Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest from the Middle East
Authorities in Israel and Egypt gave permission for dozens of badly injured Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip today through the southern Rafah crossing into Egypt.
Roughly 500 foreign-passport holders were also allowed to leave. One Canadian citizen was part of the first batch of departures, Global Affairs Canada confirmed.
A total of 451 Canadians have registered with Ottawa to say they are in the West Bank and Gaza. The majority of them are in Gaza. Countries not included on the list today, including Canada, are pushing to have their citizens evacuated tomorrow, said a person familiar with the situation. Some U.S. citizens were able to leave the territory today, according to U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued its bombing campaign in Gaza and the territory experienced another communications blackout for a few hours today. The exact toll of the military’s strikes on the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp this week is still not known.
- Media freedom group accuses Israel, Hamas of war crimes; reports deaths of 34 journalists
- Justin Ling: Ottawa’s incoherent position on Gaza must be replaced by principled clarity
- Oded Haklai: Anti-Jewish bias has deeply permeated university culture
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Federal government to level out number of new permanent residents in Canada in 2026
Immigration Minister Marc Miller released Ottawa’s new immigration target, holding steady the number of permanent residents it welcomes to Canada at 500,000 in 2026.
The government is keeping the 485,000 target for 2024 and said it plans to take action to recalibrate the number of temporary resident admissions to ensure it is sustainable.
The decision was made after a sharp drop in public support for immigration over the past year.
- Federal immigration plan includes path to permanent residence in small Canadian towns
- Tony Keller: The Liberals broke the immigration system. But better is always possible
- Konrad Yakabuski: The Liberals’ immigration blueprint is unsound, and will hinder the economy it seeks to help
Conservatives to force House of Commons vote on extending carbon price exemptions
The federal Conservatives will force a vote in the House of Commons on expanding Ottawa’s carbon price carve-outs to all home-heating fuels.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre announced the move to force a vote at a speech to his caucus this morning, one day after Prime Minster Justin Trudeau ruled out further concessions. The vote on the motion will take place on Monday and is non-binding.
Trudeau’s decision last week to give a three-year carbon price exemption to home-heating oil while still requiring people who use other fuels, like natural gas, to pay the levy has led to accusations of a two-tier system and regional favouritism.
- Andrew Coyne: The Liberals’ heating-oil gambit blows up in their face. The carbon tax may be collateral damage
- Opinion: Ottawa’s exemption of heating oil from carbon tax is surprising and shameless
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Biden and Xi to meet: U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on the sidelines of a summit in San Francisco this month, Washington confirmed, as both sides look once again to reset their often difficult relationship amid the global turmoil caused by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Toronto condo launches stalled: Toronto developers have delayed launching almost 14,000 condo units this year, as demand has waned because of higher borrowing costs and economic uncertainty.
Auditor-General to probe allegations at Sustainable Development Technology Canada: Karen Hogan is launching a probe into Ottawa’s main funding agency for green technology after a third-party report detailed evidence of conflict-of-interest breaches and lax governance.
John Horgan gets a new gig: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that former British Columbia premier John Horgan has been appointed as Canada’s next ambassador to Germany.
How Hong Kong has squandered the Gay Games: After a year-long delay, the Hong Kong Gay Games will finally kick off Friday, but in severely reduced form. Hosting duties have been split with Guadalajara, Mexico, which is where the bulk of events and participants will be this month.
Wall Street’s major indexes closed higher on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and comments from its top official reassured investors even as he left the door open for further hikes and pointed to economic strength.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 221.71 points at 33,274.58. The S&P 500 index was up 44.06 points at 4,237.86, while the Nasdaq composite was up 210.23 points at 13,061.47.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 205.53 points at 19,079.
The Canadian dollar traded for 72.07 cents US compared with 72.09 cents US on Tuesday.
Why Canada needs another Clarity Act
“Although Quebec has never been a part of the CPP, the pension plan is nonetheless a national institution, as well as a critical income source for older Canadians. It is wrong to think that Alberta could pull out of it without affecting the entire country.” – The Editorial Board
The One Where Matthew Perry Dies
“For three weeks, on my worst nights, I had been rewatching Friends, in search of fairly mindless – but in fact, very clever – entertainment to distract and lull me back to sleep. As a result, my fitful sleep has had the soundtrack of Chandler Bing et al riffing and angsting about things that were a luxury to care about. And then Matthew Perry died. This would have been a blow at any time, but it feels particularly gutting now.” – Marsha Lederman
Why is olive oil so expensive? Plus: worthy substitutions that cost less
According to Statistics Canada, the price of a litre of olive oil has leapt from an average $7.77 in September, 2021, to nearly $13 as of August, 2023. With little to no rain in olive-growing regions, farmers say their yield is down to between half to as low as 10 per cent of their usual harvest. What are good alternatives? For day-to-day cooking, canola and vegetable oil blends have a smoke point of about 400 F, about the same as extra-virgin olive oil. Plus, here’s a recipe for focaccia that doesn’t use olive oil at all.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Volunteers help out on Israeli farms near Gaza border to save crops threatened by war
The mobilization of people helping out on Israel’s farms – many of them too old for military service – is part of an outpouring of civic participation accompanying the country’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants, with volunteers gathering to track hostages, raise money, secure equipment for soldiers and co-ordinate accommodations for evacuees.
It’s also a stark illustration of the limits of such generosity against the destructive upheaval Israel has endured, both from the initial attacks and the deadly war the country has waged in the weeks since.
No one can accurately estimate the impact of the war on agriculture in Israel, which produces roughly half of the food it consumes. But in Eshkol region, “if you have 20 per cent of the employees, you can only produce 20 per cent of the area,” says David Alon the region’s deputy mayor.
“It’s a huge problem. It’s not a small problem.”