Connect with us

Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Education cuts ties with WE, says will investigate contracts

TORONTO — The Ontario Ministry of Education says it will not renew its contract with We Charity and will investigate any expenditures to date.

Alexandra Adamo, a spokeswoman for Education Minister Stephen Lecce, says the Ontario government is deeply concerned and troubled by the allegations that have been made against WE.

In an email, she says this is taxpayer money and hard working people in the province deserve to know that their money is delivering value.

Adamo says the allegations, which she did not specify, raise serious questions.

On June 18, the ministry announced that it would give WE Charity $250,000 for a year-long education program that aims to nurture empathy and compassion in students and increase student outcomes in academic engagement, workplace readiness, and citizenship.

Adamo said she believes that education may be the only Ontario ministry that has funded WE.

“These allegations raise serious questions,” she wrote in an email Friday. “That is why the Ministry of Education has been directed to not renew the contract with WE and to investigate expenditures to date.”

Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he knew there would be problems with perception over having WE Charity run a $900-million student-volunteer program, but he believed there was no conflict of interest because his family would not benefit.

The prime minister testified Thursday that he didn’t learn WE had been chosen by the public service to run the program until May 8, shortly before the arrangement was to be taken to cabinet for approval.

Trudeau said that’s when he put the brakes on the deal.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he doesn’t buy Trudeau’s account.

Several sponsors have cut ties with the WE brand, including Royal Bank of Canada, Loblaw Companies Ltd., Good Life Fitness and Virgin Atlantic Airways, although WE has called the moves a mutual agreement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading
Comments

Canada

Military to fly old rescue planes longer as COVID-19 delays new aircraft

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force will fly its ancient search-and-rescue planes longer than expected as COVID-19 further delays the delivery of replacement aircraft.

Defence officials are playing down any significant impact from the latest delay, which has left the first new search-and-rescue plane built by Airbus stranded in Spain.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says a recent analysis concluded the military has enough flexibility with its fleets to handle the delay.

Those fleets include six Buffalo aircraft and seven of the military’s older Hercules planes, all of which are around 50 years old and scheduled for retirement.

Lamirande says the military hopes to receive the new plane in the fall, which would be nearly a year later than originally planned.

The federal government first started looking at buying new search-and-rescue planes in 2002 before finally tapping Airbus to build 16 new C295Ws for $2.4 billion in 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Canada

COVID-19 blamed as work on military port first promised in 2007 sees new delay

OTTAWA — The construction of a new military refuelling station in the Arctic is facing another delay more than 13 years after it was first promised by the federal government, with one analyst raising concerns about other pressing military needs in the region.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper announced plans to build the Nanisivik deep-water port in Nunavut, along with up to eight armed Arctic patrol vessels, during a trip to the Far North in 2007.

The port, considered one of the crown jewels of the Conservative government’s Arctic strategy, was intended to provide fuel to the patrol ships and other federal vessels while expanding the military’s permanent footprint in the North.

The long-standing expectation was that the port located at the site of an old mining jetty on Baffin Island, about 20 kilometres from the community of Arctic Bay, would be ready by the time the first of those ships was delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy.

Yet while the first Arctic patrol vessel was handed over to the navy on Friday after numerous delays and cost overruns, the Department of National Defence confirmed the Nanisivik facility won’t be operational until at least 2022.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said COVID-19 scuttled this year’s construction season, which can only occur between June and September because of weather in the North.

“Due to COVID-19 delays, a small number of contractors are expected to return to the site in August to start the 2020 work season,” Lamirande said in an email.

“This means the season will be much shorter than planned and will only allow for a limited amount of work to be completed.”

COVID-19 is only the most recent challenge to plague construction of the Nanisivik facility, which was originally supposed to be up and running in 2013 and include an airstrip and be manned throughout the year.

The airstrip and year-round service were cut from the plans after the project’s original $100-million budget was found to have more than doubled to $258 million in 2013. The current price tag is estimated at $146 million, according to Lamirande.

The federal government has also faced environmental hurdles due to the need to clean up the old fuel-tank farm located on the site, which was home to a port used to ship ore from an old zinc mine. There were also structural issues with the existing jetty.

Lamirande said significant progress has been made on the facility since the first full construction season in 2015, with nearly all fuelling infrastructure in place.

But the fact the port still hasn’t been finished, despite the scope of the project having been dramatically scaled back, is both disheartening and troubling, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Canada’s relative difficulty building a single port with limited facilities in the North contrasts sharply with Russia’s massive Arctic expansion in recent years, Perry said, and bodes poorly for needed Canadian military investments in the region.

Those include upgrading the string of increasingly obsolete radars that forms the backbone of North America’s system for incoming missiles and air- and water-based threats, as well as several airstrips in the area that will be used by Canada’s new fighter jets.

Those projects are expected to start in the coming years.

“It’s kind of dispiriting how long it has taken us to develop relatively simple infrastructure at one of the most accessible parts of our Arctic,” Perry said of Nanisivik.

“The length of time it has taken us to build doesn’t leave a lot of confidence that the other projects are going to move in a relatively quick timeframe.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Ontario

Military to fly old rescue planes longer as COVID-19 delays new aircraft

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force will fly its ancient search-and-rescue planes longer than expected as COVID-19 further delays the delivery of replacement aircraft.

Defence officials are playing down any significant impact from the latest delay, which has left the first new search-and-rescue plane built by Airbus stranded in Spain.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says a recent analysis concluded the military has enough flexibility with its fleets to handle the delay.

Those fleets include six Buffalo aircraft and seven of the military’s older Hercules planes, all of which are around 50 years old and scheduled for retirement.

Lamirande says the military hopes to receive the new plane in the fall, which would be nearly a year later than originally planned.

The federal government first started looking at buying new search-and-rescue planes in 2002 before finally tapping Airbus to build 16 new C295Ws for $2.4 billion in 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DAILY PATRON powered by Media Nri Ltd.