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Federal government re-approves Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

The Liberal cabinet has re-approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would add nearly 600,000 barrels per day of export capacity to western Canadian oil producers.

The pipeline project is opposed by many British Columbians, including several Indigenous communities.

The federal government owns the existing pipeline and has pledged to finance the twice-delayed expansion project. The Liberals then plan to sell it off to new owners, with the possibility of some Indigenous ownership.

Ottawa has owned the pipeline project for nearly a year now after buying it last summer from U.S. oil giant Kinder Morgan. It has so far been approved twice by the National Energy Board, once in 2016 and again earlier this year.

Leah George Wilson, Chief of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, argues that Trans Mountain is not in the public’s interest: “I believe that if cabinet undertook a meaningful review, one that re-examined the underlying business case that has fundamentally changed since 2012, one that took time to fully understand the probability and risk of oil spills, and one that looked at the full climate impacts of this project, the only answer would be no.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney lobbied aggressively to ensure the Liberal government re-approve the pipeline project after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the federal permit last August, citing incomplete consultation with Indigenous groups and inadequate consideration of environmental impacts.

One year later, White Helmets bound for Canada stuck in Jordanian camp

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Girl playing outside her house in Azraq Camp, Jordan. Photo by: Nadia Bseiso for The Globe and MailNadia Bseiso

Last summer, Canada helped members of the famed White Helmets rescue group escape from Syria and was supposed to welcome them to this country last fall. One year later, the 10 White Helmet families remain in a special high-security zone of Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp. So why are they still in the Middle East and kept in near isolation?

Ten members of the White Helmets – who became famous by rescuing victims of airstrikes carried out by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies – are being kept, alongside their families, in semi-isolation in Azraq while they await the outcome of a diplomatic effort to find a country to accept them.

The reason for their limbo remains a closely guarded secret. Neither the Canadian nor Jordanian governments answered questions from The Globe and Mail about the specific reasons the families were flagged as security risks by Canadian officials last year.

Vancouver real estate sees uptick in interest from Hong Kong buyers following extradition bill unrest

Vancouver real estate agents are noticing a large increase in the number of Hong Kong Chinese attending open-house showings recently – exceeding that of mainland Chinese buyers for the first time in recent memory.

The shift comes as Hong Kong is newly immersed in fear that its unique status under China’s one-country, two-systems framework is under threat. Millions have marched to protest a proposed extradition law, which has heightened fears that Beijing is encroaching on the legal system that upholds the city’s liberties.

An estimated 300,000 people in Hong Kong hold Canadian passports, and the extradition bill, even though its passage has been suspended, has provided a new push to look elsewhere.

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Donald Trump leaves a ‘question mark’ over the use of force against Iran. The U.S. president said he would take military action to stop Iran from having a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would sanction the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies.

China will suspend imports from a Canadian pork company. Beijing will block a third Canadian firm after a shipment was found with the banned feed additive ractopamine amid a deepening trade dispute.

Boris Johnson has won the second round of votes to replace Theresa May. Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, was eliminated from the contest with 30 votes.

A coroner concluded the death of Gilles Duceppe’s mother was accidental but preventable. Helene Rowley Hotte, the 93-year-old mother of the former Bloc Quebecois leader, died of hypothermia on Jan. 20 after she became trapped in a courtyard at her seniors’ residence when it was minus 35 degrees outside.

Canada reports far higher job satisfaction than the world average. In several studies, Canadians have been found to be some of the most content workers in the world, even when compared with similar economies and cultures.

Facebook announces cryptocurrency. The social media giant plans to launch Libra, a new digital coin, in 2020 as part of its push to expand into e-commerce and global payments.

SNC CEO names London-based executive and moves to streamline firm. The new head of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has named Ian Edwards as a senior executive and made some organizational changes aimed at streamlining the beleaguered company.


Stocks rallied today after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted at economic stimulus, and got an extra boost when U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed a meeting with China’s president amid the countries’ trade dispute.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 353.01 points to 26,465.54, the S&P 500 gained 28.08 points to 2,917.75 and the Nasdaq Composite added 108.86 points to 7,953.88.

Canada’s main stock index rose on precious metal miners and energy companies ahead of the Trans Mountain pipeline announcement. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 149.90 points at 16,503.35.

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For Scheer’s Conservatives, it’s either a majority government or maybe no government at all

“Polls suggest that if an election were held today, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives would win the most seats in the House of Commons. But even so, he might not become prime minister. The reason is Jagmeet Singh. In any hung Parliament, the NDP Leader will be under enormous pressure from his caucus and his base to prevent the Conservatives from coming to power.” - John Ibbitson

Instead of playing defence against Huawei, the U.S. must make it a ‘frenemy’

“The 5G question goes beyond the valid national-security concerns and the thorough work required to figure out security policy and procedures for not only Huawei networks but all vendor equipment. While its political direction is clear, the United States would actually benefit from a different approach to Huawei – by becoming ‘frenemies’ and addressing the global competitiveness challenge.” - Amy Karam, author of The China Factor: Leveraging Emerging Business Strategies to Compete, Grow and Win in the New Global Economy


What should you eat (and avoid) if you have low thyroid?

If you have thyroid problems, the food you eat can help or worsen your condition. The thyroid gland, located at the front of the neck, makes thyroid hormones that regulate the speed of your metabolism, brain development and much more.

Your thyroid gland relies on several nutrients to function properly. Iodine, for example, is an essential component of thyroid hormones found in iodized table salt, fish and seafood, dairy products, grains and seaweed.

Compounds in cruciferous vegetables (e.g. bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, kale, turnip) called thiocyanates can reduce the uptake of iodine in the thyroid.


Why having many diets at the dinner table makes meal planning a nightmare

"Everyone I talk to says the same thing these days when thinking out the menu for a coming family invasion. There are lists of things that cannot be consumed. And if you’re lucky, your family brings the entire combination of keto, vegan, paleo and all the diet etceteras in one family! It’s not my guests’ choices that I’m querying in all this. It’s myself.

“There are reasons for the new eating choices, many foods having been politicized in the past 20 years, some for good reason. Eschewing beef, our vegans tell me, means less cattle and less methane, ergo less pollutants. In fact, I admire that much political resolve but I’m the type who remembers Sunday dinners of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding around my grandmother’s table and I worry for the cattle farmers and wonder how they will be able to rejig their livelihoods.”

Read the full First Person essay here.

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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