Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trudeau calls ArriveCan subcontracts through two-person firm ‘illogical,’ asks Privy Council Clerk to review
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government’s approach to building and maintaining the ArriveCan app through contracts and subcontracts tied to a two-person staffing firm is “illogical” and he has asked for a review by the Clerk of the Privy Council.
GCstrategies – the small Ottawa-area company that has received millions of dollars in federal commissions on IT projects – subcontracted its work on the ArriveCan app to six other companies, including multinationals such as BDO and KPMG.
New documents also reveal the pay rates GCstrategies billed the government, which are often in the range of $1,000 to $1,500 per day, per worker. The company has said it keeps a commission of between 15 and 30 per cent.
The Globe and Mail first reported in October that federal spending on the app is on track to exceed $54-million this fiscal year.
Opinion: ArriveCan contracting wasn’t that bad. It was worse - Campbell Clark
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Poland seeks coalition to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine
Poland said today it would ask Germany for permission to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine – and would send them whether or not Berlin agreed as long as other countries did too.
Kyiv wants the German-made Leopard 2, one of the most widely used Western tanks, to help it break through Russian lines and recapture territory this year.
Germany, which must approve re-exports of the Leopard, has held back, wary of moves that could cause Moscow to escalate, and says other NATO countries have yet to formally ask to re-export them.
Alberta spiritual leader charged with sexual assault
John de Ruiter – the messianic leader of a multimillion-dollar spiritual organization based in Alberta – has been arrested and charged with four counts of sexual assault against women in his close-knit community of followers.
Edmonton police say the 63-year-old was arrested on Saturday and charged with sexually assaulting four complainants in separate incidents occurring between 2017 and 2020.
Investigators believe there may be additional complainants and are encouraging them to come forward.
Residents of this Quebec city want the province to force the local copper smelter to reduce dangerous arsenic emissions
Ethan Valois is 8 now, and the arsenic levels in his body have started to come down. He and his parents live in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., home to a copper smelter that emits the known carcinogen at levels about 30 times higher than the provincial limit.
The results of one public health study revealed that local kids had four times as much arsenic in their systems as the control population in a neighbouring town. Another report confirmed the city’s population has a series of alarming health problems, including 30 per cent more cases of lung cancer and a higher rate of underweight babies than the rest of the province.
Now, thousands of residents are demanding action, in public consultations, irate Facebook groups, community theatre productions and protests.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Death toll rises in California shooting: An 11th victim died from injuries on Monday after an elderly gunman’s deadly rampage at a Los Angeles-area dance hall, California police said, as authorities were still searching for a motive behind one of the state’s worst mass shootings.
BoC lookahead: The Bank of Canada is widely expected to deliver a final quarter-point interest-rate increase on Wednesday before pausing its historic monetary policy tightening cycle. That would take the central bank’s benchmark lending rate to 4.5 per cent.
Brooke Henderson takes LPGA’s top spot: Canada’s winningest golfer took home her 13th LPGA title trophy on the weekend, winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, which has elevated her to No. 1 on on the Race to CME Globe rankings.
Wall Street ended sharply higher today, powered by surging technology stocks as investors began an earnings-heavy week with a renewed enthusiasm for market leading momentum stocks that were battered last year. Canada’s main stock index was also buoyed by strength in the tech sector.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 254.07 points or 0.76 per cent to 33,629.56, the S&P 500 gained 47.20 points or 1.19 per cent to 4,019.36, and the Nasdaq Composite added 223.98 points or 2.01 per cent to 11,364.41.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index advanced 128.37 points or 0.63 per cent to 20,631.58. The loonie traded at 74.81 U.S. cents.
Callout: This Valentine’s Day, The Globe wants to hear from Canadians about their love stories from across the decades. We want to know: When and where did your love story begin? How long have you and your partner been together? What makes your romance stand the test of time? Submit your 100-word love story or send an e-mail (a photo!) to email@example.com.
The ‘Just Transition’ fracas is just noise – for now
“All I see is another small-scale boondoggle in the making: a garden-variety package of federal incompetence that is more likely to waste cash on feel-good programs than effectively shut down the oil and gas sector.” - Jen Gerson
Canucks firing of coach Bruce Boudreau is the Krakatoa of human-resource management
“While the Canucks dragged things out interminably, Boudreau became funnier and more charming. His media availabilities turned into an endless wake. He was the talking corpse.” - Cathal Kelly
Harold Ballard doc pulls back curtain on a raw, uncomfortable reality
“To be sure, Ballard was an extreme and ugly example, operating in a far different time. He was intemperate, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, paranoid, and utterly lacking self-awareness.” - Simon Houpt
It’s the time of year when many of us are focused on our health and fitness goals. So where does a “detox” or “gut reset” regimen fit in? While diet is a key factor in maintaining a healthy gut, don’t count on a one-off gut cleanse or short-term approach to have long-lasting effects. Here’s what to know.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Microsoft Canada’s Irish ownership offers a glimpse into multinationals’ tax strategies
Microsoft Canada became owned by an Irish affiliate in its 2021 fiscal year, according to documents that offer a rare glimpse at how its multinational parent company has taken advantage of Ireland as a tax haven.
Such a structure could drive down the taxes that the Outlook, Word and Excel software giant pays on any profit it generates in Canada, experts say, by letting Microsoft Canada transfer profits to the lower-tax country with techniques such as royalty payments to the Irish parent company.
It is common for multinational companies to establish subsidiaries in tax-friendly Ireland, which has not yet implemented a multilateral promise to boost its corporate-profit tax rate to 15 per cent from 12.5 per cent. But it is rare to get a sense of exactly how these multinationals’ country-specific subsidiaries are shifted around to more tax-friendly jurisdictions within a labyrinthine corporate structure. Read Josh O’Kane’s full story.
Related: Microsoft uses strategically located subsidiaries to lower taxes more than previously known, new analysis finds