TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Wilson-Raybould likes Philadelphia’s system for sex-assault cases
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould thinks the Philadelphia model for handling sexual assaults is something Canadian police forces should look at. That model involves police working with advocacy groups to review case files, and has been a major factor in reducing Philadelphia’s unfounded sex-assault rate from 18 per cent to 4 per cent. Canada’s unfounded rate – a term that means police don’t believe a crime occurred – sits at 19 per cent, a Globe and Mail investigation found. Since The Globe’s report, at least 54 police forces have begun or promised to audit cases that were classified as unfounded. But only five forces have said they are open to adopting something akin to the Philadelphia model.
Canada spending $650-million on reproductive rights
The Liberal government is promising to spend $650-million on sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. The money will fund programs for contraception, legal abortion, sex education and, notably, advocacy groups fighting anti-abortion laws. That will no doubt pose a challenge in regions where governments are heavily influenced by conservative Christian and Muslim groups.
The funding is a big change from Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, which allocated less than 2 per cent of its foreign-aid budget for contraception services – and none of that went toward paying for abortion-related services.
Historic moment in the House of Commons
Only a quarter of Canada’s members of Parliament are women. But yesterday, for the first time, young women filled all 338 seats in the House of Commons to mark International Women’s Day. Here’s what a few of them said:
“Islamophobia is a heavy word in today’s discourse, but it is heaviest for those who are on the receiving end of it. … This is my Canada, and there is no seat for hate here.” – Srosh Hassan, 21, Alberta
“The stories of Inuit affected by suicide are just as valuable as the statistics, and our voices need to be heard.” – Lianna Rice, 23, Labrador
“It is imperative that conservative parties break this stereotype as an old boys’ club. As Conservatives we must demonstrate open hearts and tenacity on women’s issues.” – Michaela Glasgo, 20, Alberta
New B.C. political donation law won’t set contribution limits
B.C. Premier Christy Clark is moving forward on previously promised political fundraising changes. But those changes will not set donation limits or ban contributions from corporations and unions – measures that are in place federally and in many provinces. The legislation, set to be introduced on Monday, will focus on “real time” disclosure of donations.
Clark’s announcement comes days after a Globe and Mail investigation that revealed lobbyists were making contributions under their own name and then getting reimbursed by corporations. It’s a practice that breaks one of the province’s few fundraising rules, and Elections B.C. is now investigating.
The B.C. Liberals brought in more than $12-million last year, roughly two-thirds of what the federal Liberals raised. The B.C. NDP received just over $6-million in donations in 2016.
Medical marijuana company to test all its products
Today, a Canadian medical marijuana company will unveil a plan to start testing all of its products for contaminants, and will be making those results available to the public. It’s the strongest commitment yet in an industry that’s faced criticism over banned pesticide use and limited enforcement from Health Canada. Aurora Cannabis will reveal its safety plan at an industry association meeting, with the hope that other licensed producers follow suit. Meanwhile, some illegal marijuana dispensaries are looking into safety testing of their own.
Global stocks chalked up their longest losing streak in well over a year on Thursday, as bets on rising U.S. interest rates propelled the dollar and benchmark bond yields higher and beaten-up commodity markets struggled to find a footing. Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.3 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.2 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.7 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.2 and 0.6 per cent by about 5:55 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
For Canada’s Muslims, a moment for self-reflection
“This year is on track to becoming an annus horribilis for Canadian Muslims. The toxic anti-Muslim rhetoric south of the border has spread north, unvetted, through all firewalls. … While Canadian Muslims are not a persecuted minority (as they are in, say, Myanmar), events of the past few weeks should give pause for self-reflection, and an accounting of weaknesses, rather than calls for revenge or blame. … It is also the time to reach out to those who exhibit hostility rooted in fear, or as the Koran counsels: “Repel the evil deed with one which is better” – even to those who might salute Nazis.” – Sheema Khan
Donald Trump: President paranoid
“The world has grown wearily accustomed to Trump’s puerile Twitter tantrums, making it tempting to dismiss this one as just more baseless lashing out, a tactic to monopolize the attention of cable news and stir up hate among the ‘forgotten people’ who put him in office. But accusing Obama of a felony – no president can just order the surveillance of a U.S. citizen – is a new low for Trump that demonstrates the depth of his neurosis. Not since former president Richard Nixon – who said, of forces within the U.S. government, that the ‘sons of bitches are out to screw us’ – has Washington seen this level of crazy.” – Konrad Yakabuski
Osteoarthritis and exercise
Roughly three million Canadians suffer from the joint disease called osteoarthritis. Regular exercise can help, even if it hurts. But certain types of exercise may be better than others. Cycling can keep you in shape and won’t put extra stress on your knees, according to a recent study. But that doesn’t mean running is necessarily bad for you. And yoga might actually produce better results than either, but research is still in its early days.
MOMENT IN TIME
Barbie steps out
March 9, 1959: Created by Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler, the world’s most famous teenage doll was designed as a modern, 3-D update to paper dolls and was inspired by a German doll named Lilli. Barbie first appeared on this day in 1959 at the New York toy fair. Her physicality resembled that of the glamorous movie stars of the time – Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield – and Barbie’s initial wardrobe options were based on the decadent pieces seen on the era’s Parisian runways. Since her launch, Barbara (Barbie) Millicent Roberts has sported ensembles by the fashion world’s most famous names, including Paco Rabanne, Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier. In 2014, Barbie received the Karl Lagerfeld makeover, appearing with the German designer’s signature silver ponytail hairstyle and black fingerless gloves. While Barbie has held jobs from police officer to astronaut to CEO, she’s perhaps best known for being fashion’s diminutive muse – before Kim Kardashian, that is. – Odessa Paloma Parker
Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.
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