Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole denounces bids to ‘cancel’ Canada Day
Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Canada has its shortcomings, but that’s no reason to cancel Canada Day celebrations.
In a speech to caucus today, he weighed into the debate sparked in part by the discovery of the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
“As someone who has served Canada and will soon ask for the trust to lead this country, I can’t stay silent when people want to cancel Canada Day,” he said. He also said the discovery of the remains was a “necessary awakening” for many Canadians that has forced a recommitment to reconciliation.
This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.
Protest against COVID-19 travel restrictions blocks traffic on highway at Nova Scotia-New Brunswick boundary
Traffic was brought to a standstill today along the Trans-Canada Highway at Nova Scotia’s boundary with New Brunswick as a protest continued over COVID-19 travel restrictions. RCMP are advising motorists to avoid the area outside Amherst, N.S., which is the main crossing between the two provinces.
Unrest began after the Nova Scotia government announced that starting today, travellers from New Brunswick would need to self-isolate upon arrival even though people visiting the province from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador wouldn’t have to.
In other COVID-19 developments: Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province may move into the second phase of its reopening plan earlier than the scheduled date of July 2, and an announcement would be coming “very shortly.” Manitoba is loosening some restrictions a week earlier than planned after hitting vaccination targets, meaning this Saturday people will be able to return to restaurants and meet with larger groups of people.
Civil liberties group urges Liberal Party to stop using facial recognition technology
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is calling on the governing Liberals to “cease and desist” using facial recognition technology to verify the identity of people voting in candidate nominations.
In a letter obtained by The Globe and Mail, the association says: “By using it for the purposes of nominating candidates for federal election, [the Liberal Party of Canada] is tacitly endorsing an unreliable, racist technology.” Research shows the technology has a higher error rate for people of colour.
Bridging Finance’s largest borrower to file for creditor protection, owes $208-million to the private lender
Alaska-Alberta Railway Development Corp., Bridging Finance Inc.’s largest borrower, has told clients it plans to file for creditor protection, creating more uncertainty for the 26,000 Bridging investors who are waiting to hear what will come of their money.
The railway company, which goes by A2A, owes $208-million to Bridging but has informed the private lender and others that it will seek creditor protection. Bridging also has a $109-million equity stake in the company, according to the lender’s own valuation.
A2A also disclosed in its notice to creditors that it owes $12.7-million to two numbered companies controlled by Sean McCoshen, who is the driving force behind the railway project but who has faced scrutiny over the past few weeks because of alleged kickbacks paid to Bridging’s former chief executive.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Apple Daily’s last edition tomorrow: Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily says it will print its last edition tomorrow, after a stormy year in which it was raided by police and its tycoon owner and other staff were arrested under a new Chinese security law. Its online version will also stop updating.
Antivirus creator McAfee found dead in prison: John McAfee, creator of the McAfee antivirus software, has been found dead in his cell in a jail near Barcelona, hours after a Spanish court issued a preliminary ruling in favour of his extradition to the United States to face tax-related criminal charges.
Buffett exits Gates Foundation: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he is resigning as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The 90-year-old did not mention the Gates’s divorce as a reason, while noting he has given up all directorships outside Berkshire Hathaway, reducing his workload.
TIFF’s 2021 program: The Toronto International Film Festival has announced a sampling of the 100-plus films that will play as part of this year’s hybrid festival, which will include digital screenings available to audiences across the country and in-person premieres.
Elton John to play Vancouver, Toronto: Elton John has released the final North American and European dates for his farewell tour, which includes Toronto’s Rogers Centre on Sept. 7, 2022, and Vancouver’s BC Place on Oct. 21 next year.
Stocks drifted to a mixed finish on Wall Street today, after tentative gains earlier in the day brought the S&P 500 and TSX back near record highs. Canada’s main stock index closed lower, even as the energy and tech sectors posted modest gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 71.34 points or 0.21 per cent to 33,874.24, the S&P 500 slid 4.60 points or 0.11 per cent to 4,241.84, and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.46 points or 0.13 per cent to close at 14,271.73.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 36.26 points or 0.18 per cent to end at 20,164.39.
Conservative MPs caved on conversion therapy bill, but they’ve likely already accomplished their mission
“Hopes of the bill making it through the Senate in the remaining time are faint. If the bill dies on the order paper, Parliament will once again have failed to protect vulnerable minors from charlatans and zealots.” - John Ibbitson
They called the wrong guy to the bar
“[PHAC president Iain] Stewart may not, as he maintains, have been acting on the Prime Minister’s instructions. But there is no doubt he is acting with the Prime Minister’s approval.” - Andrew Coyne
Today’s episode of The Decibel podcast: The Globe’s Ottawa bureau chief, Robert Fife, joins host Tamara Khandaker to discuss the parliamentary showdown over the release of unredacted documents that could explain the dismissal of two scientists from Canada’s infectious-disease lab.
The latest episode of the Stress Test podcast: How do you plan for daycare costs that can be so high in Canada that some call it “the second mortgage?” Personal finance editor Roma Luciw talks to Janine Rogan, a Calgary-based certified public accountant with a six-month-old at home, who breaks down how to financially prepare.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Time will ease Ontario’s Gypsy moth outbreak, biologist says
A sound like constant rainfall overpowers the rustle of leaves in Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works park. The insect droppings hitting the ground in a steady pitter-patter are officially called “frass.” The scene has been unfolding in many parts on Ontario, and the culprits are thousands of black, two-inch-long caterpillars, perched in grand numbers on the province’s trees since late May.
Gypsy moth caterpillars, Lymantria dispar dispar, have been detected in Canada as early as 1969 and are prone to infestations every seven to 10 years. Experts say 2021 might be a banner year for them in Ontario, as they continue to populate conservation areas, city parks and backyards. In doing so, they are also defoliating trees, damaging some forests and causing allergies in children.
David Beresford, a biologist and assistant professor at Trent University, said while the insects can cause rashes, and their feces can accumulate and produce fungus, the infestation is more distressing than it is harmful. He said said the best way to solve the problem is by giving it time. Read Alex Cyr’s full story here.