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

The Biden administration and NATO told Russia on Wednesday there will be no U.S. or NATO concessions on Moscow’s main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.

In separate written responses delivered to the Russians, the U.S. and NATO held firm to the alliance’s open-door policy for membership, rejected a demand to permanently ban Ukraine from joining, and said allied deployments of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe are nonnegotiable.

“There is no change, there will be no change,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Also not up for negotiation will be the U.S. and European response to any Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said, repeating the mantra that any such incursion would be met with massive consequences and severe economic costs.

The responses were not unexpected and mirrored what senior U.S. and NATO officials have been saying for weeks. Nonetheless, they and the eventual Russian reaction to them could determine whether Europe will again be plunged into war.

Read more:

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a glass of champagne during a ceremony to receive credentials from foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia Oct. 3, 2017.POOL/Reuters

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Bank of Canada holds off hiking interest rates, sets stage for March increase

The Bank of Canada held off hiking interest rates on Wednesday but said that the economy is now operating at full capacity, teeing up a rate increase for the bank’s next meeting in March.

Policy-makers voted to keep the central bank’s key interest rate at 0.25 per cent, where it has been since the early days of the pandemic. At the same time, they withdrew their forward guidance for rate hikes and made it clear that emergency economic support is no longer necessary, indicating that the cost of borrowing will rise in the coming months.

“Looking ahead, the governing council expects interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the bank’s commitment to achieving the 2 per cent inflation target,” the bank said in its rate decision statement.

When the rate hike does happen, here’s what it will mean for your finances and the economy. And this is what a rate hike will cost homeowners. For now, the decision to keep interest rates near zero will continue to add fuel Canada’s overheated housing market, with competition remaining fierce for the few properties for sale.

A sign is pictured outside the Bank of Canada building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 23, 2017.CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

Conservative riding association wants early leadership review, as poll shows voters favour Poilievre over O’Toole

A Conservative riding association is calling for the federal party to move ahead quickly with a leadership review of Erin O’Toole as a new poll shows almost half of respondents feel he has done a poor job as leader.

Late on Monday, the Foothills riding association in Alberta sent the federal party a request to hold a leadership review by June 15. Party president Rob Batherson said the association is the third to indicate support for an earlier review.

Since his party’s September election loss, O’Toole has faced a steady drip of criticism. But his opponents have not been able to convince party brass to move up the date for the August, 2023, leadership review.

The latest push for an earlier leadership vote was passed by the Foothills riding association at its Saturday meeting. In a document obtained by The Globe and Mail, it says the earlier leadership review is needed to help “ensure a united and strong Conservative Party of Canada in preparation for an imminent election.”

Read more:

Canada's Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole speaks to the media about the government’s economic update on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Dec. 14, 2021.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

‘They’re going to get hammered.’ Market drop to cut valuations for Canadian tech firms raising capital: This month’s sell-off in publicly traded technology companies will spread to private markets, resulting in downward revaluations of enterprises that have relied on venture and growth capital to fuel their expansion, some top Canadian technology financiers warn.

U.S. Supreme Court judge Breyer to retire: Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, at 83 the oldest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, will retire at the end of the court’s current term that runs until the end of June, NBC News and CNN report, giving President Joe Biden the opportunity to appoint a successor who could serve for decades.

Auger-Aliassime drops five-set heartbreaker: Canada’s Félix Auger-Aliassime had been one point away from a win over world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and a spot in the Australian Open semi-finals. But the Russian came back from a two-sets-to-none deficit to win.

Why an anti-vaccine mandate trucker convoy called the Freedom Rally is driving across Canada: A convoy of truckers is travelling across Canada to protest new federal vaccine requirements for cross-border essential workers. Supporters driving in their own vehicles have joined for parts of the journey to protest the mandates, while others have donated millions of dollars through GoFundMe to help finance the convoy.

Canadian men face tough World Cup qualifying challenge in Honduras: While World Cup qualifying has already taken the Canadian men to hostile ground in Haiti, Mexico and Jamaica in recent months, coach John Herdman expects his team will get a real taste of CONCACAF when it faces Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Thursday.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index gave up early gains but still posted a small increase as crude oil prices hit a more than seven-year high and the central bank kept its key interest rate in check.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 4.91 points at 20,595.89 after being up more than 300 points earlier in the trading day.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 129.64 points at 34,168.09. The S&P 500 index was down 6.52 points at 4,349.93, while the Nasdaq composite was up 2.82 points at 13,542.12.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.33 cents US compared with 79.18 cents US on Tuesday as the Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate on hold, but warned higher rates are coming.

The March crude oil contract was up US$1.75 at US$87.35 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 14.2 cents at US$4.04 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was down US$22.80 at US$1,829.70 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 6.5 cents at US$4.52 a pound.

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TALKING POINTS

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate in schools could harm many low-income kids

“Access was also always going to be an issue, since vaccinating a child usually requires some degree of pre-planning and extra time (as do most things with children), which can be difficult for single parents and parents who work odd hours. Adults have long been able to get themselves jabbed at all sorts of places along their daily routes, but kids, especially pandemic-era kids, don’t have routines that extend much beyond school and home.” – Robyn Urback

LGBTQ Afghans living under the Taliban are in grave and immediate danger

“In late August, the world watched scenes of panic and devastation as people thronged at Kabul’s airport, trying desperately to reach evacuation flights. For every person who made it to safety, many more were left behind. And the doors have largely slammed shut on those still desperate to leave, especially vulnerable groups such as LGBTQ Afghans.” – Heather Barr

Sanctions will hurt Russia if it invades Ukraine, but crippling pain is far from assured

“What scares Russian President Vladimir Putin most? That’s the question European and American leaders are asking as they prepare a sweeping range of sanctions against Russia that would be triggered if it were to invade Ukraine.” – Eric Reguly

Trudeau’s dithering on Ukraine should fool no one

As Russian President Vladimir Putin issues NATO an ultimatum calling for withdrawal from eastern Europe, and amasses more than 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, the Trudeau government is torn between courting Canadian voters of Ukrainian descent and its desire to propagate its delusionary self-image as a “helpful” player on the world stage.” – Konrad Yakabuski

You can learn a lot about Canadian politics by looking at the wreck that is 24 Sussex Drive

“We expect elected officials to watch their pennies, to not treat themselves at taxpayers’ expense... But when it comes to 24 Sussex Drive, those sound instincts have lurched into madness.” – Globe editorial

LIVING BETTER

Three ways to keep your fitness resolutions – or make any other lasting life changes

Resolutions aren’t all-or-nothing propositions. They’re idealized goals that manifest slowly over time. Progress is never linear, it’s a series of peaks and valleys, with some slopes steeper than others. Or, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, adopting a new habit is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push – you’ve got to rock it back and forth a few times and then it goes over.

Whatever your goals are for 2022, be they fitness-related or otherwise, I recommend paying heed to the following basic tenets. Doing so won’t guarantee success; guarantees are outside of my scope of practice. What you’ll find instead is a method for preserving your sanity and self-esteem while maybe, just maybe, making some lasting life changes.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Basketball court believed to be world’s oldest is a step closer to becoming a hoops museum – thanks to a group of N.B. locals

A vintage-style basketball sits on original floorboards of the world's oldest known basketball court in St. Stephen, NB.Chris Donovan/The Globe and Mail

It was built for calisthenics, not shooting three-pointers or soaring jump shots. But if you use your imagination, you can still hear the squeak of sneakers on the hardwood.

In 1893, Lyman Archibald brought basketball to St. Stephen, N.B., a mill town of about 4,500 people across the St. Croix River from Maine. A protégé of James Naismith, the Canadian inventor of the sport, Archibald was hired to run the local YMCA. He helped introduce many young athletes to the new indoor game that was rapidly gaining popularity across the continent.

While most of the early courts basketball was played on have been destroyed, Archibald’s remarkable gymnasium survived, hidden for decades above a thrift shop that until recently occupied the former YMCA building. And now a group of business people and hoops enthusiasts are a step closer to sharing it with the world.

Last week, the Canada First Basketball organization passed the $1-million fundraising mark in its effort to build a basketball museum and international hoops shrine that will celebrate the old court, with its low, pressed-tin ceilings and lighting system operated by an iron crank on a wall. Read Greg Mercer’s full story here.

Evening Update is written by Emerald Bensadoun and S.R. Slobodian. 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.