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Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced his resignation from the Trudeau cabinet on Monday after recent reports of tension between him and the Prime Minister. Morneau is the only finance minister that Trudeau has had since his government came to power.

Morneau said he never intended to run in the next election and that the Prime Minister had not asked him to resign. Instead, he intends to put his name forward as the next secretary general for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development with Trudeau’s endorsement.

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Meanwhile, a new finance minister is expected to be announced shortly. Sources said the replacement won’t be former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Possible candidates include Current Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos.

  • John Ibbitson: The political crisis of Bill Morneau’s resignation shows the Liberals at their worst

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau leaves after walking into the room before staff were ready, ahead of a news conference where he is expected to announce his resignation, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Weak response to Hong Kong crisis could embolden Beijing on Taiwan, MPs told

Members of Parliament were warned Monday that an insufficient response from Canada to the Hong Kong crisis could help embolden China to one day move against Taiwan.

Evan Medeiros, an American scholar who served on the National Security Council in Barack Obama’s administration, cautioned MPs that he did not regard Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong as a prelude to military action against Taiwan. But, he said, China will certainly be taking inventory of how much blowback it received for restricting political freedoms in Hong Kong.

‘I gave up on here’: Canadians living in Lebanon prepare to leave as crises compound on each other

Amid a worsening political crisis following the Beirut explosion, the federal government has set up a task force to deal with requests for consular assistance in Lebanon, where more than 11,000 Canadians are registered as permanent residents. Even before the explosion, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada saw 200 new applications in the first quarter of 2020 alone, compared with 552 in all of last year and 439 in 2018.

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COVID-19 cases have also spiked in Lebanon, as residents abandon physical distancing measures to help each other following the explosion.

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DISPATCH FROM GLOBE CLIMATE

This week’s Globe Climate newsletter dives into the long-term implications of three big oil companies jumping into a bankruptcy battle. In particular, their involvement adds weight to a case emblematic of problems around underfunded environmental liabilities and orphan wells in the oil patch. Taxpayers now also have a stake in these orphan wells’ cleanup, as they have to bear some of these bankruptcies’ costs.

Other noteworthy stories include the cleanup effort for the oil spill in Mauritius and urban dwellers depaving their properties to restore the greenery beneath.

Want to dive into more stories about the environment, climate, energy and resources? Sign up for our Globe Climate newsletter.


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Highlights from DNC’s first night: Cutting between hundreds of people in different locations across the country, the virtual Democratic National Convention’s first night was a major technical feat that hit a few snags. Here are the night’s four highlights.

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Ontario clashes with teachers unions: Premier Doug Ford says the province’s teachers unions must be flexible as his government seeks major changes to the Toronto District School Board’s pandemic reopening plan. In particular, the government wants to maximize in-class instruction – a demand it says teacher unions refuse to discuss.

G20 protesters in line for cash settlement: Around 1,100 G20 protesters caught up in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history a decade ago are eligible to receive between $5,000 and $24,700 each in the proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service.

A police car burns after G20 summit protesters set fire to it in downtown Toronto on June 26, 2010.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto’s police board vote: Toronto’s police board will vote today on whether to give the city’s auditor-general increased access to the service’s finances – a move city councillors say would allow a more thoughtful debate on the future of Canada’s largest municipal police force.

B.C. requires mask-wearing in schools: B.C. now requires staff and students in middle and secondary schools to wear masks in common areas and on school buses when classes resume, changing from its previous stand of only recommending mask-wearing.

First provincial election during COVID-19: New Brunswick will become the first province to head to the polls during the pandemic, as Premier Blaine Higgs called an election for Sept. 14. The opposition Liberals rejected a proposed four-party deal last week that would have avoided an election for two years.


MORNING MARKETS

Equities stall on widening U.S.-China rift: European shares struggled to gain traction on Tuesday as simmering political tensions between the United States and China escalated, while concerns over a deadlock on further U.S. fiscal stimulus drove the U.S. dollar towards a two-year low against its rivals. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.12 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.40 per cent and 0.27 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.20 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished up 0.08 per cent. New York futures were modestly higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.98 US cents.

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WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

A long-term care home is no place for younger people with disabilities

André Picard: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has been written about the living conditions of elders in institutional care, but little attention has been focused on younger people with disabilities who also live in long-term care.”

The Canadian Armed Forces should step in to relaunch the student grant program

Graeme Menzies: “In April, Mr. Trudeau used military metaphors to describe the challenge faced by the country. Now perhaps it is time to drop the metaphors and to ask the military what they can do to help. They are, after all, already on the payroll.”

Cuba’s people have become pawns in the Trump administration’s foreign policy

Mark Entwistle: “Cuba may not be top of mind in the face of so many pressing global issues, but the way in which the United States and Cuba deal with each other is a litmus test for larger issues: peace and stability in our hemisphere, how countries manage conflict, and the limits of the extraterritorial reach of domestic law (known in ‘diplomatic-speak’ as bullying).”

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TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

First person: Reflecting on my recent success, and what I can do with this new part of my identity

Veena D. Dwivedi: “After years of research and hard work, this summer I was promoted to full professor by Brock University. It’s ironic that this progress for a visible minority happened during the ‘great pause’ of COVID-19, and when society was finally – remarkably – awakened to racism by the killing of George Floyd.”


MOMENT IN TIME: AUGUST 18, 1886

Engraving from the 'Illustrated London News' based on a photograph taken by Mr Webster, the Collector of Mangalore, showing a group of British astronomers waiting for a total eclipse at Bekul Fort, or Baikal, in south Canara, India on 12 December, 1871.

Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Helium is discovered

Helium, the gas that keeps party balloons aloft, is the second most common element in the universe. But until 1868, no one had any idea it existed. Then came the great solar eclipse of Aug. 18, which swept across India and Southeast Asia. Astronomers were keen to study the event with a new tool called the spectroscope, which separates light into its constituent colours. Norman Pogson, director of the Madras Observatory, was one of the few to notice a glowing yellow line in the spectrum of the sun’s atmosphere that he observed during the eclipse. Such lines are produced by different chemical elements, but this one did not correspond to any known substance. French astronomer Pierre Janssen was also watching from India and later learned how to spot the same line without having to wait for an eclipse. So did Norman Lockyer, a British civil servant-turned-scientist and founder of the journal Nature. By year’s end, Lockyer and Janssen believed the mysterious line represented a new element. Lockyer proposed calling it “helium” after Helios, the sun god of ancient Greece. Not until 1895 did chemists provide earthly confirmation of helium – the first and only element discovered in space. Ivan Semeniuk

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