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Good morning,

Ottawa has made it easier for thousands of immigrants living in Canada to become permanent residents, a sign that policy makers are focused on hitting an aggressive target for 2021 after last year’s intake fell way short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration Canada invited 27,332 people to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry, a system designed to approve applications in six months or less. Nearly all of those people – 90 per cent – are already living in Canada, the federal government said.

Canada is coming off an exceptionally weak year for immigration. Roughly 184,000 new permanent residents were added in 2020, the lowest since 1998, and well short of the 341,000 target. To make up for that setback, the federal government has ramped up its intake goals for the next three years.

Application form from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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Why the number of COVID-19 cases is dropping globally

As the number of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall across Canada, a similar trend is occurring in many other parts of the world.

Stronger public-health measures, stricter adherence to the rules borne out of fear of faster-spreading variants, and the natural seasonality of coronaviruses could all be playing a part, observers say.

As scientists seek to understand why there is a downward trend in overall cases, they are doing so against the backdrop of an increase in infections caused by more contagious variants that threaten to bring a more dangerous third wave.

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Finance committee releases budget recommendations: The Commons finance committee released a prebudget report yesterday with 145 recommendations, many of which focus on expanding health care, but opposition parties say it fails to explain how Ottawa can afford billions in additional spending.

Schools rethink expectations for students who have lost time: Early indicators emerging across Canada show many students are behind in their learning, with some having fallen behind as much as a full year. Education advocates worry that without swift action, those losses will persist long after COVID-19 wanes, which could lead to a generation of children who grow more disengaged with school – and a country with higher high-school dropout rates.

Senior Liberal MP urges Trudeau cabinet to recognize serious threat of China: The Liberal chair of the Commons finance committee says a budget recommendation calling on Ottawa to pull out of the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank should serve as a “wake up and smell the roses” moment for Canada. Liberal MP Wayne Easter said that Canada needs to recognize the serious threat China poses to Western democracies.

Also: Conservatives urge moving Beijing Olympics over Uyghur atrocities, but Trudeau disputes use of term ‘genocide’

Mars mission searches for life beyond Earth: After a seven-month journey through space, NASA’s Perseverance rover will reach Mars shortly before 4 p.m. ET tomorrow and begin the most ambitious quest to date for signs of past life on the red planet. Hundreds of scientists and engineers connected with the mission will definitely be watching, including many in Canada.


World stocks retreat: The rally in global stock markets stalled on Wednesday as a surge in U.S. Treasury yields on optimism about a swift economic recovery put pressure on lofty company valuations. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.25 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.64 per cent and 0.02 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished down 0.58 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 per cent. New York futures were modestly lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.73 US cents.


John Doyle: “Right now, there are 15 shows that fit into the late-night category. Three of them have less than 20 per cent women writing staff. All of them could do with a shakeup, and the content and tone need to fit in the contours of the age in which the shows exist. If the field doesn’t change, it doesn’t deserve to survive. That’s the story of late night.”


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Cashing in your travel points now may not be the best deal

With most people’s travel plans on hold because of restrictions brought on by the global pandemic, many Canadians are wondering what to do with all the loyalty points they’ve collected over the years. The decision is personal, but before you start burning your points, make sure you know all your options.


The Mad Trapper's cabin near the Rat River, Northwest Territories, with only one wall standing after the RCMP dynamited it, January 10, 1932.Handout

The Mad Trapper of Rat River is caught

He was tenacious, savage and desperate. But above all else, the man dubbed the “Mad Trapper of Rat River” by the press was a cunning survivor who captivated the public as he led the RCMP on one of the most bizarre and dramatic manhunts in Canadian history. His troubles began after a Mountie visited his cabin in Rat River to investigate a routine trapping complaint. The trapper, whose real name was believed to be Albert Johnson, shot and seriously injured the officer. A heavily armed posse soon arrived and laid siege to the cabin for three days. Johnson escaped on snowshoes, and so began a 48-day odyssey covering 240 kilometres in temperatures that often reached -40. Johnson killed one officer and seriously injured another in the chase. He was so skilled at survival that the police brought in air support – a First World War ace pilot who took part in the dogfight that gunned down the Red Baron. After many days, the pilot picked up a faint trail in the snow. The Mad Trapper of Rat River was cornered and killed. To this day, the man’s real identity remains a mystery, but he lives on in Arctic lore. — Gayle MacDonald

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