These are the top stories:
Bombardier is closing in on a deal for its rail business with France’s Alstom
A deal is expected to be announced that could see the Canadian plane and train maker unload its train division for $10-billion. The potential agreement comes as the Montreal-based transportation giant seeks to pare down its debt load and generate cash.
Any such deal would also come with regulatory hurdles: A planned merger between Alstom and Germany’s Siemens AG was blocked over competition fears.
European planemaker Airbus said Thursday it has reached a deal to buy Bombardier’s remaining stake in the A220 passenger jet program.
Bombardier reported a quarterly loss Thursday, partly due to charges related to some rail contracts in Europe.
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Coastal GasLink: The view from a protest, industry response, Wet’suwet’en lawsuit
This week, protesters from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory have ground freight and passenger traffic to a halt between Toronto and Montreal. Their action continues amid a nearly week-old court injunction.
“It’s the whole politics of pipelines that has angered our people, the way they’re rammed through without any forethought,” Tyendinaga business owner Tim Barnhart said. “What’s happening in B.C. is happening here, in our hearts, in our minds.”
With rail shipments halted, Canadian retailers and manufacturers are bracing for shutdowns and dwindling supplies. CN Rail’s coast-to-coast system is at risk of shutting down.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada must balance the right to peaceful demonstration with respect for the rule of law and encouraged “all parties to dialogue to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
Two Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs have launched a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing projects such as Coastal GasLink should be modified or cancelled because Canada has a constitutional obligation to its climate targets.
The Bondfield investigation: Hundreds of thousands in cash deposits flowed into an account, records reveal
A bank account that took in millions, including 70 cash deposits of $9,000 each, is at the centre of insolvency proceedings for one of Ontario’s biggest builders of public infrastructure.
Each of the deposits – totalling $630,000 – was just under the $10,000 threshold requiring mandatory reporting to Canada’s anti-money-laundering watchdog.
Those are among the details contained in records filed in court by forensic auditors at Ernst & Young Inc., a court-appointed monitor put in place after Bondfield filed for bankruptcy protection last year.
Coronavirus cases soared in China amid new testing methods
The death toll in Hubei, where the outbreak began, climbed by a daily record of 242 on Thursday, while the number of new cases increased to 14,840. That major spike in cases comes after officials began including people diagnosed through new clinical methods. More than 1,300 have now died.
Over on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at a terminal in Japan, 255 Canadians are under quarantine. Of those, at least seven have tested positive. Passengers including Fort Langley, B.C., resident Spencer Fehrenbacher and his three friends are trying to stay optimistic as they remain stuck in their staterooms until at least Feb. 19.
Chinese authorities, meanwhile, are working with high-tech companies in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. They’re using facial-recognition systems with thermal-imaging capabilities to identify and track people with fevers. Cameras outside the homes of those in quarantine are being used to sound the alarm if movement is detected.
Veteran Canadian journalist Christie Blatchford has died from lung cancer at the age of 68
“In a career that stretched almost five decades and thousands of assignments, from infuriated courtroom coverage to heartbreaking tales from her time embedded in Afghanistan, Christie Blatchford set the template as a model of full-contact reporting from the very beginning,” Simon Houpt writes in an obituary.
Blatchford began her career at The Globe and Mail while still a journalism student and quickly landed a job as a sports columnist in 1973. She would go on to write for the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun and the National Post.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Families of 737 Max victims to testify at Canadian hearings: Families of the 18 Canadians killed in last year’s Ethiopian Airlines crash will be given the chance to testify. Transport Minister Marc Garneau indicated that hearings into Canada’s oversight of the 737 Max will proceed, despite past efforts to block them.
Provincewide teachers strike in Ontario: All publicly funded schools will close on Feb. 21 as 200,000 teachers and education workers walk off the job amid stalled contract talks with the province. Education Minister Stephen Lecce called the strike action “irresponsible” and said he hoped for voluntary settlements over back-to-work legislation.
Jump in coronavirus cases halts global rally: A sharp rise in the number of coronavirus deaths and infections unnerved world markets on Thursday, as traders halted the rally in stocks and retreated to the safety of government bonds and gold. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 1.49 per cent just after 6 a.m. ET. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.89 per cent. Germany’s DAX fell 1 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.14 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.71 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.34 per cent. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.40 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
In the ghoulish world of online snark, toasting to metastasis is a virtue
Robyn Urback: “Charity is for losers. Empathy for the spineless. The faithful openly delight in the suffering of the blasphemous, and social-justice advocates proudly boast their inhumanity. In this bizarre arena, schadenfreude is suddenly a virtue.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Hamilton makes its Canadian premiere, and what else is on stage this week
Critic J. Kelly Nestruck, who will soon be authoring a new theatre newsletter, offers these suggestions:
Musical-theatre sensation Hamilton launched in Toronto last night. And getting to a show isn’t impossible: A recent scan of the Mirvish website showed tickets available for performances as early as next week. There’s also a daily lottery for $10 tickets.
In Halifax, Controlled Damage (through Feb. 23) tells the story of Canadian civil-rights activist Viola Desmond.
In Vancouver, Anywhere But Here (until Feb. 15) is a Latinx production about the immigrant experience in Canada and abroad.
Over in Montreal, Zoé (through Feb. 29) is a new play about a philosophy professor and a student, set during the raucous 2012 Quebec student protests.
MOMENT IN TIME
The last Leafs game in Maple Leaf Gardens
Feb. 13, 1999: The Grand Old Lady of Carlton Street ended her run as a pro-hockey palace on a down note, just as it had begun in November, 1931: with a Toronto Maple Leafs loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Constructed in five months for $1.5-million – the Depression-era tradesmen were paid partly in company stock – Maple Leaf Gardens’s opening had signified, as a reporter for The Globe wrote, that “Toronto had at last blossomed forth into major league ranks to the fullest extent,” with seating for about 13,000 and room for another 4,000 to 5,000 standing patrons. Over the decades, the art deco hippodrome of hockey hosted thousands of other events: a 1932 speech by Winston Churchill; a 1942 Communist Party of Canada rally; Muhammad Ali vs. George Chuvalo; concerts by Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Elvis Presley and the Who’s “final” show in 1982. But its greatest claim was the eight Stanley Cups the Leafs won under its roof. Cramped, dowdy and utilitarian, the once-modern Gardens transformed over 67 years into a time capsule that time passed by. It had too much sweat and soul for this sleek world. Simon Houpt