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Canada Morning Update: B.C. calls for federal help on money laundering; Trump doubles down on border wall

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

B.C.’s Attorney-General is calling for federal help to halt money laundering

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David Eby said a lack of resources to crack down on financial crime is masking the full extent of the province’s money-laundering problem. His comments follow the RCMP’s decision to drop a pair of criminal cases, including one that involved $220-million a year in drug money allegedly being laundered through a Richmond, B.C., business. “The stays are one piece, but the concern that I have are the investigations that aren’t even being done,” he said.

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B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline: The latest on the protests

Dozens of rallies were held across the country yesterday to oppose the natural gas pipeline. The demonstrations prompted Justin Trudeau to relocate a meeting with First Nations chiefs in Ottawa, though the Prime Minister did not address the pipeline issue. Fourteen people were arrested at a checkpoint on Monday, and the RCMP is clearing a path toward a second checkpoint.

Supporters of the Unist'ot'en blockade set up a small camp where the RCMP have blocked further access near Houston, B.C. (Jimmy Jeong/The Globe and Mail)

Jimmy Jeong/The Globe and Mail

The protests have highlighted the differences between elected band councils and hereditary leaders. The Wet’suwet’en First Nation is one of 20 B.C. First Nations that have signed a project agreement with Coastal GasLink. But the Wet’suwet’en Nation also refers to the Indigenous people who have lived lived in the region for thousands of years, and are governed through a matrilineal hereditary system of houses and clans – and there are unresolved land claims from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. Subscribers can dive deeper here.

Donald Trump took aim at unauthorized immigrants in an Oval Office speech

The U.S. President blamed border crossers for killing Americans, taking their jobs and flooding his country with drugs in an Oval Office speech calling for border-wall funding. But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has found that 90 per cent of smuggled heroin went through designated ports of entry like official border crossings (go here for a full border-wall fact check). Trump said it would be “immoral” to “allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.” Democrats showed no signs of ceding to his wall demands to end the government shutdown, with party leaders accusing Trump of unfairly targeting asylum-seekers.

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Amid cancelled flights in Britain, Ottawa is unveiling new restrictions for drone use

Operators will need to be at least 14 years old and all owners will be urged to register both recreational and commercial devices with Transport Canada. Drone users will also need to undergo online training and inscribe a registration number on their devices.

There will also be restrictions on their use within nine kilometres of airports. Recent drone sightings in Britain have prompted runway closings and hundreds of cancelled flights over fears of crashes or plane damage.

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The truck driver in the fatal Humboldt Broncos crash pleaded guilty

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Jaskirat Singh Sidhu admitted he caused the crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others in rural Saskatchewan last spring, saying he didn’t want to put the families through a trial. The plea sets the stage for a sentencing hearing later this month in which survivors and the victims’ families explain how the crash permanently changed their lives.

The owner of the trucking firm has been charged with safety violations over the crash that prompted Saskatchewan and Alberta to introduce stricter driver training and licensing. Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Highways also made improvements to the intersection where the crash occurred.


Stocks climb

World stocks extend their gains to hit a near-four week high and oil prices rose on Wednesday on optimism that the United States and China may be inching towards a trade deal, soothing fears an all-out trade war could hit a slowing global economy. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 2.3 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.7 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.9 and 1.1 per cent by about 6:30 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar was above 75.5 U.S. cents.


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What are Doug Ford’s plans for Toronto’s waterfront?

“Given his track record, Mr. Ford having complete discretion over the fate of Ontario Place is alarming. His waterfront plans at city hall were ridiculous and rightly laughed out of the room. A casino would turn precious public waterfront into yet another Toronto-area site devoted to those who get a kick out of losing their money. And now the Tourism Minister talks of making the site into a ‘spectacular world-class destination.’ Is that another way of saying ‘glitzy boondoggle’?” – Globe editorial

Canada isn’t to blame for the Meng Wanzhou mess – China is

“[Some] critics argue that since officials in the Canadian government were aware of Ms. Meng’s impending arrest, they should have found a means to avoid this situation and its potentially explosive impact on relations with China. This could have been by demonstrating “creative incompetence” by missing Meng in Vancouver, or by finding a way to warn her off. Failure to arrest Meng, they say, would have avoided this disruption in Canada-China relations. This kind of frustration is understandable. But the suggestion that Canada should have circumvented the rules in this case is, simply, nonsense.” – Philip Calvert, senior fellow at the China Institute at the University of Alberta

A Star Is Born, Roma and the problems with thrusting non-professional actors into the spotlight

“Why do we naturally assume that a non-professional actor is going to be more “authentic” than a trained or experienced one? Isn’t all that training and experience designed to get the actor out of their own head, so they can inhabit the character? Aren’t the screenplay, the director’s notes and the actor’s own research valuable? There’s something condescending here, both to trained actors (we assume they can’t be this real) and to untrained ones (we assume their realness can’t be acting).” – Johanna Schneller (for subscribers)

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Canada’s Food Guide is poised to reduce emphasis on meat and dairy in favour of plant-based protein

A draft version appears to show the existing four food groups being reduced to three: “vegetables and fruits,” “whole grains,” and a new “protein foods” group. The existing “meat and alternatives” and “milk and milk products” categories look set to be combined under “proteins.” Existing recommendations to consume two daily servings of meat or dairy also appear to be gone. And in a graphic depicting types of foods, fruit juice is no longer shown as a “fruit and vegetable.” Health Canada said the guide will likely still undergo changes before it is released in the coming months.


Apple introduces iTunes

(Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

Tim Wimborne/Reuters

Jan. 9, 2001: On an inclement San Francisco day, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs appeared at the 2001 Macworld Expo, where his audience was all ears and no ear buds. “There is a music revolution happening right now,” he announced on Jan. 9 of that year, assessing a state of digital music that involved compact discs, online piracy and complicated computer-file applications. Jobs unveiled iTunes, an insurgent new media player and personal-music-library advancement billed as the world’s "best and easiest-to-use jukebox software.” If phonograph inventor Thomas Edison wasn’t rolling over in his grave, he was at least propped up on one elbow, listening intently. By the end of the year, the hand-held iPod player was introduced, and, in the spring of 2003, Apple flung open the virtual doors to its online iTunes Store, where songs sold for 99 cents. The music industry was in upheaval. Songs became king – full albums needn’t be purchased to own this or that track. High fidelity was a low priority; ear buds became essential accoutrements. By 2011, Apple had sold 10 billion digital songs, as music lovers bypassed bricks-and-mortar retailers. Eventually, however, personal music “ownership” became passé. Online music-streaming services (including Apple Music) now hold sway. The revolution continues. – Brad Wheeler

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