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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trudeau’s Liberals awarded a $100,000 contract in 2016 to Christopher Wylie

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Research Bureau awarded a $100,000 contract in 2016 to Christopher Wylie, the Canadian whistle-blower who is photographed above and at the centre of a global controversy over a Facebook data breach. According to Liberals, the scope of work involved a pilot project with four goals: To design and organize several national samples of Canadians to explore responses to government policy priorities; recruit constituents to identify a range of local or regional issues not covered in general national polling; assist the Liberal Research Bureau in setting up “infrastructure to monitor the performance of the Liberal Members of Parliament in communicating with their constituents” and assist the bureau in “acquiring and setting up social media monitoring tools.” The bureau’s statement said preliminary work was done by Eunoia Technologies, “but after seeing what was offered, Liberal Caucus Research Bureau decided not to move forward. At no point did Eunoia Technologies have access to any data from Liberal Caucus Research Bureau.”

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg also broke his silence today, admitting to making mistakes and outlining steps to protect user data in light of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm.

Here’s everything we know so far about Cambridge Analytica, the Facebook scandal and its political fallout.

As Konrad Yakabuski writes in his column, campaigns of all stripes have been data mining social media sites with or without the knowledge or permission of their users to target individual voters. While what Cambridge is alleged to have done on behalf of the Trump campaign may turn your stomach, “it may have been no more invasive than what Barack Obama’s presidential campaign team did for the 2012 U.S. election, or what Canada’s Liberal Party, which hired veterans of the Obama data operation, did to win the 2015 federal election here.” (for subscribers)

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NAFTA countries ‘finally starting to converge’ on autos issue, Lighthizer says

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says negotiators from the three NAFTA countries are making progress on the key autos issue – signalling a potential breakthrough in the previously deadlocked talks. President Donald Trump’s point man on the NAFTA file said his staff had been in Detroit earlier this week for talks with the auto industry to work out details on how an agreement could work. The auto industry has generally been more aligned with the Canadian and Mexican position in NAFTA talks, favouring freer markets, while the Trump administration wants more protectionist measures to keep jobs in the U.S. Mr. Lighthizer’s comments come a day after The Globe and Mail revealed that he had taken a key U.S. demand – that vehicles made in Canada and Mexico for export to the U.S. contain 50 per cent U.S. content – off the table. The tough proposal had been flatly rejected by Canada and Mexico. (for subscribers)

For more information on NAFTA and the big issues at play, here’s our handy explainer.

What’s happening in Mali, and why are Canadian peacekeepers going there? A guide

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will be sending helicopters and troops to Mali later this year, bringing Canada into the fray for one of the most dangerous United Nations peacekeeping missions in the world. Here is what we know so far about the Canadian mission.

Suspect in Texas bombings blew himself up as police moved in

The man accused of carrying out a three-week bombing spree that killed two people in Texas before blowing himself up as police closed in on him was a 23-year-old unemployed man from suburban Austin. Federal prosecutors say they have charged Mark Conditt of Pflugerville, Tex., with unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index jumped Wednesday as higher oil prices pushed up energy stocks. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 0.38 per cent to 15,675.28. On Wall Street, U.S. stocks dipped as the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates, but strong gains in the energy sector helped staunch further losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18 per cent to 24,682.31, the S&P 500 lost 0.18 per cent to 2,711.93 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.26 per cent to 7,345.29.

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WHAT’S TRENDING

Canadians to get mandatory emergency alerts on their phones

During emergencies, including Amber Alerts, forest fires, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or severe weather, officials will be able to send a localized alert that will compel smartphones to emit an alarm — the same shrill beeping that accompanies TV and radio emergency alerts — and display a bilingual text warning. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission gave wireless providers a year to implement the system with a deadline of April 6 to be ready to go live.

TALKING POINTS

Liberal investigation into systemic racism should keep a low profile

“If your government accuses you of being a bad person, you are unlikely to become a better person. You are more likely to change the government. The Liberals’ sudden and dramatic decline in popularity is entirely reversible. Governing parties often slump mid-mandate, then rebound when earlier investments start to pay off. By this time next year, Mr. Trudeau could be back on top and looking forward to the fall election campaign. But if the Grits really do want to get back in the voters’ good graces, they need to stop lecturing so much. We’re not as bad as they say we are, and they’re not as enlightened as they think they are.” John Ibbitson

Faith-based students should never be denied a summer job

“Smart, ambitious, innovative …. and religious young Canadians just got kicked to the curb by the Liberal government. Faith-based youth have had their prospects for summer jobs dimmed and their convictions marginalized as all but one Liberal member of Parliament voted Monday night to limit access for summer job grants to those who believe in a pro-choice ethic.Something simple and open such as the funding for summer jobs has become a public relations nightmare for a government that champions inclusion and diversity.” Lorna Dueck

‘Side hustles’ aren’t just for millennials – look no further than the Queen for proof

“It is easy to scoff at the economic significance of side hustles. If you think of them in the sense of the waiter who wants to be an actor or the accountant who sells artisan pies at weekend markets, you probably miss the fact that side hustles are slowly becoming a necessary income support for many people. A better term for them might actually be “economically necessary second job or activity.” Not as catchy, for sure, but it captures the truth of them.“ Linda Nazareth

LIVING BETTER

How do I counteract a long day of sitting?

Stiff neck? Hunched shoulders? Sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your posture and health, but many people find themselves stuck in a chair for most of their work week. Here are two stretches that one yoga teacher recommends to counter the negative effects of a sedentary job.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Nova Scotia’s perplexing question: What happens when its dying towns run out of options?

Hope is hard to find in Mulgrave, N.S., population 700: Jobs are scarce, the population is shrinking and the school is disappearing. Jessica Leeder looks at how things got so bad and what could happen next.

New technology aims to give victims of sexual violence a more positive reporting experience

There is a burgeoning field of technology that aims to give victims of sexual violence a more positive experience of disclosing what they went through. As Zosia Bielski writes, the new, online tools are encrypted, available 24/7 and programmed to be non-judgmental. Unlike humans, these bots never ask, “What were you wearing?” or “How many drinks did you have?” The technologies give survivors control over how, when and where they report.

Evening Update is written by Kiran Rana and Omair Quadri. 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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