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

SNC-Lavalin, two former executives face charges related to Montreal bridge contract

SNC-Lavalin Group and two of its former executives are facing new criminal charges related to a bridge contract in Montreal nearly 20 years ago, the latest legal woes for the Canadian engineering giant as it tries to rebuild its business after years of crisis.

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The charges stem from a long-standing RCMP probe into bribes paid on a $128-million contract to refurbish the Jacques Cartier Bridge in 2002 and include forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Former vice-presidents Norman Morin and Kamal Francis were arrested today and then released ahead of a scheduled court appearance on Monday.

Quebec’s chief prosecutor’s office said it will offer the company the opportunity to negotiate a remediation agreement, more commonly known as a deferred prosecution agreement.

SNC-Lavalin was previously charged with bribery and fraud in relation to its past work in Libya, which was at the centre of the high-profile 2019 conflict between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould.

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The latest COVID-19 developments: Saskatchewan suspends organ donation, Quebec offers nurses bonuses, plus more

Saskatchewan has suspended its organ donation program because of a lack of resources brought on by the province’s fourth wave of COVID-19. It made the move as hospitals in both that province and neighbouring Alberta are pushed to the brink with COVID-19 cases.

To help its struggling health care system, Quebec is offering up to $18,000 in bonuses for full-time nurses to prevent more of them from quitting. Pandemic-induced stress has contributed to a shortage of 4,300 nurses in the province.

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Opinion: It’s time to get vaccinated, or face the consequences Globe editorial

Ontario vaccine passport explainer: How to access your COVID-19 immunization receipt and where it’s required.

U.S. special envoy to Haiti resigns over ‘inhumane’ deportation policy

The Biden administration’s special envoy to Haiti has resigned in protest of “inhumane” large-scale expulsions of Haitian migrants to their homeland as it is racked by civil strife and natural disaster, U.S. officials say.

In a scathing letter, Daniel Foote wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he was stepping down immediately. “I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti.”

Criticism has been fuelled by images that went viral this week of Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against the migrants.

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Evergrande bondholders don’t expect to receive coupon payment by deadline, source says

China Evergrande Group dollar bondholders were still waiting for information about a key interest payment that is due today, with some holders having given up hope of getting a coupon payment by the deadline, a source familiar with the matter said.

The property developer was instead expected to provide more information in the coming month, the source said.

Evergrande was due to pay US$83.5-million in interest on a US$2-billion offshore bond and also has a US$47.5-million dollar-bond interest payment next week. Both would default if the company fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.

On today’s The Decibel podcast: Why investors are worried about China’s Evergrande failing

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

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Lululemon replaces HBC on Team Canada: Lululemon will take over as the official outfitter of Canada’s team at the Olympic and Paralympic Games through 2028, as a long-time deal with Hudson’s Bay Co. comes to an end.

Evangelista says she’s ‘disfigured’, sues over cosmetic procedures: Canadian-born former supermodel Linda Evangelista has filed a US$50-million lawsuit over cosmetic body-sculpting procedures that she says left her “brutally disfigured” and turned her into a recluse.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street stocks closed higher today as investors appeared relieved about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stance on tapering stimulus and raising interest rates. Canada’s main index followed suit with energy and financial shares leading the way..

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 506.50 points or 1.48 per cent to 34,764.82, the S&P 500 climbed 53.34 points or 1.21 per cent to 4,448.98 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 155.39 points or 1.04 per cent to 15,052.24.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 60.44 points or 0.3 per cent to end at 20,461.93.

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TALKING POINTS

Jason Kenney should do the honourable thing and resign

“The real story is all the needless death from COVID-19 in Alberta caused by a government’s selfish desire to put politics ahead of the health and safety of the public. That is a scandal that should cost the person responsible for it his job.” Gary Mason

A divided country? Actually, the federal election revealed Canada has never been more united in purpose

“On policy, the political parties in this election were more aligned than at any time in recent memory. The Conservatives offered a more progressive agenda; the Liberals were already seriously progressive, and the NDP was the NDP.” John Ibbitson

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Why the knives are out for Erin O’Toole, but not Jagmeet Singh

“Indeed, both O’Toole and Singh failed to meaningfully increase their parties’ support this election, but only O’Toole betrayed his party’s principles in the process. That’s why Conservatives are gunning for him.” Robyn Urback

Is this the end of majority governments in Canada – or the beginning?

“What we call minority and majority governments are very much the inverse of reality: It is under ‘minority’ governments that the majority really rules, in as much as the government must depend on the support of MPs representing the majority of the population – as opposed to the institutionalized minority rule of most ‘majority’ governments.” Andrew Coyne

LIVING BETTER

Learning how the stock market works is essential for young people to achieve long-term success, Rob Carrick writes, but it’s not the only financial lesson they need. He offers five more, including:

  • Smart banking: Have a no-fee chequing account for daily banking. Open a high-rate savings account with an alternative bank paying a decent rate of interest.
  • Saving: Build a habit of diverting a portion of all incoming money from gifts and part-time jobs into a savings account to keep safely parked for emergencies and future use.

TODAY’S LONG READ

City of Vancouver seeks injunction to force Sahota family to repair building

The Balmoral and Regent hotels in the downtown Eastside in Vancouver, Nov. 6, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

The City of Vancouver is once again seeking an injunction to force the Sahota family to repair a deteriorated rental building with dorm-style units three years after an inspector first flagged risks to their tenants.

Council’s unanimous vote against the Sahotas – to whom the city paid millions last year for two properties that had to be evacuated – highlights the difficulty the municipal government has had regulating this aging private rental stock, which still houses thousands of Vancouver’s poorest residents.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said his city has to ensure these units are safe enough for occupants while it pursues funding from Ottawa as part of Vancouver’s $1-billion plan to buy up to 105 privately owned single-room occupancy hotels. Until this funding is secured, he said, the city is stepping up its building bylaw enforcement to improve living conditions for tenants. Read Mike Hager’s full story here.

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