These are the top stories:
The federal carbon tax takes effect in four provinces today
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick didn’t put in place their own carbon pricing plans. And so, starting today, Ottawa is imposing a tax. (for subscribers)
What will that mean for residents? In the immediate term, it’s expected to add 4.5 cents on a litre of gasoline and 5.5 cents on diesel. To counter the added costs, the federal government says it will put 90 per cent of the tax revenue back into the pockets of consumers via a rebate applied to tax returns starting this year. For example, a family of four in Ontario can claim $307; in Saskatchewan, that figure is $609 because of the province’s greater reliance on fossil fuels.
The political fight: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and premiers such as Ontario’s Doug Ford have been vocal in their opposition to the tax, which they say punishes families. Ontario and Saskatchewan are challenging the constitutionality of the tax in court. (Alberta has a tax in place but United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney is vowing to scrap it if he wins this month’s provincial election.)
The case for the tax: One piece of pushback to the tax is the argument that it’s an ineffective tool for reducing carbon emissions. But proponents point to places like B.C., where studies found increasing gas prices seven cents resulted in a 7-per-cent drop in fuel purchases.
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Inside China’s complex system of incarceration and control of minorities
She was told the classes would only last 15 days. Instead, Gulzira Auelhan spent 437 days in five different facilities that are part of a Chinese campaign targeting Muslims. It was “completely like a prison,” she said. “They told us, ‘You are here to be educated because you were infected with evil thoughts of religion.’ ” Auelhan is one of seven people who spoke with Globe correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe in Kazakhstan after being released from indoctrination and detention centres in Xinjiang.
Asylum seekers: Canada and the U.S. are a step closer to redrawing the border treaty
Ottawa’s bid to stem the flow of asylum seekers is making its way through Washington’s bureaucracy, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security filing a request with the State Department to renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement.
Right now, a loophole is allowing asylum seekers who enter via unofficial border crossings to file refugee claims in Canada. Ottawa wants the right to send those individuals straight to an official point of entry, where the treaty dictates that they can be immediately deported back to the U.S. More than 40,000 individuals have entered Canada via the unofficial points since Donald Trump launched a crackdown on illegal immigration in 2017.
Michael Wernick says he didn’t brief the PM on his phone call with Jody Wilson-Raybould
On a Dec. 19 call, Wilson-Raybould warned the Privy Council Clerk that Justin Trudeau and his staff were interfering in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. And while Wernick said he would “report back” to Trudeau on what she said, that never happened: “everyone went on holidays” the day after the call, Wernick said in a statement explaining the communication lapse. However, Trudeau didn’t go on holiday until Dec. 23. (for subscribers)
Wilson-Raybould submitted a recording of the call to the House justice committee last week, and it has since been made public. During the conversation, Wernick also mentioned that Trudeau was considering hiring former Supreme Court justice Beverley McLachlin for an outside legal opinion on the SNC case. McLachlin has now told The Globe that she was never hired, and didn’t offer Wilson-Raybould any legal advice.
Here’s the view from John Ibbitson: “The tape of Wilson-Raybould’s conversation with Wernick does serious harm to Trudeau’s already damaged brand. Unless the Liberals can change the political narrative, they could lose the next election.” (for subscribers)
Adrienne Clarkson is stepping in to try and save the Canadian Women’s Hockey League
The former governor-general says she’s going to “see if we can salvage this” after the CWHL announced that it would be shutting down on May 1, pinning the move on a business model that was “economically unsustainable.” Clarkson has been a long-time supporter of the league, and donated the championship trophy, the Clarkson Cup.
The CWHL’s closing would have a drastic effect on high-level women’s hockey in the country, especially given that the league has been a key space for athletes to hone their craft between Winter Olympics.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Will Ukraine’s next president be a comedian who played that role in a TV sitcom? Volodymyr Zelenskiy pulled in 30.2 per cent of the vote, with 50.4 per cent of the vote counted, paving the way for a runoff election later this month against incumbent President Petro Poroshenko (he nabbed about 17-per-cent support).
Cannabis stores are finally set to open in Ontario today, but don’t expect too many options: Less than half of the 25 lottery winners will be ready, with just one store guaranteed to open in Toronto. No new licences will be approved until December, leaving some companies stuck paying leases on empty storefronts after Ontario opted for a phased-in approach.
Global stocks surged higher on Monday, extending gains from their best quarter in nearly 10 years, as strong Chinese factory activity data and signs of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations gave investors reason to cheer. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.8 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 2.6 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.6 and 1 per cent by about 6:50 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar was at about 75 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Our feminist foreign policy is not perfect, but in Jordan, it’s doing a lot of good
Bessma Momani: “Make no mistake, there is lots to criticize about what is often seen as a traditional foreign agenda with a hint of women thrown in for good measure. … [But in Jordan, training] female officers to deal with the influx of women and children refugees crossing its long border with Syria, detect female suicide bombers with ties to Islamic State terrorists and provide medical aid as first responders to female civilians affected by violence are among the activities provided by Canada.” Bessma Momani is a professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
After the latest court ruling, solitary confinement’s days are numbered
Globe editorial: “Finally, a Canadian court has reached a conclusion that long seemed inevitable: putting a prison inmate in solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of Section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. … given the evolution of this issue, it is now fairly certain that the days of isolating federal inmates for weeks, months or even years are officially over.”
Devastating Netflix doc explains why the Irish border issue matters
John Doyle: “If you can figure out exactly what’s happening in the ceaseless voting on, and rejection of, British PM Theresa May’s Brexit plan, you’re a better person than me. But we can all figure out that a central sticking point is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. … The sealing of the border between the two parts of the island of Ireland was at the heart of an outlandish and murderous plan concocted in 1975 by British intelligence. This is what we are told in an extraordinary and searing new documentary on Netflix.” (for subscribers)
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
New research on giving birth, and on birth control
Women who deliver babies by cesarean section are at a higher risk of severe complications, according to a new study. The problem is especially acute for mothers aged 35 and older: The odds of issues like major bleeding or a blood clot is three times higher for those who opt for a C-section over vaginal birth, French researchers found.
What kind of impact does birth control have on the brain? Researchers, including a team at the University of Toronto, are only now beginning to explore this glaring research gap on women’s health. While past research on contraceptives focused on physical risks, there is now a push to examine possible links to mood swings, depression, and even learning and memory.
MOMENT IN TIME
Nunavut becomes a territory
For more than 100 years, photographers and photo librarians working for The Globe and Mail have preserved an extraordinary collection of 20th-century news photography. Every Monday, The Globe features one of these images. In April, we’re looking at the country from above.
To honour the 20th anniversary of Nunavut, we pulled out this 1957 photograph by Jack Dobson of the Ellesmere Island glaciers. When Nunavut was officially created in 1999, the Inuit got control of their land and their future. It marked the first time in 50 years – since Newfoundland joined Confederation – that the map of Canada was redrawn. And, befitting a country founded on Peace, Order and Good Government, the creation of Nunavut was the culmination of years of negotiation, which arose out of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Nunavut, cleaved from the Northwest Territories, is entirely Arctic terrain. And it’s huge – 2.1 million square kilometres. But the territory is also melting. Scientists are worried that the Ellesmere Island glaciers, shown at 20,000 feet in this RCAF photograph for Globe Magazine, are vanishing at an alarming rate. – Philip King