National Newswatch

Via’s case for major rail project better without Montreal-Quebec leg: internal doc

Jul 28 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Via Rail's business case for a multibillion-dollar high-frequency-rail project between Toronto and Quebec City would receive a boost if it ditched the stretch from Montreal to Quebec City, internal federal documents say. The document, labelled "secret," was obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information law. The memo's release comes as Via looks for financial support to build dedicated rail lines that […]

Federal lawyers broke no rules in Hassan Diab extradition case, review finds

Jul 26 2019 — Andy Blatchford — Ottawa academic Hassan Diab is rejecting the results of an external review into his extradition case as a "whitewash exercise," arguing the document's only purpose was to absolve Canada's Department of Justice and to shield senior government officials from further scrutiny. The report, written by former Ontario deputy attorney general Murray Segal, concluded that federal lawyers who worked on Diab's case did their […]

EDC says probe clears staff after corruption claim related to SNC-Lavalin

Jul 25 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Export Development Canada says an independent review has cleared its personnel of any wrongdoing after a claim that its staff turned a blind eye to bribery and corruption in a 2011 transaction involving SNC-Lavalin. The Crown corporation launched a three-month probe after CBC News reported allegations by an unnamed SNC-Lavalin insider stating it was well known within the engineering firm that "technical fees" in its […]

Canada invests $85M into advanced satellites to connect rural, remote regions

Jul 24 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The federal government is spending $85 million to help develop advanced satellite technology with hopes it will one day expand access to affordable, high-speed internet to some of Canada's hardest-to-reach regions. The funding will support a space project by Ottawa-based company Telesat to build and launch a group of co-ordinated satellites — also known as a constellation — in low Earth orbit. The Trudeau […]

Canada to invest in satellite technology to connect rural, remote areas

Jul 23 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The federal government is making a big funding announcement Wednesday alongside a Canadian company that's developing satellite technology to expand high-speed Internet access in rural and remote regions. The head of Ottawa-based Telesat will join Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains for an event that appears to be part of the government's commitment to invest $100 million over five years into a technology known as low-Earth-orbit satellites. In its […]

Canada launches multibillion-dollar bidding process for 88 new fighter jets

Jul 23 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Canada has formally asked four companies to submit bids to supply a new fleet of state-of-the-art fighter jets, the latest step in the country's almost decade-long quest to upgrade its air force. The federal department responsible for procurement said Tuesday that Saab, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have until next spring to present initial proposals to provide 88 advanced fighters for the Royal Canadian Air […]

Firms know little about trade deals as Canada pushes to diversify: federal survey

Jul 19 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged European partners this week to finalize Canada's trade deal with the EU, a push that came with his government facing a tough sales job at home: getting domestic firms to use it. A recent government survey suggests the vast majority of small and medium-sized exporters, which are positioned to benefit from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, could very well be asking: CETA […]

Canada’s multibillion-dollar national shipbuilding strategy, at a glance

Jul 16 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — The federal government awarded two contracts Tuesday totalling $1 billion to keep a dozen warships running for another 20 years as part of Canada's decades-long, multibillion-dollar national shipbuilding strategy. It also announced that a third contract for similar work, worth $500 million, is on the way. What is the national shipbuilding strategy? The strategy, launched in 2010 by the then-Conservative […]

Officials flagged 900 food items from China with ‘problems’ over two years

Jul 14 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Canadian inspectors intercepted nearly 900 food products from China over concerns about faulty labels, unmentioned allergens and harmful contaminants that included glass and metal between 2017 and early 2019, according to internal federal records. The document provides an inside look at imports from China that caught the attention of officials for appearing to fall short of Canadian standards […]

Freeland calls ex-envoy’s advice to China about election ‘highly inappropriate’

Jul 11 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is seeking to distance the Trudeau government from its former ambassador to China, a day after he said he has warned Chinese officials that further punishments against Canada could help the opposition Conservatives win the fall election. Asked by reporters Thursday about John McCallum's remarks, Freeland said it's "highly inappropriate" for […]

Poloz appears in no rush to move interest rate, warns of trade threats

Jul 10 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz is holding firm on his key interest rate and showing no urgency to make a policy change, positions that come with the U.S. Federal Reserve poised to cut its rate. The Bank of Canada's decision Wednesday kept the interest rate target at 1.75 per cent for a sixth-straight meeting as the country bounces back from a […]

Bank of Canada to give economic update, expected to be patient on rates

Jul 9 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will share his latest take on the economy Wednesday in an update that's expected to signal more patience on the key interest rate. The central bank's policy-makers are widely expected to hold the trend-setting rate steady as Canada exits a sharp slowdown that nearly brought the economy to halt at the start of the year. The bank's interest rate has […]

Scheer calls for more inspections on Chinese imports, possible tariffs

Jul 5 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step up inspections on all products from China and to consider slapping tariffs on imports from the Asian country. In a letter Friday, Scheer pressed Trudeau to take a harder line with Canada's second-biggest trading partner at a time when the countries are locked in a diplomatic […]

Canada posts strongest job creation to start a year since 2002 as wages rise

Jul 5 2019 — Andy Blatchford — OTTAWA — Canada's economy delivered its strongest six-month stretch of job creation to start a year since 2002, even though June's employment numbers came in flat. Over the first half of the year, the country added 248,000 new positions, almost all of which were full time, new Statistics Canada data showed Friday. The latest evidence of the job market's resilience — despite an economic slowdown over the […]