Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Erin O’Toole says CSIS outlined voter suppression and misinformation campaign against him by China
Erin O’Toole revealed to the House of Commons today that he’s been informed by CSIS of a concerted effort by the Chinese Communist Party to target him during the run-up to the 2021 federal election. The Canadian spy agency told the former Conservative leader that he was the focus of a misinformation campaign aimed at discrediting him and weakening his chances in the election. O’Toole added that he remains a target of Chinese foreign interference, according to CSIS.
Alberta’s overtaxed health care system tops the list of challenges Danielle Smith will face
Although Danielle Smith held on as Alberta Premier in the wake of Monday’s election, her United Conservative Party lost ground, and its power is now concentrated outside Edmonton and Calgary, urban areas where the New Democrats, under Rachel Notley, have a solid power base. Jeff Jones looks at the urban-rural political divide and how the UCP will handle a host of challenges that face the province.
Chief among these is health care. The system was already struggling when the pandemic hit in 2020. Smith had said during the campaign that hospital wait times in Calgary were easing, but recent data show those trends worsening again.
- Explainer: Analyzing the results of a razor-thin race
- Read also: Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party wins majority government in Alberta
- Kelly Cryderman: Danielle Smith wins over Albertans, but governing a divided province won’t be easy
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Ukrainian drone attack damages Moscow apartments, Russia says
Eight drones attacked the Russian capital earlier today, just hours after Russia’s latest attack on Kyiv. The Kremlin called the drone strike on Moscow a “terrorist attack” despite daily and often deadly attacks by Russia on Ukraine’s capital.
There were no serious injuries in the strike on Moscow, though several buildings sustained minor damage. Earlier this morning, air-raid sirens rang out in Kyiv as Iranian-made Shahed drones were fired at the capital. All but two were shot down before reaching their targets. More than 170 drones and missiles have been launched at Kyiv since early Sunday morning, killing two people.
Wildfire continues to burn in Halifax area as firefighters prepare for challenging weather
An out-of-control wildfire is rapidly moving through and ravaging the Halifax area, burning about 200 homes and buildings as more than 16,000 people remain evacuated from the wooded suburban community of Tantallon. Officials are calling the wildfire the worst they have ever seen.
Gusty winds are expected today, so the fire may continue to spread, increasing the risk to firefighters on the ground. An unusually dry spring along with high wind speeds over the past few days, make the fire, which now covers 788 hectares, exceedingly difficult to control.
Premier Tim Houston announced the province would be banning all travel and activity in all wooded areas as of 4 p.m. local time. The ban applies to all forestry, mining, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, off-road vehicle driving and all commercial activity on Crown lands.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
ArriveCan’s erroneous orders urging 10,200 Canadians to quarantine breached Privacy Act
A report released today revealed that the ArriveCan app which urged more than 10,000 Canadians to quarantine last year, and threatened to fine those who didn’t comply, violated the Privacy Act.
An investigation into events beginning June 28, 2022, found that about 10,200 Apple device users received erroneous messages instructing them to quarantine or risk heavy fines. A database error mistakenly identified some fully vaccinated travellers as unvaccinated. Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne said the Canada Border Services Agency failed to ensure that a decision of that magnitude was always overseen by a human public servant.
Extreme text scams in China are threatening execution if people don’t pay up
Across China, people are receiving texts demanding money and threatening them with increasingly outlandish punishments – including execution – if they did not pay up. Some warn that the scam’s ridiculousness could be the point. Those who identify the text as a scam are weeded out; while others are more likely to follow scammer’s subsequent instructions. James Griffiths looks at the waves of scams that have hit China in recent years.
Canada’s main stock index slid to its lowest closing level in two months, with the energy sector among the biggest decliners in a broad-based slide as oil prices tumbled. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 228.25 points, or 1.1%, at 19,739.70, its lowest close since March 28. All 10 major sectors ended lower.
Wall Street shares were mixed as investors weighed prospects of a deal to lift the U.S. debt ceiling passing in Congress. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 50.56 points at 33,042.78. The S&P 500 index was up 0.07 points at 4,205.52, while the Nasdaq composite was up 41.74 points at 13,017.43.
The loonie was trading at 73.55 cents (U.S.), off 0.06 cents.
Canada’s political parties need to rediscover the missing middle ground
Editorial: “The actions and platforms of the Conservatives and the Liberals, and the value judgments they represent, have divided the country into mutually antagonistic voting blocs that may be ripe for the plucking by party strategists, but which have done nothing to create a united vision of the country.”
The country (and Alberta) should brace for what Premier Danielle Smith has in store
Gary Mason: “As happy as many Albertans are today, especially in rural parts of the province, there are many, many others who are deeply depressed over what has transpired. Never has an Alberta premier been more at odds with the values and mores of such a broad swath of the province.”
The Trudeau government is choosing to shift responsibility, rather than fix public trust
Andrew Coyne: “A government is not entitled to the presumption of innocence. If a breach should open in the public’s trust in government, the onus is on the government to repair it. It is not on the public to trust it.”
Health tech is coming for your bladder
There’s more opportunity than ever before to use technology to track and improve your health. At a recent consumer electronics show, personal health devices were unveiled, ranging from a “breathing cushion” which, when cradled or hugged, will sync the user’s breathing with it and calm it down, to a device you place in the toilet bowl to analyze your urine and which delivers to your phone data about hydration, hormone and pH levels.
Whether these devices help us will depend on our understanding of the information given to us. Not to mention our dedication in using the device. Maryam Siddiqi reports.
Podcast: How Emily O’Brien started a gourmet popcorn business behind bars
In our new episode of Better For It, Emily O’Brien, founder of Comeback Snacks, a gourmet popcorn company designed to give former convicts a second chance, recounts the origin story of her business, and the uphill battles she faced trying to scale it – fresh out of prison.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Technology could be key to future wildfire prevention, containment and fighting, companies say
In a departure from the historical data and satellite technology used to predict the spread of wildfires, a company called SensaioTech uses AI-equipped sensors, placed in forests and farm environments, to precisely monitor an array of variables including soil temperature, humidity, luminosity, salinity, PH levels, pests and diseases. Readings are taken at 1-minute intervals, and then sent to a dashboard that clients can review. Alerts go out to the customer when any variables reach dangerous levels.