National Newswatch

Social assistance recipients allowed to double-dip on CERB payments, depending on province they live in

May 26 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Conservative governments are among the more generous and some Liberal-run provinces are taking the toughest stance. The federal government’s emergency-response benefit was originally pitched as a buffer for employed people who lost their jobs because of the pandemic and lockdown. But thousands of Canadians on welfare and disability benefits are also receiving the $2,000-a-month payments, […]

PM shrugs off ‘few’ CERB fraudsters, saying Ottawa didn’t want to ‘paralyze’ payments program with checks

May 14 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Prime Minister Trudeau defended the government’s liberal approach to handing out emergency benefits Thursday, saying Ottawa would have “paralyzed” the system and deprived millions of jobless Canadians if it had rigorously checked every application it received. Memos obtained by the National Post tell officials to approve Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments even if they […]

New memo tells staff to make CERB payment even if claimant quit job voluntarily or was fired for cause

May 14 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Among the few requirements for receiving a $2,000-a-month emergency payment from the federal government is that claimants have been put out of work by the pandemic. Being eligible for regular employment insurance (EI) or having exhausted earlier EI benefits can also qualify them. But a new memo to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) staff […]

‘Do not impose a stop pay’: Federal workers ordered to ignore cheating in CERB and EI claims

May 12 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Federal employees vetting the millions of applications for emergency and employment-insurance (EI) benefits during the pandemic have been told to ignore most potential cases of cheating, despite reports of widespread fraud. If employees detect possible abuse they should still process the payment and should not refer the file to the department’s integrity branch, says a […]

In mystery investigation of two Canadian scientists, a request for Ebola, henipavirus from the Wuhan lab

May 5 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Xiangguo Qiu was a star at the National Microbiology Laboratory, Canada’s premier disease-research facility. As the co-creator of a once-promising treatment for Ebola virus, her work earned kudos around the world. That reputation made it all the more shocking when she and her biologist husband, Keding Cheng, were escorted from the lab last July as […]

Did Huawei bring down Nortel? Corporate espionage, theft, and the parallel rise and fall of two telecom giants

Feb 20 2020 — Tom Blackwell — Jonathan Calof was on a tour of Huawei Technologies’ Shenzen, China campus not long ago when he unexpectedly came across some familiar faces. On a wall of fame for stars of the Chinese company were several former employees of Nortel, the Canadian telecommunications giant that suffered a spectacular collapse a decade ago. “These are (now) […]

Backers of Ontario Conservative candidate used leaked police records to smear party rival, new report reveals

Jan 7 2020 — Tom Blackwell — A new report from Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director serves up more startling details of the law-enforcement-aided scheme. Supporters of a Progressive Conservative candidate in the last Ontario election helped run a smear campaign against a party rival using leaked police documents, with the politician’s business partner caught on video mailing out […]

Ontario Conservatives propose conduct code for every party member, sparking concerns over freedom to speak

Dec 10 2019 — Tom Blackwell — Ontario’s governing Progressive Conservatives are considering a code of conduct for all their members, part of a quiet trend in Canadian politics that has some party activists worried about unduly restricting the rank and file. The draft code, a copy of which was obtained by the National Post, contains non-controversial bans on racism, violence and […]

Ex-ministers Baird, Rock part of delegation that warned Beijing Canadians are souring on China

Nov 14 2019 — Tom Blackwell — A Canadian delegation that included former cabinet ministers John Baird and Allan Rock seemed to make headway with top Chinese officials last week by warning that public opinion about China here has “plummeted,” said the mission’s leader. The fact that Canadians have soured on their second-largest trading partner in the last year may have been […]

Conservative candidate apologizes ‘unequivocally’ for allegedly homophobic comments on Twitter

Sep 13 2019 — Tom Blackwell — Another federal election candidate’s social-media past has come back to haunt him, prompting an abject apology for allegedly homophobic comments and calls from his main rival to resign. Conservative Arpan Khanna was scheduled to campaign Friday evening in Ontario’s Brampton North riding with Tory leader Andrew Scheer, but Friday morning was in damage-control mode. Khanna […]

MPP’s ties to China raise questions about how close Canadian politicians should get to foreign powers

Sep 6 2019 — Tom Blackwell — In July 2013, several dozen ethnic Chinese people hand-picked from various countries visited China for a government-run workshop — eight days of lectures and speeches from an array of officials. The program would strive to help them “realize the Chinese dream and the common struggle,” a vice-chair of the state’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office told […]