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

The federal government is offering premiers $46.2-billion in new health care funding over 10 years. The Liberals’ proposal, made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a first ministers meeting in Ottawa, would bring total federal spending on health care to $196.1-billion over the next 10 years.

The new federal money would be divided up between the baseline funding that is sent to provinces and territories through the Canada Health Transfer and $25-billion for separate bilateral deals that will target specific areas, such as primary care and mental health.

The health transfer, which was already supposed to increase by 9.3 per cent this year to to $49.4-billion, will get an additional $2-billion top-up, bringing it to $51.3-billion. The Liberals also propose boosting the rate at which the health transfer increases to 5 per cent a year, for five years. The current floor for increases is 3 per cent. Premiers say the new health funding figure is disappointing, but are willing to accept any new money.

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Rescuers race to find survivors as earthquake aid pours into Turkey and Syria

Turkey and Syria was flooded with search teams and international aid as rescuers worked in freezing temperatures to dig through the remains of buildings flattened by Monday’s powerful earthquake. The death toll soared above 6,200 and was still expected to rise.

The magnitude 7.8 quake and a cascade of strong aftershocks destroyed a stretch of hundreds of kilometres across southeastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria. One tremor following the initial quake registered at a destructive 7.5. The shaking toppled buildings in a region already marred by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis. More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey alone, and some 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, said Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay.

Meanwhile, Canada’s International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said Ottawa will contribute $10-million to earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria as part of an initial aid package. They’re also considering deploying the country’s disaster assistance response team to help with rescue operations and provide health services.

Tiff Macklem reiterates Bank of Canada rate hike pause as monetary policy enters new phase

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said that he does not expect to continue raising interest rates, reinforcing that the central bank has entered a new phase in its year-long battle with inflation.

The central bank has increased interest rates eight times since last March, bringing its benchmark lending rate to 4.5 per cent from 0.25 per cent in the fastest monetary policy tightening cycle in a generation. After delivering a quarter-point increase in late January, the bank announced a “conditional pause” to further rate hikes.

“If new evidence begins to accumulate that inflation is not declining in line with our forecast, we are prepared to raise our policy rate further,” Macklem told a Quebec City audience today, according to the English text of the speech. “But if new data are broadly in line with our forecast and inflation comes down as predicted, then we won’t need to raise rates further.”


Biden State of the Union address happening tonight: A majority of Canadians still see the United States as their country’s closest ally, even in an age of American protectionism, a new poll suggests – but with President Joe Biden poised to deliver his vision for the next two years, they seem less certain that their powerful neighbour is a force for good in the world.

Ottawa to fund international commission to offer advice on unmarked graves: Ottawa is spending $2-million for an international organization to provide Indigenous communities with options around identifying possible human remains buried near former residential school sites.

Canadian business insolvencies up: The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy said that the number of insolvencies filed by Canadian companies in 2022 was up 37.2 per cent compared with 2021 – and at least one business organization predicts that figure will keep growing.

CBC signals plans to go all in on streaming: The head of the CBC says it is preparing to end traditional TV and radio broadcasts and move completely digital, as audiences shift to streaming, but the move is unlikely to happen over the next decade.

LeBron James could break the NBA career scoring record this week: LeBron James is 35 points away from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s total of 38,387. The record-breaker could come as early as Tuesday when the Lakers plays host to the Oklahoma City Thunder or Thursday in Los Angeles against the Milwaukee Bucks.


U.S. and Canadian stocks closed higher after a choppy trading session, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about how long the central bank may need to tame inflation. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem also spoke, saying that no further interest rate hikes will be needed in this country if, as expected, the economy stalls and inflation comes down.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 96.08 points or 0.47 per cent at 20,725.00.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 265.67 points or 0.79 per cent at 34,156.69. The S&P 500 index was up 52.92 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 4,164, while the Nasdaq composite was up 226.34 points, or 1.9 per cent, at 12,113.79.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.43 cents US compared with 74.39 cents US on Monday.

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The Liberals beat a hasty, but necessary, retreat on gun control

“The Liberals now say they will bring back the amendments, presumably in separate legislation. And that’s good; Ottawa can and should crack down on the proliferation of high-powered semi-automatic rifles for sale in Canada that have no place in a legitimate hunter’s arsenal.” – The Editorial Board


With Victory City, Salman Rushdie delivers not so much a masterpiece as a plea for humanity

Foggy mountain valley at sunrise in the village in Nasik, Maharashtra, Indiabyheaven /iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Salman Rushdie’s Victory City “is many things – an Indian historical epic, a centuries-long fable, a meditation on the self-ruinous nature of power – but perhaps more than anything else, it is a story about the immortality of stories, the way a tale told will always outlive a sword swung,” writes Omar El Akkad.

“It takes a while for the story to dig its claws in, he continues, and there’s a stylistic cost to Rushdie’s very fable-heavy approach. A little too often, the narrator slips into jarringly ornate modes of speaking, the kind of thing that hearkens to Richard Francis Burton’s translation of Arabian Nights. It’s not exactly off-base for this kind of storytelling, and Rushdie often undermines it to great comedic effect.”

Read his full review of Rushdie’s “grand and conflicted new novel.”

Evening Update is written by Prajakta Dhopade. 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.