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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

The government is proposing a new standalone hate crime offence in its online harms bill, introduced Monday.

Briefing documents indicate Bill C-63 would create a new hate crime offence with penalties of life imprisonment for especially egregious cases, rather than treating hate as an aggravating factor in crimes. The bill would also add a definition of hatred to the Criminal Code, consistent with Supreme Court decisions.

Online platforms would have an overarching duty to act responsibly, make certain types of content inaccessible and protect children. They would have 24 hours to remove harmful sexual content after a user files a complaint.

Ottawa would also create both a regulator and a digital safety ombudsperson, who would adjudicate on removing hateful material online. The bill’s main aims are to reduce exposure to harmful content online, including racist and homophobic posts, and provide recourse to victims of hate.

  • Also read: Utah seeks to restrict kids’ access to social media, require parental consent

Canadian judges are casting aside their deference to government with recent rulings

When Federal Court Justice Henry Brown ruled this month that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet need to appoint more judges, fast, he did something no judge has done before.

Justice Brown told the federal executive branch that its inaction on judicial appointments is a constitutional violation, and that it is the business of the courts to supervise the government until it does its duty. Traditionally, judges in Canada have stayed away, mostly, from telling the Prime Minister, cabinet and the legislative branch what to do. The idea is to respect the “separation of powers” among the different branches of government.

But Justice Brown’s ruling cast aside such deference. Read more today.

Canada prepares to welcome thousands of Sudanese, but new pathway sparks questions

Tomorrow, the federal government is set to launch a program for up to 3,250 Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor relatives in Sudan to enter Canada. But Sudanese Canadian community leaders say the program is inadequate in the face of huge needs. Sudan has become the site of the world’s largest displacement crisis, with a staggering eight million people forced from their homes in the past 10 months, according to United Nations agencies.

Updates on the Middle East:

  • Israel accused of blocking aid to Palestinians, violating UN court order: Israel has failed to comply with an order by the United Nations’ top court to provide urgently needed aid to desperate people in the Gaza Strip, Human Rights Watch says.
  • U.S. Air Force member dies after he set himself ablaze: An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.”
  • Changes to the Palestinian Authority: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced his resignation, as the Palestinian Authority looks to build support for an expanded role after Israel’s war against the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

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Leap year: February, 2024, includes an extra day, leading many to wonder whether employees are entitled to extra compensation, or if their work on the leap day will go unpaid.

NATO: Hungary’s parliament voted to ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO, ending more than 18 months of delays that frustrated the alliance as it sought to expand in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Justice: A class-action lawsuit filed in Nova Scotia alleges that two Halifax radiologists, assisting in a Canada-wide study, conducted secret medical research on Mi’kmaq Chief Andrea Paul and dozens of other members of Pictou Landing First Nation without their consent.

Mining: Canada’s SRG Mining Inc. is planning on moving to the Middle East to skirt a Canadian national security review into a key financing deal with China-based Carbon ONE New Energy Group Co. Ltd.

Transportation: Lynx Air, which shut down on Sunday after receiving court protection from creditors, owes $25-million in taxes to the federal government and millions more to suppliers.

Listen to The Decibel: Globe reporter Colin Freeze joins the show to explain a landmark decision on white nationalist terrorism.


Canada’s main stock index moved lower today, while Wall Street largely started off in positive territory but lost steam throughout the day. U.S. stock focus shifted after last week’s AI-fueled rally to upcoming economic data that could affect the timing of the Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate cut.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 19.27 points, or 0.38 per cent, to end at 5,069.53 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 20.57 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 15,976.25. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 62.30 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 39,069.23. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 88.84 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 21,324.31.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.03 cents US, compared with 74.11 cents US on Friday.

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Two things you wouldn’t expect to find together: The National Ballet’s new season and a dog feces incident

“I’m all for second chances, but you do have to wonder about the character of a man who would smear dog excrement on a woman’s face. On anyone’s face. Could there have been a better choice? I hate to be provincial about this, but maybe a new work by a Canadian choreographer?” - Marsha Lederman

Serious questions and cartoon politics about internet regulation

“There are two bills about internet safety coming onto Parliament’s agenda, and every sign that the political debate won’t be fit for grown-ups.” - Campbell Clark

Canada’s urban-rural economic divide is a threat to our country

“Rural inhabitants, who often face limited opportunities, can feel neglected by policymakers in urban centres. This sometimes leads to frustration and anger, which contributes to heightened political polarization.” - Scott Stirrett


The key to lifelong progress in the gym? Baby steps

Chances are that by now, if you made any fitness resolutions at the start of the year, the fire that first fuelled that impulse has fizzled. The most potent form of motivation, the kind that’s truly transformative, comes from within. And, as Paul Landini writes, that internal wellspring doesn’t just appear out of nowhere.

Read about the tactics Landini relies on to fill his bucket.


The Television Critics Association’s top TV trends to look out for

TAC has wrapped its 10-day winter press tour. The twice-yearly event is an opportunity for those who write about the industry to read between the lines and engage with talent they may not otherwise cover. Here are a few major takeaways:

  • The overwhelming number of TV series and streaming platforms may be narrowed down sooner than we think.
  • Neither Warner Bros. Discovery nor Paramount Global presented, fuelling rumours about their potential merger.
  • Disney sent a consistent message: Successful media companies are no longer only streaming, network or broadcast. The ones that will survive can tap into all three.
  • Research shows critics play a more important role than ever in helping audiences find and engage with series.

We want to hear from you: Who would you pick to sing a 2024 version of We Are the World? Cast your votes.

Evening Update is written by Sierra Bein. 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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