Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Ontario teachers send unified message with mass rally
Thousands of teachers and education workers took to the front lawn of Queen’s Park, part of the first-ever province-wide strike that shuttered schools across Ontario.
“We want this government to understand that over 200,000 teachers and education workers across this province are standing up and in one voice saying you must pull back these cuts,” Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), told reporters.
The strike on Friday saw 30,000 union members at Queen’s Park. Another 20,000 were picketing along a 30-kilometre stretch on Highway 10 in Peel Region.
- Read our Explainer: Ontario school strikes: A look at the key issues, from teacher wages to class sizes
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Barricades at rail crossings must now come down, Trudeau says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling for an immediate end to rail blockades, noting that calls for dialogue with First Nations protesters have been ignored and the patience of Canadians is wearing thin. The blockades have gone up along rail lines in various parts of the country over the past two weeks in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
“Here’s the reality. Every attempt at dialogue has been made. The discussions have not been productive. We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table. For this reason, we have no choice but to stop making the same overtures. Of course, we will never close the door on dialogue, and our hand remains extended should someone wants to reach for it," Trudeau said. “But the fact remains, the barricades must now come down. The injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld.”
Meanwhile, a group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs from B.C. met with Mohawk supporters in Ontario who backed them by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal. The rail blockade, and others like it across the country, went up after the RCMP enforced a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters, forcing them off an access road to a worksite for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
- Andrew Coyne: “[The rule of law] cannot simply be enforced upon an unwilling population, and especially not upon a section of the population that feels itself set apart from the main, notably by race or ethnicity, where the issue can quickly spread beyond the merits of any particular law to the authority of those who drafted it.”
- John Ibbitson: “As the Trudeau government struggles to resolve the impasse with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters over a gas pipeline, the federal Conservatives stand to reap the political benefit.”
The latest on the coronavirus
A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have spent weeks confined to cabins aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan has landed in Canada. They can expect to undergo another two weeks of isolation in Cornwall, Ont., where they will be monitored for potential signs of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. All of them were tested for the virus by Japanese officials before they left the ship, which has been docked in Yokohama, Japan, since early February. So far none shows any symptoms of the virus.
There were about 250 Canadians originally aboard the ship, and of those 47 contracted the illness and were not allowed to return home. They remain in Japan for treatment while they receive consular services.
Meanwhile, all three people in Ontario confirmed to have had the novel coronavirus are now cleared of the illness. Ontario health officials say the last of the three patients to have some remaining virus in her system has now had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, which is the standard for being cleared.
As fears of a deadly virus outbreak have kept much of China inside for the past three weeks, another menace has infected the air in the country’s capital region: thick layers of smog whose presence has puzzled people looking at a city where roads and industry have gone silent.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ontario court rules in favour of escort agency owners in constitutional challenge to prostitution laws
In the first real test of Canada’s prostitution laws since the legislation was revised in 2014, .Justice Thomas McKay ruled that laws prohibiting advertising someone else’s sexual services violates the Charter right to freedom of expression, and that the laws prohibiting procuring and materially benefiting from someone else’s sexual services violate the Charter right to security of person. Tiffany Harvey and Hamad Anwar, whose escort agency Fantasy World Escorts was raided by police in 2015, had been facing potential jail time had their challenge been unsuccessful.
Teck Resources says it faces $1.1-billion hit on Frontier oil sands project without federal approval
Ottawa is expected to make a decision by the end of the month on whether to allow Teck to proceed with the Frontier project. Over the past few months, Frontier has become a political flashpoint in Canada, with proponents hoping for a boost to the ailing Alberta economy, while detractors point out that Canada’s attempts to reduce its carbon footprint and meet international emissions benchmarks would be hampered.
Prince Harry, Meghan to drop brand name ’Sussex Royal’ from future business ventures
A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said on Friday that the couple had decided to drop the Sussex Royal brand because of British government rules “surrounding use of the word ‘Royal’.”
Global equity markets slumped as the fast-spreading coronavirus drove investors into safe havens, with gold hitting a fresh seven-year high and the yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond sliding to an all-time low.
The CBOE market volatility index, the market’s “fear gauge,” rose more than 13 per cent in the biggest single-day jump since late January. Crude oil prices slid about 1 per cent and the U.S. dollar fell across the board.
Canada’s main stock index slipped from record highs on Friday, dragged by energy stocks. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 100.53 points, or 0.56 per cent, at 17,843.53, ending a four session winning streak.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 227.3 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 28,992.68, the S&P 500 lost 35.55 points, or 1.05 per cent, to 3,337.68 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 174.38 points, or 1.79 per cent, to 9,576.59.
Wealth won’t save America – let alone the world
Elizabeth Renzetti: “These three men are presenting themselves as saviours of a world they have each, in their own way, helped to break. Mr. Zuckerberg wants to be the saviour of truth; Mr. Bezos of the environment; Mr. Bloomberg of the republic.”
Who can be president? The usual suspects
Mark Kingwell: "Identity politics matter far, far less in electoral politics than the shadow parade of nominations and debates might suggest. " Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto.
Prediction: The Ford government will accidentally build the Ontario Line in the lake
Robyn Urback: [On the heels of stickers that don’t stick and washed-out license plates], “I can only assume, therefore, that the Ford government will follow by either cutting the ribbon on new long-term care beds for which it will forget to order mattresses, or build its prized Ontario Line in the wrong direction after someone mistakenly scans the map upside down.”
How can I get my airplane seat neighbour to stop talking to me?
In a world with precious few places to escape the pings and rings of daily life, your airplane seat feels like the last chance for self-imposed silence. So, when someone sits down beside you and immediately strikes up a conversation, what’s a traveller to do? A travel expert weighs in.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Reconciliation plays out in real time at Regina’s RCMP museum
On the grounds of Depot Division in Regina, the RCMP Heritage Centre is set for its biggest upgrade yet, as the federal government elevates the institution to the status of a national museum. With that designation will come an influx of new funding and the promise of thousands of new visitors a year. And a renewed focus on reconciliation, as the RCMP grapples with telling its story – warts and all – to the Canadian public. This reflects a larger conversation going on in museums and galleries around the world about reconciling the narratives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and the repatriation of Indigenous cultural artifacts, some of which were given freely and some of which were taken by force.
This edition of Evening Update was written and compiled by Andrew Saikali. 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.