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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


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Lambropoulos’ comments could be used against Grits in next election, say Liberal insiders, pollsters, and MPs

News|By Abbas Rana
Quebecers are more upset with Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos’ comments about decline of French in Quebec than they were with the WE Charity scandal, says one Quebec Liberal insider.

Race to replace MP Kent as Thornhill’s Conservative on the ballot a chance to ‘bring Conservatives back into the fold’, sign of ‘generational shift’, say early candidates

News|By Mike Lapointe
Two names have emerged stating their intentions of running for the party’s nomination in the riding so far, including long-time Conservative staffer Melissa Lantsman as well as Progressive Conservative MPP Gila Martow.

MPs, experts paying close attention to housing supply after very strong year of sales, despite COVID-19

News
During a banner year for home sales in Canada despite the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, both MPs and experts are watching the country's housing supply carefully in the months and years to come.

Aerospace sector looks to government for help as pandemic grounds once high-flying industry

The aerospace industry is a big contributor to GDP and employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians. Many of Canada's biggest competitors in the space, like France, have doled out billions in sector specific relief.

Feds need to flex creative muscles in pandemic messaging, say experts

News|By Beatrice Paez
The feds’ television ad campaigns featuring Dr. Theresa Tam don't sufficiently leverage the power of the medium, says Professor Alex Marland.

Ottawa projects three million Canadians could be vaccinated by March 2021

News|By Beatrice Paez
Though Canada no longer has the manufacturing ability to scale up production, the two most promising vaccines are produced using a new technology called mRNA, which is not widely available. 

MPs press Bibeau to give trade compensation timeline, details to struggling farmers

‘It’s caused a great deal of stress,’ and agriculture producers want an answer on compensation before 2020 closes, says Conservative MP Richard Lehoux.

NDP’s spring convention offers chance to pit party’s vision against governing Liberals’, say members

News|By Beatrice Paez
For New Democrats, conventions often generate 'vigorous and energetic' debate on 'emerging policy' issues among the party faithful, says former NDP MP Libby Davies. 

DND says budget for Surface Combatants remains unchanged; PBO report expected in late February

News|By Neil Moss
In 2019, the PBO projected the cost of 15 CSC frigates to be nearly $70-billion. The defence department says the ships are still projected to cost between $56- and $60-billion.
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