New Startup Aims to Create Better Services for Canadians

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CBC The Current

Imagine if dealing with the government was as user-friendly as buying from Amazon, or streaming from Netflix.

That's the goal for the newly-created Canadian Digital Service (CDS). The fledgling team of a couple dozen employees are a mix of digital developers, designers and some career bureaucrats.

Their mandate is to help federal departments create better digital services for Canadians.

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Bob Rae, Canada's Envoy, Issues Interim Report on the Rohingya Crisis

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The Canadian Press

Canada's special envoy on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar says it's hard to put the extent of the humanitarian crisis into words.

Bob Rae issued his interim report on December 21 night on the crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh because of a crackdown by Myanmar security forces.

Rae's interim report said refugee camps are "deplorably overcrowded and pose a threat to human health and life itself."

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Nations to Hold N. Korea Meeting in Canada in January

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VOA News

The United States and Canada said December 19 that nations from around the world would convene January 16 to show solidarity against North Korea's nuclear program.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, meeting in Ottawa, said the meeting would take place in Vancouver.

The meeting will involve the "sending states'' that sent forces as part of a U.N. command to support South Korea during the Korean War. They'll be joined by additional countries, including Japan, South Korea and India.

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Feds Look to Boost Benefits Take Up

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By Jordan Press

The Liberals are looking beyond the bureaucracy to figure out how to spend more than $1 billion in uncollected benefits meant to help low-income families save for their children's post-secondary education.

Federal officials have tried for years, with only limited success, to boost take-up of the Canada Learning Bond, which gives up to $2,000 to a registered education savings plan (RESP) for eligible children.

An estimated 1.8 million children don't receive the benefit — about two-thirds of those eligible — while the government estimates that at least $900 million in available program funds are going unclaimed.

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Trudeau Government Sets New Record For Vacant Appointments

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By Elizabeth Thompson

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has set a new record for the number of unfilled government appointments, with 585 jobs currently vacant or occupied by someone whose appointment is past its expiry date, according to an analysis by CBC News.

A year after the Liberals assured Canadians their new open, merit-based appointment system was in place and would fix the problem, the government's ability to make appointments is still plagued by backlogs and bureaucracy.

The mandates of several key watchdogs including the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, and the information commissioner who oversees Canada's access to information system, are scheduled to expire in coming weeks.

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Trade, Not Human Rights, is Top of Mind As Trudeau Visits China

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By Alex Ballingall

Make no mistake: Justin Trudeau is on a business trip.

As the prime minister departed this British Columbia city for Beijing December 2, the official itinerary of his trip to China was conspicuously devoid of events on human rights or scheduled meetings with advocates there — ditto the high-ranking staffers and cabinet ministers along for the journey, government officials said on the eve of the trip.

What is on the agenda is a series of tête-à-têtes with China’s senior-most government leaders, including private dinners with the president, a premier, a roundtable with Canadian and Chinese business executives and a keynote speech at the Fortune Global Forum in the city of Guangzhou, which an official from the Prime Minister’s Office likened to Davos, the primo world summit of the uber-rich and powerful.

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Justin Trudeau Betrays His Father's Legacy on Nuclear Weapons

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By Karl Nerenberg

On December 7, there (was) a ceremony on Parliament Hill to honour this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. A few days later, the King of Norway will officially award the prize in Oslo.

There are Canadians involved in the Campaign, among them peace activist and Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, who will be honoured..

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Canada Must Change Course on Nuclear Disarmament

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By M.V. Ramana. Lauren J. Borja

On December 10, Japanese-Canadian Setsuko Thurlow was recognized at the award ceremony for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. But rather than celebrating this momentous occasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dismissed the effort for which the prize is being awarded: the creation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Ban Treaty. The treaty bans the development, production, possession, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons and was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations this year.

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Why is Wassenaar Arrangement important to India?

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By V. Sudarshan

Before its nuclear weapons test in 1998, India was considered a nuclear capable country but was not recognised as one. This meant that there was no formal recognition that India was capable of producing both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

The reason for this was mainly because India had not acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which aims to prevent spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and promote nuclear disarmament, which India considered discriminatory since it could do so only as a non-nuclear power.

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Re-election of India's Nominee to the World Court 'Historic'

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India has scored a "historic" victory over Britain, one of the five permanent members (P5) of the Security Council, with the re-election of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The win is historic because it’s the first time since 1946 that no judge from a P5 member is a part of the ICJ, which has its seat in The Hague, the Netherlands.

After Britain pulled out its candidate Christopher Greenwood before the 12th round of voting on November 20, Justice Bhandari won the last of five seats for which elections were held. He received 183 votes in the 193-member General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters in New York.

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India’s Income Inequality Woes Are Compounded by Its Black Economy

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By Arun Kumar

True income disparity cannot be captured by the World Inequality Report because the impact of the black economy is not taken into account.

The World Inequality Report (WIR) released last week shows that “India’s top 1% earners received 22% of national income in 2014”.  Simultaneously, the latest data on direct taxes released by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) shows that 9,690 individuals paid tax exceeding Rs 1 crore. Only one individual paid tax exceeding Rs 100 crore – about Rs 238 crore.

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JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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