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Five months after the pandemic forced the closing of his Saskatoon tattoo and piercing parlour, Sheldon Tarry found himself living in an encampment in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park, at once fearing death and wanting to die.

At 54, he had lost his business, his home and his life’s savings. His left leg, ravaged by a car accident and resulting infection, would need to be amputated. And the opioid addiction he had struggled with off and on since a workplace accident many years ago was costing him $300 a day on the street, driving him to rob people at knifepoint out of desperation.

In September, an outreach worker approached Mr. Tarry in Victoria, where he had moved in hopes of starting over, to ask whether he had enough to eat. It was a conversation that would ultimately lead to an unexpected offer: a free and legal supply of drugs.

Read more:

At the root of the opioid crisis is our belief that Big Pharma can cure pain. Can we kick that habit?

Sheldon Tarry, holding his dog, Tuggs, talks with SOLID Outreach Society worker Jaclyn Letourneau while at Oakland's Park in Victoria on Jan. 14, 2021. Chad Hipolito/The Globe and MailCHAD HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

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Toronto and Peel want no change in lockdown provisions next week

Concerned about the rapid spread of variant cases, top public health officials in Toronto and Peel Region are urging the Ontario government to delay by at least two weeks its plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

The stark warning from the most populous part of the country comes after Ontario has eased measures in the rest of the province, and Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba have lifted restrictions and reopened many businesses. In Newfoundland and Labrador, however, the number of variant cases has exploded, leading to new restrictions and the postponement of a provincial election.

Read more:

Anand says Canada will reverse drop in international vaccination rankings with imminent shipments

Parliament to vote on recognizing China’s persecution of Uyghurs as genocide

The Conservatives are asking Parliament to recognize that China is committing genocide against its Muslim Uyghur minority through internment camps and forced population control.

The party is putting a motion up for debate today that would declare China’s persecution constitutes genocide.

The move could put further pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minority government. Trudeau has already expressed discomfort at using the word “genocide” to describe China’s treatment of Uyghurs.

Read more:

Robyn Urback: Trudeau said Canada committed genocide. Why won’t he say the same of China?

MPs vote to ask VFS Global to testify on visa office in Beijing

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Risks of higher debt may outweigh stimulus benefits, experts warn: The federal government’s plan to spend up to $100-billion on postpandemic stimulus measures is coming under increasing scrutiny from fiscal-policy experts, who warn that the risks of piling on even more debt could outweigh the promised benefits.

Legault defies political gravity amid terrible pandemic response: Despite having arguably the worst pandemic record in the country – by far the highest death toll paired with some of the strictest lockdown measures – Quebec Premier François Legault remains a popular premier.

Cities not doing enough to mitigate flooding risks: Canada’s largest cities collectively made little or no progress in preparing for flooding over the past five years, according to a new report, even as increasing numbers of homeowners discover their homes are effectively uninsurable for Canada’s costliest natural hazard.

What to expect when NASA’s Perseverance rover tries to land on Mars: NASA’s robotic rover Perseverance is set to land on Mars today at 3:55 p.m. ET and while it is the most capable and autonomous spacecraft ever sent to roam the surface of another world, it will land in a location that is far more hazardous than any of its predecessors had to contend with.


MORNING MARKETS

Global stocks seek gains: World stocks were battling to avoid a second day of declines on Thursday as hints of rising inflation led by a one-year high in oil prices and the strongest copper prices in nearly a decade kept traders in check. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.32 per cent while Germany’s DAX gained 0.09 per cent. France’s CAC 40 was off 0.11 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.19 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.58 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.55 per cent. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.80 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

David Parkinson: “It’s also pretty clear that any recovery won’t get far without a healthy small-business sector. Small and medium-sized enterprises account for a bit more than half of Canada’s gross domestic product and 85 per cent of employment. When businesses fail, it creates an uphill battle for an economy to recover the permanently lost jobs and output.”

Rob Carrick: “If you could script an ideal housing market, it would have sharply rising prices to reward owners and ultralow mortgage rates to help first-time buyers get in. That’s our reality today, but it won’t last.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

CartoonBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Travel news: Virtual tours, winter trails and market deliveries

From virtual watercolour painting classes with an artist in Mexico City to exploring Winnipeg neighbourhoods with new ski trails, there are so many creative ways to see the world and broaden your horizons during a pandemic.


MOMENT IN TIME: FEB. 18, 1974

Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock and roll band Kiss pose for a portrait for the cover of their self-entitled first album "Kiss" which was released on February 18, 1974.Ginny Winn/Michael Ochs/Archives/Getty Images

Costumed glam quartet Kiss releases its first album

Thirteen days after kicking off its first big tour with a performance at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, the greatest quartet in glam-rock history released its debut self-titled album on this date in 1974. Only the theatrically painted faces of the band members appeared on the album front, an homage to the Meet The Beatles! cover of a decade earlier. Meet Kiss: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, presented in their sci-fi comic book personas (Starchild, Demon, Spaceman and Catman, respectfully). As costumed as the band was, the music was bone-lean power rock. Strutter, a choogling ode to a swaggering woman, led off: “Everybody says she’s lookin’ good, and the lady knows it’s understood.” No, McCartney, Lennon and the legacy of Shakespeare were not threatened by the lyricism, but the album contained classic Kiss tunes Cold Gin, Deuce and Black Diamond. Though lunkheaded, the material appealed to the devil-hand people. And if the music was crude, the marketing was shrewd – school kids with Kiss lunch boxes were enlisted into the Kiss Army, presumably for life. Brad Wheeler

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