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MORNING UPDATE

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Trump likes Canada’s ‘merit-based’ immigration system

The U.S. should look to Canada’s points-based system as a model for American immigration reform, Donald Trump said in his speech to Congress last night. “Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others – have a merit-based immigration system,” he said. “It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially.” Canada’s system evaluates people based on skills, work experience, education and language proficiency.

Trump promised to create a new office called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. Its aim would be to track crimes perpetrated by immigrants. Earlier, Trump said he was open to the idea of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who haven’t committed serious crimes.

Trump also reinforced his protectionist rhetoric with a promise to create a $1-trillion infrastructure fund that would only allow for bids from U.S. companies. He didn’t make mention of the proposed border adjustment tax, which has been denounced by Canadian businesses.

But despite Trump’s pledge for a “new chapter of American greatness,” his plans are meeting “the sober actualities of Washington politics,” writes David Shriman (for subscribers). Health care, budget priorities and military spending are just a few of the upcoming issues where Trump is expected to face some resistance.

Trump Tower has its big Vancouver opening

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. were on hand for the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Outside, hundreds of people gathered to protest the 63-storey building, which isn’t owned by the Trumps. All of the condo units have been sold, but whether the hotel struggles to attract enough guests remains to be seen.

The challenges of handling sex assault in Canada’s North

Obstacles to justice in sexual assault cases exist everywhere, but the challenges are even more significant in Canada’s North. Language differences, high police turnover and limited resources are just a few of the barriers, not to mention small-town life, where everyone seems to know everyone. Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Whitehorse, the three capital cities in the territories, had unfounded rates of 36 per cent, 37 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively. That’s when an investigating officer doesn’t believe a crime occurred. The national unfounded rate is 19 per cent.

Alberta prosecutor stays 15 criminal cases

Citing a lack of resources, a senior prosecutor in Alberta has stayed 15 criminal cases, including some files on violent crimes. The decision appears to be cementing the worries that have emerged since a Supreme Court ruling last year. That decision set a limit of 18 months for provincial cases to be completed. But with a justice system lacking enough judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, many cases are at risk of being tossed out. Ontario and Manitoba have called for the elimination of preliminary inquiries as a way to cut down on the time it takes for cases to be completed.

MORNING MARKETS

The greenback and U.S. Treasury yields jumped on Wednesday, while stocks were mixed, as investors focused less on Mr. Trump’s first speech to Congress and more on what they see as a growing chance of a U.S. interest rate hike this month. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.4 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai composite each rose 0.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.7 and 1.3 per cent by about 4:45 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. Crude prices lost more ground, with rising U.S. oil output adding pressure on the market, although OPEC production cuts continued to offer support.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Vancouver’s Trump Tower: The beacon of opulence and outrage

“Like properties associated with the family elsewhere, the Vancouver high-rise (part opulent residential, part extravagant hotel) is sure to become a beacon of protest as long as its namesake remains in the White House. Those living inside its walls will become prisoners, of sorts, to the whims of the President himself: They will not know when he will do something that angers the world and incites citizens in protest-loving Vancouver to use the building as an obvious venting point. Who knows what kind of toll this will take on the business. It is hard to imagine the value of any of the spectacular residential units ever going down because of the tarnished Trump stamp. It is Vancouver after all.” – Gary Mason

Unfounded: We need more than internal police reviews

“The Globe and Mail’s investigative series Unfounded offers an unprecedented opportunity for change at the level of police investigations of sexual assault. … At the same time, this is a dangerous moment. At least 32 police departments across the country have committed to reviewing their data, but the overwhelming majority are focused on internal reviews – not reviews that render their practices transparent, accountable and open to long-term and sustainable change.” – Elizabeth Sheehy and Teresa Scassa, law professors at the University of Ottawa

HEALTH PRIMER

The surrogacy boom

“Just big hearts.” That’s the primary motivating factor for volunteer surrogates, according to Nick Orchard. He made a documentary examining the surrogacy boom as well as the legal obstacles the practice faces in Canada. One area of contention: whether surrogates should be paid (in Canada, they’re can’t be).

MOMENT IN TIME

Canada’s first Starbucks

March 1, 1987: The upstart Seattle coffee company’s debut in Canada was its first foray outside the United States. The small Starbucks shop, which opened at Vancouver’s Waterfront Station, would be the test run for the launch of a global empire. Within three years, Starbucks had taken over the city’s busiest pedestrian corner of Robson and Thurlow Streets, with two stores bearing its famous mermaid logo kitty-corner to one another. As it expanded, the company introduced Canadians to a new kind of coffee culture, one that made its stores a space for socializing and, later, for working remotely with free WiFi. It also normalized a $5 cup of coffee, customized to sometimes laughable results: tall, extra-hot, non-fat, no-foam, half-caf, one-pump sugar-free vanilla latte, anyone? Today, there are close to 40 Starbucks locations for every million Canadians and they’re found across the country from St. John’s to Whitehorse. – Wency Leung

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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