Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest developments in the war in Ukraine:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that unless his country wins a drawn-out battle in a key eastern city, Russia could begin building international support for a deal that could require Ukraine to make unacceptable compromises. He also invited the leader of China, long aligned with Russia, to visit.
If Bakhmut fell to Russian forces, president Vladimir Putin would “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran,” Zelensky told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, a new study has found that pro-Kremlin Twitter accounts are “weaponizing” social-media users on the far right and far left of the political spectrum in Canada to undermine support for Ukraine.
On the front lines, Ukraine struck a railway depot and knocked out power in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol deep behind the front line amid growing talk from Kyiv of a counterassault against Russian forces worn out by a failed winter offensive.
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Bank of Canada is prepared to act if financial turmoil spreads
The Bank of Canada is “ready to act” if the banking sector turmoil in the U.S. spills across the border and hits Canadian financial institutions and markets, deputy governor Toni Gravelle said in a speech today.
His remarks were the Bank of Canada’s first direct comments since the failure of Silicon Valley Bank sent shockwaves through the global banking system and Credit Suisse was forced into an emergency merger with rival UBS Group.
He said the Canadian banking system remains strong, “but we know we’re not immune to spillovers from what’s happening elsewhere.”
In the U.S., Republican lawmakers accused top bank regulators of dawdling as Silicon Valley Bank hurtled toward the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history and questioned whether tougher regulations would have made a difference.
How the 2023 budget affects Canadians’ wallets, plus more
The 2023 federal budget presented yesterday outlined a long list of modest measures aimed at softening the pinch of inflation for Canadians without putting much strain on government coffers. The expensive exception was a widely anticipated expansion of the government’s national dental-care plan, now expected to benefit up to nine million Canadians at a cost of $13-billion over five years.
Other measures affecting Canadians’ wallets include:
- The previously announced Tax-Free First Time Home Savings Account will become available on April 1.
- A proposed tweak to the alternative minimum tax, which raises the tax rate but also comes with a much higher income exemption
- A federal tax on alcoholic beverages that is pegged to inflation was set for an outsized increase as of April 1, but the budget is capping that rate adjustment at 2 per cent.
Read more: Tax columnist Tim Cestnick weighs in on how life will be different because of the budget
Explainer: Details on the federal budget’s grocery rebate, and who can access it
Among the fallout over measures proposed in the budget, analysts say Ottawa’s plans to pull billions of additional dollars from banks and insurers signals a concerning shift as the federal government increasingly turns to the financial sector for revenue.
Opinion: The Trudeau Liberals build a budget on a cloud, and collective amnesia - Globe editorial
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Pope Francis in hospital: Pope Francis was hospitalized with a respiratory infection today after experiencing difficulty breathing in recent days and will remain in the Rome hospital for several days of treatment, the Vatican said. A spokesman says the 86-year-old pope does not have COVID-19, but requires several days of therapy.
Musk, others urge AI: pause Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives are calling for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4, in an open letter citing potential risks to society.
No decision on Trump indictment seen before Easter: The New York grand jury probing former U.S. president Donald Trump’s alleged role in a hush-money payment to a porn star is not expected to reconvene on the matter until after the April 9 Easter holiday, a law enforcement source told Reuters.
Danielle Smith recording posted: The Alberta Premier told a street preacher who is facing charges related to last winter’s border blockade and COVID-19 infractions that she asked prosecutors “almost weekly” about such cases, according to a recording of a phone call posted online.
Adidas reverses course on Black Lives Matter logo: Sportswear maker Adidas has withdrawn opposition 48 hours after asking the U.S. Trademark Office to reject a Black Lives Matter application for a trademark featuring three parallel stripes.
Josh O’Kane nominated for book prize: Globe and Mail reporter Josh O’Kane, author of Sideways: The City Google Couldn’t Buy, is among the five finalists for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
U.S. stocks ended sharply higher as upbeat outlooks from Micron Technology and other companies eased some worries about the economy. Canada’s main stock index also rose, helped by gains in energy and Dollarama shares, after the discount store chain posted quarterly revenue above estimates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 323.35 points or 1 per cent to 32,717.60, the S&P 500 gained 56.54 points or 1.42 per cent to 4,027.81, and the Nasdaq Composite added 210.16 points or 1.79 per cent to end at 11,926.24.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed 180.12 point or 0.92 per cent to 19,837.65. The loonie traded at 73.75 U.S. cents.
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A year later, Hockey Canada is still playing games with transparency
“Generally speaking, we have a rough idea of what’s alleged to have happened. What everyone wants to know now is whether they’ve been unwittingly wearing the replica jersey of a bad guy.” - Cathal Kelly
Mark Saunders’s record as Toronto’s police chief shows he doesn’t deserve a promotion to mayor
“Saunders’s candidacy need not be a referendum on policing writ large. Voters should reject Saunders not because he was chief of police, but because he was a bad chief of police.” - Justin Ling
Listen and learn: Whether you’re a gig worker trying to keep track of receipts or a remote employee struggling to figure out how much home office space to claim, filing a tax return can be daunting. In the latest episode of the Stress Test podcast, personal finance columnist Rob Carrick speaks to expert Jamie Golombek to demystify some tax basics and offer tips to get you through this tax season
TODAY’S LONG READ
What lessons can be drawn from the months-long Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry?
On the morning of April 19, 2020, Kristen Beaton, a pregnant 33-year-old nurse, pulled her car over along a wooded stretch of Plains Road in rural Nova Scotia. Social-media posts were vibrating on her phone about an active manhunt for an armed gunman in the area, and she was messaging her husband, Nick, about the news.
What neither Kristen nor Nick Beaton, nor most Nova Scotians, knew at the time was that the killer was driving a look-alike RCMP patrol car that he had built himself. That critical piece of information was known by the RCMP – but was kept from the public for hours by the Mounties as they scrambled to catch him.
That fatal delay on the part of the RCMP is one of the central issues Nova Scotians expect to be addressed when a public inquiry into the mass shooting that began in Portapique, N.S., and claimed 22 victims releases its final report tomorrow. Read Greg Mercer’s full story.
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