National Newswatch

Scheer issues second statement on Christchurch after backlash

Mar 15 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer issued a second statement after facing a storm of criticism for failing to mention the terrorist attack in Christchurch was perpetrated against Muslims during Friday prayer. Other leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Premier Doug Ford all made specific mention to the victims being Muslim or […]

Trudeau to keep Wernick on election interference file, despite opposition misgivings

Mar 10 2019 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberal government will keep the country’s top bureaucrat as the person ultimately responsible for alerting Canadians to foreign interference in the 2019 election, despite the opposition parties’ lost confidence in Michael Wernick’s neutrality. Cameron Ahmad, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s deputy director of communications, told the Star Saturday they’ll keep Privy Council Clerk Wernick on […]

Wernick’s part in the SNC-Lavalin affair means he shouldn’t be trusted to sound alarm on election meddling, opposition MPs say

Mar 8 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Canada’s two main opposition parties say their lost confidence in the country’s top bureaucrat means he can’t be trusted to warn voters about foreign interference in the 2019 election, the Star has learned. Wernick is the most senior member of a five-person panel tasked with alerting Canadians to the kind of foreign meddling seen in […]

‘You very much crossed the line,’ opposition MPs tell top bureaucrat

Mar 6 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Ottawa’s top public servant faced a withering barrage of questions from opposition MPs Wednesday over his role in the SNC-Lavalin affair and allegations of “partisanship” in his defence of the Liberal government’s actions. Michael Wernick, the clerk of the Privy Council, stated “categorically” that he had “never given advice or done anything for partisan purposes,” […]

Trudeau was warned Wilson-Raybould would connect the cabinet shuffle to SNC-Lavalin issue

Mar 6 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was warned that Jody Wilson-Raybould could connect her removal from the justice portfolio to her refusal to offer a deferred prosecution agreement to SNC-Lavalin, one of his former top aides says. Gerald Butts said former Treasury Board President Jane Philpott told Trudeau on January 6 that Wilson-Raybould might view her shuffle […]

Caught in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Canada’s top civil servant should help us understand his job, expert says

Mar 1 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Canada’s top public servant should explain how he balances his role as the non-partisan head of the bureaucracy and the prime minister’s deputy, according to one expert on the country’s public service. Prof. Donald Savoie, one of Canada’s preeminent scholars on the public service, said that following reforms initiated in 1989, the role of the […]

Can Wilson-Raybould and Wernick both be right?

Feb 28 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Canada’s top public servant and the former attorney general gave two very different characterizations of three moments in the unfolding of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Can they both be right? In an unprecedented appearance before the House of Commons justice committee Wednesday, former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould detailed what she called a months-long campaign by senior […]

Scheer defends speech to ‘yellow vest’-associated protest

Feb 26 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is defending his participation in a protest with ties to the so-called Canadian “yellow vest” movement that mixed pro-pipeline advocacy with anti-immigrant rhetoric. On Monday, Scheer defended his address to the “United We Roll” protest on Parliament Hill, a convoy of oilsands workers and supporters that arrived in Ottawa last week […]

Conservatives, NDP express qualified confidence in privy council clerk to flag election interference

Feb 23 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Both the opposition Conservatives and New Democrats expressed qualified confidence in Canada’s top bureaucrat to sound the alarm about election interference after his unprecedented — and some suggest partisan — intervention in the SNC-Lavalin affair. Michael Wernick, the clerk of the privy council, delivered remarkable testimony to the House of Commons’ justice committee Thursday, largely […]

Tory Leader Andrew Scheer met with SNC chief to discuss criminal charges

Feb 10 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer met with the head of SNC-Lavalin to discuss the criminal charges facing the Quebec construction giant in May 2018, the Opposition leader’s office confirms. Scheer discussed a possible “deferred prosecution agreement” with SNC CEO Neil Bruce on May 29. SNC is pushing for a so-called “DPA” to avoid criminal charges related […]

Maxime Bernier’s party sticks with spokesman accused of supporting ‘Nazi sympathizers’

Feb 8 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party is sticking by a spokesman accused of defending “Nazi sympathizers” and promoting conspiracy theories in old blog posts. B’Nai Brith Canada accused Martin Masse, Bernier’s longtime aided the spokesman of the People’s Party of Canada, of writing or publishing multiple articles online that “may forment anti-Semitism, misogyny, and racism.”

Canada Revenue Agency launches 100 audits after Paradise Papers leak

Jan 29 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Canadian tax authorities have launched roughly 100 audits into taxpayers named in the Paradise Papers offshore tax leak, according to documents tabled in Parliament. The Canada Revenue Agency said it has identified 3,000 people or corporations with “links” to the Paradise Papers database, revealed in Canada by a joint Toronto Star-CBC investigation.

Canada’s domestic spy agency looking to hire hackers and data scientists

Jan 3 2019 — Alex Boutilier — Canada’s domestic spy agency is in the market for hackers. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) wants to hire a “network exploitation analyst” to assist the agency in “cyber investigative activities.” The successful candidate will be expected to build new tools for the spy agency to carry out electronic snooping, develop and maintain a database […]