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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

The latest COVID-19 developments: Ontario Premier apologizes for some missteps and more

Ontario Premier Doug Ford today apologized for his government moving “too fast” in bringing in tougher police measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic as he vowed to move on a provincial sick-pay program after a year of resistance.

But he brushed aside other calls from the medical community and the province’s scientific advisers to close more non-essential businesses where COVID-19 is spreading and to allow outdoor recreational activities.

In a press conference outside of his late mother’s home – where he is in isolation after coming into contact with a staff member who has COVID-19 – Ford said he knows people are angry and that his government’s recent enforcement measures went “too far.”

In the House of Commons today, MPs unanimously adopted a motion calling for Canada to suspend international flights from countries where COIVD-19 outbreaks are raging just a few hours before the federal government is expected to announce new restrictions on incoming travel. Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault said he and some other premiers were writing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to tighten restrictions on land and air travel.

Internationally, India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 314,835 COVID-19 infections today as a second wave of the pandemic raised new fears about the ability of crumbling health services to cope.

Opinion:

  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s apologies mean nothing - Tanya Talaga
  • Canada boasts of strong borders while allowing flights from COVID-19 hotspots to land daily - Robyn Urback

Read more:

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Canada aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 per cent by 2030

Canada plans to slash its greenhouse gas emissions faster than first promised as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will cut its emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels within the decade.

He announced the new goal - higher than the 30-per-cent reduction first signed on to under the Paris Agreement - at a virtual summit with world leaders, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. Ottawa has not revealed what policies will enable Canada to reach that target, but Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said measures the government has already introduced ensure it will cut emissions by 36 per cent.

Separately, Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest insurers, says Canadians will be more than $100-billion poorer by 2050 if the world doesn’t work harder to fight climate change.

Meanwhile, at the livestreamed summit, the leaders of Russia and China put aside their raw-worded disputes with Biden long enough to pledge international co-operation on cutting climate-wrecking coal and petroleum emissions.

Freeland and Macklem weigh in on Canada’s hot housing market

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country needs a boost in the supply of housing to help make prices more affordable, but suggests there may be other steps governments can take.

Speaking at a virtual event on Thursday, Freeland said Ottawa wants to work with lower levels of government on the issue, adding there is more that cities, provinces and Ottawa can do together.

Yesterday, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said there are signs of speculative behaviour in the country’s booming housing market and voiced concern over the pace of mortgage borrowing among highly indebted households.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

OSC to start cracking down on crypto trading: The Ontario Securities Commission will begin taking steps to crack down on cryptocurrency trading platforms that have failed to meet an April 19 deadline to contact regulators on how to bring their businesses into compliance. Just 36 of the hundreds of crypto businesses that facilitate trades in digital tokens for Canadians have begun the process, it says.

Auger-Aliassime advances in Barcelona: Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-3 in an all-Canadian third-round match at the Barcelona Open today, setting up a quarterfinal match with Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas tomorrow.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks tumbled today on reports President Joe Biden planned to almost double the capital gains tax, which news analysts said provided an excuse to take profits in a directionless market ahead of big tech’s earnings next week. Canada’s main stock index also ended lowerr, with energy, materials and tech sectors all declining by more than 1 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 321.41 points or 0.94 per cent to 33,815.90, the S&P 500 fell 38.44 points or 0.92 per cent to 4,134.98 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 131.81 points or 0.94 per cent to end at 13,818.41.

Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index slipped 111.61 points or 0.58 per cent to 19,031.64.

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TALKING POINTS

The left’s view of debt is having its day

“If banks aren’t worried about the debt situation in B.C. or the federal government’s balance sheet, on what ground does federal Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole sound alarms warning of pending doom? It’s even more difficult to get those benefiting from all this government largesse – the public – to become angry about it.” - Gary Mason

In Quebec, an act of injustice receives no accountability

“We must publicize the systemic discrimination, dehumanization and cruelty of Bill 21 far and wide, and confer with activists about the best way forward to address discrimination enshrined in law.” - Sheema Khan

LIVING BETTER

Are you running out of streaming ideas to stay entertained in your home theatre? TV critic John Doyle offers his list of the 21 best series to stream so far in 2021, whether you’re in the mood for offbeat comedy, smart drama or uncomplicated thrills.

TODAY’S LONG READ

How Bondfield scrambled to kill a story that threatened to derail the company

The patient care tower at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto on Aug. 31, 2018.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

John Aquino, the former chief executive officer of Bondfield Construction Co. Ltd., was a domineering boss who was used to getting his way. But on Sept. 15, 2015, he was up against an ancient and immovable force: the Jewish high holidays.

That morning, The Globe and Mail had published the first of a series of stories about Aquino’s friend, Vas Georgiou, the second-in-command at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

The story, which detailed how Georgiou had been implicated in a fraud at a public university, was damning, and would soon spell the end of Georgiou’s time at the hospital. But Aquino knew Bondfield’s computer servers held evidence of something worse.

The only problem that September day was that Bondfield’s go-to IT official, Benny Weinstock, was off for Rosh Hashanah and was prohibited, religiously, from working until the two-day celebration ended at sundown. That didn’t stop Aquino. “I need you at office immediately,” he wrote to Weinstock at 1:05 p.m. Read Greg McArthur and Karen Howlett’s full story here.

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