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Canada Evening Update: Trans Mountain expansion may start in September; Ontario to lay off more than 400 health workers

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trans Mountain expansion could start in September, executive says

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Construction to expand the Trans Mountain oil pipeline could begin in September, assuming the next regulatory steps go smoothly, the project’s chief executive Ian Anderson said today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday reapproved the $7.4-billion project that was stalled a year ago when a court ruled the federal government failed to adequately consult Indigenous groups.

Once complete, the project will triple the capacity of Trans Mountain, which carries crude from Alberta’s oil sands to British Columbia’s Pacific Coast.

Work to obtain building permits started today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said separately in Calgary.

Opponents of Trans Mountain, including environmental and Indigenous groups, are expected to challenge the approval in court.

Critics say that even if there are no snags in the expansion, years could pass before global investors are convinced of solid prospects. Jeffrey Jones writes: “The next chapter will almost certainly be another court battle over environmental or constitutional aspects of the approval that opponents believe were unjust.”

More than 400 people being laid off at Ontario health agencies

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Ontario is laying off more than 400 people in the province’s health sector as part of a sweeping restructuring of the health-care system.

A total of 825 administrative jobs will be cut, nearly half of which are already vacant.

Premier Doug Ford said repeatedly during last year’s election campaign that no public-sector jobs would be lost if his Progressive Conservatives won. He has since changed his position to say that no front-line jobs will be lost.

Meanwhile, the provincial government has signalled further cuts to autism services after a treatment centre laid off more than 100 people yesterday.

The Ford government has said the restructuring moves will save $250-million this fiscal year and $350-million a year after that.

The government received applications from more than 150 groups interested in the new “Ontario Health Team” program, which places groups of health-care professionals in charge of front-line service

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Critics say the cuts to public health will affect a huge number of people. "The doom of repeated history is on the horizon: The government is cutting money from public health, which tracks immunization, in the middle of a global measles outbreak,” writes Denise Balkissoon.

Trudeau and Trump to talk China at White House ahead of G20

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House tomorrow will be a chance to talk about trade tensions with China.

Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa today that the two leaders will focus on the G20 summit in Japan next week, where Trump is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Canada has been hit hard by trade retaliation from China since the arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December last year.

Trudeau has said he also hopes to meet Xi at the summit to discuss punishing trade blockage of Canadian farm products, and China’s detention of two Canadians – Micheal Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

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Ottawa seems to be out of ideas on creating a new China policy, David Mulroney writes: “Future leaders in key departments, in the security agencies and in the Canadian Forces need to be far more aware of how China works and how it thinks. This isn’t about agreeing with China, but about understanding it – something that we’re having a hard time doing at present.”

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WHAT ELSE IS ON OUR RADAR

The Toronto van attack suspect will stand trial by judge alone next year. Alek Minassian was allegedly behind the wheel of a rental van that struck and killed 10 pedestrians on April 23, 2018.

Four suspects will face murder charges over the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash. Three Russians and one Ukranian are likely to be tried in absentia as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand anyone over.

Toronto Mayor John Tory vows to review city’s handling of Raptors’ parade. City staff will review ways to improve after the celebration was met with huge crowds and some violence, including a shooting in which four were injured.

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Canada’s annual pace of inflation rose in May to 2.4 per cent. The pace picked up in May as the consumer price index saw its largest increase since October last year, Statistics Canada said.

The Federal Reserve is holding rates steady but signalled cuts could come later this year. The U.S. central bank said it “will act as appropriate to sustain” the economic expansion as it approaches the 10-year mark and dropped a vow to be “patient” in adjusting rates.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will return after six-month space mission in less than a week. Among his highlights in orbit was a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk in April, making him the first Canadian to walk in space since David Williams in 2007.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Photo by: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

MARKET WATCH

Global stock markets added to gains today and the U.S. dollar fell after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled possible rate cuts of as much as half a percentage point over the rest of the year. The market expects the Fed could cut rates as soon as next month.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.46 points to 26,504.00, the S&P 500 gained 8.71 points to 2,926.46 and the Nasdaq Composite added 33.44 points to 7,987.32.

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In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index finished flat, closing down 8.44 points at 16,511.79.

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TALKING POINTS

After Raptors victory, Canada appears united in diversity. Until you look at Quebec

“The Raptors victory shines a bright, beautiful light on Canada’s ability to come together and celebrate our diversity. That is, of course, until Quebec comes into focus. This juxtaposition was clear the day after the Raptors’ championship win. With jubilation across the nation, Quebec Premier François Legault announced the closure of debate on Bill 21.” - Sheema Khan

Who can save the Chateau Laurier from an eyesore addition?

“Canadians could be forgiven if they believed the Chateau was linked by osmosis to the Parliamentary precinct and that it was public space. The problem is that it is not.” - Penny Collenette, adjunct professor in the University of Ottawa’s faculty of law

LIVING BETTER

I rented a cottage this summer. Do I need to take any cooking equipment?

"For several years, my family has rented places in the winter to get away from the cold. The one constant among all the properties we’ve stayed in is that the kitchen equipment is usually lacking.

The first time I fried an egg in the nonstick frying pan, I burned everything because the metal was so thin. Looking at the beautiful knife rack, I felt confident the knives would be of good quality, but they had not been sharpened in years. Now I take some basic equipment with me and I am never disappointed."

For suggestions on what to take to your rented cottage or country house, click here.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Grieving father says health-care systems failed son who overdosed

Elliot Eurchuk poses died of an apparent opioid overdose. Photo by: Rachel Staples/The Canadian Press

HO/The Canadian Press

A grieving father told a coroner’s inquest yesterday that he and his wife were so desperate to keep their teenage son safe from drug abuse that they had sought to have him committed to hospital under B.C.'s Mental Health Act.

Sixteen-year-old Elliot Eurchuk died of an apparent opioid overdose at home in Victoria in April 2018.

Brock Eurchuk believes his son may have become addicted to prescription painkillers after several sports-related injuries.

After his son died, Eurchuk pushed for an inquest, citing the challenges in obtaining information from health-care professionals.

He said that despite their son’s near-fatal opioid overdose and involuntary hospitalization, he and his wife were still prevented from learning details of his medical treatment due to rules that require doctors to keep their patients’ care confidential.​

Evening Update is written by Katrya Bolger. 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.

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