National Newswatch

The pull and push of the centre that haunts the public service

Jan 24 2023 — Michael Wernick — The federal public sector has been shaped by two easily identifiable democratic forces – the views of the people we elect about the role of the state in society and the economy as well as the federal government’s role within the federation. Federal institutions, direct programs and transfers to other levels of government have waxed […]

The consequences of falling behind our allies on combatting terrorist financing

Jan 17 2023 — Khaled Al-Qazzaz — Recent allegations that the Canada Revenue Agency is unfairly auditing Muslim-led charities for possible ties to terrorist financing have stirred outrage. For years, Muslim charities have witnessed and experienced aggressive and intimidating audits, which have had a chilling effect on the community. The situation has been exacerbated by recent Globe and Mail articles alleging that […]

After years of neglect, we’ve lost a key element of federal-provincial negotiation

Jan 10 2023 — Michael Kaczorowski — The age old question of “Whither Canada?” seems particularly apt at a time when tensions between the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial administrations appear at such a low point, made worse by an undercurrent of personal animosity. The situation cries out not only for genuine leadership but a re-examination of the machinery of […]

Please, Harry, Please…Join the GOP

Jan 9 2023 — Lisa Van Dusen — Is that tenth circle of hell whose belated appendage to Dante’s Inferno was required by the emergence of so many unprecedented variations on the themes of the first nine since the advent of 21st-century technological innovation the one where you wake up one day cursed to produce a steady clickbait feed of amplified banalities, or […]

To reform Employment Insurance, Ottawa must change the way it is financed

Dec 21 2022 — Ricardo Chejfec and Rachel Samson — After two years of cross-country consultations, the federal government has a lengthy wish list of reforms to the employment insurance (EI) program to consider. Depending on which options it selects, annual costs could rise between $5 billion and $15 billion on top of the roughly $29 billion average projected between 2023 and 2029. Without changing […]

Standing up to Ottawa: Western alienation shifts into Prairie constitutional challenges

Dec 14 2022 — Lisa Young and Loleen Berdahl — Saskatchewan and Alberta are provincial twins, created by the federal government on the same day in 1905. In the ensuing 117 years, there has been a persistent sense of alienation from the federal government and Central Canada. The latest twist in this long story of western alienation is evident in recently introduced legislation in each […]

The National Capital Commission’s impossible contract for a new HQ

Dec 9 2022 — — The National Capital Commission (NCC) is on the brink of an exciting project that will present an opportunity to conserve and restore an excellent work of modern architecture. The NCC’s move to new headquarters at 80 Elgin St., a prime site in downtown Ottawa, could create a climate-responsive space for staff and the public to […]

Back-to-office order for public servants expected soon

Dec 8 2022 — Kathryn May — Treasury Board is expected to issue a mandate to require all federal public servants to go back to the office for a set number of days every week. Several senior bureaucrats in different departments who aren’t authorized to speak publicly expect Treasury Board to introduce a new order that would set the number of days […]

Canada needs a royal commission to fix problems with the federal public service

Dec 6 2022 — Kathryn May — Canada’s public service needs to be fixed. It’s growing like gangbusters, faces relentless attack, is losing the confidence of politicians, and struggles to keep up in a changing world because it is using decades-old policies and processes, says a leading expert. Donald Savoie, Canada’s pre-eminent scholar and expert on public administration, is calling for a […]

Troubling trends in Canadian democracy

Dec 2 2022 — Feo Snagovsky — As the rebranded Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act was tabled recently, many observers were keenly watching whether it would keep what many observers see as its more blatantly unconstitutional provisions. Not only did it keep them by arguing Alberta could refuse to enforce federal laws, it doubled down: under its provisions, cabinet would […]

Don’t give more powers to CSE until it submits to effective review

Nov 29 2022 — Christopher Parsons — The federal government plans to provide further cybersecurity powers to the agency responsible for collecting foreign intelligence and providing cybersecurity services, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). These powers are meant to enable the CSE to better understand and subsequently mitigate threats directed towards Canada’s critical infrastructure providers. On its face, that may sound like a […]

Public service will swell to 409,000 in five years, PBO says

Nov 22 2022 — Kathryn May — The seven-year hiring spree in Canada’s public service will continue with billions of dollars in additional spending that will push the size of the workforce to about 409,000 jobs within five years, says the parliamentary budget officer. Treasury Board President Mona Fortier tabled the government’s latest spending plans – known as supplementary estimates (B) – […]