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Efforts to meddle in the 2021 federal election did not affect the outcome of the vote, a new report based on the work of a panel of senior public servants has determined.

“National security agencies saw attempts at foreign interference, but not enough to have met the threshold of impacting electoral integrity,” Morris Rosenberg, a former deputy minister of foreign affairs, wrote in the report for the federal government.

However, the report recommends that Ottawa consider adjusting the rules for when the public is alerted of foreign interference to account for incidents that might fall below that threshold.

Rosenberg’s findings come more than 10 days after The Globe and Mail reported, based on Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents, that China employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 election campaign.

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While the results of the 2021 election and its predecessor in 2019 were not altered by foreign interference, the report calls for national-security agencies to develop a program of unclassified briefings to boost the awareness that members of Parliament and senators have about foreign interference.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Canadian economy stalls to end 2022, but pickup seen in January

The Canadian economy stalled during the final three months of 2022 as businesses pulled back dramatically on inventory orders, but consumers ramped up their spending and economic activity moved higher in January to avert a downturn.

Real gross domestic product did not change in the fourth quarter of last year, Statistics Canada said Tuesday in a report. This zero-per-cent growth fell way short of expectations: Financial analysts had predicted annualized growth of 1.6 per cent, while the Bank of Canada had projected 1.3 per cent.

Economic growth has slowed from annualized rates of 2.3 per cent in the third quarter and 3.6 per cent in the second quarter, coinciding with aggressive rate hikes from the Bank of Canada.

Alberta projects $2.4-billion surplus in pre-election budget

Alberta, which expects to post a $2.4-billion surplus in the coming fiscal year, plans to establish a new fund the government can use to pay for one-time projects, creating a deep pool of cash Premier Danielle Smith could dip into as she outlines priorities ahead of the province’s spring election.

The United Conservative Party government, in its 2023-2024 budget unveiled on Tuesday, proposes requiring that one half of the province’s surpluses to be used to repay debt maturing in the same fiscal year. Politicians would then have financial leeway over the remaining 50 per cent – making more than $1-billion available to the Alberta Fund in the coming year if the forecast surplus is achieved.

B.C. introduces deficit budget, revealing declining revenue and a boosted carbon tax

British Columbia, facing a marked decline in many of its major sources of revenue, will ring up a $4.2-billion deficit to offer relief for lower-income earners, including a long-promised renter’s rebate and a rare increase to the shelter allowance for people on income and disability assistance.

The provincial economy is expected to slow to just 0.4-per-cent growth, while revenue from personal and corporation income taxes are projected to shrink. Natural resource revenue is set to decline, including a drop of more than 54 per cent in returns from the forestry industry.

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Also on our radar

Auditor-General to launch review of ArriveCan app: Federal Auditor-General Karen Hogan will launch an audit of the government’s ArriveCan app, her office has confirmed, adding a new lawyer of independent scrutiny over how the cost of the app ballooned to $54-million and counting from an initial $80,000.

Number of private mortgages growing: A dramatic increase in the number of homeowners relying on private mortgages to finance their homes is causing concern in Ontario’s mortgage industry, and the province’s financial regulator says it expects reliance on such high-interest loans to increase.

Police forces start to consider attacks on homeless people as hate crimes: After front-line officers in Calgary investigated attacks against homeless men, the police service’s hate-crimes unit made a decision virtually unheard of in the Canadian justice system: police concluded the stabbings were not ordinary assaults, but rather hate-motivated crimes against homeless people.

Ukrainian officials warn of Russian coup in Moldova: Senior Ukrainian officials are warning that Russia is intent on destabilizing neighbouring Moldova with the aim of creating a new front for both Ukraine and its allies in the West to worry about.

MPs summon Google bosses over blocking search for news: MPs have summoned Google executives to explain its blocking of thousands of Canadians’ access to news sites through its search function and have ordered the tech giant to disclose internal e-mails, texts and documents about the strategy.

At least 36 dead, dozens injured after trains collide in Greece: A survivor described “10 nightmarish seconds” after an intercity passenger train travelling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki collided at high speed with a cargo train outside the city of Larissa in central Greece Tuesday night.

Morning markets

Global shares bounce: World stocks rebounded on Wednesday after China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a decade, while stronger-than-expected inflation numbers across the euro zone battered government bonds. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.57 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.41 per cent and 0.44 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.26 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 4.21 per cent. New York futures were modestly higher. The Canadian dollar was up at 73.51 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Campbell Clark: “So if there’s a vein of folks in the Conservative Party that doesn’t want to see the extremism of some who claim to be allies, they should be warned. There is a line. If you choose not to see it at your lunch table, it just gets closer.”

Cathal Kelly: “McDavid’s failure to launch isn’t just a local problem. It’s an NHL problem. What league in the world is failing more spectacularly at featuring its most valuable human resource? Besides going broke in desert boom towns, this is the NHL’s only other claim to global supremacy.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable published March 1, 2023. ONE SENSES A GROWING ANTAGONISM FROM THE PEOPLEKIND.Illustration by Brian Gable

Living better

How does your debt compare to Canadians your age?

Perfection in personal finance is zero debt, but the reality of life in today’s world is that people from all generations are borrowers. To find out how your own debts compare to others in your age group, tell us your age and the amount of your various debts. This calculator will show you, with complete anonymity, how you compare to your peers with the same type of debt.

Moment in time: March 1, 1966

Open this photo in gallery:Kenneth "Ken" Leishman mugshot. The annotated back of a photograph from September 3, 1966 of "the Flying Bandit" Kenneth Leishman, taken by the St. James Police Department after arresting him for the Winnipeg gold heist. He escaped from prison shortly thereafter. Credit: University of Manitoba Libraries

The annotated back of a photograph from Sept. 3, 1966 of "the Flying Bandit" Kenneth Leishman, taken by the St. James Police Department after arresting him for the Winnipeg gold heist.University of Manitoba Libraries

Flying Bandit steals bullion from Winnipeg airport

Ken Leishman, a charming rogue born to a Prairie farm family, flew planes, robbed banks and pulled off what was said to be the largest gold heist in Canadian history. He was dubbed the Flying Bandit after hopping a commercial flight to Toronto just to hold up a bank. In 1966 he recruited a crew to help him snatch a shipment of gold en route to Ottawa from a mine in Red Lake, Ont. Two of the gang, dressed in fake Air Canada coveralls and driving a stolen airport van, intercepted the flight on the tarmac at Winnipeg. Brandishing forged waybills, they convinced the pilot to transfer the cargo to their care. Mr. Leishman’s accomplices drove away with 360 kilograms of gold. Mr. Leishman, whose notoriety made him a prime suspect, was arrested a few weeks later. While awaiting trial, he broke out of jail, stole a plane and flew to Indiana, but was soon caught. After several years in penitentiary in Stony Mountain, Man., Mr. Leishman and his wife moved to Red Lake, where he worked as a pilot. In December, 1979, Mr. Leishman’s plane crashed while transporting a sick patient. His body was never found, but he was declared legally dead a year later. Joe Friesen

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