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U.S. President Donald Trump singled Canada out by name Tuesday as he put dairy farmers north of the border on notice that they are in America's fair-trade sights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
U.S. President Donald Trump singled Canada out by name Tuesday as he put dairy farmers north of the border on notice that they are in America's fair-trade sights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh

morning update

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Trump takes aim at Canada’s ‘very unfair’ dairy industry

Donald Trump is going after Canada’s dairy industry. Speaking in Wisconsin, he pledged to address the “very unfair” Canadian supply-management system that limits foreign competition by putting tariffs of up to 300 per cent on milk, egg and poultry imports (for subscribers). Trump also took aim at the North American free-trade agreement, saying “we’re going to get rid of NAFTA” if favourable terms can’t be reached in negotiations. To appease the dairy industry in the wake of the Canada-European Union trade deal, Justin Trudeau offered milk producers $350-million. Action from Trump on the dairy front could force Trudeau to take a similar approach once again. Ottawa could also potentially lose out on revenue from tariffs.

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Housing meeting produces few concrete details

Ottawa and Ontario agreed to hold off on any new measures that would increase demand for housing and, in turn, inadvertently boost prices in Toronto’s already hot market. That means an expansion to first-time home buyers programs is off the table. But in their meeting yesterday, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory didn’t appear to come to any sort of agreement on measures that could be taken to help cool the real estate market in Toronto. Sousa, though, did promise to reveal a set of housing reforms within the next week. Some provincial officials have said Ontario is considering a tax on foreign speculators. Whether that would have a significant impact on the market remains unclear.

British election called for June

Britain is heading to the polls June 8. Prime Minister Theresa May called a surprise election yesterday in a bid to solidify her mandate, which centres around Brexit. The next British election wasn’t due to take place until 2020, but May is betting that her 20-plus point lead in the polls will propel her to an easy win and allow her to confidently navigate Britain’s separation from the European Union with the support of the electorate. But there is a risk that opposition parties are able to capitalize on those uneasy about a complete break from the EU.

China’s Premier urges Trudeau to relax controls on high-tech exports

China wants Canada to ease controls on high-tech exports (for subscribers). Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made the case during a phone call with Justin Trudeau. The request comes shortly after the Liberals approved a Hong Kong company’s takeover of a Montreal tech firm. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government had rejected the deal after national security agencies said it could hurt the technological advantage Western militaries like Canada have over China.

NHL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

The Montreal Canadiens lost 2-1 to the New York Rangers last night, leaving the series tied at two games apiece. The Canadiens gave up the game-winner during a rough, turnover-ridden second period, and weren’t able to bounce back. The series heads back to Montreal for Game 5 tomorrow. In San Jose, the Edmonton Oilers were hammered 7-0 by the Sharks. That series is now tied at two games each, with the next game tomorrow in Edmonton. The Blue Jackets fended off elimination against the Pittsburgh Penguins by taking the fourth game of their series 5-4 in Columbus. The Penguins will try once again to seal the deal tomorrow in Pittsburgh.

MORNING MARKETS

Stocks flat-lined and gold fell on Wednesday as investors continued to question the ‘reflation’ trades that had lifted markets since the election of U.S. president Donald Trump in November. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.1 per cent, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.4 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.8 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down marginally by about 5:30 a.m. (ET), while Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up 0.3 per cent. New York futures were up, and the Canadian dollar was below the 74.5-cent (U.S.) mark. Oil prices slipped as U.S. crude stockpiles fell by less than expected and a U.S. government report said shale oil output in May was likely to post the biggest monthly increase in more than two years.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Reining in the Toronto housing market is a delicate task

“Despite the push on all levels to address the housing frenzy gripping pretty much everything within commuting distance of the Greater Toronto Area, this has become a very delicate task – to let sufficient air out of an increasingly taut balloon without accidentally popping the whole thing in a loud, reverberating bang. A heavy-handed cure – or, given the many options being tossed around, perhaps a cocktail of cures – has the potential of being worse than the disease. Let’s remember that while the current housing-market extremes are a Toronto-and-area phenomenon, they colour an economy and a financial system that belong to the whole country.” – David Parkinson (for subscribers)

Ottawa must decide if it wants to help Chechnya’s gay men

“Although Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has called the beatings and killings of gays in Chechnya “reprehensible,” the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship did not answer requests for information on how it planned to respond to the Chechen situation. Whatever the complexities, the fact remains that gay men in Chechnya are being systematically detained, tortured and sometimes killed, simply because of who they are. Ottawa must decide sooner rather than later whether it wishes to offer anything other than a strongly worded communiqué.” – John Ibbitson

An election about speeding up Brexit, or derailing it

“Barring a surprise on Wednesday, Britain is going to the polls. Barring even bigger surprises over the next two months, [British Prime Minister Theresa] May and the Conservatives will be returned with a larger majority and a freer hand for the next five years. The question is, what May will do with it? Where does she want to take Britain? And will it be Great Britain or Little Britain? … Her bet is that Britain wants Brexit more than ever, and a party other than the Conservatives less than ever. Maybe. But surprise is the great constant in politics.” – Globe editorial

HEALTH PRIMER

Vitamin D and athletic performance

There’s a good chance your vitamin D levels are below recommended levels. And if you’re set for a summer with lots of physical activity, more vitamin D could be beneficial. For one, it’s been touted as a way to help with muscle recovery. A typical drugstore pill often contains about 1,000 IU, slightly more than Health Canada’s reference of 600 IU. Some suggest athletes take much more than that, though the benefits of higher intake remain unclear.

MOMENT IN TIME

The world pays tribute to Freddie Mercury

April 20, 1992: It was a music tribute like no other when Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, David Bowie, Annie Lennox and others came together to pay homage to the late Freddie Mercury on this date. The beloved lead vocalist for Queen had died Nov. 24, 1991, from AIDS-related pneumonia, unleashing a massive public outpouring of grief and anger over the disease. The concert was held at London’s Wembley Stadium in front of more than 72,000 people and broadcast live in 76 countries. All proceeds went to AIDS research. Performances included George Michael covering Somebody to Love and Annie Lennox and David Bowie belting out Under Pressure. And Elton John and Axl Rose collaborated for a rousing version of Bohemian Rhapsody. With an estimated global audience of one billion, it felt like the world was simultaneously singing, “Mama, ooooh, I don’t want to die.” – Angela Pacienza

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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Finance ministers: No new measures for Toronto homebuyers (The Canadian Press)

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