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The federal government’s chief technology officer, Minh Doan, yesterday denied he made the decision to hire GCStrategies to work on the ArriveCan app, saying his team made the decision and he was not involved.

Doan also denied threatening a colleague at the Canada Border Services Agency when the cost of the app became a major political issue.

Doan appeared before the government operations committee, which is studying how the cost of the ArriveCan app for international travellers grew to exceed $54-million. The hearings have focused on the border agency’s use of private IT staffing firms, including GCStrategies, which received more than $11-million in contract work for the app.

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A person holds a smartphone set to the opening screen of the app in a photo illustration made in Toronto on June 29, 2022.Giordano Ciampini/The Canadian Press

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Man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after death of former NHLer Adam Johnson in England

Police in England have made an arrest in the death of American hockey player Adam Johnson, who died last month after his throat was sliced by an opposing player during a game in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire police said yesterday that they arrested a man on suspicion of manslaughter, although no charges were laid. The man was not identified. He was released on bail Wednesday.

The incident occurred partway through the second period of the Nottingham Panthers’ game against the Sheffield Steelers on Oct. 28. Steelers defenceman Matt Petgrave collided with Johnson as the Panthers forward stickhandled the puck up the ice. As Petgrave fell, his left leg rose and his skate blade cut Johnson’s throat. Johnson died later in hospital.

How a new ‘super screener’ is helping prevent cancer in patients without a family doctor

As the number of Canadians without a family doctor rises, preventive health services are at risk of falling by the wayside. People with family physicians are far more likely to be screened for cancer than those who rely on walk-in clinics, according to a recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

A new initiative started by Ottawa doctor Anna Wilkinson and two of her colleagues aims to remedy this problem by setting up people who don’t have a doctor with a “super screener” they’ve hired to facilitate cancer screening.

The program could provide a road map for cancer screening in other parts of Canada grappling with the same shortage of family doctors.

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Also on our radar

Israeli military enters Gaza hospital: The Israeli military entered Gaza’s largest hospital early today, after killing fighters at the gates Hamas. Israel said its troops found weapons and “terrorist infrastructure” inside. Israeli authorities say the militants conceal military operations in the Al Shifa Hospital, which Hamas and hospital staff deny.

Ottawa will closely scrutinize Glencore-Teck deal, Freeland says: Canadian miner Teck Resources’ agreement to sell its coal business to a consortium led by Swiss mining and trading house Glencore PLC will be closely scrutinized by the federal government, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said, calling it “a serious transaction.”

Freeland pushes back against premiers’ demand: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is countering provincial anger over federal funding for cities by suggesting that if premiers care so much about municipalities they should put more money on the table. At issue is a $4-billion program known as the Housing Accelerator Fund, which channels federal money directly to cities that meet criteria facilitating development.

Veltman wanted to spread fear among Muslims, Crown says: Nathaniel Veltman, the man accused of killing four members of an immigrant family by running them down with a pickup truck in London, Ont., wanted to spread fear among Muslims in Canada, a Crown lawyer told a jury yesterday. The Crown’s closing arguments marked the end of a trial that could set a legal precedent by establishing that violence perpetrated in the cause of white nationalism is an offence under Canada’s anti-terrorism law.

Morning markets

Stocks rally: World shares extended gains on Wednesday and the U.S. dollar nursed its losses, as expectations of an end to a global rate hike cycle spurred on investors following benign inflation readings in the United States and Britain. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.82 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.50 per cent and 0.49 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.52 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 3.92 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was fairly steady at 73.04 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Andrew Coyne: “For myself, I have a short list of ‘asks,’ none of which I expect to see in the statement. These would include: An anchor, a guardrail, a signpost, anything. Is it too much to ask the government to frame its spending within some sort of explicit budget constraint? That is the point of a budget, after all: to make choices with limited resources.”

Andrew Steele: “But the tragedy of sneering Liberals is its futile destructiveness. Mr. Trudeau has said he is staying, and public sniping is only likely to strengthen his resolve. There is no mechanism to speed his departure before the next election. The only beneficiaries of so-called Liberal loyalists talking down other Liberals are the Conservatives.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

Do I really need to get another COVID shot this fall?

For those wondering if they need another COVID-19 vaccine after taking multiple shots during the pandemic, a U.S. study suggests that each time you get infected you run the risk of serious complications, including long COVID, in which symptoms can persist for months or more. For many doctors, this provides a good reason to roll up your sleeve for a shot this fall.

Moment in time: Nov. 15, 1979

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FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Freeman confirms to reporters the authenticity of the most-recent communication from the notorious Unabomber, seen in a composite photo at left, during a press conference in San Francisco, June 28, 1995.Blake Sell/Reuters

Unabomber’s third strike

Theodore Kaczynski had it in for modern society, especially universities and airlines. And so it was that he tried to destroy a commercial airplane and all aboard on this date in 1979. The explosive did not fully detonate, and the American Airlines Boeing 727 made an emergency landing with 12 injured passengers. The bomb was the third for the unknown attacker, whose first two victims were at universities. The FBI named him the Unabomber, the first three letters representing his targets – “Un” for universities and “A” for airlines. Indeed, his next victim was Percy Wood, president of United Airlines. Mr. Wood was injured but survived the package bomb, as did the next six victims. But his devices were becoming more lethal, and in 1985, Mr. Kaczynski’s 11th bomb killed a computer store owner. Mr. Kaczynski’s brother turned him in after recognizing him from his rambling, anti-technology manifesto. The New York Times and Washington Post had published the screed after Mr. Kaczynski threatened to down another plane. Before being arrested at his plywood shack in the Montana wilderness, Mr. Kaczynski would send a total of 16 bombs that killed three people over 18 years. He was sentenced to four life terms in 1998, and died in June of 2023 in a North Carolina prison hospital. Eric Atkins

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