Category: Federal Politics

Post-budget advice to feds: Show us the health care money

There was a lot packed into the 740 page near $500-billion federal budget tabled last Monday. Somebody counted 230 new spending proposals, the largest of which is the $30-billion over five years for childcare. That’s an important, long-overdue commitment but it wasn’t the most noteworthy thing about the budget. The big story is what’s missing from the longest, most postponed and verbose budget in Canada’s history. Notable in their absence were increased health transfers to the provinces and national pharmacare, while elder care was barely in evidence. To that big three of health care can be added proposals that...

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Vaccine nationalism is driving federal politics

In a phenomenon normally limited to Olympic years, Canadians and their news media have lately been doing a lot of scoreboard watching. But they are not scanning for gold, silver and bronze medals, it’s vaccination rates they seek. As we have been hearing for many weeks, the rollout of the COVID-19 immunization campaign has been slow, the result mainly of interruptions in vaccine supply from European manufacturers. A bunch of other countries are vaccinating at a faster rate and, according to one media-financed poll, Canadians are at least somewhat angry about it – 71 per cent of them according...

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CEWS update: More misses from a poorly targeted program

Much high dudgeon has been displayed about travelling during the pandemic. Public backlash against the practice took down a dozen or so politicians, and then the finger pointing moved in a different direction. The news hounds uncovered yet another loophole in the federal government’s pandemic relief program, one that would allow returning travellers to claim $500 a week while quarantining for 14 days following forbidden getaways. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Employment were quick to say that was not what the benefit was for, but were unclear about how they would put a stop to the practice....

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A year in review: 2000 and its enduring legacy

This is the time of year when media people are moved to do the year-in-review thing. Some may even evoke Janus, the Roman god of two faces, one turned toward the past, the other looking to the future. The pandemic has complicated that convention. The virus, as we have discovered, does not respect borders or political ideology. We can hardly expect it to pay attention to the Christian calendar. Because the COVID scourge is far from over, a retrospective on 2020 would be like a two-act play ending at intermission or a subject without a predicate. But in the...

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CEWS blues: Let them eat cake – or play golf

Nearly half a billion to Air Canada and $120 million to Imperial Oil from CEWS received scant attention. And paying out dividends by long-term care operators while their residents were dying of COVID-19 didn’t quite elevate to the level of a political foofaraw. But maybe the circa-million dollar wage subsidy windfall for the Royal Ottawa Golf Club will do it. Last week, as the Prime Minister was trying with soothing words to un-ruin the holiday season for 441,000 audit-exposed recipients of the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB), it was revealed that thanks to CEWS – the Canada Emergency Wage...

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Positive post-pandemic recovery needs a fiscal plan

Back near the end of World War II, federal cabinet heavyweight C.D. Howe found himself in hot water when he brushed off complaints about overspending on the war with a remark that the opposition twisted into “What’s a Million?” The phrase, allegedly uttered during House of Commons debate, became synonymous with Liberal government arrogance and fiscal imprudence. Seventy-five years on the dollar figure was inflated several orders of magnitude as the House spent all of 4.5 hours last Monday debating a Liberal bill that, according to the Opposition Conservatives, will add $57 billion (that’s nine zeroes) to the federal...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

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