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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Bissonnette pleads guilty to first-degree murder in Quebec mosque shootings

Alexandre Bissonnette, the 28-year-old man who killed six worshippers at a Quebec City mosque, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a shocking reversal of his original denial of guilt in the attack. The guiltly plea came just hours after the killer had pleaded not guilty during preliminary matters on Monday. The plea was under a complete publication ban until Wednesday morning as Superior Court Justice François Huot went to unusual lengths over 48 hours to make sure Mr. Bissonnette was both certain and of sound mind. Mr. Bissonnette walked into a mosque just before 8 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2017, and opened fire on a group of worshippers who had just completed evening prayers. Friends, classmates and other acquaintances who knew him before the shooting said he had become fascinated by far-right leaders in other countries and frequently expressed anti-immigrant views.

2018 Ontario budget: Liberals go into the red with billions in spending promises

Ontario is plunging back into red ink and forecasting years of deficits as the province’s Liberal government promises billions in new spending on social programs only weeks before a spring election. After nearly a decade focused on slashing the deficit and celebrating balancing the books last year, the Liberals’ $158-billion budget unveiled Wednesday is a substantial shift for Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Liberals have shelved their financial plan to remain in the black until the end of the decade in favour of substantial new spending that targets nearly every Ontarian. Here’s ten things you need to know about the latest budget.

As Dave Parkinson writes in his column, the Ontario budget is a campaign pamphlet disguised as an economic document. What’s more, he writes, “it’s a campaign pamphlet that has torn several key pages from the federal Liberal platform of three years ago.” (for subscribers)

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Barrick Gold founder and philanthropist Peter Munk dies at 90

Barrick Gold Corp. announced the death of the company’s founder and chairman emeritus, Peter Munk. The Toronto-based company – which grew into one of the world’s biggest gold producers under Mr. Munk’s leadership – didn’t disclose a cause of death. Mr. Munk became one of Canada’s best-known philanthropists, including a $175-million donation to the Toronto General Hospital in 1997. Barrick said he donated nearly $300-million to causes and institutions over his lifetime. In 2014, The Globe and Mail’s Eric Reguly sat down with the mining magnate. You can read the archived interview, here. You can also see in photos the illustrious career of Peter Munk, a Canadian business icon, here.

Facebook to introduce new privacy controls in wake of data scandal

The embattled social network has announced a series of changes to give users more control over their data, after a huge data scandal which has wiped more than $100-billion from its stock market value. The measures come ahead of a landmark European Union data protection law in May. Facebook will add a new “Privacy Shortcuts” menu that will let users worldwide review what they’ve shared and delete it, as well as features enabling them to download their data and move it to another service.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index closed at a six-week low on Wednesday as a retreat in gold and oil prices weighed on mining and energy companies, though a bounce in retailers helped curb declines. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 0.3 per cent to end at 15,169.94. Meanwhile, Wall Street closed lower after a rocky session as gains in defensive sectors were eclipsed by a sharp fall in Amazon shares and declines in technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04 per cent to finish at 23,848.42, the S&P 500 lost 0.29 per cent to close at 2,605 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.85 per cent to end at 6,949.23.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

Toronto restaurateur bites back against animal-rights protesters

The first few times protesters showed up at Michael Hunter’s restaurant, he didn’t engage with them. The fourth time, frustrated by chants of “you’re a murderer,” and “you’ve got blood on your hands,” the chef did what he felt was reasonable. He began butchering deer meat in the window.

TALKING POINTS

Can Kathleen Wynne convince Ontarians government-funded daycare is about something bigger?

“If it’s to work, Ms. Wynne will need to do something extremely difficult while leading an unpopular government perceived to be flailing: persuade many Ontarians to look beyond narrow self-interest, and put their faith in her to elevate everyone by helping a relative few. Among the biggest reasons why various forms of daycare universality have proven easy for voters to resist in some previous elections – including at the federal level for Paul Martin’s Liberals in 2006 and Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats in 2015 – is that voters have a hard time seeing themselves directly benefiting. Parents already paying exorbitant fees doubt that any relief will be offered before their kids have aged out. Older parents sometimes resent the prospect of younger generations getting more help than they did. Many eligible voters who do stand to be helped personally – prospective parents in their late teens or 20s – aren’t yet giving serious thought to parenthood’s costs.” – Adam Radwanski

It’s time to start paying whistle-blowers for tips

“The bureau plans to tweak its immunity program this year. Among the proposed changes, it wants to interview witnesses under oath and videotape those chats. As for the corporate immunity deals, it no longer plans to provide blanket protection to all of a company’s directors, officers and staff. But businesses will still be able to seek cover if they’re the first to squeal. What’s needed are real incentives for ordinary people to report crimes. Other countries pay for tips, and they get a lot more of them. The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority began offering rewards of up to £100,000 for whistle-blowers last year and recorded a 30% increase in tips. Ottawa should follow suit. Perhaps the bureau would be more successful if it focused on supporting the next Mark Whitacre rather than providing cover to corporations.” – Rita Trichur (for subscribers)

Doug Ford and the politics of anger

“Two, and only two, strongly conservative leaders have been popular in Ontario: Mike Harris and Stephen Harper. Now Doug Ford wants to be the third. Which prompts a question: How is Mr. Ford like the former premier and the former prime minister, and how is he different? Is Mr. Ford simply the latest iteration of Harris/Harper conservatism: big on law and order, even bigger on spending and tax cuts, but more economically than socially conservative? Or is he something completely different? The answer may lie in an emotion: anger.” – John Ibbitson

LIVING BETTER

Should I switch to high-protein bread?

We’ve become a protein-obsessed bunch. The must-have nutrient is sought after to help build muscle, lose excess body fat, ward off hunger and bolster our immune system. But is there any benefit in eating foods that protein is added to, rather than naturally found in? Here’s what you should consider if you are looking for a high-protein bread.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

How a yellow Lab named Doc keeps Roy Halladay’s spirit alive

Before his death, the former Blue Jays pitcher donated one of his pets to the sheriff’s department in the Florida community he called home. Now, his legacy lives on thanks to the crime-fighting narcotics dog named after his old owner.

‘You know I love you’: One mother’s grief amid Canada’s opioid crisis

The opioid crisis is taking an increasingly lethal toll, with more than 4,000 Canadians projected to die in 2017 from overdoses despite a flurry of effort from Ottawa and the provinces. Evelyn Pollock hopes the story of her son’s life and death will serve as a warning about the scale of the fentanyl crisis affecting Canadians across the country, and a reminder that the addicts we pass in the street are real people.

Evening Update is written by Kiran Rana and Kristene Quan. 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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