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Good morning,

The Ontario government has announced that it plans to expand correctional facilities in Thunder Bay and Kenora as part of a five-year, $500-million investment in correctional services across the province. The province said the funds will help the prisons deal with overcrowding and allow increased rehabilitation programs, with input from Indigenous communities.

The move comes after a judge in Northern Ontario last week called jails the modern version of residential schools for Indigenous peoples, and a Globe and Mail investigation into the Thunder Bay District Jail, published last week, found that last year, inmate-on-inmate assaults more than doubled from 2018. Since 2002, at least nine inmates – eight of them Indigenous – have died by overdose and other means.

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More coverage:

‘The jail is just a death trap’: Stories of overcrowding, understaffing and violence in Thunder Bay

Sentencing law unfair to people on remote reserves, judge rules

Pigeons nest along caged windows at the Thunder Bay Jail. David Jackson / The Globe and Mail

DAVID JACKSON/The Globe and Mail

This is the daily Morning Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Morning Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters on our newsletter signup page.

BC Liberals plan would put $9-billion dent in provincial budget in first year

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said Tuesday his party would cut taxes and increase spending to finance new daycare spaces, build long-term care facilities and hire more police officers, for a total of $9.2-billion in commitments in its first year if elected.

“Now is not the time to cut social services,” Wilkinson said. “We’ll grow our way out of this recession,” he said, adding that a Liberal government would begin next year to map out a plan to return to balanced budgets.

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Wilkinson also tried to defuse a controversy after one of his candidates made sexist and belittling remarks about New Democrat Bowinn Ma at a party fundraiser last month.

Alberta fails to provide timely opioid data despite promised overhaul

Alberta has delayed plans to release up-to-date information on overdose deaths that experts say is necessary to stem the rise of fatalities from drugs.

The province said in June it planned to unveil a new system on reporting deaths related to opioids around the end of August or September. Now the government says it does not know when the new system will be ready.

Alberta recorded 301 deaths tied to opioid overdoses in April, May and June. This tally, which was released in September, is double the death toll in the three months prior and the most fatal in Alberta’s years-long struggle to control the opioid crisis.

More coverage:

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Alberta opioid deaths doubled as physical-distancing rules put in place, statistics show

Overdoses are killing more people in Western Canada than COVID-19. B.C. has a bold new plan

UCP government to cut up to 11,000 jobs at Alberta Health Services

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Businesses mark 50th anniversary with calls for Canada to end Meng case and broaden trade: Business leaders are growing increasingly frustrated at the political friction between the two countries and are calling for the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Also: Trudeau vows to stand up to China’s ‘coercive diplomacy’

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U of T law professors blame dean Edward Iacobucci’s ‘rule by fiat’ for Azarova controversy: Nine professors from the University of Toronto’s law school are criticizing the dean’s actions as “high handed” and “rule by fiat” after a job offer for the director of the International Human Rights Program was rescinded. The professors have asked the university’s provost to ensure that a new dean of law will not “exercise authority in ways destructive of the culture of inquiry, learning and accountability.”

Scramble for flu shots creates challenges for health care providers, pharmacies: The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing health care practitioners across the country to find new ways to administer the flu shot to patients. Pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and local public health units are setting up flu shot clinics and in some areas, doctors are organizing outdoor drive-thru clinics.

How Sir Harold Evans helped the cause of Canadian thalidomide survivors from behind the scenes: Sir Harold Evans was a brilliant and acclaimed journalist, writer and editor. In the 1970s, as the editor of The Sunday Times, he led a journalistic crusade to expose the thalidomide tragedy in Britain. What’s less well known is the critical behind-the-scenes role he played on behalf of Canadian thalidomide survivors.


MORNING MARKETS

European markets steady: European shares held steady on Wednesday, underpinned by gains for Wall Street futures, following losses the day before on vaccine trials and a stimulus impasse, while the U.S. dollar was also stable. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.42 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were both up 0.25 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.11 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.07 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.14 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Andrew Coyne: “Hold on. Before any know-it-all pundit is allowed to flannel on about ‘battleground states’ or ‘races to watch,’ they should be made to answer this question: Isn’t every state supposed to be a battleground state? Don’t the voters in California and New York, Kansas or Kentucky, have just as much right to be heard, whether by the candidates or the media, as those in any swing state?”

Ted Morton: “But this time, the stakes in the Barrett hearings are far higher for the Democrats. For too long and on too many issues, progressive Democrats – proponents of the new identity politics – have become accustomed to winning policy battles in the courts rather than at the ballot box. The prospect of having to win over a majority of voters rather than just five justices might be unnerving for the party.”

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Editorial Board: “Ottawa’s desire to sidestep controversy by handing the issue off to municipalities is political cowardice. The strong arguments invoked for banning military-style semiautomatic rifles are all the stronger when the target is handguns."


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

One of the year’s surprising travel trends – night sky viewing

As coronavirus cases surge, Canadians have decided to postpone vacations to far-off destinations and instead do their sightseeing from home. Telescope sales have skyrocketed as lockdowns and travel restrictions have spurred a renewed interest in stargazing. Astronomy photographer Alan Dyer says fall is prime astronomy season and, lucky for us, Canada’s latitude provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the night sky.


MOMENT IN TIME: OCTOBER 14, 1998

An aerial View of the EKATI Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, c. July 2012.

BHP BILLITON

Canada’s first diamond mine opens

Canada’s tundra has been fertile ground for diamonds. More than two decades after the first diamond mine opened in Canada, the country is now the world’s third largest producer of the precious rock, following Botswana and Russia. The first discovery was made in 1991 when prospector Charles Fipke located kimberlite pipes that house diamonds in the Lac de Gras area in the Northwest Territories. His discovery spurred a diamond rush in Canada’s North, along with huge investment and the development of the Ekati mine, 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

Ekati started production at a time when there was an oversupply of diamonds and concern over lack of demand. However, Canadian diamonds benefited somewhat as public backlash intensified against conflict diamonds or those mined in war zones in Africa. There are now several diamond mines and projects in Canada, most of which are in the Northwest Territories. Today, Ekati is in limbo. Its best days are over and its current owner, Dominion Diamond Mines, suspended production in April saying it had to stop work to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Calgary-based company has since filed for creditor protection and has blamed the pandemic for the dwindling demand. Rachelle Younglai

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