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

General Wayne Eyre has been appointed to the position of Chief of the Defence Staff, the Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday.

Eyre has served in this role in an acting capacity after Admiral Art McDonald stepped aside in February while facing an allegation of sexual misconduct.

McDonald was the subject of an investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service which concluded without any charges. He sought to return to work after the probe, but was placed on administrative leave by the government in August.

Acting Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre arrives on Parliament Hill prior to a cabinet meeting in Ottawa on Nov. 23, 2021.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Farmers devastated by B.C. floods return to gut-wrenching scenes

The flood that dumped a month’s worth of rain on to southern B.C. in less than two days has created an agricultural disaster in the Fraser Valley, where the bulk of the province’s food production takes place.

Multi-generational farmers who watched their family businesses go under, along with their homes, have also been left to deal with catastrophic mortality and biohazard risks from animals caught in the flood. The death toll is, at the minimum, in the tens of thousands.

In other developments, massive cleanup efforts are under way in communities large and small throughout the province. While the military landed earlier this week in Abbotsford to help repair the dike system designed to protect that important agricultural region, Merritt, Princeton and smaller municipalities to the east have been struggling with the enormity of what lies ahead.

At a flood briefing Wednesday, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the military was now on site in the devastated town of Princeton and that the province has set up a hotline for evacuees to get information about new risks and the various forms of assistance they can now access.

Flooded fields in Abbotsford, B.C. on Nov. 23, 2021.Jackie Dives/The Globe and Mail

Contradictory spending, slow pace trouble Trudeau government’s emissions-reduction plans, Environment Commissioner says

Canada has the worst emissions record in the G7 since 2015, contradictory policies and has been slow to implement the plans to meet its current targets after three decades of missed climate-change pledges, the federal environment commissioner says.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Jerry DeMarco released a report Thursday that chronicles three decades of federal government failure in translating talk into action to cut emissions linked to global warming. Spelling out the affects of climate chance on Canada today, his report warns of deaths linked to extreme heat and wildfire smoke, and says the frequency of natural disasters is going up along with the costs of responding to them.

“Past inaction on climate change has created the present crisis. Meanwhile, continued inaction unfairly burdens future generations, who will experience even greater effects from the long‑lasting greenhouse gases that have already been emitted,” the report says.

Giant flames burn off waste gases as smoke and steam belch from steel mills in Hamilton, Ont., on Feb. 1, 2007.J.P. Moczulski/The Canadian Press


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Loneliness a major risk factor for depression for seniors during first year of pandemic, study finds: Loneliness was the most significant risk factor for depression among older Canadians during the first year of the pandemic, according to the results of a large-scale longitudinal study that followed seniors both before and after COVID-19 spread through the country.

France beefs up sea rescue work, spars with U.K. over migrant deaths: France said on Thursday it was mobilizing reservists and beefing up sea rescue operations as London and Paris traded blame over the deaths of 27 migrants trying to reach Britain in an inflatable dinghy.

Canada’s big banks expected to raise dividends next week but size of increases will vary widely: Canada’s major banks are set to announce their first dividend increases and share buybacks in nearly two years next week and eager investors are awaiting generous hikes to payouts, but the size and timing are expected to vary widely from one bank to another.

Average home costs are up 30% since before the pandemic, a spike CHMC links to speculative investors: Buyers are trying to get into the housing market and have increasingly turned to cities and regions that were once considered affordable or to condos, which typically have a lower purchase price. That includes preconstruction condos, where the buyer is initially only on the hook for a relatively smaller down payment.

The buy now, pay later option is everywhere. Should shoppers use it?: BNPL is simple and convenient: When checking out, shoppers fill out a short application and provide basic personal information, including a link to a debit or credit card. But while splitting the cost of a purchase into four no-interest payments sounds like a great deal, studies have shown the plans prompt shoppers to spend more than they otherwise would have.

Listen to The Decibel: The flooding and rebuilding of B.C.’s farms


MARKET WATCH

Gains in the technology sector helped lead Canada’s main stock index slightly higher Thursday, though overall trading activity was low due to the Thanksgiving holiday south of the border.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 64.75 points at 21,613.18.U.S. stock markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar traded for 79.03 cents US compared with 78.88 cents US on Wednesday.

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TALKING POINTS

The things the Trudeau government isn’t saying about inflation

“If the Throne Speech tells us anything, it’s that the Liberal government is among those hoping inflation will sort itself out in 2022, and won’t turn into an issue that could hurt it at the polls, or affect its own borrowing plans.” – The Editorial Board

Despite years of dubious conduct, the Lethbridge Police Service is free to decay for another day

“There comes a point at which the rot in an organization is so pervasive, so putrid, that the remaining bits of healthy flesh that persist therein simply cease to matter. All that anyone in its vicinity can smell is decay – sleaze, malfeasance, impropriety – and all they can see is a closing of ranks when that decay starts to seep out. Over and over again, the public is assured that the infection will be cleaned out and treated; over and over again, the body seems to manage to avoid doing the hard work of healing.” – Robyn Urback

Throne Speech suggests that Trudeau wants to establish his legacy – and hang the consequences

“What matters now is that the Liberal government appears determined to push forward with an ambitious agenda, despite having a weak electoral mandate and despite warnings from the central bank that interest rates are about to climb. That doesn’t make fighting climate change, improving health care or seeking reconciliation with Indigenous peoples any less urgent. But it could leave the Liberals politically exposed.” – John Ibbitson

A full investigation into Canada’s COVID-19 response is needed now

“Without a full, fair and public inquiry, painful though the process may be, Canada remains at risk of being blindsided by the next zoonotic threat. And that is a risk Canadians can ill afford.” – Adrian Levy


LIVING BETTER

Many people are overwhelmed, overcommitted and overworked doing exactly what they thought they wanted to do with their lives, notes Carey Nieuwhof, a pastor and leadership writer in his new book, At Your Best.

Often, he says, their excuse is that the situation is just temporary – a season in their life. But seasons have beginnings and endings. If your busy season has no ending, face reality: It’s not a season – it’s your life. And you need to build an alternative life you don’t want to escape from.


TODAY’S LONG READ

Organizations warned of deadly upward trend in femicide at pandemic’s onset. New data confirms their predictions

A person holds a placard during a protest against domestic violence, after several women in the province were killed in recent weeks, in Montreal, Quebec, April 2, 2021.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

The number of women who were victims of homicide has risen in Canada over the past two years, according to preliminary data that researchers say reflect an increase in lethal domestic violence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spike – with 92 women killed in the first six months of this year, an increase from 78 in the first half of 2020, and 60 in the first half of 2019 – corroborates a deadly trend that many anti-violence groups have warned about since the start of the pandemic.

As activists mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Thursday, the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability warns the deadly trend could continue through 2022 – particularly as the fallout from the pandemic continues to affect women disproportionately.

Evening Update is written by Emerald Bensadoun. 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.

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