Provinces Meet, Stats Canada Controversy, & The Axe Man

Canadian News Roundup 31/10/2018

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Big moves being made by provinces and even more controversy from the Federal government. From a government initiate data breach to intergovernmental fights here is the Canadian News Roundup

From Tax Man To Axe Man

Premier Doug Ford in Ontario, in a move very fitting of Halloween, has been on a slashing spree as of late. Keeping with his lofty campaign promise, it seems there are few areas where he hasn’t set his eyes to find ways to reduce governmental expenditures. The more news worthy cuts have been the cancellation of funding for universities (which has caused some major ire with previous proponents) and having brought about the demise of the $377 Millon not-for-profit Green Ontario Fund.

His cuts don’t stop there though. He’s gone as far as canceling school repairs, several special committees, rebate programs, the previous pharmacare program that granted prescriptions to youth under 25, and interprovincial travel will be reduced to an absolute minimum for both himself and all staff. He’s even canceled food and drink during government meetings, and axed 24 government phone lines.

To many reading this you may either be mad that a particular program had been cut or happy to see such multidimensional reductions in government spending. In either case, the real worth of these moves remains questionable until we see an improvement for the citizens of the province rather than

Provinces Meeting Considered Partisan?

The Premiers of both Ontario and Saskatchewan met recently to discuss removing trade barriers between their provinces. Normally this would be viewed as a positive meeting by any observers as the results would help reduce restrictions on trade internally and by proxy boost the economies of both provinces. The Federal government views this a little differently.

The Federal Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc came out swinging against their meeting saying “it was political and it was partisan.” This comes after LeBlanc had sent out a notice for premiers to meet to discuss interprovincial trade and the USMCA. Almost all provinces and Territories were in attendance of this meeting, however, both Saskatchewan and Ontario elected to pass on the gathering and conduct their own meeting sans the feds.

The reason for the side meeting, according to Ford, was for efficiency. While hours were spent discussing things as minute as first aid kits, the Premier said “We should be doing something a little more productive. We’ll get this done and other provinces can join.” LeBlanc believes the two premiers are simply being partisan. This also comes after these two provinces, along with others, stated they would be opting out of the federal carbon tax plans. In the end, though, the hope should be that the most effective route leading to more free trade will be chosen; intentions for it aside.

Your Info Is Being Stolen…By Stats Canada?

Global News recently reported on a very worrying move by Statistics Canada wherein they are attacking your digital freedoms. This may sound out of proportion, but that is effectively the move. Stats Canada has approached nine major banks asking for them to release the complete financial records of over 500,000 Canadians as the start of a larger ongoing data collection project, and to do so without your knowledge or consent. Under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Stats Canada does indeed have the legal right to collect this information and has assured Canadians that the information, once collected, will remain anonymous.

This isn’t all that comforting. During Question period this past Monday, the opposition grilled PM Trudeau on the matter decrying the move as massively invasive and as overreach. The PM, in a completely unsurprising move, defended the initiative stating that moves like this are necessary because the previous Conservative government removed the long form census stating “What that led to was more policy based on ideology and less policy based on evidence like we are doing now. Their attacks on data and information continue.” In addition, he stated “High quality and timely data are critical to ensuring that government programs remain relevant and effective for Canadians.”

One saving grace is that, for the time being at least, participation by the banks is not compulsatory. The Canadian Bankers Association has come out stating that no information has been handed over to Stats Canada as of yet but hasn’t specifically spoken against the move. Should the move go through, Stats Canada will collect the complete financial information from a different batch of Canadians every year, meaning their database will eventually encompass all Canadians as it grows. If that happens I for one will simply switch back to cash.

You can read more from Killian Hobbs on Think Liberty here.

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