Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
RCMP commissioner says intelligence official Cameron Ortis was aiding an FBI probe at the time of his arrest
The RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki says Cameron Ortis, the intelligence official charged with illegally storing and communicating classified information, was supporting a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation probe before his arrest.
She says investigators came across documents during the joint FBI probe that led the force to believe there could be a mole, or some kind of “internal corruption.”
A senior government official has told The Globe that an RCMP internal document was found on a laptop seized by U.S. authorities in March, 2018, that belonged to Vincent Ramos, a Vancouver businessman linked to organized crime.
A sensitive-investigations team looked for months into possible leaks before the arrest last week of Ortis, who allegedly tried to disclose the classified material to a foreign entity or terrorist group.
Read more: Catch up on who is Cameron Ortis and the story so far with our explainer here.
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Health Canada suspends CannTrust’s licences to grow and process cannabis
Health Canada is suspending the cannabis growing and processing licences of CannTrust Holdings, the company says.
The move comes after the agency’s investigators discovered CannTrust had grown about $51-million worth of cannabis in unlicensed parts of its Pelham, Ont., facility in late 2018 and early 2019.
CannTrust’s stock price dropped 14.5 per cent to $1.70 a share. The price has declined 73.7 per cent since July 5, the last trading day before CannTrust announced that it had received a non-compliant rating from Health Canada.
Iran’s Supreme Leader rules out talks with U.S. as tensions rise in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil facilities
Iran’s Supreme Leader has ruled out any negotiations with the United States, further escalating tensions in the wake of a weekend attack that targeted Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today that Iran will not negotiate until Washington reverses course and rejoins the multiparty nuclear agreement that U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from in 2018.
Tensions have spiked across the Middle East since Saturday, when a series of explosions rocked Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant as well as the nearby Khurais oil field.
Opinion: Konrad Yakabuski writes that the case for Alberta oil just got a lot better.
Election 2019: Liberals and Conservatives target families in the battle for votes
Families were once again the main target of campaign messages from the Liberals and the Conservatives today:
- Conservatives pledge RESP boost: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer revealed a plan to boost the government’s contribution to registered education savings plans from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar invested up to $2,500 a year. The party says it will increase the maximum annual grant from $500 to $750.
- Liberals vow tax-free parental benefits: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that a re-elected Liberal government would make maternity and parental benefits tax-free. The party says the measure would mean parents earning about $45,000 a year would pocket $1,800 more.
ON OUR RADAR
Liberal government ends fiscal year with $14-billion deficit: The Finance Department reports that the federal government ran a $14-billion deficit for the 2018-19 fiscal year ended March 31. That’s a slight improvement over the estimated figure of $14.9-billion in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s March budget.
B.C. court allows appeal on pipeline certificate: The B.C. government has been ordered by the province’s highest court to reconsider its environmental assessment certificate allowing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
B.C.'s $69-million plan to help the forestry industry: British Columbia’s NDP government has earmarked $69-million in funding to help the province’s ailing forestry industry cope with job cuts.
Court denies Humphries’ bid for release: A Calgary judge has denied two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries’ bid to be released by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. The dispute arose from a harassment complaint she filed with the organization against a coach.
Alex Trebek resumes chemotherapy: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek says he’s had a setback in his battle with pancreatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy again.
Broadcaster Cokie Roberts has died: Cokie Roberts, the longtime journalist and commentator for ABC News and NPR, died today at 75. The cause was complications of breast cancer.
Canadian university students refuse sex in complicated ways: From excuses and lies to unresponsive silence, Canadian university students refuse sex in myriad, complex ways – often never using the word “no,” or any words at all, according to a new study whose authors are urging educators to consider more nuanced sexual-consent campaigns.
Oil prices dropped sharply today after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the kingdom has fully restored its oil production following the attack this weekend that shut 5 per cent of global oil output.
Canada’s main stock continued to reach new heights after a rise in the materials sector more than offset a slide in energy shares. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 83.44 points at 16,834.75.
On Wall Street, stocks opened slightly weaker before recovering ground to trade little-changed on the day, as investors shunned big bets ahead of an expected interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve tomorrow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.47 points to 27,108.29, the S&P 500 gained 7.49 points to 3,005.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.47 points to 8,186.02.
It works: Canadian Lilly Singh really is revolutionary in late-night TV
“For all those quibbles about format and technique, there is no doubt that Singh is a perfect fit for late night. She has the brashness, energy and wit to command a show with ease.” - John Doyle
‘It is time’: Haviah Mighty becomes first full-on hip-hop artist to win Polaris Music Prize
“About time, is more like it. Mighty is not only a rapper of colour, but a female one – a bright, defiant light in the field of feminist hip hop. A ‘feminist’ female rapper, as if there were any other kind to be.” - Brad Wheeler
Rob Carrick offers these tips on building a credit score that gets you a great mortgage rate. They include:
- First step: Check your credit score when you first start thinking about buying a home, so you have time to get it in prime shape when you need a mortgage.
- Time is money: Make credit card payments - even if it’s the minimum - on time. A single late payment can hurt people with short credit histories.
- The long run: Be careful cancelling long-held credit accounts or adding new ones: both can shorten the average age of your debts.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Coral gardeners bring back Jamaica’s reefs, piece by piece
Everton Simpson squints at the Caribbean from his motorboat, scanning the dazzling bands of colour for hints of what lies beneath. Emerald green indicates sandy bottoms. Sapphire blue lies above seagrass meadows. And deep indigo marks coral reefs. That’s where he’s headed.
He steers the boat to an unmarked spot that he knows as the “coral nursery.”
”It’s like a forest under the sea,“ he says. He swims down 25 feet carrying a pair of metal shears, fishing line and a plastic crate.
On the ocean floor, small coral fragments dangle from suspended ropes, like socks hung on a laundry line. Simpson and other divers tend to this underwater nursery as gardeners mind a flower bed – slowly and painstakingly plucking off snails and fireworms that feast on immature coral.
When each stub grows to about the size of a human hand, Simpson collects them in his crate to individually “transplant” onto a reef, a process akin to planting each blade of grass in a lawn separately. Read the full story here.