Roundup: Less accessible EI appeals

Amidst all of the changes to the EI system, another of the items tucked away in the omnibus budget bill is the scrapping of the two current EI review boards. While the current system is free and as different levels of appeal, the plan calls for a much smaller board to hear EI appeals, along with CPP and OAS claimants. Oh, and it’s a more technical process that’s likely going to need people to hire lawyers, thus making far more inaccessible than the current system. Diane Finley and her people claim “efficiency” and “less duplication,” while the people who work with the system currently say that it’s not actually inefficient. Oh, and about those changes to the EI system, Newfoundland and Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale is not happy – especially about the lack of consultation with the decision, not that this should come as a great shock.

Lockheed Martin says that Canadian companies will lose out on future contracts if we don’t go ahead with the F-35 purchase – and that all indications on their end are that the government is still committed to them, despite this new secretariat and a Seven-Step Action Plan™.

What’s that? The Conservatives ignored the advice of experts when they spurned Quebec and declared Calgary a “cultural capital” and gave it a bunch of funding. You don’t say! But James Moore, the heritage minister, says he’s cancelling the programme at the end of the year because he’s tired of always being attacked.

Our deficit this year has hit $9 billion already. Meanwhile, the RCMP is closing forensic labs in Halifax, Winnipeg and Regina to save money, and we’re closing our consulate in Buffalo – while simultaneously ending the need for it by allowing online visa renewals and such, when people used to have to leave the country to do them and Buffalo was a convenient place to do the paperwork.

The Conservatives are also raising the threshold for an Industry Canada review of a foreign takeover to $1 billion from the previous $330 million. Still no clarification on the “net benefit” test however, and the NDP are still using the wrong example of the Electromotive plant as a foreign takeover that cost jobs (even though it was not an actual foreign takeover and wouldn’t have been reviewable under the Act regardless).

It seems that another one of the bits stuffed into the omnibus budget bill is a repeal of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act.

Here’s a look at how facts gave way to feelings in political discourse, and the need for a “slow politics” movement.

Susan Delacourt gets former Governors-General and Prime Ministers to share their recollections of dealing with Her Majesty the Queen – and it’s an entirely delightful tale.

And Don Martin offers some survival tips for Thomas Mulcair’s upcoming trip to Alberta.