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‘Quietly competent’ public service during COVID-19 notable, says union president, as stakeholders take stock of bureaucracy’s future role

By Mike Lapointe      

‘What’s impressed me, is the dog that didn’t bark,’ says former clerk Wernick. ‘We haven’t had any major IT failures, bottlenecks or collapses—not everything has been perfect, but generally things have gone quite well.'

Liberal MP Greg Fergus, left, PIPSC president Debi Daviau, centre, and former clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, right. 'I’m incredibly amazed at the level of front line work that our members are engaged in as part of this pandemic, from developing CERB and other benefits, to making sure that public servants could work from home [which] was key to keeping operations going, to developing tests for COVID-19 to converting labs for disinfectant,' said Ms. Daviau. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade, Sam Garcia, and Jake Wright

It’s been an “important year for the public service” and “interesting to see” how Canadians have instinctively turned to the public sector for help, says former top federal bureaucrat Michael Wernick, with the president of Canada’s second largest public sector union saying there are “silver linings” that can come out of how the federal bureaucracy has contended with the onslaught of COVID-19.

Mike Lapointe

Mike Lapointe joined the The Hill Times in June 2019 and covers the federal public service, deputy ministers, the Privy Council Office, public service unions, the Phoenix pay system, the machinery of government, and the Parliament Hill media.
- mlapointe@hilltimes.com


No consensus on adoption of remote House voting, but parties agree legislative scrutiny necessary, says Samara report

News|By Beatrice Paez
As parties attempt to hash out a workable sitting plan, House administration has been working behind the scenes to test the voting app for potential glitches. 

PM should create permanent emergency preparedness cabinet committee, say experts, political players: be ‘prepared for the next natural disaster, terrorist act or health crisis is the objective’

News|By Mike Lapointe
A former national security adviser to the prime minister says 'if this country wants the national security agencies to worry about a pandemic, then they need to raise it on the list of priorities set by cabinet.'

‘These jobs are not coming back’: economists pour cold water on O’Toole‘s Canada First policy

‘Some people are going to win from a Canada-first policy. Most people are going to lose,’ says Queen’s professor Ian Keay.

Liberal tilt to the left could have electoral consequences for NDP, say pollsters

News|By Abbas Rana
The Liberals should be careful about the ‘recoil effect’ as some of their supporters could back away if they vacate the political centre, says pollster Nik Nanos.

Old and new priorities compete for space in Liberals’ fall agenda

Talk of pharmacare, childcare and clean energy is nothing new, but a re-surging pandemic could sideline everything else.

‘Ping-pong’ gun politics continue to divide voters, as O’Toole courts GTA seats

'I think it’s going to help some of the Conservative candidates in some of those swing ridings,' says Ontario Tory MP Alex Ruff of the Liberal ban on 'assault weapons.'

Recovery measures for ‘national safety net’ should be in place before any talk of election, says Singh

News|By Palak Mangat
Bloc Québécois Leader tested positive for the virus and is in isolation until Sept. 26, which means he will be missing the Throne Speech.

‘Disheartening’ report on child well-being places urgency on creation of commissioner, say experts

News|By Palak Mangat
'We know this generation will be paying the debt that's incurred in the pandemic for a long time, so Canada needs to look at things we’ve been calling for for a long time now,' says Lisa Wolff of UNICEF.

‘Like a criminal’: Canada-U.S. asylum agreement has a human cost, refugee says

The U.S. 'is not a safe country for refugees,’ says a woman who Canada turned away because she entered the U.S. first. Her case helped convince a Federal Court judge the SCTA should end, a ruling the feds are appealing.
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