• Disability benefits dogged by arduous, outdated paperwork, auditor general finds

    Canadians with terminal illnesses are waiting too long for disability pension benefits from the federal government, and those with grave conditions are being snowed under with paperwork… 20 years after vowing to assess how legislation and programs affect men and women, the federal government had made limited progress… gender-based analyses were not always complete or consistent across departments.

  • Take pride that Parliament reflects the face of Canada

    The 45 foreign-born MPs come from everywhere: 16 from Asia, 10 from Europe, eight from the Middle East, six from the Americas, five from Africa.Our Parliament is notably more aligned with its population than are the legislatures of other countries with high immigration rates… the 42nd Parliament is… one more significant, if incremental, step in a long move toward a national legislature that represents the identities, experiences and perspectives of all Canadians.

  • Public Servants ‘blow the whistle’ on tax system shortfalls

    “The picture that emerged was of an organization struggling to carry out its function in the face of government mismanagement. This includes major budget cuts, a poorly conceived restructuring effort, and targeting those who make tax filing mistakes rather than prioritizing big time tax cheats,”… politicians and lobbyists influence the agency’s operations, corporations successfully lobby to avoid prosecution, and there allegedly is political interference in audits to stop investigations.

  • Federal cabinet secrecy is being misused

    … government departments and agencies invoked cabinet secrecy more than 3,100 times in 2013-14, in response to requests for disclosure of federal records under the Access to Information Act. This represents a 49-per-cent jump in confidentiality claims over the previous year, which itself saw a 15-per-cent jump from the year before that… Legault has several recommendations for boosting accountability by giving the Access to Information Act more teeth

  • Hot!

    Canada finally has a minister of social justice

    The new prime minister’s message was clear: Supporting families – lifting them out of poverty, helping them find affordable housing, getting them into the workforce and improving their children’s life chances – is a stand-alone job, one that remains at the top of his agenda… Duclos founded the Poverty and Economic Policy Research Network. He served as a page in the House of Commons under Pierre Trudeau and joined Canada World Youth, an international organization than trains volunteers 15-to-35 to be community workers at home and abroad.

  • Anti-terror bill not in keeping with Canada’s international obligations: U.N.

    The government should consider rewriting the law to ensure it complies, impose better safeguards so information-sharing doesn’t lead to human rights abuses and put in place oversight mechanisms for security and intelligence agencies… The report also details concerns about the pay gap between men and women, violence against women, prison conditions, the detention of immigrants and the ongoing investigation by the Canada Revenue Agency of the political activities of charities.

  • We have the form of a parliamentary democracy, but not the substance

    Members of Parliament, it is by now well established, have no real role or responsibility but to stand up and sit down when told… Collectively, [they] have very little ability to hold governments to account. They can’t get their questions answered, can’t get the documents they demand, can’t trust the figures in them when they do. Debates are now routinely cut off by a vote of “time allocation.” Committees increasingly meet behind closed doors, which is perhaps just as well, since their public hearings have become open farces.

  • Finance department assailed by AG for lack of tax monitoring

    Finance does provide an annual Tax Expenditures and Evaluations report but the auditor said it falls short of information supplied in such other countries as Australia and France, where the future cost of expenditures, the administrative expense and the number of beneficiaries are included. There is no requirement to table the report in the House of Commons… As worrying as the lack of parliamentary oversight is the lack of systemic evaluation of particular tax credits.

  • Hot!

    We haven’t forgotten the long-form census

    The absence of a mandatory long-form census creates growing and troubling evidence-free zones. It allows ideologues of all stripes free reign to define problems and solutions without a clear grasp of the nature of the challenges facing the country, or the likely impact of a range of possible policy options on diverse Canadians. It’s like driving blindfolded, and it mustn’t continue. The last long-form census was undertaken in 2006.

  • Hot!

    Stephen Harper and restoring faith in our democracy

    Since he became prime minister in 2006, Harper has displayed a stunning disrespect for democracy in Canada, either approving or turning a blind eye to decisions that have undermined our democratic traditions and institutions and our faith in democracy. Worse, this attitude has deepened since the 2011 federal election when Harper and his Conservatives won a majority government… voters can let Harper and other politicians know they they’ve had enough.