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

Canada’s inflation rate hit a new 31-year high in April as the cost of groceries and other everyday items rose, a troubling development for many workers who aren’t seeing their wages keep pace and for central bankers trying to bring inflation back to target levels, The Globe’s Matt Lundy reports.

The consumer price index rose 6.8 per cent in April from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said Wednesday, edging up from 6.7 per cent the previous month. For many households, the inflationary surge is a financial stress, with the average worker seeing their purchasing power decline over the past several months.

Households paid nearly 10 per cent more for groceries, the steepest annual gain since 1981. Statscan noted that gains are “broad-based, with consumers paying more for nearly everything at the grocery store.”

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NATO talks over Finland and Sweden’s membership falter, but will continue despite Turkey’s objections

NATO envoys were unable to reach a consensus on Wednesday about whether to start membership talks with Finland and Sweden, diplomats said, as Turkey renewed its objections to the two Nordic countries joining.

The envoys met at NATO headquarters in Brussels after Finland and Sweden’s ambassadors submitted written applications to join the military alliance, in a move that could rewrite Europe’s security map.

The diplomats, who declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the proceedings, would not say who or what was holding up the procedure. They pointed to the messages from many of the 30 NATO allies welcoming Finland and Sweden’s bid. Turkey is the only ally to have clearly voiced its opposition.

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Federal Court dismisses Telus’s request to block Quebecor’s purchase of 5G airwaves in Western Canada

The Federal Court has dismissed Telus Corp.’s request to block Quebecor Inc.’s purchase of 5G airwaves in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, The Globe’s Alexandra Posadzki reports.

Quebecor’s Videotron subsidiary spent $830-million to acquire 294 blocks of spectrum in last year’s federal auction. More than half of its investment went to provinces outside of Quebec – Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and B.C. – as the company pushes for an expansion of its wireless business beyond its home market.

In seeking to block Quebecor’s purchase, Vancouver-based Telus had argued that the Montreal-based telecom did not meet the requirements to bid on those blocks of spectrum because it is not “actively providing commercial telecommunications services to the general public” in those regions, as required by the auction rules.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Royal couple meets with Ottawa’s Ukrainian community: Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, took part in a prayer with members of Ottawa’s Ukrainian community and met some of the groups helping Ukrainian refugees and raising money for victims of the war during the second day of their Canadian tour.

Inquest hears Chantel Moore was shot in chest, abdomen, leg: The pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Chantel Moore testified on Day 3 of the coroner’s inquest that the the 26-year-old Indigenous woman was shot twice in the chest, once in the abdomen and once in her left leg. Moore was killed by a police officer in Edmundston, N.B., last June during a wellness check.

Ex-Minneapolis police officer pleads guilty to manslaughter: Thomas Lane pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. The state and Lane’s attorneys agreed to a recommended three-year sentence – which is below Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines.

Listen to The Decibel: Why this year’s avian flu is much deadlier than usual: Nearly two million birds in Canada have already died from the avian flu this year. Wildlife pathologist Dr. Brian Stevens joins the podcast to explain how this strain of the virus is different and what experts are watching out for.

Opinion: Four ways to make the universal pharmacare dream a reality: With Canadians paying more per capita for prescription medications than most wealthy countries, many people are forced to make difficult choices between buying necessary medications and purchasing food for their families. Far from costing us more, a universal pharmacare program would actually save us money.

The Globe presents a new series called Fixing Health Care. Experts explore 10 solutions to common problems faced by patients in Canada’s public health system. Check out their ideas here.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street ended sharply lower on Wednesday, with Target losing around a quarter of its stock market value and highlighting worries about the U.S. economy after the retailer became the latest victim of surging prices. It was the worst one-day loss for the S&P 500 since June, 2020.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 389.63 points or 1.9 per cent to 20,101.38. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 1,164.52 points at 31,490.07. The S&P 500 index was down 165.17 points at 3,923.68, while the Nasdaq composite was down 566.37 points or 4.7 per cent at 11,418.15.

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.88 cents US compared with 77.92 cents US on Tuesday.

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TALKING POINTS

The Canada Infrastructure Bank was a good idea in principle, bad idea in practice

“The biggest obstacle to private investors’ participation may be the very thing the government hoped to lure them with: that juicy $35-billion dollop of public funds. It’s a bad idea in policy terms, since the subsidy, so far as it makes an investment less reliant on user fees, undermines the very market discipline that was supposed to justify it.” – Andrew Coyne

Is it time to end Canada’s last remaining COVID travel restrictions?

Ottawa continues to ban unvaccinated people from domestic plane and train travel, and it needs to explain why. Is it an effort to nudge those who’ve never had a shot into finally taking the plunge? We supported the policy, in part for that reason. But Canada’s currently very low rate of first-dose uptake strongly suggests this nudge isn’t working. – Editorial

LIVING BETTER

How your garden can help fight climate change

With internationals climate scientists predicting weather will only become more severe as global temperatures rise, many traditional gardening practices no longer fit into our changing climate, says Mitchell McLarnon, an assistant professor of environmental education at Concordia University in Montreal.

As dire as it all sounds, McLarnon says home gardeners can do their part to protect the delicate ecosystem by getting smarter about what they plant, how they plant and how they care for their gardens. Here’s how.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Canada’s Supreme Court is losing a criminal law expert. With Trudeau’s next pick for the highest court, who can fill in the gap?

Parliament Hill is seen from the grounds of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Ont. on Wednesday, April 5, 2022. Spencer Colby/The Globe and MailSpencer Colby/The Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a problem and an opportunity as he prepares to make his fifth appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, replacing Justice Michael Moldaver, who retires on Sept. 1.

The problem is that Justice Moldaver is the court’s leading specialist in criminal law. Criminal appeals make up a large part of the court’s caseload – 55 per cent of the cases heard in 2021. Justice Moldaver was once a leading criminal lawyer, and then a trial judge. His rulings ring with conviction and nuance acquired during a lifetime immersed in criminal law’s intricacies. And all that expertise is walking out the door.

The opportunity: Trudeau can choose a judge who favours a broad, liberal approach to interpreting the rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court has been moving to the right on Trudeau’s watch, and Justice Moldaver at times was part of that drift. Trudeau, whose father Pierre was the visionary behind the Charter’s founding, describes himself unequivocally as pro-Charter.

“The court is becoming more and more conservative,” Toronto-based constitutional lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo said. “This is a very important appointment for the representation of a more progressive view.” Read the full story by Sean Fine.

Evening Update is written by Beatrice Paez. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.