National Newswatch

Renovation of Senate’s temporary home $29M over budget

Jul 7 2015 — Dean Beeby — Fixing up a temporary home for the Senate has gone over budget by at least $29 million, and Public Works wants to squeeze office-relocation costs for senators to make up the difference. But senators are pushing back. The Senate chamber is being moved to Ottawa’s old railway station starting in 2018, when the Centre Block […]

Harper government cranks up polling in run-up to election

Jun 14 2015 — Dean Beeby — The Harper government has ordered extra taxpayer-paid polling in the months leading up to the scheduled October election, spending beyond its budget and asking Canadians more questions about hot topics, such as the future of the Senate. The prime minister’s own department, the Privy Council Office, twice added public opinion research it had not budgeted […]

Oil-price drop impact on Canada lessened thanks to foreign ownership

May 31 2015 — Dean Beeby — Canada has been partly insulated from the sharp drop in oil prices because so much of the energy sector is foreign owned, says an internal Finance Canada document. The Feb. 20 memo says up to half of Canada’s oil and gas sector is owned by foreign investors, higher than reported by Statistics Canada using different […]

Harper government defends First Nations housing fund, despite poor results

May 27 2015 — Dean Beeby — The Harper government defended the overall goal of its $300-million First Nations housing fund today, but was silent on the program’s weak performance so far — just 99 homes built on reserves after six years. The First Nations Market Housing Fund was supposed to deliver 25,000 privately owned homes by 2018, but fund officials now […]

Canadian Heritage stalls rare airplane swap with U.S. museum

May 17 2015 — Dean Beeby — The owner of a rare warplane is in a dogfight with the Canadian Heritage minister over whether the monster aircraft can be repatriated to the United States. Wayne Coulson of Port Alberni, B.C., wants to send one of his two 70-year-old Martin Mars aircraft to a popular museum in Florida to help complete its collection […]

Giving Tree Foundation to be stripped of charity status

May 14 2015 — Dean Beeby — A Toronto-based foundation that distributes about $2 million a year mostly to children’s causes says it has been targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency — and is about to lose its charitable registration. JoAnne Korten, executive director of the Giving Tree Foundation of Canada, said the tax agency issued a notice last month warning the […]

Raising kids getting more affordable, government analysis suggests

May 12 2015 — Dean Beeby — A briefing note for Finance Minister Joe Oliver suggests the cost of raising children has been declining, even as federal parties compete to help struggling Canadian families with tax breaks and child-care benefits. The note, dated 10 days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a major family-benefit package, argues that children have become more affordable […]

Harper government left $97M unspent on social services, report shows

May 7 2015 — Dean Beeby — The Harper government’s promises to help jobless youth, the disabled, immigrants and illiterate adults fell short last year by almost $100 million. That’s the amount of so-called “lapsed” funding — money promised but never spent — at Canada’s biggest social services department, Employment and Social Development Canada.

Supreme Court ruling hobbles pursuit of child predators, police say

May 6 2015 — Dean Beeby — Police officers assigned to fight child pornography say a Supreme Court of Canada decision is hobbling their ability to track down internet pedophiles and child sexual abusers. In a Charter of Rights and Freedoms case last June, the high court abruptly ended the ability of police to informally request subscriber information from internet service providers […]

Canadian military monument program needs U.S. approval: document

Apr 25 2015 — Dean Beeby — A federally sponsored program to create 250 war memorials in communities across Canada honouring the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan needs the permission of the United States government to proceed. CBC News has learned that the light armoured vehicle to be used for each proposed memorial is clad in special armour that the United […]

Income-splitting announcement made against advice of top public servant

Apr 22 2015 — Dean Beeby — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced major fiscal policies in Vaughan, Ont., last fall against the advice of Canada’s senior public servant, who said Parliament should be informed first, a newly disclosed document indicates. Harper’s unveiling of the $4.6-billion-a-year package of income-splitting and richer child-benefit cheques was made Oct. 30, about a month after he was […]

Debt agencies sought to help government collect overdue fines

Mar 26 2015 — Dean Beeby — A backlog of unpaid court fines has hit a record $136 million as the federal government revives a stalled plan to hire collection agencies to make people pay up. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada issued a notice this week looking for companies to help clear the overdue accounts, almost a third of them older […]

Pricey Bank of Canada meeting included trip to oilsands

Mar 22 2015 — Dean Beeby — A Bank of Canada junket to the oilsands at Fort McMurray, Alta., helped push the cost of a single board of directors meeting last June to over $100,000, a CBC News analysis shows. The scheduled meeting of the board in Edmonton included a side trip to Fort McMurray, with a reception, dinner, museum tour and three […]

Parliament Hill shootings spur concern about cell network congestion

Mar 17 2015 — Dean Beeby — The Oct. 22 shootings on Parliament Hill jammed Ottawa’s cellular and internet networks at a time when the federal government was switching from landlines to cheaper cellphone service. Newly disclosed documents show severe communications problems hit emergency personnel as thousands of nervous public servants tried to contact families and others when police locked down core […]

Harper government examines game-playing to motivate bureaucrats

Mar 1 2015 — Dean Beeby — The Harper government is looking at a whole new game plan for its workforce. Literally. Senior bureaucrats are examining how so-called “gamification” – encouraging employees and citizens to play games for rewards – can improve motivation, engagement and problem-solving. Gamification is a hot new concept in the corporate sector, as large firms such as Walmart […]