MacKay puts squeeze on DND stress relievers

OTTAWA — These are stressful times at National Defence.

OTTAWA — These are stressful times at National Defence.

Belt-tightening. Uncertainty. Maybe even pink slips.

Throw in a Cold War-style spy saga, and it’s enough to push even the most unflappable worker to the breaking point.

So what does top brass do to keep its staff sane?

Order 20,000 stress balls. Orange ones.

Serenity was on the way — until Defence Minister Peter MacKay got wind of the order.

“As soon as Minister MacKay was made aware of this contract, he instructed officials to immediately cancel this unnecessary expense of taxpayer money,” the minister’s spokesman, Jay Paxton, said in an email.

The department said it needed the squeezable rubber stress-relievers on the double. The deadline for the order was to be the end of March — just in time for the start of the new fiscal year.

The next Conservative budget is expected to cut deep. Departments and agencies have been ordered to trim their budgets by five to 10 per cent in the hope of saving the government $4 billion annually by 2014. It’s enough to make any bureaucrat sweat.

A notice posted Friday on a website that advertises government contracts didn’t say why National Defence needed so many stress balls, or why they had to be orange. It only said the balls were to be a “promotional item.”

The small rubber balls are popular giveaways at trade shows. They’re also an essential part of any cubicle inhabited by a repetitive-stress-injury-fearing office worker.

This week has certainly been a stressful one over at National Defence. One of its naval officers is accused of passing secrets.

Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle is now in custody after being charged with communicating information to a “foreign entity.”

The government has so far refused to confirm or deny reports that the foreign power Delisle is accused of sharing information with could be Russia.

Just Posted

Red Deer College student receives scholarship

Funding from Canadian Hearing Society

Central Alberta school districts are graded on their no-smoking policies

ASH wants them to tighten restrictions on tobacco, vaping, as well as cannabis

Free film shown in Red Deer Thursday to celebrate Recovery Day

A free film will be shown in Red Deer on Thursday about… Continue reading

Alberta Environment approvals taking too long: Red Deer County

Projects to fix a culvert can take two years to get the green light

Calder School takes shape in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s latest addition

Hushing my buzz: Alberta finance minister says cannabis warehouse will be secret

EDMONTON — Alberta is starting to stockpile marijuana but isn’t saying where… Continue reading

Relatives mourn death of Calgary-area woman killed by pet dog protecting child

CALGARY — Relatives of a Calgary-area woman killed by her own pet… Continue reading

Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at… Continue reading

Toronto election proceeding with 25 wards after court sides with province

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has sided with the provincial government in… Continue reading

Scheer welcomes former Liberal MP Alleslev to Conservative caucus

OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is trying to fire up his Conservative troops… Continue reading

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled today that Canada wants more… Continue reading

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Most Read