National Newswatch

Legal files of 5 retired MPs disappear from federal mailroom

Oct 6 2017 — Dean Beeby — A federal department has lost the sensitive legal files of five retired members of Parliament, the latest in a series of privacy breaches across government. Public Services and Procurement Canada lost the original documents last November as it was preparing to return them by registered mail through a suburban Ottawa mailroom. The packages contain details […]

Parks Canada to look at divesting highways, bridges, dams

Aug 26 2017 — Dean Beeby — Parks Canada is considering whether to give up as much as $8.3 billion of its highways, bridges and dams. The agency plans to hire an outside consultant to advise on “options for divestiture or transfer” of infrastructure not considered part of its core mandate to safeguard Canada’s cultural assets, says a recent notice. Bridges that […]

Airports pay millions for extra security as passenger wait times grow

Aug 7 2017 — Dean Beeby — Wait times for passengers at airport security checkpoints have grown so long that at least two major airports are paying Ottawa millions of dollars for extra officers to help reduce the lineups. The international airports in Toronto and Vancouver have each signed contracts with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) that give them additional […]

Supreme Court building to get $1B rehab in 2023, well after systems risk failure

Jul 20 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Liberal government has launched a $1-billion project to rehabilitate the crumbling Supreme Court building, though key systems are at risk of failure long before any repairs begin. A water-damaged section of the parking garage roof could collapse by the end of next year, and mechanical and electrical systems are predicted to fail by 2020 […]

Ottawa hires consultants to advise on airport sell-offs

Jul 19 2017 — Dean Beeby — A secretive project to generate billions of dollars from the sale of major Canadian airports is pushing ahead with the hiring of consultant firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The firm is to “act as a commercial adviser assisting with additional analytical work with respect to advancing a new governance framework for one or more Canadian airports.” A […]

Ads aim to dispel myth that driving on cannabis is acceptable

Jul 6 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Liberal government is preparing an ad campaign especially targeting young Canadians who think that driving under the influence of marijuana is acceptable. Public Safety Canada is looking for a creative agency to produce spots for the $1.9-million campaign, to be rolled out before recreational cannabis becomes legal next summer.

Summer dives set for Franklin ship as future ownership in limbo

Jun 29 2017 — Dean Beeby — Parks Canada marine archeologists will dive this summer on HMS Terror, the once-elusive Franklin ship discovered in the Arctic last September, even as troubling ownership and security issues remained unresolved. A 14-person team based on the newly refitted vessel R/V David Thompson will take pictures and video of the sunken wreck in Terror Bay, off […]

CRA wants tougher rules for tax-cheat amnesty program

Jun 25 2017 — Dean Beeby — The Canada Revenue Agency is tightening its amnesty program for tax cheats, including a proposed rule that could expose more of the shady advisers who set up dodgy tax schemes to help clients hide their money. The revamped regime for the voluntary disclosures program was released earlier this month, after MPs, critics and some tax […]

U.S. consultants slam Shared Services Canada for failing projects

Jun 2 2017 — Dean Beeby — Ottawa is in way over its head by attempting a massive transformation of its information-technology (IT) systems under Shared Services Canada, says a scathing indictment of the agency’s failings since 2011. The government of Canada “has vastly underestimated the size, scale and complexity of this effort. … They are attempting the largest and most complex […]

Ottawa forfeited $8.7B in uncollected tax in 2014, says report

Jun 2 2017 — Dean Beeby — Canada’s personal income “tax gap” — taxes due but not collected — hit about $8.7 billion for 2014, says a ground-breaking Canada Revenue Agency report. The analysis, which the Liberals promised in the 2015 election campaign, includes estimates of tax revenue lost because of unreported income in the domestic underground economy, as well as tax […]

Audit report slams federal fish agency for mismanagement

May 15 2017 — Dean Beeby — Canada’s auditor general is raising a big stink about a federal fish agency. Officials with the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp. spent public money on equipment that wasn’t needed, hired staff without job competitions and failed to do the most basic of business planning. The problems were so bad that the auditor general’s office forwarded a […]

Barbershop banknote: Did Sir John A. Macdonald get a $10 haircut?

Apr 20 2017 — Dean Beeby — Hair today, gone tomorrow? Focus groups hired to vet the final design of the Bank of Canada’s newest $10 banknote raised a surprising concern: Sir John A. Macdonald’s unruly hair. It seems a stray lock of the first prime minister’s hair was touching the head of his neighbour, in images on the prototype bill to […]