All posts in category In the News

Big gap between Liberal rhetoric and action on veterans issues

By Sean Bruyea

Veterans and Canadians better stop holding their breath. Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr is way behind schedule and doesn’t have the oomph to fulfill his mandate letter. Ultimately, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal government will be charged and condemned for this bungling of veterans’ issues.

When broken down, Minister Hehr’s mandate letter listed 23 or so priority promises. Of those, one year into the mandate, only two have been fully implemented and another partially.

Injured veterans are in the process of receiving income-loss payments increased from 75 to 90 per cent of military salary. Also, the annual cap at two per cent has been removed, allowing the annual income to keep pace with the consumer price index. As for the partially fulfilled promises: the first of nine Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) district offices has opened with a lengthy timetable for the remaining eight.

There is little excuse for delay for most other promises. It costs little to “end the time limit for surviving spouses to apply for vocational rehabilitation and assistance services.” Some cost more but are straightforward such as “increase the veteran survivor’s pension from 50 to 70 per cent.” Considering just more than 53,000 “survivors” currently collect pensions and approximately 3,000 sadly pass away each year, time is of the essence.… Read the rest

Birkenfeld believes there’s at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada

By Allan Cutler

For the past four years, I have been attempting to get Bradley Birkenfeld to come to Canada and assist the Canadian government by testifying and providing valuable documentation regarding the illegal off-shore industry. Birkenfeld believes that there is at least $1-billion in federal unpaid taxes in Canada.

Birkenfeld was an American banker working in Switzerland. As a whistleblower, he exposed the largest and longest running tax fraud by Americans using off-shore accounts. The unprecedented results were shocking and ultimately he received an award of $104-million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since more than $5-billion of unpaid taxes were recovered. In keeping with the fine traditions of the U.S.A., the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted him (and only him) for the exact revelations that had resulted in this award. The absolutely false argument made by the DOJ was that he withheld a client name from them. In any event, he received a criminal record and a 31-month jail term for the historic and courageous actions.

The story does not end there. Birkenfeld has been instrumental in the massive fraud investigation against the Swiss Banks and the further release of names of tax evaders by Swiss authorities. To this day, Birkenfeld continues to fight this corruption and has helped a number of foreign governments to recover what is rightly owed them.… Read the rest

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

For a couple of years, Canadians for Accountability has been raising the issue of problems surrounding Safety Management System or SMS.  SMS is a “voluntary”, although the government will say “mandated”, reporting system for the safety of certain forms of transportation in Canada.  In essence it allows rail and air operators to do their own safety checking procedures and send the paper work to Transport Canada (TC).  The inspectors at TC make sure that all the boxes are filled in correctly, not that the inspection was done correctly!

The government will not admit it but the reason behind SMS was to allow TC to cut their budgets for inspections and inspectors.  We average, belive it or not, about one rail incident PER DAY in Canada.  Most of them are related to issues that should be part of safety inspections.  Airlines fair better under SMS than rail carriers because they have very large maintenance crews, but SMS is being extended to small carriers and bush fleets who do not have a culture of self examination (air minutes mean profit…. downtime means loss).

Now the government has decided to cut the inspection budget of TC again.  See: <http://globalnews.ca/news/1916438/funding-slashed-for-all-safety-programs-at-transport-canada>.

Our work is never done.  … Read the rest