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

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government has unveiled a budget that forecasts a return to surplus sooner than previously predicted, while also warning of economic headwinds related to inflation, interest rates and the war in Ukraine.

The budget is short on marquee promises but includes more money for social supports, as well as tax credits for manufacturing. They include:

  • An increase in health-care spending to $81-billion in 2023-24, up by $6.1-billion
  • $425-million earmarked over the next three years to expand mental-health services
  • A $202-million pledge on new annual funding for homelessness prevention and Indigenous supportive housing
  • A $4-billion contingency fund for emergencies

What the budget doesn’t contain is any of the $423-million in relief the City of Toronto is asking for. Here’s what you need to know about the Progressive Conservative government’s latest fiscal plan.

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Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says the budget shores up the province for uncertain economic times.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

U.S. President Biden heads to Ottawa to urge Trudeau to do more, faster on defence and continental security

U.S. President Joe Biden will land in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon with a message for Canada to ramp up the speed and scale of its continental air-defence modernization and with the goal of charting a path forward in the response to crisis-torn Haiti.

In his first visit to Canada as president, Mr. Biden will arrive with first lady Jill Biden for a series of meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and various senior government officials and cabinet ministers. He will also make a speech to Parliament Friday and have a brief meeting with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

The leaders have a hefty agenda for the two-day visit, and are expected to also focus their talks on the transition to a clean economy, including building a critical-mineral supply chain, and trade irritants such as protectionist Buy America provisions. Here’s what you need to know about the U.S. president’s visit to Canada.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City hotel in Mexico City, Jan. 10, 2023.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Ukrainian theatre director mines themes of hatred and rage as war with Russia grinds on

As one of Ukraine’s pre-eminent theatre directors, Svitlana Oleshko has explored just about every aspect of human emotion during her 30-year career. But ever since Russia’s invasion of her homeland last year, Oleshko has been contemplating one overwhelming sentiment: hatred.

Since arriving in Poland, Oleshko hasn’t shied away from expressing how she feels about the war and Russians. “I feel rage – anger and rage. I’m still disgusted. But still, I also feel hatred,” she wrote last December in a Polish cultural magazine called Dwutygodnik, or Biweekly. “My hatred is cold, rational and constructive. My Ukrainian hatred defends democracy and freedom around the world, it turns into very concrete deeds and actions and has its own history.”

Now, Oleshko wants the audience to experience what it’s like for Ukrainians to hide in their basements from Russian shelling and flee their homes with next to nothing.

Read more:

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Svitlana Oleshko the former artistic director of Kharkiv's Experimental Theater left Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

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Industry minister Champagne asks CRTC to review price hikes in international roaming fees: Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne has asked Canada’s telecom regulator to review price hikes for international roaming fees, a lucrative revenue source for telecom companies, after Bell and Telus said they would increase their daily prices in early March.

U.S. lawmakers grill TikTok CEO over data security, user safety during committee hearing: U.S. lawmakers grilled the CEO of TikTok over data security and harmful content Thursday, responding skeptically during a tense committee hearing to his assurances that the hugely popular video-sharing app prioritizes user safety and should not be banned.

These are Canada’s electric vehicle hot spots: The results are in: Quebeckers and British Columbians are far ahead in switching to green transportation thanks to legislated sales targets and other incentives, according to recent Statistics Canada registration data.

Alberta quake in 2022 caused by pressure from oil sands waste water being injected underground, Stanford study finds: One of the largest earthquakes recorded in Alberta was most likely caused by waste water being injected underground by oil sands operators, according to new research from Stanford University.

Canadian banks expected to face higher costs to raise funds amid volatility: Canadian banks are expected to face a more expensive fundraising environment as the consequences of Credit Suisse Group AG being hurriedly acquired by UBS Group AG continue to ripple through the global financial system.


The S&P/TSX composite index was down about 70 points Thursday, while U.S. markets posted small gains, with markets rallying for most of the day before sputtering in the last trading hour.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 72.86 points at 19,459.92.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 75.14 points at 32,105.25. The S&P 500 index was up 11.75 points at 3,948.72, while the Nasdaq composite was up 117.44 points at 11,787.40.

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.15 cents US,compared with 72.93 cents US on Wednesday.

The May crude contract was down 94 cents at US$69.96 per barrel and the May natural gas contract was down two cents at US$2.28 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was up US$46.30 at US$1,995.90 an ounceand the May copper contract was up eight cents at US$4.12 a pound.

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Will the survivors of the Île-à-la-Crosse boarding school ever get justice?

“Instead of forcing survivors to advocate for themselves and their families, Ottawa could do more to insist Saskatchewan get to the table and negotiate; instead, as in the Robinson-Huron Treaty case in which 21 First Nations are pursuing unpaid annuities from the Ontario and federal governments, Canada has been all too happy to throw its hands up when a provincial partner proves difficult.” – Tanya Talaga

On the 20th anniversary of Iraq’s invasion, Canada’s record on war and peace stands firm

“We were allies with the Americans in both world wars, in Korea, through the Cold War, in the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, in Afghanistan and others. For the most part, it is a proud record. But what of the record on staying out of war? On that, thanks largely but not only to the Iraq decision, a banner can be raised as well.” – Lawrence Martin


Think beyond breakfast: Porridge is the ultimate versatile food

Porridge is a go-to breakfast for many people during the cold winter months. It warms you up and keeps you feeling sated throughout the morning. Plus, porridge has considerable nutritional advantages over many other breakfasts. There’s no reason, though, to abandon this satisfying morning meal when the weather warms up. Its versatility means you can enjoy it year-round – hot or cold, sweet or savoury, with or without toppings. Leslie Beck talks porridge tips, nutrition and health benefits.


Despite more than 1,000 restaurants in his portfolio, Foodtastic CEO Peter Mammas is hungry for more

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Peter Mammas's Foodtastic has amassed a restaurant empire with 1.2 billion in sales.alex lysakowski/The Globe and Mail

Since 2016, CEO Peter Mammas has turned Foodtastic from a loose collection of Quebec restaurants with about $20-million in system sales into a fledgling empire poised to hit $1.2 billion in sales this year, swallowing chains that specialize in everything from over-the-top burgers to rotisserie chicken to bowls full of kale. But until early 2021, when he went on a national acquisition binge, Mammas was largely a Quebec-based player, with chains like La Belle et la Boeuf, which sells decadent burgers. Joe Castaldo reports on a CEO on the hunt for more deals.

Evening Update is written by Emerald Bensadoun. 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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