MP Nathan Cullen spoke about the abandoned boats act, Phoenix payroll and CRA in his scrum on Nov. 22. (File photo)

Cullen: Abandoned vessel act is missing teeth

MP Nathan Cullen spoke about CRA’s poor tax advice, Phoenix payroll problems in Nov. 22 scrum

Nathan Cullen’s first scrum in two months covered a range of hot topics from Ottawa’s Parliament Hill.

Abandoned boats bill

A secret ballot vote will occur in the House of Commons for two days, starting on Nov. 27, regarding the new abandoned boats bill. Cullen said the government tried to deem Minister Garneau’s Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act inadmissable, putting forward a Liberal proposal instead. But Cullen said the federal option doesn’t have any teeth or reinforcement, such as the Transport Minister’s act.

“Which is, of course, important for the northwest because we have all these abandoned vessels across the coast that have just been orphaned and are a huge legacy and cost for local communities,” Cullen said.

Cullen went on to say that the secret vote, where MPs will vote individually, doesn’t speak well of the federal government’s promise to have more open debates. He asks that mayors, councillors and residents in the coast communities write him to tell him about their stories of dealing with such vessels, and how important funds and rules would be.

READ MORE: PORT EDWARD HARBOUR AUTHORITY APPLIES FOR FUNDING TO REMOVE ABANDONED BOATS UNDER NEW BAN

Phoenix fiasco continues

During a scrum on Nov 22., Cullen said that the problems with the federal payroll are likely to continue, after being presented with the auditor-general’s latest report.

“The fiasco of Phoenix will continue for the indefinite future. The government has so far spent almost half a billion dollars trying to fix this pay system that they brought in a couple of years ago. They were warned that the system wasn’t ready to work and they pressed start anyway. The auditor also pointed out that there’s no end in sight as to when it’ll work again,” Cullen said.

Federal employees have had problems with getting paid correctly — or at all — since the Phoenix payroll system was implemented two years ago.

He added that the union for IT workers in Canada said that they would need to restart the payroll system entirely but, Cullen said, the Liberal government is unwilling to do so.

READ MORE: PHOENIX PAYROLL PROTESTORS RALLY IN PRINCE RUPERT

CRA gives incorrect advice The auditor-general’s report also included large-scale problems with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

In the scrum, Cullen called the situation “a complete mess … Fifty per cent of all the calls that are going into CRA right now are being blocked, not answered at all, being denied service entirely. So half of all Canadians calling aren’t able to make it through at all. Of those that are able to make it through, one-third of the advice that they’re getting from CRA is either wrong or bad advice on their taxes. Now keep in mind that if Canadians follow that bad advice, it’s not CRA that’s on the hook for whatever tax errors occur, it’s the Canadians who follow it.”

Cullen said there have been problems with CRA for a number of years.

“‘Sorry, your call is important to us’ is not an answer Canadians want to get when they’re trying to pay their taxes,” Cullen said.



keili.bartlett@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Nathan Cullen

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read