#FacebookCanada; #OnlineHate; #OntarioTechUniversity; #GlobalNetworkAgainstHate
Ottawa, Jul 28 (Canadian-Media): Faced with a rising tide of online hate and advertiser boycotts, Facebook Canada has decided to team up with Ontario Tech University's Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism to create what it calls the Global Network Against Hate, media reports said.
Ontario Tech University. Image credit: Twitter handle
Image credit: Twitter handle
The network is being granted $500,000 over five years by the giant tech Facebook, and is being tasked to spot emerging trends in online extremism and developing strategies, policies and tools to counter them.
The step taken is the result of warnings from experts like Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism that a wave of online hate postings in Canada and elsewhere over the coming months can be driven due to the coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming U.S. election campaign, hate that could spill over to the offline world.
"I think we're going to see an escalation rather than a decrease in this sort of activity, online and offline...I think that [U.S. President Donald] Trump has already signalled a willingness to amp things up on his end...that is going to influence and further harden the resolve of people on the far right and the COVID lockdowns are going to exacerbate the patterns that we have already seen," said Perry, CBC News reported.
Facebook's partnership with Ontario Tech was originally planned to be announced in March but it was delayed by the pandemic.
Although critics might consider $500,000 over five years too little, too late, but Perry said it would at least enable her organization's ability to monitor hate and violent extremism online.
Perry added that her centre has also received funding from the federal Department of Public Safety and the Department of National Defence.
Perry said 6,600 Canadian groups, channels, accounts and pages with right-wing extremism across seven social media platforms, which collectively reached over 11 million users had been identified by a recent interim study by her centre and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue between January 2019 and January 2020.
The most dangerous threats emerging online, said Perry, are the incel movement and so-called "accelerationist" groups like the pro-gun, anti-government Boogaloo Boys, who profess that America is headed for a second civil war and want to speed its arrival.
WECharity; #CanadaHousecommittee; #VolunteerStudentGrantProgram
Ottawa, Jul 28 (Canadian-Media): Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, WE Charity founders' appearance before a House committee on July 28 to answer questions about the partnership they'd struck with the Liberal government to administer a $900-million student grant program, would risk the reputation of the charity they started, pollsters say, media reports said.
Canada's House of Commons. Image credit: Twitter handle
Formed in 1995 by the rights advocates the Kielburgers, WE Charity soon developed relationships with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family.
With businesses and charities already being hurt due to the pandemic, any threat to a charity's reputation can result in a crisis, said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute. "This is already a tough year for charities in Canada. You don't want to be the tall poppy making headlines for the wrong reasons," she said, CBC News reported.
Trudeau family's close relationship with WE Charity came under scrutiny late last month when Trudeau granted the multi-million-dollar contract to the We Charity to administer the Canada Student Service Grant, providing eligible students with grants of up to $5,000 depending on how much time students spend doing volunteer work.
The controversy raised between WE and federal government with the revelations that Trudeau's wife Margaret was paid approximately $250,000 for speaking at 28 events, and Alexandre, Trudeau's brother, received about $32,000 for speaking at eight events raised made WE and the Liberals to part ways on July 3.
Trudeau is now the subject of an investigation by Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, as is Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
Separate inquiries are being conducted by both the House of Commons finance and ethics committees. Trudeau and his chief of staff Katie Telford will appear before the finance committee on Thursday, when their testimony will be compared to that of the Kielburgers.
Due to the pandemic, there is already a heightened attention to news being followed by many people, said David Coletto, CEO of the polling firm Abacus Data and added,
"That raises the stakes for any organization that is in the crosshairs of opposition parties looking to inflict damage on a government, particularly one that has shown, whether actual or perceived, favour or [that] plays in the same playgrounds as Liberals, as the Kielburger brothers seem to have done," said Coletto. "It means that Conservative and New Democrat and Bloc MPs are not going to feel that they need to be soft on them. And so I think the scrutiny that this controversy has already brought to the organization will only get worse, potentially, unless the story somehow dies this week and everything sort of closes up, which I do not perceive happening," CBC News reported.
#WECharityFoundation; #CanadaGovt; #CanadaStudentServiceGrantprogram
Ottawa, Jul 27 (Canadian-Media): Officials from Commons finance committee had drawn up July 27 a plan with the WE Charity Foundation to spend only a portion of the $900 million budget allocated for the Canada Student Service Grant program, media reports said.
We Charity. Image credit: Facebook page
The contribution agreement signed on June 23 between Youth Minister Bardish Chagger's office and the WE Charity Foundation of Canada said that three cohorts of potential volunteers would be paid up to $500 million in the form of grants to students.
The documents also said that while $43.53 million would have been allocated to the WE Charity Foundation for administering the program, with up to $8.75 million of that $43.53 million would have been eligible to be shared among the partnering charities and non-profit organizations that supervised the volunteers.
The committee was also shared information about the email WE Charity founder Craig Kielburger sent to Employment and Social Development Canada official Rachel Wernick on April 22, the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced publicly the creation of a volunteer grant to reward students' community service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
#JustinTrudeau, #CanadaPolitics; #WeCharity; #CanadaEthicsCommissioner
Ottawa, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have been called to resign by Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader, amid the ongoing WE Charity scandal, during a press briefing on July 24.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Facebook page
Scheer said in the press briefing that the entire WE Charity affair has been nothing short of "corruption at the highest level" and added both Trudeau and Morneau chose to use the novel coronavirus pandemic as cover for their actions.
"We are in an unprecedented crisis, we are facing a fiscal situation that is completely unprecedented and we are facing the health consequences of the virus and the economic fallout. And that is precisely why [Trudeau and Morneau] need to step aside," Scheer said during the press briefing.
Canada's Liberal government had given sole-source contract of $670-million to WE Charity to administer a government-sponsored student volunteer program.
After explicitly calling for the first time for resignation of the prime minister Trudeau to step down, Conservative Party has also called for additional criminal and lobbying probes into the relationship between the Canadian government and the WE Charity.
Although, both Trudeau and Morneau have apologized for not recusing themselves from the decision-making process, they have so far rejected the calls to resign despite revelations of their close family ties to the We Charity
Both Trudeau and Morneau said that the decision to award the contract was recommended by the public service.
However, Trudeau and Morneau are now subjects of a Conflict of Interest investigation by the Ethics Commissioner, the third ethic probe for both during their five years in office.
#Canada; #NovaScotiaTragedy; #JointReview
Ottawa, Jul 23 (Canadian-Media): It was announced July 23 that a joint review of the April 18 and 19 Nova Scotia tragedy would be conducted by Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, and Nova Scotia Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mark Furey, Govt. of Canada reports said.
Bill Blair. Image credit: Facebook page
A 51-year-old dentist, Gabriel Wortman's killing rampage lasting 13 hours and a span of more than 150 kilometres on April 18 and 19 in rural Nova Scotia took the lives of twenty-two people, torched of homes, and shot pets.
After a lengthy search, police were able to shoot and kill the man in Enfield, N.S.
“The devastating loss of life in Nova Scotia will not soon be forgotten, and all Canadians stand with Nova Scotians as they mourn and search for answers...and provide recommendations to help prevent such tragedies in the future, ” Bill Blair said in a news release.
All Canadians have been shaken by the horrific events that unfolded in Nova Scotia in April 2020 and are united in wanting answers to how and why this tragedy occurred, and how healing can take place and how such events can be prevented in the future.
A three-member independent Review Panel, chaired by Michael MacDonald and include Anne McLellan and Leanne Fitch, has been jointly appointed to conduct this review and report back on its findings and recommendations.
The panel will take into consideration the causes, context and circumstances leading to the incident as well as the response of police, and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.
The review will address a variety of issues relating to the perpetrator, police and other law enforcement agencies, as well as victims and families.
“I know the victims’ families and survivors continue to experience a level of trauma and grief that most of us cannot imagine. The Government of Nova Scotia is committed...to support and care for the families throughout this process and on the journey ahead,” said Mark Furey in the news release.
Some topics to be reviewed include gender-based and intimate-partner violence; the perpetrator’s access to firearms; police response; and police communications with the public, victims, their families, the Alert Ready Program and other law enforcement agencies.
A commitment has been made by the two ministers that all agencies and organizations under their respective jurisdiction and authorities will participate fully in this Review and ensure that the Review Panel is equipped with all it needs to fulfill its mandate.
These include, but are not limited to, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Firearms Program, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Criminal Intelligence Service and the national Alert Ready Program.
The work of the Review Panel would be guided by restorative principles making sure there is no further harm or trauma caused as well as to be attentive to the needs and impacts upon those most directly affected and harmed.
Both the interim and final report outlining findings and recommendations will be made public.
#CanadaLiberals; #WECharity; #Conservatives; #ViolationOfEthics
Ottawa, Jul 23 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau was asked by the Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre to resign after Morneau told Members of Parliament (MPs) in a Commons finance committee meeting on July 22 that he had repaid $41,000 to cover travel expenses spent by the WE organization to cover expenses of two 2017 trips his family took with the organization.
Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett said it's well known that public office holders can't accept free travel from a third party and added it was an act of "extreme arrogance" for Morneau to cut a cheque to cover the expenses on July 22 when he was set to testify before the committee on the WE grants scandal.
"Minister, you've lost the moral authority to hold your office," said Barrett
Barrett had sent a letter to the ethics commissioner Mario Dion, asking for another probe of Morneau after the minister revealed on July 22 that WE Charity covered $41,000 in travel costs for him and his family in 2017.
He said most Canadians would notice if they hadn't been billed for tens of thousands of dollars worth of travel to Kenya and Ecuador.
"I expected and always had intended to pay the full cost of these trips, and it was my responsibility to make sure that was done," Morneau told MPs on the committee on July 22. "Not doing so, even unknowingly, is not appropriate. I want to apologize for this error on my part."
Morneau also said that in support of charitable organization's work with students in Canada and for COVID-19 relief in Kenya, respectively, his family has made two donations totalling $100,000 to the We Charity.
"The work that WE and organizations like them do is important to me," Morneau said.
Liberal government's decision to give sole responsibility for the multi-million-dollar contract to administer the summer student grants program to WE Charity has been widely criticized after it became known that the organization has paid Trudeau's mother and brother hundreds of thousands of dollars for their speeches, and that Morneau's daughter is employed by WE's travel division.
Both Morneau and Trudeau are being investigated by the federal ethics watchdog for possible violations of conflict of interest rules.
Poilievre said yesterday that it is hard for the Canadians to believe that Morneau, being cabinet minister, forbidden from accepting such a benefit, didn't know about thousands of dollars of travel expenses the organization covered.
#Ottawa, #JuliePayette; ##ToxicOfficeAtmosphere
Ottawa, Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Multiple sources told CBC News of a toxic atmosphere of harassment & verbal abuse created by Canada's Governor General Julie Payette's at Rideau Hall, the official residence of Payette, media reports said.
Julie Payette. Image credit: Twitter handle
The sources said that they were abused or bullied to the point which left some in tears, while others have left the office altogether.
According to multiple sources, Payette's behaviour had caused four members of her communications team to depart during the pandemic period alone, while a fifth person is leaving this week and another two have taken leaves of absence.
About a dozen sources with direct knowledge of the office during Payette's mandate were contacted by CBC News. These sources agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they feared they could lose their jobs or their careers could suffer.
While many of the sources are still in the public service, others are former Rideau Hall employees.
The employee said there was always a level of criticism and in almost every meeting some one was always bullied.
The employees also complained that besides Payette, her long-term friend Assunta Di Lorenzo, secretary to Payette also bullied the staff.
"The way [Di Lorenzo] spoke to people was really harsh," said a former employee. "It was like a punch every time she spoke to someone. She wasn't a team player. She gets over-involved and tries to do everyone's jobs for them but doesn't know what she's doing."
"They will bully you until you either agree or leave," said a government source. "It's bullying and harassment at its worst," CBC News reported.
The allegations of workplace abuse by the employees at Rideau Hall had been denied by the office of Julie Payette.
“We deeply regret this reporting, which has no basis in the reality of working at the OSGG (Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General), and obscures the important work done by our dedicated staff in honouring, representing, and showcasing Canadians,” Payette’s press secretary Ashlee Smith said in a statement Tuesday, Global News reported.
Ontario; LongTermCareHomes; #NewRegulations; #Development
Ottawa, Jul 16 (Canadian-Media): An investment of $1.75 billion over the next five years was announced July 15 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford for the development of Long Term Care Homes, details of which were provided jointly by Ford, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, and Ontario Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton in the news conference.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Video grab
Ford said that Ontario had inherited 15 years of underinvestment in long-term care with a long waitlist of seniors and this funding would be used ensure our most vulnerable citizens can live in modern surroundings.
"That's why our new funding model will not only encourage new beds to be built faster, but also upgrade existing older homes to meet high quality design standards, with features like air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms. Our seniors deserve nothing less," said Ford.
Elliot said that the new build long-term care homes would be equipped with modern standards according to provincial health standards.
Fullerton said that newly designed model, a signature element of our government's plan to address capacity in long-term care had been neglected for years would and would reduce the waiting as well as create jobs and contribute to our economic recovery.
Nearly 78,000 Ontario residents currently live in 626 long-term care homes across the province.
With more 38,000 people currently on the waitlist, the new long-term care home construction has not kept pace.
#Manitoba; #CERB; #PhasedReductionOfBenefit
Manitoba, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister during his daily briefings said that the federal government should redesign the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) so it does not penalize Canadians wanting to return to work.
Brian Pallister. Image credit: Twitter handle
“CERB is increasingly acting as a work disincentive to some Canadians, as it penalizes them financially for returning to work full time,” said Pallister in a news release. “Businesses need workers as they restart. Changing CERB so returning workers can keep some of this benefit, rather than lose it all at once, would help both businesses and workers.”
In the news release, Pallister argued that the current CERB rules disqualify workers who earn more than $1,000 a month and added the the federal government should consider a phased reduction of the benefit as workers return to their previous or new jobs.
Pallister has written to all premiers urging them encourage the federal government to make changes to the CERB to remove disincentives to work as well as encourage Canadians to transition back to their jobs with the support of an expanded Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
Last week the premier met with representatives of Canada’s major business organizations and leading economic and financial think tanks, as well as the parliamentary budget officer, to solicit ideas and input as Manitoba moves to restart its economy and plan for a strong economic recovery and job creation.
Two broad issues of the meetings included Canada’s current and forecast economic and financial situation, including the state of business confidence and federal response, as well as Manitoba’s fiscal and economic situation including Manitoba’s COVID response and recovery initiatives, the premier noted.
The point that emerged from the meeting was that all governments, particularly the federal government, must begin to change their focus to economic growth and recovery so Canadians have jobs.
Ottawa, Jul 13 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Opposition Conservatives under the leadership of Andrew Scheer are demanding that Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testify before the House of Commons finance committee as it prepares to study how much the government spent in awarding a now-cancelled contract to the WE Charity, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Official site
Canada's Liberal government under the leadership of Trudeau has been on fire for its decision to award a $19.5 million sole-sourced contract to WE Charity, with family ties with Trudeau and his family.
The partnership between the Liberal government and WE, that would have seen the organization administer more than $900 million for student work this summer under the Canada student service grant (CSSG), had been terminated nearly 2 weeks ago.
During his Press conference on July 12, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre argued that while a program for job summer students had been running in Canada for the past 20 years, what led Trudeau to "outsource the pre-existing program to a single organization without competition."
Pierre Poilievre. Image credit: Twitter handle.
Justin was not able to rescue himself because "he was the originator of the site, he created it in the first place."
"He claims Public Service told him there was no other program. Of course that is not only untrue, it is impossible...He needs to explain."
He needs to answer the questions if it was WE Charity suggested to Trudeau to get into partnership, or the idea was his own, or his family members, who were paid over three hundred thousand dollars by WE Charity, had suggested this program.
"I will be adding Justin Trudeau's name to the list of witnesses. I will be calling on him to appear and testify under oath after being sworn in," said Poilievre.
"Normally, prime ministers don't appear before parliamentary committees, but these are not normal times," Poilievre said June 12 in a Press conference.
Poilievre said he would also be adding Finance Minister Bill Morneau to the witness list, given that both he and Trudeau have ties to the WE organization and did not recuse themselves from cabinet discussions about the contract.
Poilievre said if Trudeau is not willing or unable to testify, a motion would be presented by his party which would require the support of other opposition parties.
Although Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh declined to answer whether it would back such a motion, but was reported to tell CBC News that the party believes in "getting to the bottom of this, and the more answers we get (including from Trudeau and Morneau), the quicker we can get those answers for the Canadian public."