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SNC-Lavalin CEO Neil Bruce speaks out

“Nobody appears to give a crap about whether we fail or not in Canada,” Neil Bruce, chief executive officer of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the Quebec engineering giant at the centre of a political scandal rocking the Trudeau government, told The Globe and Mail today (for subscribers).

During a candid interview in which he was visibly angry about the way things have happened, Mr. Bruce maintained that SNC-Lavalin is a fully reformed company in terms of its business, that those responsible for past wrongdoing are long gone, that it has done everything by the letter in terms of its communications with political officials in Ottawa and still does not understand why it was not given a deal.

The SNC-Lavalin affair has been in the headlines since The Globe and Mail reported Feb. 7 that then-justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould was under pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials to intervene in the bribery and fraud prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The aftermath has included Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Treasury Board president Jane Philpott leaving cabinet, as well as the resignations of Mr. Trudeau’s top aide, Gerald Butts, and clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick. For the full background behind the story, check out our explainer.

Yesterday, the Liberal-dominated justice committee shut down hearings into the SNC-Lavalin affair, preventing Ms. Wilson-Raybould from returning to testify about the fallout from her refusal to shelve the prosecution.

Ontario MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes has quit the Liberal caucus and will sit as an independent MP. She earlier announced she would not seek re-election and has said she was met with hostility and anger when she told Mr. Trudeau about her decision to leave politics.

Today, Mr. Bruce doubled down on SNC-Lavalin’s importance to the national economy, not only in terms of the roughly 9,000 people it employs in Canada but also in its unique capabilities. Here is The Globe’s look at how much the company matters to the economy.

Doug Ford did not break rules in hiring Taverner, integrity commissioner rules, but calls process ‘flawed’

Ontario’s integrity commissioner says Premier Doug Ford did not break any rules in the now-aborted appointment of his friend Ron Taverner, a Toronto Police superintendent, as commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, but called the hiring process “flawed.”

The review was prompted by complaints from the NDP and Liberals, who alleged that the hiring of Mr. Ford’s long-time friend was a conflict of interest.

Supt. Taverner was named as OPP commissioner in November, but put his appointment on hold in December. Earlier this month, he announced he was abandoning his bid for the job amid the controversy surrounding his appointment.

British PM Theresa May asks EU for three-month Brexit extension

British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to delay Britain’s departure for three months. She is hoping that a June 30 deadline will give her extra time to get the withdrawal agreement she reached with the EU approved by members of Parliament even though they’ve rejected it twice by large margins.

It’s not clear when Ms. May will try to get the agreement approved and there’s no indication the delay will resolve the impasse. And the EU also has to agree to the delay. Officials today indicated that they don’t want a delay beyond May 23, when elections begin for the European Parliament.

Toronto Life owner St. Joseph Communications to buy Rogers magazines

St. Joseph Communications, owner of Toronto Life magazine, has reached an agreement to acquire Rogers Media’s magazine brands. Financial terms of the deal, expected to close next month, were not disclosed, but the companies said: "all current Rogers Media publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal.”

The deal includes all seven Rogers consumer print and digital magazine brands: Maclean’s, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent, HELLO! Canada, and the digital titles Flare and Canadian Business. It also includes the company’s custom-content business, which creates editorial-style content such as branded magazines for companies.

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Canada’s main stock index finished narrowly lower after briefly turning positive after the U.S. Federal Reserve board announced it was keeping rates steady, likely through the end of the year. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 20.54 points at 16,167.56.

Wall Street stocks were mixed as following the Fed decision and reports of renewed tensions in the U.S.-China trade talks (for subscribers). The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 141.71 points to 25,745.67, the S&P 500 lost 8.34 points to end at 2,824.23 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 5.02 points to 7,728.97.

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Interest rates steady: The U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady today and its policy-makers abandoned projections for further rate hikes this year as the central bank flagged an expected slowdown in the economy.

Crucifix withdrawn: Montreal city hall has decided to withdraw the crucifix that has dominated its council chambers for more than 80 years, staking out a symbolic position as the province debates the place of religion in the public sphere.

Diplomatic feud: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked an acute diplomatic spat with New Zealand and Australia, referring to a key First World War campaign and the more recent Christchurch mosque shooting as targeting Islam.


Trudeau’s politicization of terror attack puts Scheer on the spot

“Mr. Scheer’s unwillingness to offend those who spew anti-immigration rhetoric makes it easier for Mr. Trudeau to get away with attacks like the one he made on Monday. It will cost Mr. Scheer, his party and the country dearly if the Conservative Leader keeps up with it.” – Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)

The federal budget’s attempt to address housing affordability is not brave enough

“This will require policy-makers to be guided by the idea that housing is for homes, not for top performing investments in our portfolios. Home prices will only be in reach for future generations if we no longer tolerate them growing faster than local earnings.” – Paul Kershaw, policy professor, University of British Columbia

When it comes to sports, none of us has the right to watch anything on TV

“None of us has the right to watch anything on TV, even something as lovely as an 18-year-old Canadian nobody becoming a global somebody over the course of a few hours. That you do not is intrinsic to the fact that Andreescu was paid a million-buck prize to do it. If you had that right, she’d have been playing for well wishes and high-fives.” – Cathal Kelly


Whether you’re new to podcasts or have been listening to them for years, The Globe’s guide will help you freshen up your playlist and discover some new favourites (for subscribers). There are compelling serials that reach well beyond the true crime genre (The Habitat, Limetown), creative science programs to feed your brain (Flash Forward, Invisibilia) and food-centric titles to feed the ears (Burnt Toast, Table Manners with Jessie Ware).


‘Everything he said to me was a lie’: Three Canadian women say they fell victim to alleged con man

It started with a chance encounter in a coffee shop. He was charming and attractive, and everything he said mirrored her life.

The relationship developed into a romance but the seduction ended months later in apparent deception, an elaborate scheme by an alleged serial con man to whom she lost thousands of dollars.

“Everything he said to me was a lie,” says Andrea Speranza, 49. “I couldn’t understand how he could make love to me with the sole purpose of ripping me off.” She has since found multiple alleged victims of Marcel Andre Vautour, a man with a criminal record, warrants for his arrest and several aliases.

His suspected victims say he targets busy career women between the ages of 45 and 50, leaving a trail of broken hearts and empty bank accounts across the country. Read the full story here.

Open this photo in gallery:

Andrea Speranza (Photo by Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

A driving lesson gone wrong pushed me to divorce my teenage daughter

The car’s interior was swept into an emotional hurricane. I wondered out loud – my final salvo – if there was insurance for PTSD.

She gave me the evil eye, just like her grandmother would when I used to lose my socks or eat vanilla cake for breakfast.

Waving a white flag, I blurted out, “Let’s break up.”

A biblical rainbow descended from the heavens. It lit up that dour avenue in full splendour. Contempt morphed into bouts of hysterical laughter. We switched spots in the car, and I drove us home. We were both liberated. – Steven Gottlieb

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