Missing Women report to be released amid heavy criticism

Photo by Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

(…) The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report, written by commissioner Wally Oppal, comes nearly a decade after Robert Pickton’s arrest in connection with the deaths of dozens of sex workers whose remains or DNA were found on his pig farm in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Pickton is currently serving a life sentence for killing six sex workers. (…)

The report comes out amid heavy criticism. Advocacy groups that work with sex workers in the Downtown Eastside say the process that created the inquiry was flawed because it focused too much on the police, and failed to hear pivotal pieces of evidence. (…)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government passes bill forcing unions to open their books

Photo by Chris Wattie/Reuters

Opposition MPs and unions have slammed Bill C-377 as a discriminatory attack against organized labour that subjects unions to tougher disclosure requirements than other organizations financed by tax-deductible membership dues.

And critics say forcing unions to open their books to tax authorities violates constitutional and privacy rights. (...)

Federal Conservatives’ accountability and democratic reform record gets an F

Logo from Democracy Watch

Today, Democracy Watch marked the sixth anniversary of the passage of the federal Conservatives’ so-called “Federal Accountability Act” (FAA), and the recent annual International Anti-Corruption Day, by issuing its Sixth Good Government Report Card on the FAA and the Conservatives’ overall accountability and democratic reform record. (...)

F-35 debacle reveals broad failure of democratic accountability

Photo by PostMedia News/Files

(…) In sum, virtually every safeguard that was supposed to protect the public purse and the public interest was subverted, evaded, or rolled over. Ministers failed to exercise oversight over their departments; Parliament was prevented from exercising oversight over ministers; the public was kept in the dark throughout. (…)

Government won’t share winning shipbuilding bids with budget officer

Photo from DND

The federal government has refused to give Parliament’s budgetary watchdog copies of the bids that ultimately won nearly $33 billion worth of work for shipyards in Halifax and Vancouver under the government’s national shipbuilding strategy. (…)

Page recently asked the Federal Court to decide whether he has the authority to demand federal departments explain how they plan to cut their spending as the Conservative government works to shave billions from the deficit. (...)

RCMP files, records of missing children, graves may never surface if Ottawa wins battle with TRC

Photo of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Indian residential school records on dead and missing children and abuse complaints to the RCMP may never see the light of day if Ottawa gets its way in its battle with the commission created to shed light on Canada’s darkest chapter, according to court documents.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is taking Ottawa to court over its refusal to hand over millions of records related to the 150 year existence of Indian residential schools. The court fight has been described as a battle for control over the history of residential schools. (…)

Canadian government increasingly asking for content to be pulled offline

Photo from Mark Blinch/Reuters/Toronto Sun

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been quietly requesting third party content be removed from the internet and the requests are on the rise.

According to documents tabled in the House of Commons, federal government departments have made at least 44 requests since 2006 to various companies to have content posted by others wiped off the web or removed from Google’s index. (...)

New in the Documentation Project: Yves Côté

Photo by Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen

Read our new page on Yves Côté in the Individuals and Public Service section of the Documentation Project.

" After criticizing the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence for failing to respond adequately to his investigations and to complaints from families of Forces members, Yves Côté left his position in December 2007, half-way through his five-year term. He then joined the Department of Justice. (...) "

New in the Documentation Project: Joanna Gualtieri

Photo from FAIR

Read our new Facts page on Joanna Gualtieri in the Individuals and Public Service section of our Documentation Project.

" After blowing the whistle on alleged excessive costs for Canadian diplomats and staff in the Department of Foreign Affairs during the early 1990s, Joanna Gualtieri claimed that she was harassed, ostracized by her bosses and given a dead-end job. (...) Though Gualtieri’s allegations were supported by the Inspector General and the Auditor General of Canada, the Canadian government took steps to prevent other people from blowing the whistle as she did. (...) "

Refugee health cuts hidden in budget bill, immune from scrutiny

Photo by Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press/Postmedia News

A controversial decision to strip certain refugee claimants of supplementary health benefits was apparently made behind closed doors without consultation, the government now admits.

Rick Dykstra, the parliamentary secretary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, revealed this week that the cuts were actually part of the government’s budget tabled in March. But because budget deliberations are subject to secrecy, there was no option to get input from stakeholders, many of whom have vocally opposed the decision. (...)