Good evening, let’s start with today’s top coronavirus stories:
Canadian Forces report on Ontario long-term care facilities ‘deeply disturbing,’ Trudeau says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian Armed Forces has uncovered “deeply disturbing” findings about five long-term care homes in Ontario during a military operation. The allegations include rooming COVID-19 positive patients with uninfected ones, insect infestations and aggressive resident feeding that led to choking.
Trudeau said he spoke with Ontario Premier Doug Ford this morning to assure him of Ottawa’s support. At a press conference this afternoon, Ford raised the prospect of criminal charges and said he was concerned at least some other homes in the province and elsewhere in Canada were in similar crisis.
Both Ontario and Quebec have requested an extension of the military’s operation in long-term care facilities, Trudeau said.
Workplace-safety complaints filed in April and May at four Quebec long-term care homes where 250 residents died offer a glimpse of the disarray and poor conditions in the province’s facilities. Quebec’s ombudswoman Marie Rinfret says she will investigate why so many seniors died from COVID-19 in the province’s residences for the elderly.
In other COVID-19-related news: The Liberal government shut down debate on its plan to extend the current suspension of regular Parliamentary sittings for another four months. The plan went ahead with the support of the NDP in exchange for Trudeau’s pledge to work with the provinces toward a national system of 10 days of paid sick leave.
The Prime Minister will co-host a virtual United Nations meeting on the pandemic on Thursday, as Canada enters its final stretch of campaigning for a UN Security Council seat.
At his morning press briefing, Trudeau provided an update on personal protection equipment and announced a federal contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks.
Meanwhile, Digital Government Minister Joyce Murray’s is distancing herself from a fundraising pitch on one of her internet communication channels that was soliciting money to sue a Canadian journalist. The reporter broke a story about China’s overseas efforts to amass personal protective equipment from Canada and other countries during the early days of the outbreak.
In business: Porter Airlines has for the second time delayed the restart of its flights and plans to resume service on July 29.
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China threatens ‘damage’ to relations with Canada ahead of B.C. court decision on Huawei’s Meng
Canada must release Meng, "and ensure her safe return to China at an early date to avoid more damage caused to China-Canada relations,” China foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said today.
Two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, have been detained in China since December, 2018, in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the United States. And while the ruling offers a possible way out – if the court orders her freed – it could also complicate Canada’s relationship with the United States.
Police seize trucks, guns and drugs in crackdown on towing industry crime
More than 10 tow trucks and dozens of guns have been seized as part of a months-long police investigation into organized crime activity in the Toronto-area towing industry. Police also took possession of kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and cannabis.
A Globe and Mail investigation in February shed light on collision towing and the lethal lengths that drivers were willing to go to in competition for that business – and the kickbacks that accompany it.
Since December, 2018, four men with ties to the area’s towing industry have been killed. Several others have been shot in their tow trucks and survived. More than 35 trucks have been set on fire.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
NHL adopts playoffs plan: The NHL says it will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 if it is able to resume play.
Woman in Central Park fired after viral video: Denouncing “racism of any kind,” global investment firm Franklin Templeton has fired Amy Cooper, after a viral video showed the white woman calling police to say she felt threatened by an African-American man who asked her politely to leash her dog in New York’s Central Park.
Scotiabank profit tumbles: Bank of Nova Scotia was the first major Canadian bank to report second-quarter earnings today, revealing a 41-per-cent drop in profit as it added about $1-billion to loan-loss provisions but held its dividend steady.
Calgary bans conversion therapy: Calgary’s city council has voted overwhelmingly to ban conversion therapy, which it defines as any attempt to modify a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Casino tycoon Stanley Ho dies: Stanley Ho, whose business empire dominated the Portuguese gambling enclave of Macau for decades, has died in Hong Kong at age 98.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher today on optimism about developing coronavirus vaccines and the revival of business activity, but the S&P 500 failed to hold above the key psychological level of 3,000 points.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 529.95 points or 2.17 per cent to 24,995.11, the S&P 500 gained 36.32 points or 1.23 per cent to end at 2,991.77, and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.63 points or 0.17 per cent to close at 9,340.22.
Gains in the financial sector after Bank of Nova Scotia beat earnings estimates helped lift Canada’s main stock index higher. The S&P/TSX composite index rose 72.70 points or 0.48 per cent to 15,148.12.
The Wet’suwet’en deal could be a recipe for disaster
“The deal does nothing to solve the Coastal GasLink dispute. The hereditary chiefs had their leadership recognized by government and had to give up nothing in return – including any promise to not continue blocking the pipeline from crossing their territory.” - Gary Mason
How one tax change could turbocharge Alberta’s energy sector
“Ottawa can change federal tax regulations around income trusts through a reversal of what is known as the 2006 Halloween Massacre, to incentivize forward-looking investors to invest now in loss-making ventures with the intention to sell or transform the businesses to income trusts once they become profitable.” - Yrjo Koskinen and Ari Pandes, University of Calgary
In the final instalment of his pandemic personal finance updates, Rob Carrick offers a checklist of 10 things you should have done by now to guard your financial well-being, but it’s not too late. They include:
- Go mobile: Online banking is great, but mobile banking is where you reach the peak of convenience and control over your finances.
- Top-up emergency funds: If you’re saving money through physical distancing, at least some of it should end up in a savings account to protect against any future economic upheaval.
- Rethink loyalty programs: In this pandemic-driven economic downturn, cash-back rewards are more practical than travel points.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Mom and I don’t talk about dating, but I want to be honest with her
Like in most Indian households, I can count on my fingers the number of times we’ve talked about dating. In Grade 6, I proudly announced that I would have a boyfriend like Jessica and Elizabeth, the Sweet Valley High twins. My Mom explained that I would not have a boyfriend because “we don’t believe in that.”
I met my first boyfriend when I was 22. Months later, my brother called. “Mom thinks you have a boyfriend. She says she can feel these things.” When we broke up five years later, I flew home; I needed her. As I cried, Mom came into my room and pulled open the blinds. “Get up,” she ordered, “There are plenty of boys in the world,” I whimpered that I loved him. “You’ll love another one,” she insisted. I looked at her, surprised. She’d had an arranged marriage soon after meeting my dad; she never talked like this.
Later, while reading the paper and not meeting my eyes, Mom said: “You should read his messages, he must’ve met someone else.” She was right. He was going to start eating chicken for her. Ugh. How did she know? Read Sajmun Sachdev’s full essay here.