Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is nearly six months old, and while Kyiv is signalling new strength in its counterattack in Russian-occupied areas of the country and the whole continent worries about the fate of a nuclear power plant, enough time has passed since the start of the war for a unique industry to resume its pitch to clients.
Ukraine has long been known for its commercial surrogacy industry; the country is among a select few that allows foreign couples to pay for a woman to carry a child. Before the invasion, surrogacy was booming business, especially after India banned commercial surrogacy in 2015. As Janice Dickson reports, while fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies paused their work at the onset of the war, many are now eager to welcome clients even as the war continues.
Surrogate mothers, who are managing through the understandable demands of carrying someone else’s baby plus the additional stresses of living through war, told The Globe they simply need the money. And foreign couples, from the safety of their homes, are still desperate to have a Ukrainian woman carry their baby.
Ontario judge Michelle O’Bonsawin to become first Indigenous justice on the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Canada will soon be getting a new justice, one who is being lauded for her fresh perspective on the law. Michelle O’Bonswain was nominated to the top court today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and once her appointment is official she will become the first Indigenous Supreme Court justice in Canadian history.
An Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation in Quebec, O’Bonswain is fluent in French and English and was previously a judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Both the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Bar Association said they were “thrilled” by her nomination to fill the vacancy left by Justice Michael Moldaver, who is set to retire Sept. 1.
“It is long past due that the court has a seat for an Indigenous justice, one who has seen firsthand the impact of colonialism on Indigenous communities,” said Murray Sinclair, a former senator and former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “The court is made stronger, and our decisions are better, when there are diverse perspectives where they are needed most.”
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Reaction to Lisa LaFlamme’s dismissal prompts CTV newsroom review by Bell Media
Bell Media said in a statement today it “regrets” the way in which CTV National News anchor Lisa LaFlamme’s departure was handled, and promised to conduct an independent review of its newsroom operations after employees pressed executives to explain the reasons for her dismissal.
In a town-hall meeting with staff on Thursday, two Bell Media executives took questions on the circumstances of LaFlamme’s departure.
Outside the operation, LaFlamme’s fate has been the topic of online statements all week, including some from high-profile Canadian women like Anne Murray and Karen Kain.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Chinese-Canadian tycoon sentenced: A Shanghai court today sentenced Chinese-Canadian billionaire Xiao Jianhua, not seen in public since 2017, to 13 years in jail after he was found guilty in a secret trial of a number of financial crimes.
80th anniversary of Dieppe raid: Gordon Fennell, one of few remaining survivors of Operation Jubilee, was on hand today in Dieppe, France, to remember the day 80 years ago when more than 5,000 Canadian troops stormed the beach during the Second World War. More than 900 of them died.
R. Kelly accuser testifies: A now-37-year-old woman who says singer R. Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times as a minor testified for four hours today at his trial on charges of child pornography and conspiring to rig his 2008 trial.
Ontario long-term care bill decried: Ontario’s proposal to allow hospitals to send patients into long-term care homes not of their choosing has seniors advocates livid.
Following a late-summer stock market rebound, questions about how central banks will approach coming interest rate decisions weighed on the main indexes today, affecting technology stocks in particular.
“When market participants start to return from their holidays and look back … they will find central banks still far from having achieved their goals of reining in inflation,” ING rates strategists said in a note to clients. “That means a continued tussle between central bank tightening expectations and recession fears.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 153.99 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 20,111.38. In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.86 per cent, to 33,706.15, the S&P 500 lost 1.29 per cent, to 4,228.37, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped about 2 per cent, to 12,705.22. The Canadian dollar traded for 76.95 cents US.
Canada’s assisted dying laws could use additional safeguards
Robyn Urback: “Even proponents of the most permissible MAID regimes should be uncomfortable with death being offered to patients as a “treatment plan,” which is precisely the type of ableist devaluation of life that disability advocates had warned about. Medically assisted death should be available as a last resort to those who seek it when all other remedies have failed, not as an option shopped to vulnerable individuals as a simple way to end their suffering.”
One reason this inflation might be easier to tame than previous ones: the 30 years of low inflation that preceded it
Andrew Coyne: “This is what might make the current effort to squeeze inflation out of the economy different from past exercises. Because the current bout of inflation, uniquely, comes after 30 years in which central banks both promised and delivered low and stable inflation. Indeed, from 1991, when the Bank of Canada began formally targeting inflation, through 2019, the monthly annualized rate of inflation remained within its target range more than 80 per cent of the time.”
The pandemic offers an opportunity for a national moment of reflection
Hugh Segal: “A royal commission examining what we have learned from the pandemic, and what those lessons should mean for the organization and priorities of all governments going forward, would not only galvanize positive analysis and objective research – it would also provide open national hearings to allow the many different and strongly held views on the best way forward to be heard, on the record.”
Book publishing in Canada is broken. Will a pending multinational merger make it worse?
Many years of consolidation have left foreign-owned multinationals with wide influence over the Canadian publishing sector. In 2021, independent publishers in Canada accounted for just 5.3 per cent of English-language physical book sales. This despite the fact that these publishers, buoyed by government funding, put out between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of new Canadian books every year. Nevertheless, they are vastly outsold by books whose giant publishers leverage big sales and promotions budgets.
The market could become even more concentrated. Penguin Random House struck a deal in November, 2020, to purchase Simon & Schuster for US$2.18-billion. The move is being challenged in a U.S. court and sparked outcry in the literary world, with Canadian critics in particular fearing “devastating” consequences for authors and readers alike.
Is it time to take a break from rosé?
Certain red wines can shine in summer, writes Christopher Waters. Not the full-bodied kind, mind you, which are best left for after Thanksgiving. But for those who gravitate toward savoury, layered and complex red wines no matter the weather, or simply want a break from rosé, here’s a selection of new and recent releases to seek out.
TODAY’S LONG READ
The time-bomb town Ontario didn’t defuse
Last August, an explosion rocked the picturesque town of Wheatley, Ont., injuring 20 people and damaging several businesses, houses and apartment buildings – some so badly that they had to be demolished. The likely culprit was old oil and gas development beneath the town that led to a dangerous build-up of hydrogen sulphide (sour gas) and methane.
Locals recall what happened that day, the fallout, and the months they’ve spent in limbo as the county and province investigate what happened. The biggest worry? That it will happen again. Experts say it’s all-but guaranteed, but nobody knows where or when one of the thousands of well sites that litter Southwestern Ontario could explode.
But the fact is the Wheatley explosion should never have happened, and is the consequence of Ontario’s haphazard oversight of the province’s abandoned oil and gas wells. Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan all have stronger rules for managing and monitoring risks, particularly when potentially deadly sour gas is present.
Read the full investigative feature, then learn more about the research methodology The Globe and Mail used to find when Ontario’s old fossil-fuel wells were built, which ones are sealed and how close they are to structures.
Evening Update is compiled and written weekdays by an editor in The Globe’s live news department. 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.