National Newswatch

Liberals leave royal position vacant in Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee year

Sep 19 2017 — Dean Beeby — A decades-old liaison job between Canada and the monarch has been left vacant since May, as the Liberal government reviews the future of the position during the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee marking her 65 years on the throne. The Canadian Secretary to the Queen (CSQ) was created in 1959 as the Canadian adviser to the monarch […]

New passport processing system $75M over budget

Sep 17 2017 — Dean Beeby — Another government IT project is going off the rails, this one intended to issue Canadian passports faster and cheaper than the current system. The so-called Passport Program Modernization Initiative, launched in 2014, is at least $75 million over budget and well behind schedule. “From its outset, the complexity … was underestimated,” says an internal document, […]

Secret Government of Canada data stored on U.S. servers? Memo raises possibility

Sep 8 2017 — Dean Beeby — Two government agencies have been meeting with Microsoft Inc. to discuss ways to store secret Canadian data on American servers, a measure expressly forbidden by federal policy. Microsoft’s talks this year with Shared Services Canada and the Communications Security Establishment reviewed whether sensitive data about Canadians and other confidential matters could be securely encrypted on […]

Federal advertising ‘blacklist’ of websites includes far-right outlets

Aug 23 2017 — Dean Beeby — The extreme-right outlets The Rebel, Breitbart and the Daily Stormer are among more than 3,000 websites on an internal “blacklist” to ensure the federal government’s digital advertisements do not appear on sites promoting hate, porn, gambling and other subjects deemed unacceptable. The expansive list also includes conservative news sites like the Drudge Report, the Washington […]

Minor leak balloons into major web outage at StatsCan: documents

Aug 18 2017 — Dean Beeby — An incident involving a leaky air conditioner at Statistics Canada’s Ottawa data centre in June mushroomed into a major outage that, among other problems, left some exporters’ trucks stuck at the American border. The rapid escalation of a minor spill into a 30-hour crisis was no accidental series of escalating events, says the former head […]

Memo raises doubts about who was ‘architect’ of residential schools

Aug 13 2017 — Dean Beeby — Federal officials raised doubts about accusations Hector-Louis Langevin was an architect of the residential school system four months before his name was ignominiously stripped from the prime minister’s building, as the Liberal government acceded to complaints from Indigenous groups. An internal briefing note says Langevin had a “complex” relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples and even […]

Walkway barrier planned to ensure Supreme Court’s independence

Aug 2 2017 — Dean Beeby — A walkway connecting a pair of heritage buildings near Parliament Hill will be walled off to avert a constitutional crisis involving Canada’s highest court. The walkway, known as the Memorial Colonnade, is an arch or bridge above Lyon Street that allows federal employees to walk comfortably between the buildings — out of the rain, wind, […]

Canada to beef up police presence in Iraq after fall of Mosul

Jul 26 2017 — Dean Beeby — Canada plans to send more police officers to Iraq to advise and train their counterparts as the war-torn country gradually moves from military to police control of newly liberated areas, including the city of Mosul. The Liberal government will shortly announce a significant increase in its authorized police contingent in Iraq, to 20 officers from […]

Botched procurement delays inflatable boats for military

Jul 26 2017 — Dean Beeby — Call it the case of the delayed dinghies. The Canadian military wants to replace its fleet of inflatable landing craft, which is more than a quarter-century old, with 350 new inflatables designed for rapid deployment of up to a dozen infantry or engineers in each boat. Public Services and Procurement Canada has flubbed the order […]

Feds want to cut taxi bill by abandoning paper chit payments

Jul 7 2017 — Dean Beeby — Canada’s taxi industry is facing more pressure to modernize as the federal government looks for ways to cut its multimillion-dollar cab tab. Most public servants are currently issued taxi chits, paper tickets filled out by hand – a system dating back to the Second World War.

Federal websites geared to youth bland, boring: focus groups

Jul 5 2017 — Dean Beeby — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be Canada’s youth minister, but new research suggests his government has failed to connect with young people about education, jobs, skills and training. A public-opinion report commissioned by the Liberal government has found young people use the internet almost exclusively to find career and other information — but most regard […]

Canada’s weak laws hobble identification of tax dodgers: document

Jun 13 2017 — Dean Beeby — Correspondence between Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his British equivalent is highlighting Canada’s poor international record in flushing out the real owners of suspected tax-haven corporations. Philip Hammond, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote to Morneau on Dec. 22, seeking Canada’s support for exchanges of so-called “beneficial ownership” information — that is, information about who […]

Audit slams Rideau Canal managers for shoddy contracting

Jun 4 2017 — Dean Beeby — Parks Canada has disciplined managers responsible for the Rideau Canal, and stripped them of the authority to sign large contracts, after they broke numerous rules on spending public money. “The consequences — mandatory retraining, loss of signing authority, disciplinary action — of failing to comply with contracting policies has been communicated to cost managers,” says […]

Massive privacy breach at Public Services reveals workers’ salaries

Jun 2 2017 — Dean Beeby — The personal information of almost 13,000 public servants was exposed in one of the largest ever privacy breaches at a federal government department. The July 11, 2016, breach at Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) included the salary, age, reading-and-writing test results and other private information of 12,901 employees — nearly everyone working in the […]