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The New Democrats say they won’t stand in the way of higher military spending to confront the Russian threat as long as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approves billions of dollars in new social programs as part of a deal to prop up the minority Liberal government until June, 2025.

Trudeau flew to Brussels yesterday for a special summit of NATO leaders on Ukraine, and is under pressure from Western allies to boost defence spending significantly in the federal budget expected in April. Other NATO allies, such as Germany, Denmark and Britain, have vowed to increase spending on new weapons, equipment and fighter jets to counter Russian aggression.

Before Trudeau left for Brussels, he and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh held separate news conferences to announce the deal to keep the Liberals in power for the next three years in exchange for parliamentary co-operation and progress on key NDP policies, including an income-based dental care program, national pharmacare and issues such as housing and climate change.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh shake hands following the federal leaders French language debate in Gatineau, Que., Oct. 10, 2019.POOL/Reuters

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Supreme Court hearing in case of Quebec mosque shooter offers first test of federal life-without-parole law

Canada’s life-without-parole penalty faces the first test of its constitutionality at the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday, in the case of Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six Muslim worshippers at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

The possibility of parole, even for multiple murders, had been a distinguishing feature of the Canadian justice system. But since 2011, federal law in Canada has allowed parole waiting periods to be added together: 25 years for each first-degree murder conviction, or 150 years maximum for Mr. Bissonnette.

In 2020, Quebec’s top court ruled the penalty unconstitutional. Quebec has appealed that ruling, and along with four other provinces, the federal government, crime victims and police groups, will ask the Supreme Court to uphold the law. Several groups of criminal-defence lawyers, civil libertarians and prison-law clinics will ask that it be struck down.

Newfoundland and Labrador launch recruitment campaign for Ukrainian refugees on the streets of Warsaw

Darek and Iwona Nakonieczny left Poland more than 30 years ago and built a new life together in St. John’s. Now they are back in the country of their birth, encouraging Ukrainian war refugees to relocate to the Rock.

The Nakoniecznys are part of a four-person team of officials from Newfoundland and Labrador who have hit the streets of Warsaw, armed with brochures and looking for Ukrainians who might be interested in moving to the province. They have been chatting up students, talking to people in restaurants and approaching refugees on sidewalks.

The Canadian government has introduced a special visa program that will allow Ukrainian refugees to stay in the country for as long as three years. Newfoundland is the first Canadian jurisdiction to send officials to Poland to actively recruit refugees, but it’s far from alone.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Badly damaged black box found at China Eastern plane crash site: China says one of two black boxes from the China Eastern plane crash was found, but is so damaged that they are not able to tell whether it is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.

Canadian business leaders make pitch to cover Ukraine’s energy, food shortfalls: A delegation of Canadian business leaders went to Washington earlier this week to pitch U.S. lawmakers on turning to Canada to cover energy and food shortfalls stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine. The group offered Canadian commodities such as oil, barley and potash as a means of coping with shortages brought on by the European conflict.

Lower daycare fees may remain years away for many parents: Ottawa’s aim is to drive down the cost of child care in regulated spaces for children under the age of 6. But the uneven pace of the federal plan rollout across the country and severe shortages of child-care spaces and staff mean many families are wondering whether they will be able to access subsidized care while their kids are young enough to be eligible for it.

Investigators searching for answers in China Eastern Airlines crash: Chinese officials said yesterday there is no sign of survivors from the crash of China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735. The comments came as 2,000 emergency workers and soldiers scoured a mountain in China’s Guangxi province, picking through plane wreckage and surveying the site by drone in hopes of finding answers to what caused the country’s first air disaster in more than 10 years.

Catholic religious order to open archives on Canadian residential schools: A Catholic religious order that operated some residential schools in Canada says it will open its archives in Rome to researchers. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has agreed to grant the Winnipeg-based National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation full access to records in the Italian city.

Bank of China’s mortgage lending soars in Ontario, wanes in B.C.: Bank of China’s residential mortgages soared in Ontario over the past six years, a new analysis shows, suggesting more Chinese lending shifted to Ontario’s housing market as B.C. cracked down on foreign real estate purchases.


MORNING MARKETS

Global shares rose Wednesday following a rally on Wall Street led by technology companies. Benchmarks edged up in Europe in early trading, while shares finished higher across Asia despite worries about rising energy costs. Investors were closely watching what might happen with President Joe Biden joining a NATO meeting and EU Summit Thursday in Europe, where sanctions and the Russian oil embargo will likely top the agenda. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.46 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Antara Haldar: “Judge Jackson is emphatic that she does not view all legal issues through the lens of race. Even so, her nomination raises an important issue of institutional design. By including a representative of the country’s most legally neglected community in one of its most highly respected institutions, the U.S. can set an example internationally.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Six reasons to ignore the Oscars this year

There are lots of reasons to be cheerful on a Sunday night. The Academy Awards, coming this Sunday, isn’t one of them. The relevance of the Oscars is too flimsy to carry weight or truth about anything, and here is a list of reasons to just ignore the the show this year.


MOMENT IN TIME: MARCH 23, 1998

Director James Cameron raises his Oscar after winning in the best director category during the 70th Academy Awards. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty ImagesTIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Titanic wins 11 Oscars, including Best Picture

Producers of the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday hope to just barely squeak above the record-low ratings of last year’s televised gala, to which a pitiful 9.23 million viewers tuned in (a 51-per-cent drop from the previous year). But back in 1998, the Oscars scored its biggest audience ever when 55.25 million people watched Titanic sweep the ceremony, including wins for best director (James “King of the World!” Cameron) and best picture. The Oscars triumph wasn’t even a high-water mark for the film, which would continue to set box-office records on fire through the summer, eventually netting US$1.8-billion worldwide. Pegged as a costly disaster throughout its troubled production, Titanic would go on to make instant stars of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, send Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On anthem to the top of the charts and give Canadian filmmaker Cameron virtual carte blanche for the rest of his career (or at least until Hollywood sees just how well his Avatar sequels perform). Barry Hertz


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