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Around $250,000 from officials from the People’s Republic of China in Canada was transferred to people defined as “threat actors” in late 2018 or early 2019, according to an unclassified document summarizing Canadian intelligence which was presented to an inquiry into foreign interference yesterday.

It said prior to and during the 2019 general election “a group of known and suspected People’s Republic of China (PRC) related threat actors in Canada, including PRC officials, worked in loose co-ordination with one another to covertly advance PRC interests though Canadian democratic institutions.”

The paper, discussed in the inquiry into foreign interference Thursday, said that “reporting indicated that 11 political candidates and 13 political staff members were assessed to be either implicated in or impacted by this group of threat actors.”

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An undated photo of Canada's Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Israel dismisses 2 officers over deadly drone strikes on aid workers in Gaza

The Israeli military said Friday that it has dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others for their roles in drone strikes in Gaza that killed seven aid workers on Monday.

“It’s a tragedy,” the military’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said. “It’s a serious event that we are responsible for and it shouldn’t have happened and we will make sure that it won’t happen again.”

An investigation into the aid workers’ deaths marked an embarrassing admission by Israel, which faces growing accusations from key allies, including the U.S., of not doing enough to protect Gaza’s civilians from its war with Hamas.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reach an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and open more border crossings into Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to enter and to take steps to protect aid workers and other civilians, the White House said.

A few hours after the call, Mr. Biden’s office said Israel’s cabinet had agreed to open the Erez crossing from Israel into northern Gaza, receive international aid shipments at Israel’s Ashdod port and ensure that more aid arriving from Jordan can enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

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A man pushes a bicycle along as he walks amid building rubble in the devastated area around Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital on April 3, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group.-/Getty Images

How rental-protection funds can help stem a vanishing supply of affordable units

After years of lobbying by housing advocates, Canada is now following the lead of other countries that have used a strategy of buying up and preserving homes that already exist to balance their housing supplies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the creation of a $1.5-billion rental protection fund that will provide a combination of loans and grants to help non-profits buy affordable rental apartments when they go up for sale. That fund is long overdue, affordable housing groups say, because the country is losing lower-cost rental properties – to renovictions, tenant turnover and demolitions – far faster than it can build them.


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Also on our radar

Pulling together: a team assembles in remote B.C. village to save a whale: B.C.’s top experts in marine mammal rescue are gathering in Zeballos, hoping to capture a young orphaned whale in a bid to reunite it with its extended family.

Children toil at dangerous work in Sierra Leone’s sand-mining boom: Children under the age of 18 are legally banned from the mining sector. Carrying heavy loads of any kind is considered “hazardous work” for children under international labour standards. Yet this work is common among children in Sierra Leone, especially in mining, studies show.

Ford delaying start of EV production at Ontario plant until 2027: Ford Motor Co. says it will delay by two years the launch of electric vehicles at its plant in Oakville, Ont., as sales of zero-emissions cars falter.

Laurentian selling assets in retail investment broker division to iA Private Wealth: The bank says the transaction includes the transfer of about $2-billion in assets under administration from Laurentian Bank Securities to iA Private Wealth, a subsidiary of iA Financial Group.

RBC’s purchase of HSBC Bank Canada accompanied by a complex technological feat: When Royal Bank of Canada closed its acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada, the largest domestic banking takeover on record, it had to move billions of dollars of customer money and data off HSBC’s platforms and onto its own in a single weekend – an unusual technological feat that helped it to win the $13.5-billion auction for the highly coveted business.

Morning markets

Global shares retreated as geopolitical tension kept crude oil above $90 a barrel ahead of U.S. payroll numbers, and central bankers raised doubts about the pace and timing of interest rate cuts.

In early trading in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 shed nearly 1 per cent, Germany’s DAX slipped 1.4 per cent and France’s CAC 40 was down 1.3 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed 2 per cent to finish at 38,992.08, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed mostly unchanged at 16,723.92.

The dollar traded at 73.76 U.S. cents.

What everyone’s talking about

According to Justin Trudeau, Justin Trudeau is fear-mongering on immigration

“Who set fire to our once-enviable immigration system? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on a mission to find out. Just as soon as he gets all of this soot out of his hair.” – Robyn Urback

Pierre Poilievre is upending B.C. politics without trying very hard

“There is no question the transition from B.C. Liberals to B.C. United was badly botched. The name change was made without the benefit of a well-financed marketing campaign that made people aware of what was going on and why. Some of that is happening now, but it’s getting lost in the storm of interest Mr. Poilievre has created around the Conservative brand.” – Gary Mason

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

In Thailand, a luxury resort offers guests an ethical elephant experience

The Anantara resort is perched on a jungle ridge that overlooks the Thailand border with Laos and Myanmar. Its 61 rooms and suites are elegant but rustic with teak furnishings, Thai artwork, and pillowcases and bed throws made with fabric from nearby villages. Private balconies and the resort’s infinity pool give way to expansive views of the misty jungle and guests can lounge in the lavish Elephant Bar before dining in one of the resort’s restaurants or privately in a terraced rice paddy.

But many guests are here to hang out with the elephants. In this new environment, on the luxury hotel’s property, it’s possible for the elephants to ease into a life of comfort away from the underbelly of elephant tourism in Thailand. The foundation also provides the same opportunity for their skilled caregivers, called mahouts, by renting their elephants for roughly 25,000 Thai Baht per month (roughly $250) and providing sustainable work. The cost of living is covered for mahouts, and their families, if they choose to stay on-site to care for their elephants.

Moment in time: April 5, 1895

Oscar Wilde loses criminal libel case triggered by accusations of homosexuality

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Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900, left) with fellow writer Lord Alfred Douglas (1870 - 1945) at Oxford, 1893.Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If you want to win a defamation case, the main thing you ought to ensure is that the alleged defamer isn’t telling the truth. Unfortunately, barrister Edward Clarke didn’t have a chance when he chose to represent Oscar Wilde in his libel suit against John Sholto Douglas, who had accused the flamboyant writer of homosexuality – and happened to be the father of his lover, Alfred. Wilde was brazen throughout, telling Clarke that the nobleman’s claim was “absolutely false and groundless,” rejecting friends’ pleas to pull the suit and flee, and even cheekily lying about his age on the stand. But after just three days in court, the tables had completely flipped; Clarke withdrew the prosecution, and Wilde was arrested that evening for “gross indecencies.” He was later sent to prison for two years; there, he was allowed to write a long letter for “medicinal purposes,” which was published as the book De Profundis after his death in 1900. “In my perversity, and for that perversity’s sake,” he reflected, “I turned the good things of my life to evil, and the evil things of my life to good.” Alfred didn’t visit him once. Adrian Lee

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