MacDonald is editor of Policy, the bi-monthly
magazine of Canadian politics and public policy. He is the
author of five books. He served as chief speechwriter to Prime
Minister Brian Mulroney from 1985-88, and later as head of
the public affairs division of the Canadian Embassy in
Washington from 1992-94.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics
columnists and contributors are the author's alone. They do
not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or
positions of iPolitics.
Copyright 2013 iPolitics
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Ottawa et les valeurs mobilières - Non
Antoine Robitaille
Ainsi, le gouvernement Trudeau, concernant les valeurs
mobilières, est comme celui de Harper : il veut tout centraliser
à Toronto. Les ministres et élus libéraux québécois à Ottawa
vont-ils avoir le courage de refléter le consensus du Québec ?
Les Québécois ont voté le 19 octobre pour du changement à
Ottawa. Du " vrai changement ", selon la formule JolyTrudeau... En matière de valeurs mobilières, le nouveau
gouvernement vient toutefois d'indiquer qu'il fera dans la "
plate similitude " : il reprendra le projet de Loi sur la stabilité
des marchés des capitaux (LSMC) qu'avait déposé le
gouvernement Harper. Traduites en langue de bois d'Ottawa,
les choses sont présentées ainsi : " En collaboration avec les
provinces intéressées, le gouvernement est prêt à poursuivre la
création du régime coopératif en matière de réglementation des
marchés des capitaux. " (déclaration du porte-parole du
ministre fédéral des Finances, recueillie par La Presse) La
manoeuvre est habile. On retrouve ici les mots-clés visant à
charmer d'éventuels juges : " stabilité ", " coopération ".
Dans un renvoi en 2011, la Cour suprême du Canada avait
conclu que le précédent projet de loi conservateur consistait en
une " intrusion massive " dans les compétences des provinces,
seules habilitées à légiférer en matière de " propriété et de
droits civils ". Cependant, dans le même jugement, la cour
donnait un avis non sollicité : de manière surprenante, elle
esquissait la marche à suivre pour contourner l'obstacle
constitutionnel !
Il vaut la peine de citer ce passage où les juges semblent
vouloir dicter aux législateurs des articles de lois : " Il est
possible que les gouvernements fédéral et provinciaux exercent
harmonieusement leurs pouvoirs respectifs quant aux valeurs
mobilières, dans l'esprit du fédéralisme coopératif. " Invoquant
l'expérience d'autres fédérations en matière de réglementation
des valeurs mobilières, les juges notent ensuite " qu'il pourrait
être utile d'envisager une approche coopérative ". (Parfois, la
thèse d'un gouvernement des juges est difficile à réfuter...)
Voilà pourquoi le gouvernement Harper s'est senti légitimé de
relancer son fameux projet, et comment il a abouti à la LSMC.
Le dessein n'a rien de neuf. Le secteur des finances de l'Ontario
rêve depuis les années 1930 de centraliser chez lui la
réglementation des valeurs mobilières. Québec s'y oppose,
rappelle sa compétence, reconnue noir sur blanc par tous les
tribunaux, même le plus haut. Face à la nouvelle offensive
fédérale, cet été, le gouvernement Couillard a déjà entrepris
une autre procédure juridique, demandé un autre renvoi à sa
cour d'appel. Malgré tout cela, malgré l'opposition farouche de
l'Alberta, les libéraux fédéraux ont choisi de poursuivre le
combat conservateur. Les intérêts supérieurs de l'Ontario
semblent en jeu, il faut croire...
Ce sera d'ailleurs un autre test important pour les élus libéraux
du Québec. Ces tests s'accumulent : pensons à l'aide médicale à
mourir et à la réforme unilatérale des nominations au Sénat.
S'il est vrai, comme l'a martelé Justin Trudeau depuis
l'élection, que " le Québec fait un véritable retour au
gouvernement du Canada ", il serait normal que les consensus
québécois y soient reflétés. Jean-Yves Duclos, Mélanie Joly,
Marc Garneau et compagnie devraient les faire valoir autour de
la table du Conseil des ministres, où, a-t-on répété tout au long
de la campagne, se trouve " le vrai pouvoir ".
Et consensus, ici, n'est pas un mot excessif ! Il y a eu six
motions unanimes de l'Assemblée nationale pour dénoncer ce
projet centralisateur. Les organisations des milieux d'affaires,
au Québec, sont unanimes à dénoncer le projet d'Ottawa.
Encore récemment, les anciens ministres du gouvernement
Charest Raymond Bachand et Monique Jérôme-Forget, de
concert avec deux anciens ministres albertains, enjoignaient,
dans le National Post, au gouvernement Trudeau de tourner la
page sur les volontés centralisatrices d'Ottawa.
Leur argumentation est convaincante : même s'il n'a pas
d'organisme unique de réglementation des valeurs mobilières,
le dominion a remarquablement résisté à la crise et à
l'instabilité de 2007-2008. On ne peut en dire autant des ÉtatsUnis et de plusieurs autres pays de l'OCDE, qui ont pourtant un
organisme central. De plus, la Banque mondiale et le Fonds
monétaire international ont tous deux récemment vanté les
mérites du système de réglementation pancanadien : 13
organismes ont harmonisé leur réglementation et créé un
système de passeports fonctionnel et reconnu. Ajouter une
autre réglementation dédoublerait celle-ci, ajouterait à la
paperasse. Le Québec compte-t-il à Ottawa ?
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-11
Globe and Mail
Report on Business Page: B1
Canada needs a national securities
regulator, but Morneau has stayed away
from the battle
Executive Insight
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau talks a lot about
Canada Pension Plan reforms, the middle-class tax cut and the
next budget.
But he's been uncharacteristically quiet on another file that
deserves his attention - the long struggle to create a national
securities regulator. Canada remains the lone outlier among the
more than 100 member countries of the International
Association of Securities Commissions that does not have a
national regulator.
The previous Conservative government joined Ontario and
four other provinces in creating the Cooperative Capital
Markets Regulatory System. The CCMRS, which would put
roughly half the country's financial markets under a single
securities watchdog, has set a target of this fall to be up and
The plan is to create an organization of willing provinces in the
wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that blocked
Ottawa from unilaterally imposing its will on recalcitrant
provinces, such as Quebec and Alberta.
And for a while, there seemed to be momentum for this
national regulator-lite concept.
There is draft implementing legislation and a chairman former insurance executive William Black.
Government officials say Mr. Morneau is committed to
working with interested provinces on a "collaborative model"
for securities regulation. But his public silence suggests the
new Liberal government is less than enthusiastic and may be
ducking a fight with the provinces.
There was no mention of the initiative in either the Throne
Speech or the minister's mandate letter from Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau.
The late 2016 start-date seems optimistic, to say the least.
And in that vacuum, foes of a national securities regulator are
sharpening their knives to kill the unborn CCMRS.
Louis Morisset, chief executive officer of Quebec's Autorité
des marchés financiers and current chair of the national
organization of provincial regulators, insists the status quo is
working and should be left alone.
"The Capital Markets Regulatory authority ... would not only
disrupt the truly co-operative securities system already in place
in Canada ... but would also replace it with a system in which
important parts of the country will not take part," Mr. Morisset
argued in a recent Globe and Mail opinion piece.
Four former finance ministers from Quebec and Alberta
similarly warned Ottawa in a joint letter in the Financial Post
last week that pushing ahead now would be a "clear step
backwards," resulting in more red tape and unspecified
economic consequences. The ex-ministers - Raymond Bachand
and Monique Jérôme-Forget from Quebec and Alberta's Doug
Horner and Ted Morton - are urging Mr. Morneau to let
sleeping dogs lie.
They also suggest - misleadingly - that Canada's fragmented
regime has been praised by international organizations,
including the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank. In fact, the IMF, the Financial Stability Board and the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
have repeatedly urged Canada to create a national securities
The former ministers also implied that the United States is
somehow worse off because regulators there failed to stop the
Enron and Bernie Madoff scandals.
Canada has a sparse record of successful financial fraud
convictions, particularly in high-profile cases. Only one person
has ever gone to jail for illegal insider trading in Canada - in
part because of the reluctance of regulators to pursue criminal
charges, where the burden of proof is higher than in civil cases.
And the number of investigations launched has been in steady
decline since at least 2010.
There were just seven in 2014, fewer than a quarter of those
started in 2011.
And the country has not been immune from embarrassing stock
market scandals, including Bre-X and Sino-Forest.
So it's hard to feel warm and fuzzy about the status quo, where
no one regulator is in charge of investigations that may cross
provincial and international boundaries. The Ontario Securities
Commission did secure an $8-million settlement from
SinoForest auditor Ernst Young LLP in late 2014, but the case
against the forestry company's former top executives remains
The troubling absence of justice in the Bre-X case remains a
dark stain on Canada's regulatory regime. The only person
charged (former Bre-X chief geologist John Felderhof) was
eventually acquitted.
The Enron and Madoff investigations in the United States led
to multiple convictions and prison terms.
The notable absence of similar prosecutions in Canada is
exactly why Canada needs a strong, coordinated and wellstaffed securities regime.
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
NEWS Page: A12
Attitude to terrorist attacks has to change
Scott Taylor
Last week, French President Francois Hollande unveiled a
commemorative plaque outside the Paris office of the satirical
publication Charlie Hebdo on the one-year anniversary of the
deadly terrorist attack that targeted the magazine for publishing
cartoons insulting Islam. The attack and subsequent violent
acts committed by the same perpetrators outside Paris resulted
in the deaths of 17 civilians.
Those horrific events were overshadowed by the Nov. 13
shootings in Paris, which left 130 people dead and the French
capital reeling in shock and fear. Again, the attackers were
fanatical Muslims seeking to terrorize and kill westerners.
In Canada, we have had only two such incidents involving
terrorist attacks linked to radicalized Muslims. Although they
were unconnected, they occurred just two days apart, on Oct.
20 and Oct. 22, 2014.
The first was a vehicular homicide when Martin CoutureRouleau deliberately drove his car into two Canadian soldiers
in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed and a second
unnamed soldier suffered minor injuries. Couture-Rouleau was
shot and killed by Quebec police following a high-speed chase.
He was a convert to Islam and at the time of his attack was
under what authorities termed "aggressive surveillance."
The second incident was far more dramatic and far more
dramatized because it happened right on Parliament Hill.
Although lone gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was shot and
killed just minutes after he had targeted Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, panic raged for hours in the
nation's capital.
The presence of so many journalists reporting via social media
every unconfirmed rumour, combined with the plethora of
various security forces involved, turned an isolated incident
into a citywide wave of fear. It was falsely reported that there
were multiple attackers in multiple locations, resulting in
schools and government offices being locked down and
bridges closed, while pundits took to the airwaves to explain
how sophisticated the terror cell must be to have the capability
of mounting so many attacks all at once.
When the dust finally settled, it became clear that lone attacker
Zehaf-Bibeau was a mentally unstable individual with a history
of drug addiction and violent crimes. Like Couture-Rouleau,
he had recently converted to a radicalized form of Islam. While
no one could ever connect Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau
to Daesh, Canadian authorities claimed that the attacks were
That, of course, was then repeatedly manipulated by the Harper
Conservatives to explain to Canadians that our bombing of
Daesh supporters in Iraq and Syria was in response to them
having attacked us on our own soil.
For people paying little attention to world events - or listening
only to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump - it
might seem that the Muslim world is embarking on a global
jihad to destroy western civilization.
To put a far different perspective on things, one need only look
at world events since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
against the U.S. America invaded and occupied Afghanistan,
initially to hunt for Osama bin Laden and then, with the help of
Canada and other NATO allies, to prop up the most corrupt
regime on the planet. Then, in 2003, under the false pretence
that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction,
the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq.
Throughout those decade-long occupations, thousands of
American and NATO soldiers (including 158 Canadians) were
killed and tens of thousands were wounded. However, those
same bloody clashes resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
Had the international intervention been successful in making
those two nations stable functioning states, one could argue
that you need to break a few eggs in order to make an omelette.
Instead, Afghanistan remains in danger of falling back under
Taliban control, if not plunging into the grip of Daesh. In Iraq and now Syria - the killing continues apace and the number of
displaced is in the millions. In other words, we just created a
mishmash of broken eggs and eggshells.
Then, of course, there is the Canadian-led intervention in 2011
to depose Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi. Learning from
the bloody mess of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, the West
chose instead to arm and support the rebels with air power.
However, as soon as Gadhafi was toppled and murdered, Libya
plunged into total anarchy. Militias refuse to disarm, human
smugglers are still running amok and now Daesh has
established a strong foothold there.
On the same day that Hollande lit candles to commemorate the
17 victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack, a truck bomb blew
apart a Libyan police training centre. A reported 67 recruits
were killed and another 200 wounded. The incident barely
made the news in western media.
To put this in perspective, we bomb a Muslim nation, topple its
secular dictator, let it descend into violent anarchy, and then
we convince ourselves that our culture is the one under assault
from them? I think not.
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Published | Publié : 2016-01-12
Drowning in debt
National Post
It should be obvious by now that big numbers don't scare
We've been warned so often, and for so long, about the dangers
of the national debt we're accumulating, that we've developed
something of an immunity. When it comes to debt, Canadians
are like the frightening new antibiotic-resistant superbugs that
can't be killed even with the most powerful drugs. A billion
dollars? A hundred billion dollars? A trillion dollars? We shrug
it off and just keep borrowing. Hasn't killed us yet, right?
If big numbers can't penetrate the national psyche, however,
perhaps smaller ones might. As in education budgets, social
service budgets, childcare budgets and security budgets that are
smaller than they could be, because so much of the money
collected in taxes is lost to interest payments on past
That's the key warning of a Fraser Institute report on Canadian
debt. It has all the usual scary numbers: Combined federal and
provincial debt will top $1.3 trillion this year; Ontario will
soon owe $300 billion, passing Quebec as the most in-hock
province; another $450 billion has been tacked onto the
national credit card since the 2008 recession.
Bah. Canadians are used to those numbers, and used to
ignoring them. Who can possibly grasp numbers that come
with 12 zeros attached to the end? Most of us can hardly
fathom the salaries of a first-line centre in the National Hockey
League. But the import of those numbers may be easier to
absorb when put in another context. For instance, the report
notes that the interest spent last year on previous borrowings $61 billion - is almost equal to the entire cost of public
education in Canada last year.
It's $10 billion more than the total pension benefits paid out
through the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan.
Imagine: if not for the profligate borrowing of Canada's
governments, benefits to pensioners could be doubled without
increasing a single tax, cutting a single program or adding a
single cent to the budget.
At almost $1 billion a month, Ontario spends more on debt
interest than it did on its entire welfare system. Quebec's
interest payments swallowed double the amount it spends on
post-secondary education. All those Montreal street protests a
year ago, by university students upset at a minor tuition hike,
could have been avoided if the government wasn't pouring
money into servicing debt.
B.C.'s interest costs are double its childcare budget,
Newfoundland spends more on interest than it does on
elementary and secondary schools.
And remember - none of that money is going to reduce the
principal. It's just paying interest on past borrowings. The
principal isn't being reduced at all - it's growing steadily.
Ontario still spends almost $8 billion a year more than it brings
in and has a mammoth infrastructure plan to finance. Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau was elected on a promise to add $10
billion to the federal debt load every year for three years, but
even his own finance minister doesn't appear convinced he can
stick to that figure. It's more likely to be double the promised
amount, unless some serious new tax, or sharp cut in spending,
is put into place.
Trudeau portrays it as a necessity. As does Ontario Premier
Kathleen Wynne, who is fond of saying the province can't
afford not to pursue her many projects, the same argument
offered over the past decade, through good times and bad
times, thick and thin. Is there ever a time Ontarians can afford
not to borrow? Alberta's NDP government maintains
borrowing is such a necessity, it's willing to use debt to cover
operating expenses. Their views reflect the notion that
Canadians consider their benefits a birthright, and budgets
have to be crafted accordingly.
Borrowing is cheap at the moment, they say. We can afford it
... barely ... for a little while longer. God forbid interest rates
should rise. Because birthrights have a way of disappearing
when the lenders come around to collect.
© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
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