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

Volodymyr Zelensky’s words had the attention of Canada and its allies Tuesday, but what may matter most is what was heard in the Kremlin. On the 20th day of Russia’s invasion of his country – a brutal day that included five civilian deaths in an apartment building in Kyiv that was shelled – Ukraine’s President Zelensky told European allies that his country needs to accept that it will never join NATO.

Keeping Ukraine out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a stated goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin and, he maintains, a condition for an end to the war.

Also on Tuesday, Canadian parliamentarians heard directly from Zelensky in a video address in which he asked them to imagine air-raid sirens and bombs raining down on Vancouver, Edmonton or the CN Tower. The Ukrainian President’s speech (watch video highlights or read a transcript of the address) was part of an appeal to Canada to do more to intervene in the Russian invasion.

More coverage on the war in Ukraine:

Canadian house prices soar to a new record in February, CREA says

Canada’s national real estate association says the growth in home prices could soon start to slow, but the latest figures show an unprecedented jump. The price of a typical home in Canada, adjusted for volatility, rose a record 3.5 per cent from January to February, to $868,400.

But in some of the tightest markets, as borrowing costs are set to rise and more properties are hitting the market, realtors are noticing a decline in multiple offers and bidding wars.

Housing market commentary:

The highway that disappeared

After the Nov. 15 atmospheric river storm in B.C., Highway 8 hardly resembles the scenic, cliff-hugging ribbon of road along the Nicola River that supported tourism and rural livelihoods. With a spring thaw on the way, locals are coming to grips with what might be a permanent displacement.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Nunavut won’t release TB stats: The Health Minister in Nunavut says releasing detailed statistics on cases of tuberculosis, as requested by the commissioner in charge of information and privacy, would leave residents of the territory’s hamlets open to stigmatization.

Who will investigate military sexual assault claims? Months after Defence Minister Anita Anand said she planned to ask civilian law enforcement to perform investigations of military sexual misconduct, some police forces are saying they cannot absorb these new cases without additional resources.

U.S. Senate approves permanent daylight time: The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to make daylight time permanent starting in 2023, a step toward ending the practice of changing clocks twice a year. However, the House of Representatives must still approve the measure and President Joe Biden must sign it. The idea also has supporters in large Canadian provinces, but they advocate waiting to harmonize the move with U.S. neighbours.

Montreal police chief to retire: Sylvain Caron, whose term as Montreal’s chief of police was supposed to end at the end of 2023, says now that he will retire in April.

MARKET WATCH

On a day when the TSX held steady, U.S. stocks experienced a rally as investors began looking ahead to the Fed’s upcoming policy announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 599.1 points, or 1.82 per cent, to 33,544.34, the S&P 500 gained 89.34 points, or 2.14 per cent, to 4,262.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 367.40 points, or 2.92 per cent, to 12,948.62.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 7.06 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 21,187.84. The loonie was up 0.3 per cent at 1.2785 to the greenback, or 78.22 U.S. cents.

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TALKING POINTS

Conservatives tear each other down to get to the top

Campbell Clark: “This campaign is getting nasty, brutish and personal. The Liberals used to be known for indulging in internecine warfare, but this is a public knife fight. Canadian Conservatives seem to have a lot of bad blood. And in this field, it goes deeper than the tweets.”

Galen G. Weston sets out on a new vision for Loblaw, far from the bread wagon days of his family’s roots

Andrew Willis: “Building long-term wealth means doing more than raising money by exiting a low-growth business such as baking, as Mr. Weston did last year. It means pouring that cash back into the business, trying to position retail and real estate operations for a new generation of customers. ... Mr. Weston sees growth potential in health and wellness that doesn’t exist in grocery stores.”

Canada can re-envision itself as a great arsenal of energy for democracy

Grant Bishop: “If we don’t supply the continuing global demand for hydrocarbons, it will be kleptocracies and dictatorships that continue to benefit from pushing out dirtier energy and materials. Our key aims, then, should be to develop and deploy technologies to decarbonize our own energy consumption; rapidly decarbonize our petroleum production; and quickly increase export capacity for oil and liquefied natural gas to supply the world.”

LIVING BETTER

Do you have plans for your pet after you pass away?

At one time, the pet-focused estate plan in the will drawn up by Terry Cooke and partner Wes Pastuzenko would have seemed a little eccentric. In it, their inseparable feline family members Meika and Floyd must remain together should they outlive the Manitoba couple.

But such provisions are now commonplace, particularly among retirees who increasingly consider their furry friends ‘companions’ instead of ‘pets,’ says Toronto lawyer Barry Seltzer.

Mark Rylance dresses to kill in refreshingly old-fashioned gangland drama The Outfit

First-time director Graham Moore has created a welcome distraction from the early events of 2022, Barry Hertz writes.

Featuring little pyrotechnics and lots of handsome dialogue, The Outfit plays like a zippy adaptation of an acclaimed stage play – yet it is an entirely original-to-the-screen work. And starring the wonderful Mark Rylance, The Outfit arrives as a late-career star vehicle of sorts for the oft-supporting player – yet the British actor is matched scene for scene by his various, lesser-known co-stars.

TODAY’S LONG READ

The Christchurch massacre may have had a Canadian connection – but there’s a reason you may not know about it

Mosque shooting survivor Temel Ataçocuğu arrives at Masjid An-Nur on March 15, 2022, in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has been retracing the journey of the Christchurch mosque shooter, walking and cycling 360 kilometres for peace and to commemorate the third anniversary of the terror attack.Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

According to a forensic report on the massacre of 51 Muslims by a young man in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, the shooter may have been influenced in part by content he read or saw on Rebel Media, a Canadian online publisher of right-leaning material. The evidence, in fact, shows that the gunman donated money to Rebel Media.

It is reasonable to conclude that he felt influenced by organizations like Rebel Media, because they were among the few places in the world then promoting the collection of ideas that would be at the core of his racist manifesto.

But Canadians may not be aware of this connection between the Christchurch massacre and their country’s fringe media – and that’s because Ezra Levant, the publisher of Rebel Media, went to great lengths to ensure that it stayed out of the press.

Read the full article by Doug Saunders.


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