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Good morning,

The federal government has approved design changes to the Boeing 737 Max that will allow the plane to fly again in Canada after it was banned around the world last year following two deadly crashes.

Transport Canada informed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday that it has validated a series of proposed changes to the 737 Max, and expects to make a public announcement in Ottawa on Thursday.

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Ottawa will require pilots to take additional simulator training on the revised 737 Max, and additional cockpit procedures will be implemented before the plane would return to service at Canada’s major airlines, said the department’s director-general of civil aviation, Nicholas Robinson.

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, U.S. November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo


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.

A lunar milestone: Canada will send an astronaut around the moon in deal with U.S.

A Canadian astronaut will be a part of NASA’s mission to fly around the moon in 2023.

Canada’s seat in the historic mission is part of a deal between Canadian and U.S. space agencies in which Canada will supply a pair of robotic arms for the Lunar Gateway, a space station to be assembled in lunar orbit later this decade. In return, a Canadian will join Artemis II, a NASA-led mission that is set to fling a capsule carrying four astronauts around the moon and back, although it will not touch down on the lunar surface.

The deal cements a prominent role for Canada early on in the international push to develop human spaceflight beyond the International Space Station, with the moon as focus for developing space resources and a stepping stone to Mars and other interplanetary destinations.

Also: China sparks a new era of competition in space

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O’Toole rescinds comments on residential schools after flurry of criticism

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is taking back comments he made about residential schools to Ryerson University students after facing criticism from Indigenous and other leaders. O’Toole said the residential school system was intended to try to ‘provide education’ to Indigenous children.

“I speak about the harm caused by residential schools regularly,” he said. “In my comments to Ryerson students, I said that the residential school system was intended to try and ‘provide education.’ It was not. The system was intended to remove children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions, and cultures.”

The Tory leader issued his follow-up statement yesterday after Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde expressed dismay about the comments, suggesting they were intended to score political points.

Member of Vancouver’s infamous Sahota family faces $1.2-million tax judgment

Pal Sahota, a member of a Vancouver family whose multimillion-dollar property holdings include some of the city’s most run-down rental housing, is facing a $1.2-million tax judgment and the possible forced sale of assets – including the family home – to pay the taxes owed.

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The Sahota family has loomed large in the city for decades because of the number and location of the buildings it acquired and because the family has routinely flouted municipal bylaws, even as tenants and advocates pleaded for increased oversight.

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


French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive for COVID-19: French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidential Elysee Palace announced on Thursday, adding that he would isolate himself for seven days. It was not immediately clear what contact tracing efforts were in progress. Macron attended an EUsummit at the end of last week, where he notably had a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He met Wednesday with the prime minister of Portugal.

Canadian businesses lobby for paid sick days as COVID-19 rips through workplaces: Increasing calls for paid sick days has heightened the debate among business owners on how to protect workers during the pandemic. Some businesses in Ontario have voluntarily offered paid sick days to workers, while others grapple with how to manage another financial hit when their margins are already at their thinnest.

Use of surveillance software to crack down on exam cheating has unintended consequences: The use of proctoring software for exams has boomed as many university courses have moved online because of the pandemic. But many are questioning whether this software creates more problems than it solves, including failing to recognize faces of people of colour and whether it’s an intrusion on private space, with their demands that students photograph their surroundings, often their bedroom.

Ottawa eyes rollout of vaccine campaign to Indigenous communities: The chief medical officer for Indigenous Services Canada says it is essential for provinces and territories to work with the department for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations communities. There is considerable concern among Indigenous leaders about when a vaccine will be made available to their communities because of their heightened vulnerability to the impact of the virus.

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Canada’s real estate market shows signs of overheating: Canada’s housing market is showing signs of vulnerability during the pandemic, according to a new assessment by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which is revising an earlier forecast that predicted home prices could drop as much as 18 per cent.


Stimulus hopes boost global stocks: World stocks scaled new peaks and oil marched higher on Thursday as investors bought risky assets on hopes of a U.S. fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep pumping cash into markets. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.06 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.78 per cent and 0.27 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.18 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.82 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.72 US cents.


Robyn Urback: “But if [Scott] Moe could demonstrate the same surgical decisiveness and impassioned opposition to the coronavirus as he showcases in opposition to the carbon tax, his province would likely fare far better in controlling its pandemic.”

Konrad Yakabuski: “[Dominic] Barton, who has remained mum about his knowledge of questionable consulting activities that occurred on his watch at McKinsey, is essentially toxic in Washington now. At the very least, this complicates any attempt by the Trudeau government to earn the trust of U.S. State Department officials whose help it has been counting on in winning the release of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.”

David Parkinson: “As the federal government prepares its stimulus spending plans over the next few months, a major focus will have to be creating incentives to bring reluctant corporate purse holders out of their holes. And from corporate Canada’s vantage point, this may be the strongest opportunity it has had in years to tell Ottawa what it needs, in terms of policy innovations, to make business investment a priority again.”



Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Gather, Sunday: A live concert with William Prince, in conversation with Jana G. Pruden

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Sundays are a special time for William Prince. A time to gather, to reflect, and to share. This Sunday (Dec. 20) at noon ET, The Globe and Mail will host the Juno-award winning artist for a special livestream performance and interview, with questions from viewers and Globe reporter Jana G. Pruden.


Candles surround a picture of Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable seller who set himself alight on December 17, 2010 and ignited nationwide protests that forced ex-president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali to flee the country, during a nighttime vigil in downtown Tunis, January 22, 2011.

Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS

Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire

Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation was an act of despair in the face of harassment and intimidation that became one of the most consequential acts of protest, leading to mass demonstrations, the downfall of governments and wars that continue to this day. Born in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, he became a street vendor. But he was harassed by police, who stole his wares because he couldn’t afford to bribe them. Indifference from authorities to his plight led to him declaring to the governor that he would set himself on fire. “How do you expect me to make a living?” he said as he stood in traffic and doused himself in gasoline. He remained in a coma until his death on Jan. 4, 2011, at 26 years old. Bouazizi’s final act would spawn protests in Tunisia and across the Arab world in countries such as Algeria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. Tunisia’s then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was the first to be deposed, followed by other long-time leaders. The massive power vacuum led to the rise of the Islamic State and the effects are ever-present today in conflicts in Yemen, Libya and Syria. Iain Boekhoff

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