Wednesday, November 14, 2018


   The Liberals have allocated less than half of the budget spending from a controversial $7-billion fund that outraged opposition MPs, who argued it fundamentally undermined how Parliament scrutinizes government spending. They say the pace of the roll-out shows the revamped system didn’t justify the lost oversight.
   The government transferred $2.89-billion, or 41 per cent, to departments since the $7.04-billion fund passed the House in June as part a process to reform the main spending estimates to get them aligned with the budget for the first time. Vote 40 created a central fund for the Treasury Board to manage programs identified in the budget that weren’t yet fleshed out, but given the amount spent to date critics say there’s no reason the government couldn’t have asked for the bulk of funding the traditional way: through supplementary estimates. The first of two this year were tabled Oct. 24.
   “What that number shows is that there really wasn’t any good reason to ask Parliament to authorize that spending because those projects aren’t ready to go,” said NDP MP Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona, Man.).


  British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she won her Cabinet’s backing for a draft divorce deal with the European Union after a “long, detailed and impassioned” marathon meeting Wednesday.
  The breakthrough came as pro-Brexit lawmakers raged against a draft agreement they said would make the U.K. subservient to the bloc indefinitely.
   May’s Cabinet debated whether to support the deal after negotiators from Britain and the European Union broke a months-long logjam and reached agreement on divorce terms.


  The supply of oil going to Quebec refineries has undergone a dramatic transformation in less than six years.
   While the province got most of its oil from overseas in 2012, the situation had flipped by 2017, with most of the supply now coming from North American producers. On top of that, Western Canada is now the Central Canadian province's top source of crude.
    The shift away from overseas imports is partly due to a 2015 reversal in the direction oil is delivered through Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline, according to a new analysis by the National Bank of Canada. The analysis, first reported by Radio-Canada, also attributed the shift to increased production of U.S. shale oil.
  For those of you that want to see pipeline maps, have at 'er.


  Three used icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard will cost 30 per cent more than the federal government previously said — an increase that officials have blamed on tariffs and fees, but one expert says is proof of a lack of planning.
   In August, the government gave the cost of the three icebreakers as $610 million when it announced its plan to buy them from Quebec-based Davie Shipyard without a competition to temporarily augment the coast guard's aging fleet.
  The additional $217 million is needed to cover tariffs for importing the Norwegian-made ships as well as brokerage fees, engineering work and other costs to get them up and running, said coast-guard spokesman Benoit Mayrand.
   For its part, Davie welcomed news of the additional funds on Tuesday.
Sans aucun doute.


   The Ontario government is raising the number of seats in the legislature required to achieve official party status, just months after the provincial election that saw the Liberals slip below the current threshold.
  Progressive Conservative House Leader Todd Smith said Tuesday the new minimum — to be laid out in the fall economic statement later this week — will be 10 per cent of the house, or 12 seats, up from eight.
  "When we saw the legislature shrink in size in 1999, the number of seats needed for official party status shrunk as well. We saw the size of the legislature increase from 107 seats to 124 seats for the last election and the number didn't change, so what we're doing is making it clear to all involved that 10 per cent is the number from here on out," he said.
   "It'll take the politics out of this."


  Just a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out in Paris in support of a free press — an institution he said needs to be "free-thinking, independent, rigorous, robust, respected" — Canada's finance minister gave a key speech in Beijing behind closed doors.
   Journalists were barred from listening to Finance Minister Bill Morneau's speech Monday because "the Chinese officials speaking at the dinner have asked that it not be open to media," said Sarah Kutulakos, executive director of the Canada China Business Council (CCBC), the host organization for the event.


    A Newfoundland farmer is on the lookout for an escaped cow that hopped his farm’s fence last Thursday.
    He is asking the public not to approach the 450-kilogram black cow as the search continues.
  “She’s not a little pup or anything, she’s a fairly big animal,” Scott said. One man was hurt in a tussle with Coco on Saturday afternoon as he tried to catch her.