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Cooling temperatures have somewhat calmed the wildfire situation in Western Canada, but hazardously poor air quality from excessive smoke besieged much of the region over the holiday weekend. For residents such as Lisa Stewart, a mother of twin four-year-old girls who lives in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood, even keeping smoke out of the house has proven to be a challenge.

“I woke up this morning and it was smoky in our house because we had the the AC on last night,” Ms. Stewart said. “Days like today, we are staying inside, but then what do you do with two four-year-olds all day? We have done a lot of bath times, just trying to keep us cool because we can’t have any windows open.”

As of Monday, there were 16 evacuation orders in Alberta forcing 10,872 people from their homes, according to Alberta Wildfire. Some 2,709 personnel are fighting the fires, including 400 members of the Canadian military, the agency said.

Meanwhile, in the British Columbia Interior, a new out-of-control wildfire triggered an evacuation order on Sunday for the Cariboo Regional District, roughly 600 kilometres north of Vancouver. Near Fort St. John, B.C., Blueberry River First Nations and Doig River First Nation have also been placed on evacuation order, affecting more than 600 people.

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Leslie Kramer ventures out as heavy smoke from northern Alberta forest fires comes south to blanket the downtown area in Calgary, Tuesday, May 16, 2023. As of May 22, there were 16 evacuation orders in Alberta forcing 10,872 people from their homes, according to Alberta Wildfire.Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press

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Foreign interference report out today

Former governor-general David Johnston will issue his first report Tuesday on foreign interference, which could determine whether Ottawa establishes a formal public inquiry. Mr. Johnston’s review was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after The Globe and Mail reported Feb. 17 that China had employed a sophisticated strategy to disrupt Canada’s democracy in the 2021 election campaign.

Methamphetamine use is on the rise, worsening Canada’s already complex opioid crisis

Addictions experts say they’re seeing a troubling shift in patterns of illicit drug use, with methamphetamine becoming much more common over the past decade. Its combined use with fentanyl is adding another layer of complexity to the drug crisis. Some have characterized the growing use of methamphetamine and other stimulants, together with fentanyl, as a “fourth wave” of the opioids epidemic.

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Paxton Bach, an internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.Kayla Isomura/The Globe and Mail

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Also on our radar

Meta fined record US$1.3-billion in privacy battle: In yet another twist in a legal battle that began in 2013, Meta was hit with a record US$1.3-billion fine by the European Union’s privacy regulator over its handling of user information, and was ordered to stop transferring European users’ personal information to the U.S. Meta has vowed to appeal and asked courts to put the decision on hold.

Bonnie Crombie poised to jump into race to lead Ontario Liberals: Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is set to unveil an “exploratory committee” in the lead up to a bid for the leadership of the Ontario Liberals. Her entry into the race would inject new drama into an already crowded field seeking to revive the provincial Liberals, and would give her a chance to directly challenge Premier Doug Ford in the 2026 provincial election.

No agreement on U.S. debt ceiling as deadline looms: President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ended Monday’s discussions with no agreement on how to raise the U.S. government’s $31.4-trillion debt ceiling (though Mr. McCarthy called the talks “productive”). They have until June 1 to increase the government’s self-borrowing limit or trigger an unprecedented debt default that economists warn could bring on a recession.

E. Jean Carroll sues Trump again: E. Jean Carroll is seeking new damages from Donald Trump for comments he made on CNN. The columnist recently won a US$5-million sexual abuse and defamation award against the former president, and she’s seeking at least US$10-million more in the latest court filing, citing defamatory statements.

Morning markets

Markets nervous: Markets were cautious on Tuesday, as the latest talks over the U.S. debt ceiling offered something for optimists and pessimists. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.09 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.14 per cent and 1.07 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.42 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.25 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was lower at 73.90 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Michael Enright: ”Are the Democratic nominee Joe Biden and the presumed Republican flag carrier Donald Trump smart enough to be effective presidents? Or does being smart not matter any more? With the erosion of political civility and the rise of distrust of facts, Americans vote with their emotions, not their intelligence.”

Cathal Kelly: “Whoever wins the Senators’ bid will disappoint because the team can’t be what they want it to be. It’s never going to make a ton. It’s not going to excite the people you run into jet shopping at the Lear dealership. Nobody in America has heard of it, will hear of it or cares to hear of it. The only good reason to buy it is because you really like hockey. How many of the people involved in all four bids hit that bar?”

John Polanyi: “It was inspiring when Professor Geoffrey Hinton declared his intention earlier this month to interrupt his work on the development of AI in order to warn the world of the danger of falsehoods, at a time when the future of mankind could be threatened by new developments in science. ‘I’m just a scientist,’ he said. We owe a debt to those who, like him, give timely warning of danger.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Editorial cartoon by David Parkins.Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

To prevent malnutrition in seniors, ‘tiny little interventions’ can go a long way

A third of Canadian seniors are at risk of malnutrition, regardless of their income, class or gender. The problem isn’t access to food, but rather the ability to open the packaging or maneuver the cutlery needed to eat the meal. As Ann Hui reports, small changes can make a big difference in preventing seniors from missing meals. One chef is focused on hand-held, nutritious foods that older people can enjoy without struggling with forks and knives. For instance, she uses muffin pans to create little “pucks” of food, such as Shepherd’s pie “muffins” or baked spaghetti that can be consumed with hands instead of a fork. The result? A dignified experience that puts control back into the hands of seniors.

Moment in time: May 23, 1797

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A statue of late 18th century English explorer David Thompson and wife, Charlotte Small, now stands in a new park in Invermere, British Columbia, September 2009.Roy MacGregor/The Globe and Mail

HBC surveyor David Thompson switches allegiances to NorthWest Co.

Hudson’s Bay Co. dismissed his defection as a betrayal. On this day in 1797, 27-year-old David Thompson left Bedford House at Vermilion Point on the remote western shore of Reindeer Lake (in present-day northeastern Saskatchewan) and began walking south to the bottom of the lake to the rival NorthWest Co. post on the Reindeer River. Thompson’s HBC contract ended that day. Even though the English company had been good to him, showing him how to do astronomical calculations for surveying and recently promoting him to Master to the Northward, Thompson saw only a dead-end future if he remained with HBC and its plodding ways. He decided to cast his fate with the dynamic NWC in the belief that the Montreal-based company would make better use of his map-making talents. Thompson, with his Indigenous partner Charlotte Small at his side, surveyed several thousand kilometres for NWC, from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast. In 1814, two years after his retirement to Canada, he produced his master work, a great map of northwestern North America that hung in the Great Hall at the NWC rendezvous headquarters at Kaministiquia (later Fort William) at the northwestern end of Lake Superior. -Bill Waiser

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