These are the top stories:
A global trade war is brewing
The federal government is responding to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs with a vow to retaliate “dollar for dollar” to the American measures (for subscribers). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will slap levies on $16.6-billion of U.S. imports, saying the Trump administration’s actions are “an affront to the long-standing security partnership” between Canada and the United States. And Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called it the “strongest trade action Canada has taken in the postwar era.” The European Union and Mexico also announced retaliatory measures against U.S. imports; the EU trade commissioner said it was “a bad day for world trade.”
Canada’s target list: Ottawa is planning to impose tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum, plus scores of other goods from sailboats to whisky to refrigerators. The list has been designed to more heavily target products produced in Republican-held regions to apply pressure on Washington, a Canadian official said.
Trump’s rationale: The President has justified the steel and aluminum tariffs by saying they are necessary to ensure American “national security” to improve capacity for making tanks and warships. Freeland called that rationale “absurd,” and Mr. Trudeau said the idea that Canada would be considered a security threat is “inconceivable.”
NAFTA fallout: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross blamed the tariff action on a lack of progress in North American free-trade talks. Ross said there is “no longer a precise date” for when a deal might be reached. Trudeau said he hoped to sit down this week to reach an agreement, but as a condition for holding a summit the U.S. demanded a sunset clause provision that would automatically terminate the deal in five years unless all three countries agreed to extend it.
Here are some views on the trade actions:
John Ibbitson: “ By imposing punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum against Canada and the European Union, President Trump is further undermining the one thing that holds the West together: trust in U.S. leadership.” (for subscribers)
Lawrence Martin: “On their own, Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are serious enough. Ninety per cent of Canada’s steel exports go to the United States. But the reverberating impact, the potential collateral damage, is worse. The continent now appears headed for commercial turmoil. A brutal extended trade war is well possible.” (for subscribers)
Editorial board: “ Canada has reacted appropriately so far. But it’s hard to predict how things will play out in a confrontation with a reckless and erratic bully.”
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Kathleen Wynne says she ‘doesn’t recall’ being told about accusations against one of her cabinet ministers
A Globe and Mail investigation published this week detailed how, in 2013, Ontario’s then-infrastructure minister Glen Murray invited the then-mayor of Caledon, Ont., Marolyn Morrison, to a meeting at Queen’s Park. After the meeting, Morrison says Murray asked all staff to leave the room to speak with her privately. After the door was closed, Morrison says Murray told her that he had “complaints” about her and that “he could make them go away” if she supported residential housing in a certain area of her town. She says she refused. Murray disputes the mayor’s characterization of the meeting, calling it “pleasant.”
Morrison says she told Wynne, in a 2014 phone conversation, about the meeting with Murray, and that the Premier told her “I’ll be dealing with him.” Wynne told reporters yesterday that she did not recall being told about the incident: “I don’t recall a contentious exchange with Glen Murray, I just don’t recall.” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that Wynne appears to have turned “a blind eye” to the allegations.
Murray was an acquaintance of Spiros Papathanasakis, the man at the centre of The Globe’s investigation who has operated as an unregistered, underground lobbyist. Murray said all of his conversations with Papathanasakis were about “local community issues” in his riding.
Leaders of Italy’s anti-establishment parties reached a deal to resurrect their coalition
Italy’s right-wing League and 5-Star Movement parties have come to terms on a coalition following days of uncertainty that rocked global financial markets. The breakthrough came after the parties agreed to drop their pick for economy minister, an 81-year-old economist who said Italy should have a contingency plan to ditch the Euro. Giuseppe Conte, a law professor who wasn’t elected but has ties to 5-Star, will be Italy’s next prime minister. The new government is vowing to challenge EU fiscal rules and crack down on immigration.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The CRTC wants streaming services including Netflix and Spotify to support Canadian content
Canada’s broadcasting regulator wants foreign-based digital companies to contribute to the production of Canadian cultural content. “It should be on par with what a Bell puts in and a Quebecor and a Shaw puts in and an Amazon,” CRTC chair Ian Scott said. “It should be proportional and equitable.” Ottawa has already rejected a sales tax on services such as Netflix, but there have been continued calls from a number of groups to level the playing field as digital players increase their footprint over traditional providers.
Global stocks rose and bond yields fell on Friday as investors welcomed an apparent end to a political crisis in Italy, although prospects of a full-blown trade war put a dampener on gains. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up by less than 0.1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.7 and 1.2 per cent by about 5:25 a.m. ET. New York futures were up, and the Canadian dollar was sitting above 77 US cents, having lost the bounce it got from Wednesday’s Bank of Canada statement.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
The NHL continues to peddle a fiction on concussions
“This year’s Stanley Cup final pits one of hockey’s greatest stars against one of the most compelling underdogs in National Hockey League history. It would be easier, however, to enjoy watching Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals battle the expansion rejects of the Las Vegas Golden Knights had NHL commissioner Gary Bettman not refused – again – to acknowledge a possible link between concussions and neurodegenerative conditions.” – Globe editorial
Beyond Roseanne, Twitter was made for inch-deep race debate
“[Roseanne Barr] tweeted herself out of her sitcom gig with a repugnant attack on former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Like most tweets, Barr’s revealed more about its author than its subject. She blamed her outburst – for which she apologized, but not enough for ABC to reinstate her TV show – on her sleeping pills. The maker of Ambien retorted, on Twitter of course, that “racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” You only had to sample the Twitter reaction to Barr’s ousting to conclude that there is no worse forum for debating a matter as explosive and complicated as race in America than a social-media platform that limits interventions to 280 characters without screening participants to determine whether they have anything useful to say.“ – Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)
Why should trees have legal rights? It’s second nature
“‘I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.’ These words spoken by a small orange creature in a Dr. Seuss children’s book point to a more fundamental question. Should trees and other voiceless elements in nature have rights? Courts, legislatures and communities increasingly say they should. An extraordinary legal revolution is unfolding around the world. Last month, in a historic ruling, Colombia’s Supreme Court declared that the Amazon is a legal person with rights − to be protected, conserved and restored − and ordered the state to reduce deforestation.” – Maria Banda, international lawyer and the Graham Fellow at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Medicinal cannabis use can help mitigate symptoms of PTSD, a study says
Research shows Canadians with post-traumatic stress disorder who use medical marijuana are 60 per cent to 65 per cent less likely to have major depressive episodes or thoughts of suicide compared with those who don’t treat their symptoms with the drug. Based on Statistics Canada data, it’s the first national-scale indication that cannabis may play a role in curbing the symptoms of PTSD.
MOMENT IN TIME
Kingston Penitentiary opens
June 1, 1835: In 1842, when author Charles Dickens visited Kingston during his North American tour, he paid a call on the Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Canada, which had opened seven years before. He was much impressed, later writing that this “admirable gaol” was “well and wisely governed, and excellently regulated, in every respect.” The place, later known as Kingston Penitentiary, may never again have enjoyed such a glowing review. Its roll call of notorious inmates includes bank robber Edwin Alonzo Boyd, serial child killer Clifford Olson and serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo, but in its early years, Kingston Pen’s population even included child convicts, some as young as 8, and – until construction of a neighbouring all-female prison – women (such as Grace Marks, later immortalized in Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace). When it closed on Sept. 30, 2013, the Ontario maximum-security institution was one of the oldest prisons in continuous use anywhere in the world, and its forbidding walls of grey limestone had witnessed 178 years of history, with bloody riots, murders and a handful of escapes along the way – but never an execution. Future plans for the National Historic Site have yet to be finalized. – Christopher Harris