Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
New details of the relationship between government decision-makers and WE Charity continue to emerge, with Marieke Walsh and David Milstead reporting today that WE Charity had collected most of its $33 million fee for administering the Canada Student Service Grant prior to the cancellation of the contract on July 3.
The contract was signed on June 23, but came into effect on May 5, 2020.
Information about the amount of money WE Charity has already collected was revealed by the House of Commons finance committee on Monday morning. The committee also confirmed that Prime Minister Trudeau and his chief of staff, Katie Telford, will testify on Thursday afternoon.
The Globe spoke to Michelle Douglas, the former chair of WE Charity’s Canadian board of directors yesterday, who revealed she resigned from her position on March 27, over what she called “concerning developments” within the organization. The charity has said the resignation was part of a routine changeover in the board’s organization.
For a refresher on the WE Charity scandal so far, see our explainer here.
Protests continued across the United States into Monday morning, becoming increasingly contentious as the mayors of six U.S. cities appealed to Congress to prevent the deployment of militarized federal agents to control protests.
Over the weekend, many protests turned violent, with an armed protestor in Austin, Texas shot and killed, a courthouse in Oakland, California set on on fire, and two people shot and wounded in Aurora, Colorado, after a car drove through protests.
President Donald Trump has doubled down on his decision to send federal agents to protests in major cities such as Seattle and Portland, as an anonymous source from within the administration confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security is considering sending additional agents to Portland.
Back to School and COVID-19
In Canada, debates about the reopening of schools have been top of mind for policymakers, especially as cases of coronavirus continue to rise. Striking a balance between health concerns and the needs of working parents has proven particularly contentious.
According to David Hutchison, the rush to reopen schools is misguided: “Even a small miscalculation in school reopening plans could result in undetected community spread, putting lives at risk and setting whole municipalities back months in their economic recoveries.”
For higher education, the question is more complicated, as universities and colleges struggle with balancing online and campus courses. A recent change to the Canadian government’s website implies that the Canada-U.S. border restrictions have been relaxed to allow first-year university students from the States to enter into Canada this fall. The change appears to signal a success on behalf of American parents who urged their representatives to lobby the Canadian government to open the border.
In the United States, where President Trump has vowed to reopen all schools by fall, wealthier parents have opted for ‘pandemic pods', in which public school teachers are hired out of school systems to privately teach smaller groups of children. Tamsin McMahon reports on how the pandemic pods have exposed deepening socio-economic inequalities in the country.
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Team outbreak: Two major league baseball games were cancelled after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staff tested positive for the virus, the team announced Monday, eight hours before the first pitch. The team is isolating in place after Sunday night’s game in Philadelphia.
Court date: Tobias Charles Doucette, the 31-year-old Nova Scotia man who evaded police for nearly a week after allegedly stabbing a police officer, briefly appeared in a Bridgewater, N.S. court today. He faces a number of charges, including attempted murder, assault, aggravated assault, and wounding a law enforcement animal.
Middle East tensions: Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boiled over on the weekend, with protesters calling for better economic supports, as the coronavirus faces a resurgence in the country. The border between Israel and Lebanon also faced its highest amount of shelling in over a year, as Israeli forces confronted Hezbollah militants on Sunday, who they allege were attempting to breach the Israeli border.
Deal on hold: As the airline industry grapples with the devastating impact of travel restrictions, Transat A.T. Inc. has once again delayed the closing deadline of its takeover by Air Canada. The $720-million deal, which is now in question, was intended to offer Air Canada an opportunity to diversify into more holiday destination and European routes.
Arrests made: A year-long police investigation into gang violence in Winnipeg has resulted in the arrests of 11 people. The investigation was triggered by an upswing in gang violence, and the nightclub shooting of a 23 year-old last November.
Restricted: After imposing a 14-day quarantine on travellers returning from Spain this weekend, Britain has announced it is considering imposing similar restrictions on other European destinations, including France and Germany.
Canada’s main stock index climbed on Monday boosted by gains in the materials and energy sectors.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 1.03 per cent to 16,161.33.On Wall Street, stocks closed higher as progress in U.S. stimulus efforts increased investor optimism. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.44 per cent to 26,586.15, the S&P 500 gained 0.74 per cent to 3,239.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.67 per cent to 10,536.27.
Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes caution on high-yield bonds, a thriving under-the-radar stock and brokerage GIC alternatives.
Want a more diverse work force? Move beyond inclusion to belonging: “From a business perspective, we need to focus on improving the employee experience for a more diverse Canadian work force. We need to shift our thinking to move from a focus on diversity and inclusion alone, and start cultivating a more deeply-rooted sense of belonging in our workplaces.” - Jaqui Parchment
The environment shouldn’t suffer because of our COVID-19 precautions: “Our continued use of cleaning and sanitizing products is an important part of combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we should delay doing more research into the potential environmental threats posed by the QACs to the freshwaters into which they discharge, and the fauna who reside within – a world that we need to ensure survives and thrives for long after this pandemic is over.” - Vince Palace
Overdue: Throwing the book at libraries: “People often wonder what happened to independent bookstores in Canada and blame chains such as Barnes & Noble or Chapters/Indigo or behemoth Amazon for their decline. The chains and Amazon have definitely had an impact, but it is nothing close to the effect of libraries.” - Kenneth Whyte
Spring’s quarantine, and related anxieties around food shortages caused a resurgence in the popularity of beans and legume-based cooking. Now, a key chemical component of beans, lectin, has become the subject of many elimination diets, similar to how gluten became a “dietary evil”.
The Globe’s nutrition columnist, Leslie Beck breaks down the science of lectin, and why you shouldn’t jump to cut out beans just yet.
TODAY’S LONG READ
In a city where oil and gas prices determine the ebb and flow of just about every other local industry, Calgary’s downtown office vacancy rates are often seen as a harbinger of economic health.
Nowhere would Calgary’s economic decline seem more apparent than the the completely vacant, 37-floor tower that previously housed the headquarters of Nexen Inc.
But the “ghost tower” is about more than just a staggered economy, as Jeffrey Jones reports. The tower has been “the subject of a nasty legal battle over alleged contamination (of asbestos)... that pits the owners and landlord against the subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned oil company that last occupied it”