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Canada Evening Update newsletter: MPs ask Wylie to testify about Facebook data breach; Trump <b> </b>announces $60-billion in tariffs on Chinese imports

Good evening,

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

MPs ask Christopher Wylie to testify at committee about Facebook data breach

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The House of Commons ethics committee has voted unanimously to investigate the Facebook data breach and agreed to call Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie, as a witness, as well as executives from Facebook, Amazon and Google. On Wednesday, the Liberal Research Bureau confirmed that it awarded a $100,000 contract to Eunoia Technologies, a company owned by Mr. Wylie, in early 2016 to conduct a pilot project involving public opinion research and “setting up social media monitoring tools.” The Globe and Mail reported earlier this week that the contract was one of several interactions between the federal Liberals and Mr. Wylie over a number of years. Mr. Wylie is at the centre of an international controversy over the use of unauthorized Facebook data for political campaigns in support of Donald Trump’s presidential bid in the United States and the Brexit leave campaign in the United Kingdom. In the file image above, from left to right, are Brett Thalmann, former managing director of the Liberal Research Bureau and adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Ken Strasma, CEO of Haystaq DNA and former national targeting director for Obama for America; and Christopher Wylie.

Trump announces $60-billion in tariffs on Chinese imports

The Trump administration plans to impose tariffs on up to $60-billion worth of Chinese goods. The U.S. is also considering hitting China with investment restrictions in a bid to choke off Chinese capital coming into the United States, and will launch a case against Beijing at the World Trade Organization. The moves, which were announced by President Donald Trump today, set the stage for an unprecedented trade war between the world’s two largest economies. (for subscribers)

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Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

The reminder from the Prime Minister comes amid some uncertainty over the fate of the pot legalization bill as it faces a second reading vote in the Senate this evening. Normally, second reading — a vote on a bill in principle — isn’t a big hurdle. In this case, the 33 Conservative senators are all vowing to vote against Bill C-45. While the Conservatives no longer dominate the 105-seat upper house, the fact that more than a dozen independent and independent Liberal senators are travelling on Senate committee business and a handful of others might vote against the bill make some believe tonight’s vote could be very tight, delaying marijuana legalization in Canada.

John Dowd, Trump’s lead lawyer for federal Russia probe, resigns

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead lawyer in the special counsel’s Russia investigation has resigned amid a shake-up of the president’s legal team. The departure comes three days after the Trump legal team added a new lawyer, former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova, who has alleged on television that FBI officials were involved in a “brazen plot” to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the e-mail investigation and “frame” Mr. Trump for nonexistent crimes.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday, with each of the major Wall Street indexes suffering its biggest one-day percentage drop in six weeks, on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on up to $60-billion of Chinese imports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.93 per cent to close at 23,957.89, the S&P 500 lost 2.52 per cent to end at 2,643.69 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.43 per cent to finish at 7,166.68. Meanwhile, Canada’s main stock index ended sharply lower, registering its biggest daily percentage drop since September, 2016. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 1.76 per cent to close at 15,399.93.

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WHAT’S TRENDING

Starbucks vows to close gender wage gap in Canada with ‘deliberate speed’

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The coffee giant is vowing to close the gender wage gap at its Canadian stores, a promise that comes after it says it reached 100 per cent pay equity in the United States and wants to close the gap in every market it operates in.

TALKING POINTS

Facebook’s threat to democracy is worse than Cambridge Analytica

“In towns and smaller cities, newspapers and local TV stations are disappearing. Yet voters in those places have big, complicated questions about a fast-changing world – and the only answers available to many are coming from those posts and videos and anecdotal news clips sent to their inboxes and apps by friends and strangers or appearing when they enter hot-button search terms. The artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that drive those social-media giants are designed not to provide people with informed debate or thoughtful answers, but rather to maximize engagement time – and that has dark results.” — Doug Saunders

The Big Six banks will fleece you – if you let them

“Today’s bank branches should be called financial retail outlets, or maybe money stores. The FCAC report notes that technology has enabled banks to focus less in their branches on handling transactions for clients and more on selling things like mortgages, lines of credit, savings and chequing accounts, mutual funds, term deposits and more. As in any sales-based operation, bank branch employees are compensated to at least some extent according to the amount they sell. The FCAC said frontline bank staff are mainly on salary, but they also receive variable pay based on their performance as well as the results achieved by their team and the bank. Compensation for managers includes a bigger percentage of variable pay.” — Rob Carrick

It’s time to unplug and escape this nightmare we live in

“There are an increasing number of days I want to unplug from everything and move to the country. I don’t imagine this idly. I have little doubt my quality of life would improve immeasurably if I was less connected to current events, if I quit Twitter, quit Facebook, got a dog and dropped out. What would I be missing? I’m not a doom-and-gloomer by nature. I have been, most of my life, a glass-half-full optimist. But looking around the world today is depressing. And frightening. And we don’t have to gaze much further than our neighbour to the south to feel thoroughly despondent about where we are heading.” — Gary Mason

LIVING BETTER

Five ways to become the boss of your phone

Feel like your phone runs your life? For those with demanding jobs, the pressure to be ever-connected is huge. Here are practical ways to cut your volume of phone checks down.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

University of Victoria to launch first-of-its-kind Indigenous law program

Canada’s first joint program in Indigenous law and common law is preparing to launch next September at the University of Victoria, with an ambitious aim of developing a third legal order in Canada, while also producing lawyers for industry, government, First Nations and international work. As Sean Fine writes, the school views the program as a major step forward for reconciliation, by helping to ground Indigenous self-governance in aboriginal legal principles.

Will consumers bite into this Canadian-made GMO salmon?

It took a quarter century, but a made-in-Canada Atlantic salmon has become the first genetically modified animal to be approved for human consumption. Will it help feed the world’s growing taste for fish or scare off consumers wary of “frankenfood”? (for subscribers)

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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