Politics & Policy

Feds optimizing real estate

The coronavirus-driven shift to remote and hybrid work for federal employees has accelerated a government plan to reduce its physical footprint across Canada. “There were opportunities even before the pandemic,” says Paul Thompson, Deputy Minister of Public Services & Procurement Canada, which manages some 6.2 million square metres of office space, more than half in the national capital region. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta government majority reduced

The May 29 general election in Alberta has resulted in a reduced United Conservative majority government for Premier Danielle Smith, who immediately renewed her commitment to confronting the federal government on a range of issues. The UCP was leading or elected in 49 ridings today compared with 60 at dissolution of the legislature while the New Democratic Party under Rachel Notley saw its seats increase to 38 from 23. [node:read-more:link]

More airline labour turbulence?

The union representing Air Canada’s more than 4,000 pilots has pulled out of a 10-year deal which has given them annual pay increases of 2% over the first nine years. It sets the stage for “full bargaining this summer,” the union says. Canadian airline pilots have long complained they are paid less than their U.S. counterparts. [node:read-more:link]

Pension investment returns improved

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which manages the primary retirement program for working Canadians, has reported a 1.3% return in the 2022-2023 fiscal year compared with the previous year’s 0.2%. Gains in private investment offset weak performance by stocks and bonds. [node:read-more:link]

China targets Vancouver MP

Vancouver NDP MP Jenny Kwan says she has been told by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that she is being targetted by the Chinese government. The Hong Kong-born MP was told May 26 that she was singled out during her 2019 re-election campaign and that she remains target because of her criticism of Beijing. [node:read-more:link]

Singh wants Johnston to “step aside”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today that he will introduce a motion in the House of Commons May 30 to ask for the government’s special rapporteur on foreign interference in Canadian politics to “step aside” from further involvement. “I've been very clear in not attacking Mr. Johnston personally,” he said, adding that “the appearance of bias is so high that it erodes the work that special rapporteur can do.” [node:read-more:link]

Erdogan back in power

Incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was returned to power for five years May 28 in a runoff election which gave him just over 52% of the votes. His chief opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, called it “the most unfair election in recent years”, saying that Erdogan’s party had mobilized state resources against him. [node:read-more:link]

New RCMP Commissioner’s priorities

Having officially assumed command of the RCMP after serving in an acting capacity since March, the new Commissioner, Michael Duheme, said May 25 that “change and growth” are his priorities for the beleaguered federal force, which has approximately 19,000 uniformed officers and 11,000 civilian staff. “My first priority […] is recruitment,” he said, addressing a concern raised by an oversight board earlier several weeks ago. [node:read-more:link]

Rapporteur summoned to committee

Opposition MPs on a parliamentary committee have called for former Governor-General David Johnston, the government’s rapporteur on foreign interference, to testify by June 6. “It's essential that we do hear from him,” a Conservative committee member said May 25. “We want to take a closer look at the conclusions that he has.” Johnston had already offered to appear before a committee. [node:read-more:link]

Cabinet confidentiality being relaxed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has agreed to waive cabinet confidence rules for the National Security & Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and the National Security & Intelligence Review Agency. They are to be given legal access to confidential elements of the report on foreign interference in Canada. [node:read-more:link]

France bans short-haul flights

Despite airline industry questions about its legality under European Union rules, France has banned domestic short-haul flights over distances which can be serviced by rail in under two and a half hours. The measure is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [node:read-more:link]

China and Russia cement ties

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said today that western “pressure” was taking his country’s relationship with China to an “unprecedented high.” He was speaking in Beijing as officials signed agreements on trade and sports cooperation. After talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, he said the relationship is “characterised by mutual respect of each other’s interests, the desire to jointly respond to challenges […] and the pattern of sensational pressure from the collective West.” [node:read-more:link]

Opposition leaders wilfully blind?

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has joined Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre in rejecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's invitation to receive security clearances to review the confidential annex of special rapporteur David Johnston's report on foreign meddling in Canada. “It’s a trap,” Blanchette said May 23, echoing an accusation that the PM was trying to muzzle the opposition by imposing secrecy rules on what they might say afterward. [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity found lacking

A 2021 ransomware attack on Newfoundland & Labrador’s health-care IT systems was “almost an inevitability,” says Sean Murray, research director for the province’s information and privacy commissioner. “Sometimes mistakes happen and accidents happen (but) in our estimation, that is not what happened,” he said today. “It was pretty clear that we did not have in this province appropriate cybersecurity measures in place […] and that was the major contributor.” [node:read-more:link]

MP wants back in Liberal caucus

Toronto MP Han Dong, who left the Liberal caucus in March to sit as an Independent, said today that he wants back in after the government’s special rapporteur on foreign meddling found that allegations against him were untrue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Dong, who was born in China but moved to Canada with his family at the age of 13, “chose to step away” to clear his name and rejoining was his “choice.” [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - Politics & Policy