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Liberal-dominated ethics committee shuts down opposition attempt for new SNC-Lavalin inquiry

The Liberal-dominated House of Commons ethics committee shut down an attempt by opposition parties today to launch a new inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair and allow former attorney-general and justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould another opportunity to testify about the fallout from the controversy.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified before the House justice committee that she faced “constant and sustained” pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top aides to override federal prosecutors and grant a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin. Conservative and NDP MPs argued that the government tried to silence her when the Liberals on the justice committee closed down its inquiry (for subscribers).

For the full background to this story, check out our explainer here (for subscribers).

Read more: PMO knew about disagreement between prosecutors on SNC-Lavalin (for subscribers)

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The latest on Huawei and the Canadians detained in China

Global Affairs Canada says detained Canadian businessman Michael Spavor received a visit from consular officials in China today, a day after Canadian officials visited former diplomat Michael Kovrig. Both men were detained in China on Dec. 10 in apparent retaliation for the arrest in Canada on Dec. 1 of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Neither Canadian has had access to a lawyer or been formally charged. Read up on the background of the story here.

Separately today, the European Commission announced a series of cybersecurity recommendations for next-generation mobile networks, ignoring U.S. calls to ban Huawei over fears its equipment could be used by China’s leaders to carry out cyberespionage. The Commission instead urged member states to assess cyber threats to the 5G infrastructure in their national markets.

Meanwhile, Eric Xu, one of the rotating chairmen at Huawei, tells The Globe’s Asia correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe that the company would not heed a direct order to use equipment it manufactures for espionage in foreign countries, even if it came from China’s leader. “Xi Jinping hasn’t come to us. And I have no idea if that will happen,” he said.

Report on attitudes regarding Brexit paints grim picture for Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May has managed to do what many thought impossible: unite the country against her Brexit strategy and deepen divisions over the decision to leave the European Union, Paul Waldie writes.

A report released today from Britain’s National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) painted a grim picture for the Prime Minister who has been struggling for months to get her withdrawal agreement with the EU approved by Parliament. The deal has been rejected twice and tomorrow members of Parliament will start the process of trying to find a different way out of the Brexit impasse.

NatCen has been regularly tracking more than 2,600 voters since the 2016 referendum, and the latest results found that support for Ms. May’s approach has plummeted to just 7 per cent, while 81 per cent said she was doing a bad job.

Trudeau considering sending delegation to China after imports from second canola producer blocked

China blocked canola shipments from Viterra Inc. of Regina over alleged contamination issues, a move that has prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider dispatching a delegation to the Asian country.

It’s the the second company to have canola seed shipments blocked, after Winnipeg-based Richardson International Ltd. had its export permit revoked in March due to hazardous organisms allegedly found in its product.

Since then, the Canola Council of Canada said all its members that export canola to China have reported that Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase their products.

Canadian Red Cross sending emergency field hospital to cyclone-devastated Mozambique

The Canadian Red Cross is sending an emergency field hospital and 25 health workers to battle a growing crisis in Mozambique after the devastation of Cyclone Idai.

There are fears of cholera outbreaks and increasing malaria infections as stagnant water spreads across the country. Several hundred thousand people have lost their homes, and an estimated 1.8 million people need urgent aid, according to the United Nations.


All-female space walk scuttled: What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble on the path to equality after U.S. space agency NASA cancelled the first all-female spacewalk because of a lack of a spacesuit in the right size.

Jussie Smollett charges dropped: Lawyers for Empire actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped. He had been indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

Purdue settles opioid lawsuit: OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and members of the wealthy Sackler family that own the company have reached a US$270-million settlement to resolve a lawsuit by the state of Oklahoma accusing Purdue of helping fuel the opioid abuse epidemic, people familiar with the matter say.

Arrest in alleged abduction: A Toronto man was arrested today in connection with the alleged abduction of Chinese student Wanzhen Lu in Markham, Ont., Saturday, but police have not yet located the missing man.

Pot shop delay: Ontario’s first cannabis retail shops are set to open their doors next week, but some of the 25 licence holders are still wading through the lengthy approval process and might not be ready for business.


Canada’s main stock index advanced today, led by sharp gains in energy stocks as oil prices briefly rose above $68 a barrel on OPEC supply cuts and expectations of lower U.S. inventories (for subscribers). The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 89.30 points to 16,155.16.

Wall Street stocks also gained, with financials snapping a five-day losing streak as U.S. Treasury yields stabilized above 15-month lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 140.90 points to 25,657.73, the S&P 500 gained 20.10 points to 2,818.46 and the Nasdaq Composite added 53.98 points to close at 7,691.52.

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Trump’s great escape: Is the Mueller report summary a turning point for his presidency?

“Given the clearance accorded to Donald Trump on the biggest threat overhanging his ramshackle presidency, get ready for Trumpian triumphalism for months to come. Victory laps and cartwheels, a conga line snaking through the streets, Mr. Trump and Lindsey Graham up front, Sean Hannity on the tuba.” – Lawrence Martin (for subscribers)

Take Conor McGregor ‘retirement’ as seriously as he does – not at all

“Nobody really retires in sports any more. What they do is deploy the nuclear professional option in a cry for attention. If they get enough of it, they unretire. If no one cares, they slink off into the darkness of civilian life. It’s vaguely pathetic, however it turns out.” – Cathal Kelly

Britain is going to ban porn for kids under 18. Here’s why it won’t work

“Internet-savvy teenagers will surely find a workaround, whether it is by figuring out their parents’ login information, going to file-sharing sites or using a VPN. If anything, it will send them to darker, less safe parts of the internet.” – Debra Soh, political commentator


You can reduce aggravation at the airport by following these tips to navigate security like a frequent flier (for subscribers). You’ve probably already marked your luggage to find it easily at the carousel - do the same for your laptop or tablet. Many airports now use “parallel divest stations” at security checkpoints, which allows many passengers to unload items at the same time. Your items likely won’t be grouped together, so a sticker will help you recognize which one is yours. If you have a choice, line up behind someone who looks like a seasoned pro: people in suits, those with minimal luggage and anyone who has already removed his or her jacket (this person is prepped).


How can I parent mindfully when I get so tired of being a parent?

Most days while mothering toddler twins, I cried at least once out of frustration or exhaustion. (Umm, yep, you’re peeing in the middle of this café, but my diaper bag is outside and I’m alone with two of you.) On my worst days, I would put my kids to bed, burst into tears, have a glass of wine and/or Google, “I hate parenting” just to see what would come up.

“You’re exactly the person who should be teaching this class,” my sister told me. “You didn’t enjoy it, but you found the beauty in it anyway.”

And there it was. The paradox. The truth. The journey with my twins had been arduous, often unpleasant, but it was indeed beautiful. - Abigail Somma

The nudes in the basement: This Montreal Museum of Fine Arts exhibit bares it all

There’s something unusual on display in the lower reaches of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts these days: the male member, Kate Taylor writes (for subscribers).

The female nude is standard fare in most art museums, but a fully naked man with genitalia visible is a rare sight. Down in the basement of the MMFA’s Desmarais Pavilion, a show entitled A Model in the Studio: Montreal 1880-1950 includes a few such images – alongside many of naked women. In a red chalk drawing from 1904-05, Clarence Gagnon renders a standing male nude with delicate mastery of the young man’s musculature and quiet realism about his genitals. John Lyman’s drawing of an older, broad-shouldered figure is far quicker, almost cartoonish in effect, but equally willing to dispense with the G-string that covers many of the men in this show.

As curator Jacques Des Rochers explains in this tightly focused exhibition of recent acquisitions, classical art often featured the unclothed male figure. He was a symbol of power, beauty and humanity. It was in the 19th century, as the female nude became increasingly eroticized in art, that men faded into the background.

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