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The former director-general at the Canada Border Services Agency told MPs yesterday that Minh Doan, the federal government’s chief technology officer, lied when he testified that he didn’t know who selected GCStrategies to build the ArriveCan app.

The government operations committee is holding hearings into how the cost of the app for international travellers grew to exceed $54-million during the pandemic.

Cameron MacDonald described heated discussions that took place in October, 2022, between himself and Doan, in which he says he felt “threatened” and was told then-public safety minister Marco Mendicino was not happy with the ArriveCan stories and wanted “somebody’s head on a platter.”

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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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First group of Canadians departs Gaza as Israel ramps up offensive

Seventy-five Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their eligible family members had managed to flee Gaza yesterday – the first group of Canadians to make the passage since the outbreak of war a month ago.

While the total number of Canadians trying to escape Gaza has fluctuated, Global Affairs says it is in contact with more than 600 people there, as Israel escalates its assault on Hamas in the Palestinian territory.

Canada is one of many countries that has been working to facilitate departures from Gaza. The situation on the ground there is dire. Access to food and water is restricted, and the risks to personal safety are grave.

Ottawa won’t stop sending housing money directly to cities as premiers demand final say

The federal government won’t stop sending money directly to municipalities, federal housing minister Sean Fraser said yesterday, even as provincial premiers threatened to put laws in place that would give them final say over how funding is spent on infrastructure in their cities.

The Housing Accelerator Fund, which offers billions to cities directly to speed up development, has become a point of contention between Ottawa and the provinces. The policy is also intended to persuade municipal governments to loosen zoning rules that prevent additional homes in many neighbourhoods.

The jurisdictional squabbling over the housing program has emerged as the federal government tries to refocus on the issue of housing supply, affordability and other cost-of-living matters.

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Also on our radar

Lung-cancer mortality rates decrease, report finds: Lung-cancer mortality rates in Canada are falling faster than ever before, according to a new report. Despite the overall cancer death rate falling by a third since its peak in 1988, the actual number of new cancer cases and deaths has risen and will keep rising as the Canadian population grows and ages.

Canada on track to miss emissions targets: A new report by the federal Environment Commissioner found that Ottawa does not yet have a plan for how to hit its 2030 emissions-reduction targets, and also concluded that the federal government’s projections in this area are overly optimistic.

Indigenous groups argue they are owed billions: The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to order financial redress worth as much as $126-billion to First Nations in Northern Ontario over broken treaty promises more than a century old. This case is among the most important reconciliation matters the Supreme Court has heard in recent years.

WeWork to shut four Canadian locations: The office-sharing company WeWork, once valued at tens of billions of dollars, will shut down four Canadian co-working spaces in Toronto, Vancouver and Burnaby, B.C., as part of its plans to restructure, after filing for bankruptcy in the U.S.

CRA penalty rate on overdue taxes will rise: The Canada Revenue Agency’s interest rate on overdue taxes will soon rise to 10 per cent, tax experts say, making paying back the agency more expensive and a greater priority for many individuals and small-business owners.

Morning markets

Markets await Powell remarks: World stocks markets stuttered on Wednesday, while the U.S. dollar continued its rebound as traders waited to see if U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell will push back against rate-cut talk when he speaks later in the day. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.13 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 slid 0.34 per cent and 0.10 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.33 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.58 per cent. New York futures were modestly lower. The Canadian dollar was down at 72.54 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Nicole Dusyk and Jessica Kelly: “Given the clear signals about the long-term prospects of the LNG industry, governments in Canada need to protect taxpayers from this risk. It is essential to end the subsidies, tax breaks, exemptions, discounts and deferrals that have been provided to the country’s LNG sector.”

Cathal Kelly: “As currently constructed, it’s always going to be the case that the Leafs can beat you in five minutes of game time. They have that top-end talent. But grind you out over 60? Outlast you when the big guys aren’t feeling it? Bully you into submission? We hear a lot about that version of the Leafs. We’ve yet to see it.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

Looking for furniture that will last but won’t break the bank? Here’s some help

Globe editor Aruna Dutt is ready to upgrade her hand-me-down furniture for purchases that last. In this shopping series, she asks experts to help her make buying decisions that are worth the investment.

Moment in time: Nov. 8, 1956

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Charlton Heston played Moses in the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments."The Associated Press

The Ten Commandments released

Everything about the religious drama The Ten Commandments, released on this day in 1956, was big. The movie was produced and directed by Hollywood’s legendary Cecil B. DeMille (who directed a silent 1923 version). An all-star cast was led by 6-foot-3 actor Charlton Heston as Moses, and included Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Yvonne De Carlo and Edward G. Robinson, among others. It was filmed in Vista Vision, a high-resolution widescreen format, and cost an outrageous US$13-million to make. It ran 3 hours 51 minutes, with a big plot line based on the novels Prince of Egypt and Pillar of Fire, along with the Bible’s Book of Exodus, which tells the story of Moses’s upbringing and calling as a prophet, the deliverance of the commandments and God’s covenant with Israel. The movie grossed US$123-million in its first year (US$1.2-billion today) and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. And the special effects? Spectacular. Water turning into blood. Fiery hail raining from the skies. The scene where Moses parts the Red Sea took six months to film in Egypt and the Paramount Pictures back lot. Mr. Heston’s son Fraser, who played the baby Moses, described the film’s legacy: “It was the benchmark for epic films.” Philip King

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