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The federal government was in a race against time to stop the escalating economic damage created by the February border blockades, Michael Sabia, the Finance Department’s most senior public servant, told the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act.

He testified that government and media projections of the daily economic impact to the country underestimated the fact that the scale of harm would escalate sharply the longer the blockades continued.

With U.S. lawmakers weighing Buy America provisions that could have cut Canada out of future electric-vehicle manufacturing, Sabia said Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading partner was at risk and the concern had risen to the level of discussions between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Finance Canada’s Michael Sabia responds to a question as he testifies at the Public Order Emergency Commission, Nov. 17, 2022 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Before it was hit by missiles, Polish grain facility was used as shelter for Ukrainians fleeing war

When Ukrainians began streaming across the border in February seeking safety from Russia’s invasion, 62-year-old Bogdan Wos got to work. His employer, Italy-based Agrocom, agreed to allow the office space in its warehouse in Przewodow to serve as a makeshift shelter and Wos quickly filled it with refugees.

Tragedy struck when at least one missile, likely fired by Ukraine’s air defence forces, slammed into the Agrocom warehouse at around 4 p.m. The building, once a safe haven for Ukrainians fleeing the war, was destroyed. Wos and another long-time employee, 60-year-old Bogdan Ciupek, were unloading a truck filled with corn when the rocket hit. Both died on the spot. Today, the village of Przewodow, Poland, remembers Wos as a “guy with a big heart.”

Russia launches more missiles

Meanwhile, missiles rained down on Ukrainian energy infrastructure on Friday as Russian forces kept up attacks in eastern Ukraine, reinforced by troops pulled from Kherson city in the south which Kyiv liberated last week.

About 10 million people are without power, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Thursday evening video address.

Investigators in recaptured territory in the Kherson area uncovered 63 bodies bearing signs of torture after Russian forces left, Ukraine’s interior minister was quoted as saying.

The Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner, Dmytro Lubinets, released a video of what he said was a torture chamber used by Russian forces in the Kherson region.

Separately, a Swedish prosecutor said on Friday that investigators had found traces of explosives at the site of the damaged Nord Stream pipelines, confirming that sabotage had taken place.

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Frederico Viola, a vice president at Agrocom, said the two men who died in the missile attack – Bogdan Wos and Bogdan Ciupek – were both longtime employees. Mr. Wos had also run a shelter for Ukrainian refugees inside the office space of the company’s warehouse.Anna Liminowicz/The Globe and Mail

Canada’s system for disaster aid is overwhelmed, leaving victims to rebuild on their own

Disaster relief is an expensive business. For more than 50 years, homeowners and businesses hit by fires, floods or storms have had a federal program called the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements to help governments decide who pays for the cleanup. But climate change is exposing its weaknesses and renewing talk of big changes to come.

Federal data obtained by The Globe and Mail show the DFAA paid out after roughly 300 disasters since the its inception in 1970 – mostly floods, but also wildfires, ice storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and even an encephalitis outbreak. But it has never endured anything like last year’s triple-whammy from B.C.: In addition to the November floods, the province submitted a separate claim for $956-million for floods earlier in 2021, and a $416-million claim for devastating summer wildfires. Advance payments totalling more than $1-billion have already been announced.

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Members of the Canadian Forces fill sandbags as they create a temporary dike behind houses on Clayburn Creek in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 24, 2021.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

New FTX CEO describes ‘unprecedented’ financial disaster

John Ray, the restructuring expert who has taken over as chief executive officer of beleaguered cryptocurrency exchange FTX Ltd., says he has never in his 40-year career seen “such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information.”

Mr. Ray’s findings came just days after he became head of FTX on Nov. 11. However, any signs the crypto company was deficient in financial controls and disclosure appear to have eluded major investors for years. That includes the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which put US$95-million into Bahamas-based FTX over two rounds of investment, in October, 2021, and this past January, through its Teachers’ Venture Growth arm.

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Former FTX CEO chief executive Samuel Bankman-Fried in Washington on Nov. 13. A restructuring expert who has taken over as chief executive officer of the cryptocurrency exchange says he has never in his 40-year career seen 'such a complete failure of corporate controls.'STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

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Also on our radar

Toronto Star co-owner Bitove says ‘quick divorce’ best option amid asset arbitration: Following the screening of a documentary about the Toronto Star Thursday night, Jordan Bitove said it’s too late to resolve the differences with his business partner Paul Rivett, as the two engage in arbitration to determine who will ultimately own the newspaper, along with other assets.

RCMP charge Quebec man with planning a terrorist act to overthrow the Haitian government: The RCMP have laid terrorism charges against a Quebec man for allegedly plotting an armed revolution to overthrow Haiti’s government last year.

Rogers lawyer grills Competition Bureau’s experts over mobile competition: Rogers Communications Inc.’s plan to divest Shaw Communications Inc.’s Freedom Mobile wireless carrier – but not its Shaw Mobile business – is insufficient to mitigate the hit to competition from the $26-billion merger of Rogers and Shaw, according to expert testimony provided on behalf of the Competition Bureau.

Ottawa sends clear message on environment and Indigenous rights by rejecting Baffinland’s iron ore expansion plans in Arctic: The federal government has blocked Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s plans for a massive production increase in Nunavut, sending a strong message to the mining industry that any future large resource development in the Far North must be offset by sufficient environmental damage mitigation and proper consultation with the Inuit.

Forty-eight Canadians invested into the Order of Canada, including Globe and Mail publisher and CEO: Forty-eight people – ranging from activists and business leaders to writers and artists – were invested into the Order of Canada Thursday. Among the recipients was Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail.

What’s the best place to watch a World Cup game in your city? The Globe wants to know: Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned fan, The Globe and Mail wants to know where you plan to watch the games. If you’re not watching at home, where will you be watching?

Morning markets

Global shares head for weekly loss: World stocks were heading on Friday for a loss on the week after U.S. Federal Reserve officials fired more warning shots on interest rates, while the U.S. bond yield curve priced for a recession. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.90 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 1 per cent and 1.03 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.11 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.29 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was little changed at 75.04 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

We’re told the digital future is all screens, no touch. But without being physically present, what do we lose?

“Many of us happily click and wait until the refrigerated truck pulls up outside, depositing its bounty by the door without ever having to speak with, see, or be in physical proximity to another human being. This is the future many of us are heading toward, if not eagerly embracing.” - David Sax

FTX’s crypto crisis would not have happened under Canada’s regulatory framework

“We need to focus less on the protocols, and more on the platforms. The collapse of FTX was a business failure, not a technical failure. The bitcoin network and other decentralized blockchains and protocols are, and have always been, completely unaffected by the failure of centralized businesses.” - Blair Wiley

I love soccer but I won’t be watching the World Cup

“The host country for the next tournament, Qatar, has built its stadiums and infrastructure, according to human-rights groups, with ‘modern-day slave’ labour. There are also serious allegations of corruption and brutal mistreatment of women and sexual minorities. The sporting world has, largely, greeted this situation with silence.” - Declan Hill

Trudeau should be thanking Xi for their awkward G20 encounter

“So long as everyone is talking about who was rude to whom, no one is talking about China’s alleged campaign of interference in Canadian politics, or the Prime Minister’s failure to say or do much about it.” - Andrew Coyne

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

Living better

Four low-impact winter activities perfect for those who don’t love the cold

Come winter each year, the choice looms over Canadians: Seek shelter from the cold, hibernation-style, or head outside and embrace all the adventures not available to us in the warmer months. For those even a little winter curious, there are plenty of fun snow- and ice-based sports to try that can help you get out of the house.

Lola Augustine Brown shares four approachable winter activities to try this year that might just make you love the season – and even expand your social circle, too.

Moment in time: Nov. 18, 1980

Conn Smythe dies

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This group portrait is the Toronto Maple Leaf team that won the Stanley Cup championship in 1931-32, the Leafs' first year in the then new Maple Leaf Gardens. Left to right, Hap Day, Conn Smythe, manager, and Dick Irwin, coach.The Canadian Press

A builder by trade and a builder by nature, Constantine Falkland Karrys Smythe was also unafraid to take a few gambles on the road to the top. A participant in both world wars – earning the Military Cross in the First World War – the Toronto native started a sand-and-gravel business between the conflicts. But it was as principal owner of Toronto’s National Hockey League franchise that Smythe made his name. After getting fired by the New York Rangers without coaching a game in 1926, he purchased his hometown club for $160,000, changing its moniker from St. Patricks to Maple Leafs. Following some tough early seasons – the Leafs drew an average attendance of 4,591 at Arena Gardens his first year – Smythe decided his team needed a new home, constructing Maple Leaf Gardens during the Great Depression in just over five months. He went all in for the arena’s first season, buying King Clancy from Ottawa with the winnings from a bet on his 107-to-1 racehorse. The gamble paid off, and the Leafs won the Stanley Cup later that season, the first of eight times he reached the NHL winner’s circle, a promised land that has proved unreachable for the team since his death. Paul Attfield

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