Canada briefs – September 4

The “secret” documents that cost Maxime Bernier his cabinet post last year have been released, but heavily censored to safeguard sensitive security information.

Bernier’s documents released, blacked out

OTTAWA — The “secret” documents that cost Maxime Bernier his cabinet post last year have been released, but heavily censored to safeguard sensitive security information.

The 560 pages, much of it redacted by Access to Information Act censors under an exemption to protect national security, would seem to contradict past government assurances that the material was mostly routine background information.

Bernier left the documents at the home of his former Montreal girlfriend, and was relieved of his duties as foreign affairs minister after the lapse was made public.

At the time, the Conservatives played down the significance of the information.

Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper, after examining the blacked-out pages, described them in a report Thursday as “a mine of crucial information for the enemy.”

But Bernier dismissed the newspaper report as pure conjecture — “derogatory and sensationalist.”

And Harper, speaking to reporters in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., said it was old news.

Greyhound Canada threatens to axe routes

Greyhound Canada, long the mass transit lifeline to rural areas, announced Thursday it needs $15 million in public money and an end to regulatory red tape on money-losing routes or it will shut down, starting this fall in Manitoba and northern Ontario.

But federal and provincial leaders say the international bus company with the running dog logo is bluffing and, in the case of Ottawa, barking up the wrong tree.

“Greyhound is a Texas-based multinational. Their actions are heavy-handed and clearly an attempt to bully the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario,” said federal Transport Minister John Baird.

“They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers money as a subsidy.”

Baird was reacting to a release from Greyhound that it will stop service in Manitoba in 30 days and discontinue it in northern Ontario by Dec. 2, along with reviewing routes in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

La Presse threatens to shut down by Dec. 1

MONTREAL — La Presse paper, which has won plaudits for its in-depth and consistent coverage of international and national issues, is threatening to cease operations on Dec. 1.

A spokeswoman said staff were informed Thursday that management and the union have three months to reach an agreement on cutting costs.

Caroline Jamet, vice-president of communications for the paper, says employees will need to contribute to that cost-cutting — otherwise, the paper edition and its online version would be shut down.

La Presse, founded in 1884, could not afford to maintain its activities under the current business model, she said.

“There would be a suspension of activities of La Presse and (the online edition) Cyberpresse if there’s no agreement by Dec. 1,” Jamet said.

“We’ve developed a strategy to permit La Presse to migrate towards a new model and have agreements in place with financial institutions for new financing,” Jamet said.

“All that’s left is the part of the employees, it’s the only part left to complete the equation.”

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