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

Emergencies Act inquiry starts hearing from convoy protest organizers

Protest organizers were aware of incendiary comments from one convoy leader but wanted to keep him in the fold because of his social media following, the Emergencies Act inquiry was told today. Chris Barber, the first protester to testify, maintains that the demonstration in Ottawa was peaceful.

He was one of the original organizers of the convoy of truckers who made their way to Ottawa in January. Mr. Barber was asked about videos and posts by another convoy leader, Pat King, which incited violence against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government and referenced bullets.

Documents presented to the commission show that other convoy leaders were aware of at least some of King’s incendiary comments before they arrived in Ottawa. The leaders discussed finding a way to get him to stop making the comments but they also didn’t want to lose the large following King brought with him.

Separately, lawyers for Premier Doug Ford and a senior cabinet minister argued there would be “irreparable harm” to the parliamentary privilege that protects the separation of court, the Crown and the legislature if they’re forced to testify at the Emergencies Act inquiry.

Read more: Top Mountie can’t explain text messages in which she suggested Ottawa wanted retroactive support for the act

Opinion:

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Prime Minister Trudeau calls Ontario’s proposed use of notwithstanding clause to ban CUPE strike ‘wrong’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s proposed use of the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause that would suspend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to impose a contract on education support workers and ban their right to strike. Federal Justice Minister David Lametti says he is looking at whether to intervene.

Ontario’s legislature started debate on the legislation shortly after 5 a.m. today as the Progressive Conservative government sought to push through the bill.

Despite threats of potentially millions of dollars in fines, the Canadian Union of Public Employees has said its 55,000 education workers would still walk off the job for a day-long protest on Friday in defiance of the bill, which was introduced yesterday.

Some families are scrambling to make alternative child-care plans after several boards said they would close schools Friday in response to a planned walkout.

Opinion Parents are in no mood for a school strike. Doug Ford knows it - Robyn Urback

Read more: Ontario’s bill to stop CUPE strike unprecedented, legal experts say

Special committee of MPs will see secret documents related to the firing of two Winnipeg scientists

The federal government and the three main opposition parties have agreed to set up a special committee of MPs that will have unfettered access to all national security documents related to the firing of two infectious disease scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

Government House Leader Mark Holland says his Conservative, Bloc Québécois and NDP counterparts have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow MPs on an ad hoc committee to learn why Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were dismissed in January, 2021. They will also see all secret documents involving the transfer of Ebola and Henipah viruses, overseen by Qiu, to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology in March, 2019.

Why the two scientists were fired has been a contentious political issue.

The latest developments in Ukraine: Russia orders wider evacuation of occupied regions

Russia have told civilians to leave areas of Ukraine along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, a major extension of an evacuation order that Kyiv says amounts to the forced depopulation of occupied territory.

Russia had previously ordered civilians out of a pocket it controls on the west bank of the river, where Ukrainian forces have been advancing to capture the city of Kherson.

Ukraine says the evacuations include forced deportations from occupied territory, a war crime. Russia, which claims to have annexed the area, says it is taking civilians to safety.

Read more: Camp stove coffee and candle-lit dinners: Kyiv residents respond to power outages with creativity

A waiter at Kyiv’s Mimosa pizzeria delivers one of the few remaining hot pizzas during one of the city’s regular blackouts.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Prisons get failing grade: Canada has made scant progress in addressing the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in prisons, with some facing even worse conditions than a decade ago, a new report says. Read more: Despite new laws, inmates still face time in solitary confinement.

Ottawa’s new immigration targets: The federal government is increasing immigration targets for the next three years, aiming to welcome 500,000 people in 2025, in a plan that focuses on addressing labour shortages and an aging population as well as attracting newcomers to rural communities.

RIP Takeoff: The rapper, best known for his work with the Grammy-nominated trio Migos, has died after a shooting outside a bowling alley in Houston, a representative confirmed. Kirsnick Khari Ball, known professionally as Takeoff, was 28.

Nash and Nets part ways: Canadian Steve Nash is out as head coach of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets after a disappointing start and more controversy surrounding player Kyrie Irving.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks closed lower for a second straight session after data indicating that the labour market remained on solid ground dimmed hopes the Federal Reserve might have enough reason to begin reducing the size of its interest rate hikes. The Canadian benchmark index, however, ended higher thanks mostly to gains in energy and materials stocks after a glitch halted trading in the morning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.75 points or 0.24 per cent to 32,653.20, the S&P 500 lost 15.88 points or 0.41 per cent to end at 3,856.10 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 97.30 points or 0.89 per cent to 10,890.85.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 91.57 points or 0.47 per cent to 19,517.71. The loonie traded at 73.35 U.S. cents.

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TALKING POINT

Canada’s health care crisis demands leadership. Our premiers have chosen finger-pointing

“If provincial and territorial leaders really believe that an injection of cash would stem the exodus of physicians and nurses, they should be cracking open their chequebooks, not simply demanding that the federal government do so.” - André Picard

TODAY’S LONG READ

The Globe and Mail

Inside 20 years of financial records Hockey Canada has kept private

Before Hockey Canada faced scrutiny for using player registration fees to settle sexual-assault claims, it was asked to be more transparent about its finances, and not to keep its records from the public.

The Canadian Olympic Committee was mounting a push last year to improve the accountability of national sports organizations, which collect money from participants, receive funding from the government, and are given tax-free status. It wanted each of them to start disclosing their audited financial statements.

But Hockey Canada wasn’t interested. In its view, being too transparent about its financials would only lead to problems. It didn’t want people knowing how rich it was.. Read Grant Robertson’s full story.

Related: Read Hockey Canada’s audited financial statements from 2004 to 2021

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