THE GOVERNMENT LOSES ANOTHER COURT CASE – GUESS WHO IS PAYING FOR THE GOVERNMENT LAWYERS.
he Federal Court ordered Guy Dufort to step aside today as the arbitrator in the Canada Post dispute and directed Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to pick someone else.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers had applied to the court for a judicial review of Dufort’s appointment, arguing there were reasonable grounds of bias. Now Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer has agreed and granted the review.
ATTACKS ON WORKERS AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS
It has become clear that the federal government, supported by a number of employer organizations, has a plan for transforming Canada’s labour market in ways that will profoundly hurt Canadians.
It’s a four-prong strategy which includes the dramatic expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the erosion of Employment Insurance, raising the country’s retirement age, as well as a systematic effort to undermine the ability of unions to stand up for the rights of working people and improve their standard of living.
A federal department is looking for consultants to evaluate how much it spends to provide Employment Insurance, Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan services to Canadians.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, which runs Service Canada and manages the programs that get social services to Canadians, has posted a notice of procurement on a government contracting website seeking an evaluation of the programs’ “cost-effectiveness.”
ATTACKS ON SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Buried within the more than 400 pages of this spring’s federal omnibus budget bill is an invitation for resource companies to open a new frontier in Canadian oil: the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, which is responsible for evaluating Corridor’s proposal by July 2013, will have no way of measuring the nature or extent of the environmental risks. The budget rescinded the requirement for environmental assessments of exploratory drilling and crippled the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research, the federal agency best equipped to deliver such assessments.
Environment Minister Peter Kent’s department tried to minimize Canadian media coverage of its contribution to a major international scientific assessment report that highlighted evidence linking human activity to extreme weather events, according to a newly released federal memorandum obtained by Postmedia News.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May says Stephen Harper has done an “about-face” on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. She is overly optimistic. The federal government is still pushing for a pipeline to carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to the British Columbia coast. It has still rigged the deck to make sure this pipeline will get regulatory approval. And it is still using its tax department to harass environmentalists critical of the scheme.
DESTROYING MONITORING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The Conservative government’s decision to abolish the CSIS inspector general’s office is a “huge loss” to the important task of keeping an eye on Canada’s spy service, says the woman who held the job for the last eight years.
The Harper government has yet to hire an independent auditor to crunch the numbers on the F-35 deal, more than two months after its self-imposed deadline to clean up the stealth fighter fiasco.
The Conservative government approved last month the issuing of a request to aerospace firms to provide details about the types of drones now available. Companies have until Sept. 28 to provide the information. In its request to the industry, the government pointed out the need for the unmanned aircraft to operate in the Arctic. The aircraft should also be able to carry precision-guided munitions, the government said.
The report indicated that the complaints centred on Supt. Bruno Saccomani, the man in charge of the security detail, and that some agents were so anxious in his presence that they were unable to concentrate.
The Conservative government plans to scrap a program designed to safeguard federal office towers and major public buildings on aboriginal reserves. Leaked documents obtained by the Citizen show the government will dismantle the national Fire Protection Program by March 31, 2014.
Jack Almond, a retired fire inspector who worked for the federal government for 16 years, said he doesn’t think private inspectors will be able to hold departments to account for safety failings. Government inspectors, he said, were able to work within the bureaucracy to bring pressure to bear, but private inspectors will not have that power.