National Newswatch

VIA ‘confident’ Ottawa will support new passenger rail lines following $1-billion purchase of new trains

Dec 14 2018 — Bill Curry — After this week’s purchase of nearly $1-billion worth of new trains, VIA Rail President Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is setting his sights on the Liberal government’s 2019 budget in hope that it will green light a multibillion-dollar expansion of its passenger rail network. The Crown corporation’s plan has strong support at the federal cabinet table from Infrastructure […]

Quebec to receive $1.4-billion equalization boost while oil-producing provinces face deficits

Dec 9 2018 — Bill Curry — Quebec will receive $13.1-billion in equalization payments next year – a $1.4-billion increase – while Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador continue to be left out even though Canada’s oil-producing provinces are facing deficits and hard times. The three energy-producing provinces petitioned Ottawa last year to rework the federal transfer formula but Finance Minister Bill […]

Statistics Canada suspends credit searches, delays plan to obtain banking records

Dec 3 2018 — Bill Curry — Statistics Canada is suspending its practice of obtaining personal credit records from TransUnion and has written to Canada’s banks to delay its plan to obtain the banking details of 500,000 Canadian households. The moves come as the national statistics agency is under investigation by the federal Privacy Commissioner after concerns were raised over its plans […]

Conservatives challenge Finance Department’s role in plan to assess cost of campaign promises

Nov 24 2018 — Bill Curry — The Conservative Party says it has concerns about an arrangement between the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Finance Department that will see ministry officials pitching in to determine the cost of election promises in the run-up to the 2019 federal election. The Tories’ finance critic, Pierre Poilievre, is questioning whether his party will participate, arguing […]

A federal agency, created to fight poverty, spent $500,000 on a name, logo and branding

Nov 23 2018 — Bill Curry — The Liberal government spent $500,000 on outside advisers to come up with a logo, name and branding for a new agency that promises to alleviate poverty in developing countries, internal documents reveal. Its 2017 budget announced $300-million toward developing an institution that would support sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries by aiming to […]

Banks weigh legal action to block Statscan’s plan to obtain consumer records

Nov 8 2018 — Bill Curry — Canada’s banks are considering legal action to prevent Statistics Canada from obtaining their clients’ banking records without consent as the federal agency faced criticism from several fronts Thursday during a special Senate hearing. Statscan’s chief statistician, Anil Arora, pledged during the meeting that the plan will not go ahead until the federal privacy commissioner completes […]

Speaker rebukes Morneau over ‘massive’ budget bill

Nov 6 2018 — Bill Curry — For the second year in a row, the Speaker of the House of Commons has chastised Finance Minister Bill Morneau for stuffing measures into a bill that were never mentioned in his budget. Speaker Geoff Regan ruled Tuesday that measures in Mr. Morneau’s 854-page budget bill – which Mr. Regan called “massive” – related to […]

Controversy over Statscan’s plan to obtain personal banking records exposes problems with current data

Nov 4 2018 — Bill Curry — Controversy over Statistics Canada’s plan to obtain personal banking records is exposing growing concern over the reliability of the data currently produced by Canada’s statistics agency. The agency’s reports on growth, employment, inflation and other economic statistics routinely dominate the news and heavily influence stock-market fluctuations. But the fast pace of digital trading that occurs […]

Chief Statistician defends effort to obtain Canadian banking records

Oct 31 2018 — Bill Curry — The head of Statistics Canada is defending plans to obtain Canadians’ detailed banking records, but is asking the federal privacy commissioner to provide advice on how to move ahead. Chief Statistician Anil Arora posted a statement on Twitter Wednesday morning after the issue landed on the floor of the House of Commons this week. “Traditional […]