5 at 5: The government is watching you on Facebook

Also: Questions about the National Day of Honour, nuclear exercises in Russia and other top stories

Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Five of the top stories this afternoon.

The government is watching you… on Facebook. Just in case you needed another reason to be wary of what you post on social media, the privacy commissioner is questioning why more departments in the federal government are collecting data from Facebook and other social media sites “without any direct relation to a program or activity.” The privacy commissioner’s concerns were expressed in a February letter, which the Toronto Star got a hold of. It goes on to say that data collected from social sites shouldn’t be used to make government decisions, because there is no gaurentee that it’s accurate. (Also, it’s just kind of creepy.) Treasury Board President Tony Clement seemed to shrug off the concerns. “This is all publicly available information. People freely make that choice,” he told the Star.

Legion questions planning of National Day of Honour for Afghan vets. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston will join the families of fallen soldiers on Parliament Hill for an official ceremony to honour Canada’s Afghanistan veterans. But, the president of the Canadian Legion has concerns. In particular: the fact that the final flag to have flown in Afghanistan will be presented to Harper, rather than to the Governor General. ” Governor General David Johnston is the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces,” Legion president Gordon Moore told Maclean’s. “He and he only should be receiving the last Canadian flag that flew in Afghanistan.” The Legion also questions the rather “secretive” nature of the event planning. Some legions were only notified of details this week, leaving them little time to plan their own events or promote the one in Ottawa. Moore says he will be attending to honour veterans, but hopes Harper does not try to turn the day into something political.

Conservatives suggested Nadon join the Que. bar to ease appointment. A report from Global News says the Conservatives knew that appointing Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court would be a fraught process and they suggested he resign as a federal court judge and join the Quebec bar. Nadon, says the report, refused the Conservative’s plan and the Supreme Court later determined his appointment to be unconstitutional. This Global report suggests the Conservatives knew full well that Nadon’s appointment was going to be a problem. This week, Harper’s spokesperson called out Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin for even considering a conversation with Harper about potential problems prior to Nadon’s appointment. As the unprecedented public dispute between the Prime Minister’s office and the Supreme Court unfolds, the Court continues to be short one judge, with no word on when it might get a new one.

Vladimir Putin is overseeing military exercises simulating a nuclear strike. But don’t worry, those exercises had been planned in advance of the tensions with Ukraine, the Russian president said Thursday. The exercises, publicized on Russian state television, will include a simulated defence against a nuclear strike on Russian territory and some ballistic missiles launched from Russian submarines. The show of military might comes ahead of the May 9 Victory Day celebration, marking the U.S.S.R.’s victory in WWII. Also, planned independence votes in eastern Ukraine will go ahead, rebels said Thursday, even after Putin publicly said, on Wednesday, that they should be postponed.

CBC loses big-name journalists ahead of cuts. CBC journalists Linden MacIntyre, Alison Smith and Nancy Wilson all announced their retirement Thursday, ahead of coming deep cuts to the CBC. MacIntyre, the host of The Fifth Estate says he hopes his retirement means younger journalists get to keep their jobs. “Without that potential, the place is doomed,” he said. MacIntyre, 70, has worked at The Fifth Estate for 24 years. He says he hopes to do more writing in his retirement. His novel The Bishop’s Man won a Giller in 2009. Smith is the long-time host of CBC radio’s World at Six and Wilson is a host on CBC Newsnetwork. The coming cuts will remove $130 million from CBC’s budget, resulting in the loss of 657 full-time jobs. It is partially a reaction to CBC losing its NHL broadcasting rights, when they were purchased by Rogers.




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