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One oil sands development has been cancelled. Another is facing backlash. And a court has ruled against Ottawa’s carbon tax. It’s only Tuesday, but these past few days have been filled with major developments – and raised key questions – about resource development and Canada’s carbon footprint.

Teck's Frontier mine site.Handout Teck Resources

The Frontier mine: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blamed Ottawa for the cancellation of the Teck Resources Ltd. project. But sources say the company chose to pull the application in part over concerns about being thrust into a climate-change controversy, with the economic risks of falling oil prices adding to the concerns of Teck’s board.

Rail blockades: The Tyendinaga Mohawk blockade was cleared by police, who arrested 10. But even as Canadian National Railway resumed service in eastern Ontario, protesters warned their fight was not over as other solidarity actions in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline were launched nationwide, blocking roads near Montreal and erecting a rail barricade in B.C.

The carbon tax: The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that the federal carbon levy is an unconstitutional intrusion into provincial powers. The decision is a break from courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario, which sided with Ottawa in similar cases. The federal government says it will wait for the Supreme Court’s decision later this year before reacting.

The bigger picture: The Liberals have pledged to get Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. But as Kelly Cryderman writes, “there is no specific plan for how to get there – and no clarity on what sacrifices Canada’s resource-dependent regions will have to make.” Ottawa, she argues, “is wistfully playing down how much of Canada’s economy is based on the resource sector.”

Further reading:

Adam Radwanski pleads for a path forward that sheds fiery rhetoric, saying we can’t “boil the complexities of decarbonizing the economy into an overdramatized battle of allegiances that reinforces pre-existing biases.”

What killed the Frontier oil sands mine? Low oil prices and rising political polarization, The Globe’s editorial board writes.

Examining the GasLink protests, lawyers Jennifer Klinck and Madelaine Mackenzie write: “we should not be surprised to find that simplistic appeals to the rule of law are often unhelpful: the very problem may be unjust laws.”

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University of Guelph faculty are demanding more action to address the handling of Dave Scott-Thomas allegations

More than 200 professors and staff have written a joint letter to the University of Guelph’s president calling for a thorough investigation; The Globe’s reporting found the university was made aware of misconduct allegations against the track coach in 2006 but continued to employ Scott-Thomas until last year.

In a letter dated Feb. 14, staff said their trust in the school has been shaken and wrote that “high-level administrators at the time may have participated in willfully ignoring and minimizing this abuse.”

The group wants a probe with findings made public and for the University of Guelph to acknowledge that The Globe’s report outlined physical and sexual assault, and that it was gendered violence.

Canada is stepping up screening efforts as the coronavirus inches toward a pandemic

“The window of opportunity for containment – for stopping the global spread of the virus – is closing,” said Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

Tam said doctors should be prepared to test returning travellers from any “affected” country, not just China, if they develop symptoms of the virus. Message screens at airports are also being changed to warn passengers to monitor themselves.

B.C. confirmed its seventh case of coronavirus, bringing the Canadian total to 11.

The virus has now spread to at least 33 countries, with five nations recently reporting their first cases.

Stocks took their sharpest downturn in two years yesterday as the spread of the virus rattled investors.

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Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak dies For nearly 30 years, Murbarak was the face of stability in the Mideast before being forced by the military to resign after 18-day nationwide protests that were part of the Arab world’s 2011 pro-democracy upheaval.

Harvey Weinstein convicted: The disgraced former Hollywood producer was convicted of sexual assault and rape in a verdict that could land him up to 29 years in prison. Weinstein, 67, was acquitted on the most serious charges that could have resulted in a life sentence.

B.C. money laundering hearings begin: The first day of public hearings saw B.C. Attorney-General David Eby criticize the BC Liberal caucus over its refusal to hand over confidential documents, a signal that one part of the inquiry will be whether or how the former Liberal government let the province become a hotbed for laundering.

Ontario teachers move away from weekly strikes: Public elementary school teachers are shifting tactics in their job action with a new plan in which educators will refuse to cover for absent colleagues if no supply teacher is available.


Global stocks pause after coronavirus shakeout: Global stock markets stabilized on Tuesday after a wave of early selling petered out and Wall Street futures bounced after the previous day’s sharp selloff on fears about the spreading coronavirus. In Europe, markets turned lower after a firmer start. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.74 per cent just after 6 a.m. ET. Germany’s DAX was down 1.02 per cent. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 3.34 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.27 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.18 US cents.


Should we celebrate the Weinstein verdict? It’s complicated

Brenda Cossman: “#MeToo was never first and foremost about the criminal law. #MeToo began as a social-media movement about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and sexual assault in women’s lives, about broad social change to prevent or redress this sexual violence. Measuring the relative success of #MeToo through the Weinstein trial might be a little too myopic, even in terms of the law.” Cossman is a professor of law at the University of Toronto.


(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)


Should I feel guilty for having a child in this climate crisis?

“Parenting has always been a million tiny heartbreaks,” writes Emily Dontsos, “but parenting in the time of climate change comes with its own unique ache.”

For more relationships advice to help you be a better parent, partner, friend, family member or colleague, sign up for The Globe’s new weekly Parenting & Relationships newsletter, launching next week.


Chinese officials ban the letter N

(Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Feb. 25, 2018: If it is true that no country possesses more sophisticated censorship tools than China, then it may also be true that no one can outdo the Chinese people for sheer creativity in evading the redactors. Internet users distill controversial issues into coded references, drawing on history, pop culture and even math to raise dissent. So it was after China’s Communist Party elders declared its intention to strip away term limits from President Xi Jinping. At a stroke, Mr. Xi was sweeping away rules meant to bar the rise of another Mao Zedong, whose unquestioned power dragged the country into a devastating famine and bloody internecine strife. Immediately, people took to social media to post “Don’t agree,” “Xi Zedong” – a portmanteau of Xi and Chairman Mao – and the titles of two George Orwell books, 1984 and Animal Farm. Censors slapped back, banning those terms. But they also censored the letter “n,” the mathematical reference to an indeterminate number – the sort of thing a clever person might use to indicate a leader’s now-indeterminate terms of office. For a revealing moment the ban demonstrated the invasiveness of China’s limits on speech, the authorized alphabet in China was reduced to 25 letters. – Nathan VanderKlippe

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