How Ottawa minds our own business


What are these posts for? Shut up, government says, sit on 'em

What are these posts for? Shut up, government says, sit on ’em

What do 33 dejected foreign workers, denied positions in New Brunswick, and low blood sugar have in common?

If you said it’s the bevy of busybodies beavering away to make a general nuisance of itself in Ottawa – otherwise known as the Government of Canada – give yourself a pat on the back. But stay away from the sweets.

Apparently inspired by a Globe and Mail investigation earlier this year, Harpertown is all set to poke its proboscis into the pantries of the nation.

“In recent months, the Globe and Mail documented the links between sugar and harmful health concerns, and called on the federal government to set a recommended daily sugar limit,” the newspaper reported, in one of the most pompous displays of self-serving grandiosity it has been this ex-staffer’s pleasure to witness, earlier this week. 

“Our reporting revealed the extent to which the food industry adds sugar to many products in various forms, the extent to which labelling requirements don’t sufficiently inform consumers about this practice and the broad range of health problems that stem from the amount of sugar in the daily diet.”

Now, galvanized by this magnificent example of public service journalism, we are asked to believe that Ottawa is about to require food producers to finally play it straight with Canadians and tell the truth about the degree to which they are poisoning the general populace. 

Accurate labelling, it seems, is the answer. So is a federally-sanctioned “recommendation” for the amount of sugar Canadians should consume in any given 24-hour period.

Bully for the federalistas, but methinks the chances that this famously recalcitrant crew of onetime reformers and oftentimes media mashers takes its marching orders from Canada’s self-appointed, self-important, “national newspaper” are perishingly small. 

The more likely explanation (which may be weirder still) is that despite its right-wing, small-government, anti-Liberal, nanny-state-hating political pedigree this particular crew of Tory MPs and their fellow-travelling bureaucrats just can’t resist telling people – any people – what to do.

And that extends far beyond the sugar bowl.

As the Moncton Times & Transcript reported recently, Canadian consular officers in Vietnam rejected 33 applicants from that country for jobs at Captain Dan’s Seafood and Pecheries GEM Ltee despite the fact that the two employers had “valid labour market opinions at the time of the application and had paid all due fees while the Vietnamese applicants took additional measures to improve their candidacy.”

Those measures included “weeks of intensive English-language courses and specific seafood processing training.”

The Moncton lawyer representing the two local firms is flabbergasted. “The employers have been let down without an adequate workforce,” Martin Aubin told T&T reporter Kayla Byrne. “They have paid good money, done everything by the rules and received permits to hire people. We had openings for 33 people, we found 33 people, but all of them have been denied. . .To fail completely is a new experience for me.”

Get used to it. 

No one – but, no one – gets around these dogs once they’ve got several bones clenched between their incisors. Consider, if you will, one more choice example of latent control freakishness: Bill C-24, which passed quietly in June.

Also called the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, this legislation moves its patron, Minister of of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, practically to tears. 

It will, he said recently, “protect and strengthen the great value of Canadian citizenship, and remind individuals that citizenship is not a right, it’s a privilege. . .It is in honour of those who protected this city, in honour of those who have served and serve today, in honour of all who have made the sacrifice of war, and those who have contributed in their own way to building this great country, that we are further strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship.”

It will also do a couple of other things, according to one news report – notably provide the federal government with sweeping new license to share information about Canadian immigrants with foreign powers almost indiscriminately.

Of course, that’s all in a day’s work for a government whose main business is fast becoming minding other people’s.


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