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China’s diplomatic mission in Vancouver has actively interfered in the city’s politics, using proxies in diaspora community organizations and grooming politicians to run in last fall’s municipal election, according to Canada’s spy agency.

A Jan. 10, 2022, Canadian Security and Intelligence Service report viewed by The Globe and Mail outlines how China’s then-consul-general, Tong Xiaoling, discussed mentoring – or as the report quoted her, “grooming” – Chinese-Canadian municipal politicians for higher office to advance Beijing’s interests.

Ms. Tong sought to elect pro-Beijing politicians to city council in the October, 2022, municipal election in which incumbent mayor Kennedy Stewart lost to Ken Sim by margin of nearly 37,000 votes.

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Left: Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart, Monday October 22, 2018. Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail; Right: Tong Xiaoling, Deputy Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Edward Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesDARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

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Credit Suisse plunge sparks new fears in financial markets

The Swiss central bank says it is prepared to provide financial support to Credit Suisse following a sharp drop in the price of the lender’s shares Wednesday that added to concerns about the health of the financial system on both sides of the Atlantic.

The central bank promised to provide Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, with liquidity “if necessary,” essentially guaranteeing the lender will have access to cash in the event of a bank run. The move is reminiscent of the central bank supports provided to major global banks during the 2008 financial crisis. Credit Suisse shares jumped around 18 per cent Thursday.

Global investors are on edge after two U.S. regional banks – Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – failed in the past week. There are growing concerns that rapidly rising interest rates have irreparably damaged certain corners of the global financial system.

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Also on our radar

Trudeau says budget will include affordability measures: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled this month’s federal budget will include new spending aimed at easing cost-of-living concerns, after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for an extension of a temporary GST rebate boost for low-income Canadians.

Poilievre plan to expand Canada’s seal hunt criticized: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he would expand Canada’s seal hunt if he becomes prime minister, provoking condemnation from animal-welfare groups in Canada, the U.S. and Britain, as well as singer-songwriter Jann Arden and Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.

Ottawa cuts funding for private abortion services in New Brunswick: The federal government is clawing back money from health transfers in an attempt to force New Brunswick to make publicly funded abortion services more accessible. New Brunswick is the only province that does not fund abortion in standalone clinics – a policy that health care advocates say is misogynistic and part of a long-standing legacy to limit abortion rights in the province.

CP Rail wins approval to buy U.S. railway: A federal U.S. regulator approved Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.’s US$27-billion takeover of Kansas City Southern yesterday, allowing Canada’s second-biggest rail shipper to forge a network that reaches the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean via the North American industrial heartland.

Flair sues leasing company for seizing aircraft: Embattled Flair Airlines is suing a leasing company and others for seizing four aircraft after the Edmonton-based discount carrier fell behind in rent payments. Flair alleges Airborne Capital and four other companies conspired to repossess four Boeing 737 Max aircraft without warning and despite assurances the overdue payments were coming.

Scientists see signs of active volcanoes on Venus: Scientists working with data captured by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft say they have uncovered new evidence for active volcanoes on the surface of Venus. If correct, the result sheds new light on Earth’s closest planetary neighbour.

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This computer-generated 3D model of Venus’ surface based on radar data shows the volcano Maat Mons (vertical scale exaggerated). A new analysis has found evidence of a recent lava flow in a small region on the north flank of the mountain.NASA/JPL-Caltech

Morning markets

Sentiment remains fragile: European shares advanced Thursday following a retreat in Asia after Credit Suisse said it would borrow up to US$54-billion from Switzerland’s central bank to shore up its finances, possibly easing worries about a bank crisis following the failure of two U.S. lenders. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.39 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.26 per cent and 0.21 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.80 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.72 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was higher at 72.74 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Editorial: “With many people already troubled by foreign interference in Canadian elections, it will come as no relief that the federal lobbying commissioner is proposing rule changes that will make it easier for people who work on election campaigns to lobby the MPs they help get into office. The timing is purely coincidental, but it’s still lousy. This is no time to be casting more doubt on the integrity of Canada’s democracy.”

Joshua Krane: “The proposed merger [between WestJet and Sunwing] marks an important free-market moment for the airline industry: An airline with capacity for growth absorbs a smaller, struggling player, which will be good news in the long run for the industry and create more connectivity for travellers.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable, March 16, 2023.Illustration by Brian Gable

Living better

Six tips to help you file your tax return properly

Fixing mistakes, being aware of new credits, watching the deadline and other tips to properly complete your tax return.

Moment in time: March 16, 1968

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In this  April 23, 1971 photo, Lt. William L. Calley, Jr., is seen during his court-martial at Ft. Benning, Ga.. The former Army lieutenant convicted of the 1968 killing of 22 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai publicly apologized at an event near Fort Benning, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, in Georgia. Calley told members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus on Wednesday that "there is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai." (AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr.)

Lt. William L. Calley, Jr., seen in this April 1971 photo, publicly apologized for the killing of 22 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai.Joe Holloway, Jr/The Associated Press

U.S. soldiers commit massacre in My Lai

If one were looking to pinpoint the exact site of the Vietnam War’s nadir, My Lai would be a contender. The antiwar movement was already well under way when U.S. soldiers arrived in Son My – a Vietnamese village whose hamlets included My Lai – on what they had been told was a mission to destroy a Viet Cong stronghold. When instead they found women, children and old men, they didn’t recalculate; they killed them by the hundreds, shooting some of them in ditches, some while they prayed. The U.S. Army’s initial investigations minimized the gravity of the incident, but the full horror of what happened began to crystallize after the Army charged Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader, with murder in September, 1969. Weeks passed before journalist Seymour Hersh learned of the court martial and broke news of the rampage. The massacre and the government’s attempts to cover it up fractured trust in the country’s political leadership and further undermined the rationale for the war in Vietnam. Lt. Calley was the only one convicted. He served a little over three years of house arrest. Steve Kupferman

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