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Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to reveal today a fiscal deficit in excess of $300-billion after months of shutting down many sectors of the economy and financing emergency programs in response to COVID-19. His address to Parliament is set to be at around 1:40 pm ET.

A senior government official said the report will forecast the deficit for only the current fiscal year instead of providing any new policy announcements. The government has already cautioned that the report will be less detailed than a traditional fiscal update, which normally includes five years of fiscal projections. A full update is expected to be released in the fall instead.

The fiscal deficit projection raises concerns about how the government plans to phase out heavy pandemic spending that has allowed the deficit to grow more than tenfold in seven months.

Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau arrives to a meeting of the special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 13, 2020.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

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Health professionals call on politicians to have more balanced approach to COVID-19

Some of Canada’s top public-health experts say the country’s focus on wiping out the coronavirus is posing “significant risks to overall population health,” as other priorities take a backseat to the pandemic. Instead, they call for a more “balanced approach” that protects those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 while allowing the rest of society to return to something closer to normal.

Critics of the letter’s position say Canada would be foolish to jeopardize its progress by lifting the remaining restrictions too quickly, especially as both the virus and the lockdowns have disproportionately affected poor and racialized Canadians.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said it is aware and working on the issues raised in the letter with provincial authorities.

Saint John, N.B. pushes to make discrimination a crime

The city council of Saint John has approved a motion to push for provincial and federal legislative changes to make discrimination a crime. It also ordered the city lawyer to investigate whether the municipality has powers to impose fines in cases of racism.

This decision came three weeks after Saint John police Chief Stephan Drolet said there was no racism on his force and he’s never witnessed it in the city during a radio interview. The conversation was prompted by the deaths of two Indigenous people in New Brunswick in shootings involving other police forces in June.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Auditor-General to study Canada’s response to COVID-19: In her first round of audits into Canada’s response to the pandemic, Auditor-General Karen Hogan will study Ottawa’s support for temporary foreign workers and its management of personal protective equipment, which different Globe and Mail investigations have found to be lacking. Hogan said she chose these areas of focus mainly because of their effects on Canadians and dollar values.

Documents on WE Charity to be released: With a vote in the House of Commons finance committee meeting on Tuesday, opposition MPs have forced the Liberal government to release documents relevant to WE Charity’s now-cancelled contract to administer the $912-million student volunteer program. Cancelled on July 3, the deal received significant scrutiny from the start over close ties between WE Charity and the Trudeau family.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau appear on stage during WE Day UN in New York City, Wednesday September 20, 2017.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Military colleges affected by cyberattack: Following The Globe and Mail’s reporting, the Department of National Defence (DND) confirmed the data breach that began last Friday has affected an entire computer network at the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA). The academy includes Royal Military College and three institutions in Ontario and Quebec. However, the breach will not jeopardize any state secrets, according to the DND.

Jamie Bacon to plead guilty for role in Surrey Six murders: Jamie Bacon plans to plead guilty this week for his role in a 2007 shooting in Surrey, B.C. The shooting killed six people, including two innocent bystanders, and became a flashpoint in a bloody gang war in the Vancouver region.

B.C. court rules in favour of father who lets kids ride the bus alone: A Vancouver father has won a legal battle over whether his children could ride city buses on their own. B.C.‘s Court of Appeal found the province overstepped its authority when it ordered him to supervise his young children on public transit, overturning a 2019 Supreme Court of B.C. ruling that supported provincial orders.


MORNING MARKETS

Global shares waver on coronavirus fears: Global stocks faltered on Wednesday as an increase in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the world undermined prospects for a quick economic recovery. Just after 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.48 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.77 per cent and 1.13 per cent, respectively. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.74 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.78 per cent. New York futures were treading water. The Canadian dollar was trading at 73.52 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Indigenous people have a plan for achieving true justice. When will Canada act?

Judith Kekinusuqs Sayers, Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem and Doug White III Kwulasultun: “We need to pursue a new foundation for policing and the legal system that includes Indigenous peoples. The call for immediate action is one that all Canadians must share – but the change must be led by Indigenous people if we are to achieve real justice.”

Yet another ethical car crash in which the Prime Minister is an innocent bystander

Andrew Coyne: “The Prime Minister has referred to it as “the decision taken by WE,” but perhaps he was using the royal “we.” The government, after all, would be quite desperate to starve this developing scandal of any oxygen, by any means necessary. Whereas WE, which like many charities has been hard hit by the pandemic – it has had to lay off much of its staff – could have used the $20-million or more it stood to be paid from the program.”

Analysis: Two Amigos? AMLO goes to Washington to meet with Trump without Trudeau

Adrian Morrow: “During his successful campaign for the Mexican presidency, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador described Donald Trump’s supporters as “neo-fascists” and compared their anti-immigrant ideology to that of Nazi Germany. But since taking office 19 months ago, Mr. Lopez Obrador has adopted a deferential attitude toward the U.S. President. ... This policy of appeasement will reach its peak Wednesday when Mr. Lopez Obrador visits the White House in his first foreign trip as President, ostensibly to mark the start of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaced NAFTA this month.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic? Get up, sitting is terrible

Working from home and sitting through endless Zoom meetings can mean long bouts of uninterrupted sitting. But this is a terrible habit, as it has shown to lead to future health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Instead, try “exercise snacks” – whether in the form of stair climbing or other short bursts of intense activity – to add some movement back to the day.


MOMENT IN TIME: July 8, 1957

The Pugwash Conferences take their name from the location of the first meeting, which was held July 8, 1957 in the village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, birthplace of the American philanthropist Cyrus Eaton, who hosted the meeting.Pugwash Conferences

Disarmament conference takes place in Pugwash, N.S.

At the outset of the Cold War, a small fishing and salt-mining village on Nova Scotia’s north coast became the birthplace of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global organization committed to nuclear disarmament. In 1957, Polish physicist Joseph Rotblat and British philosopher and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell held the first of what would become the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, taking the name from Pugwash, N.S. – the location of the first meeting. The conference was inspired by the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, published in 1955, that urged world leaders and scientists to “remember their humanity” and discuss the global threat posed by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The first conference found its way to Pugwash at the invitation of philanthropist Cyrus Eaton, who was born in the village. He had initially purchased the property in 1929 to refurbish it into an inn in an effort to revitalize the village’s faltering economy. More than two decades later, Eaton played host to 22 scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain to discuss the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Since then, hundreds of Pugwash Conferences have taken place around the world. Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 for their efforts on nuclear disarmament. The venue for the first meeting, known as the Thinkers Lodge, was designated a national historic site by Parks Canada in 2008. Stefanie Marotta

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