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Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets NEB go-ahead despite ‘adverse’ effect on whale population

The National Energy Board has concluded the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is in the public interest and should proceed, even though it would likely have “significant adverse” effects on the Southern resident killer whales of British Columbia due to increased shipping traffic. Here are the major findings of the report, which you can read here:

  • The considerable benefits of the Project include increased access to diverse markets for Canadian oil; jobs created across Canada; the development of capacity of local and Indigenous individuals, communities and businesses; direct spending on pipeline materials in Canada; and considerable revenues to various levels of government.
  • However, Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would likely be significant. 
  • While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related marine vessel is not likely, if it were to occur the environmental effects would be significant. 
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In this Aug. 7, 2018, file photo, Southern Resident killer whale J50 and her mother, J16, swim off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, B.C.Brian Gisborne/The Canadian Press

The NEB ultimately recommends that the Government of Canada find that they can be justified in the circumstances, in light of the considerable benefits of the project. However, NEB approval is only half of a court-mandated assessment before ground can be broken. A Federal Court judge last August told the government it failed to adequately consult with First Nations affected by the pipeline. The government continues its consultations to determine what precise concerns affected communities have with the project.

Read our explainer on the issue for all of the background and context you’ll need. Trans Mountain, Trudeau and First Nations: A guide to the political saga so far explains what Trans Mountain is, what the NEB’s role is and how and why Alberta and B.C. seem to be at opposite ends of the debate over its construction.

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Trudeau praises top public servant’s testimony in SNC-Lavalin affair

Speaking to reporters at Memorial University in Newfoundland today, Justin Trudeau said Canadians should pay careful attention to top bureaucrat Michael Wernick’s testimony at yesterday’s House of Commons justice committee meeting in which he confirmed former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould may have felt pressure to “get it right” on the SNC-Lavalin prosecution but denied anything he or others said amounted to “inappropriate pressure.” In yesterday’s dramatic testimony, Mr. Warnick confirmed that Ms. Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with SNC-Lavalin despite repeated efforts by Mr. Trudeau and other senior officials to revisit the question of the company’s pending criminal prosecution on fraud and corruption charges, reports Robert Fife and Steven Chase.

In a separate, but related story, SNC-Lavalin today posted their first quarterly loss in six years as the Canadian engineering firm tries to push through several major challenges including problems with a mining contract in Chile, worsening prospects for its oil and gas business and deepening public scrutiny over past ethics trouble.

Here’s the view from our opinion section:

Adam Dodek suggests our attorney-general should not also be our justice minister: “... Ms. Wilson-Raybould was placed in an intolerable conflict the moment she was sworn in as both minister of justice, a political role charged with developing policy and drafting legislation for the Justice Department, and as the attorney-general of Canada, responsible for providing legal advice to Canada’s executive branch and representing the government in legal proceedings.” Adam Dodek is a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law.

Lori Turnbull on how in Ottawa, there’s pressure … and then there’s ‘pressure’: “Since this saga started, a main point of contention and confusion has been the meaning and implication of the word ‘pressure.’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted, immediately after the story broke, that no one in his office had ‘directed’ the former attorney-general in the SNC-Lavalin case. But that wasn’t the accusation. There are many shades of grey between direction and pressure, and the latter term is open to much interpretation.” Lori Turnbull is the director of the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University and deputy editor of Canadian Government Executive magazine.

And as always, for all of the background and context you need to understand the myriad threads in this evolving story, read our two explainers: What is the PMO, who works there and what does it do? and SNC-Lavalin, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau’s PMO: The story so far. Both do a tremendous job at laying out why SNC-Lavalin is facing prosecution, what happened to Ms. Wilson-Raybould, how the PMO was involved and what the reaction has been so far.

Barrick confirms weighing bid for Newmont Mining in no-premium deal

Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp. confirmed it is mulling a US$19-billion takeover of Newmont Mining Corp. in what would be the biggest acquisition ever in the global gold sector. As The Globe and Mail’s Niall McGee reports, Barrick released a statement before markets opened today saying it has reviewed the opportunity to merge with Newmont in an “all-share, nil-premium transaction,“ but that “no decision has been taken at this time.”

Venezuelan troops open fire near border as aid standoff intensifies

Venezuelan soldiers opened fire on members of an Indigenous village called Kumarakapay in southern Venezuela near the border with Brazil today, killing at least one and injuring others. The violence occurred when members of the Indigenous community stopped a military convoy heading toward the border with Brazil that they believed was attempting to block humanitarian aid from entering the country, The Associated Press reports. Juan Guaido, whom Western nations consider president, and Nicolas Maduro, who retained the presidency in a disputed election, are battling over whether aid can enter the country to alleviate widespread malnutrition. Mr. Guaido is moving ahead with plans to bring supplies of food and medicine into the country by land and sea on Saturday, despite resistance from Mr. Maduro.

New York district attorney preparing state charges for Manafort to guard against Trump pardon

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is preparing state criminal charges against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, in an effort to ensure he will still face prison time even if the president pardons him for his federal crimes, reports the New York Times. Mr. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced next month for convictions in two federal cases brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but no such authority in state cases.


  • The producers of the TV show “Empire” said today that Jussie Smollett’s character will be removed from the final two episodes of this season “to avoid further disruption on set” after Smollett was accused of faking a racist, anti-gay attack on himself in Chicago. (The Associated Press)
  • The funeral for seven Syrian children who died in a fast-moving house fire will be held on Saturday, with an open invitation to the community that has rallied around the family. (The Canadian Press)
  • New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with misdemeanour solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlour, police in Florida said. (The Associated Press)
  • R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, after decades of lurid rumours and allegations that the R&B star was sexually abusing women and underage girls.
  • Would-be air travellers were blocked from travelling 17.5-million times last year under a controversial “social credit” system China’s ruling Communist Party says will improve public behaviour.


Canada’s main stock index rose to a four-month high before finishing flat, driven by energy shares on the back of crude prices, which rose on renewed hopes that the United States and China could resolve their ongoing trade dispute. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially up 12.15 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 16,013.01. U.S. stocks climbed and the Dow and Nasdaq posted a ninth straight week of gains on Friday as investors clung to signs of progress in the ongoing trade talks between the United States and China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 181.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 26,032.11, the S&P 500 gained 17.78 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,792.66 and the Nasdaq Composite added 67.84 points, or 0.91 percent, to 7,527.55.

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Fisherman Brendon Coulstring throws an undersized lobster back into the ocean off Yarmouth, N.S. The province's fishermen have been busy feeding Asian markets where Chinese tariffs on American lobster have increased demand for Canadian crustaceans.DEAN CASAVECHIA

A gift from Trump: Why Canadian lobsters are red-hot in China

In Beijing’s tariff war with Washington, American lobsters are collateral damage – and Canadian fishermen are reaping the benefits. Last summer, in retaliation for sweeping new duties the United States imposed on Chinese imports, China slapped a 25-per-cent tariff on a long list of American goods, including live lobster. In 2017, China bought about $128-million (U.S.) worth of lobster from the U.S., and in July, when the tariff took effect, Canadian lobster fishermen reaped the rewards. Shipments of lobster to China – 98 per cent of which come from Nova Scotia – nearly doubled compared to the year before, from $12-million to $21-million. Writer jason McBride takes us onto a lobster boat in -12 weather along with photographer Dean Casavechia who’s captured som stunning images of a day on the ocean.


Timothy Garton Ash on why Europe has a big choice to make on Brexit: “A divided country in the midst of a collective nervous breakdown is painfully dependent on the reaction of its now much-stronger EU negotiating partner.” Timothy Garton Ash is a professor of European Studies at Oxford University and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest book is Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World.

Naomi Buck on kids, recess and bullying: “Dr. [Tracy] Vaillancourt’s research on the link between mental illness and bullying has led her to conclude that, for educational outcomes, what goes on the playground matters more than what goes on in the classroom. She describes recess’s purpose as a “reset” both neurological – as physical activity stimulates tissue growth and circulation in the brain – and social, as students interact and connect. Without this reset, kids are less able to learn.” Naomi Buck is a freelance writer in Toronto.

Cathal Kelly on DeMar DeRozan’s homecoming a reminder of just how weird and personal he made the trade: “Even given his connection to the franchise and the city, it was hard to understand how someone who makes this much money could be so put out about being asked to make it somewhere else. It’s a business. It’s the players who keep telling us that.”


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Woman deciding what wine to buy and shopping in supermarketnd3000/istock

What does the code at the back of a bottle of wine signify?

Every week, The Globe’s wine and spirits columnist Beppi Crosariol answers a reader’s wine question: Can you tell me what information can be gained from a mysterious code on the back of a 2017 French rosé I just bought? Here it is: “L18065D01 09:01”

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Ray Romano plays Andy, a low-key guy and mostly a loner except for his long-standing friendship with neighbour Michael (Mark Duplass).Patrick Wymore/Netflix

Yes, there are TV alternatives to the Academy Awards

John Doyle suggests that if the 91st Academy Awards isn’t you thing, there’s other fare that might appeal. For example, Paddleton, which he says is one of those Netflix films that falls somewhere between TV movie and actual old-school movie – small-scale, small cast but substantial. It’s a very odd concoction that treads rather carefully into the territory of platonic love between two middle-aged guys. Ray Romano plays Andy and Mark Duplass plays neighbour Michael. Essentially, they live like a long-married couple, watching TV, eating pizza and swapping banter about the popular culture of their youth. Sometimes they go outside to play their own version of racquetball called Paddleton. And then Michael is diagnosed with terminal cancer.


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Today, employment in the potteries industry stands at around 7,000 and Stoke’s skyline is dotted with abandoned kilns and empty buildings.Michelle Siu

In the English town that pottery built, workers fear Brexit will shatter a way of life

For 300 years, Stoke-on-Trent was the heart of Britain’s ceramics industry, made famous by names such as Royal Doulton and Waterford, but overseas production and changing tastes have left many of its kilns dark and its businesses shuttered. When Britain leaves the EU, changing tariffs could endanger what’s left of an ancient craft.

Evening Update is written by Michael Snider. 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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