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Ottawa orders ‘urgent’ probe into Crown corporation chair over conflict of interest

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The federal government has ordered an “urgent” investigation into the business activities of the Liberal-appointed chair of a Crown corporation after learning that she worked as a consultant for an Ontario construction company shortly after she resigned as its top executive to resolve a conflict of interest. The Globe and Mail discovered on Thursday that Moreen Miller’s work for Fowler Construction Co. Ltd. didn’t end after she resigned as president in September, 2018, and maintained her part-time position as chair of Defence Construction Canada (DCC). She later helped Fowler on a quarry project in a township near Orillia, Ont. The government has also asked Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to investigate Ms. Miller, who was appointed in 2017 as chair of DCC, which handles military infrastructure contracts. The Globe reported on Thursday morning that DCC had suspended Fowler from bidding on contracts while Ms. Miller was chair, but lifted the suspension after she resigned.

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Vancouver Granville is split down the middle as former Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould seeks re-election

Trudeaumania delivered a stunning majority to a party that had entered the 2015 campaign in third place and trending down under Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. But the party is fighting to hang on to deeply disenchanted Liberals and left-of-centre voters ahead of Monday’s election. This isn’t just a test of the Liberals’ popularity, but also a test of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s own brand and perhaps of her long-term viability in federal politics, which in Canada remains a deeply partisan game. Some nearby homes have campaign signs for both Ms. Wilson-Raybould and for Taleeb Noormohamed, the Liberal candidate – signalling divisions within families, and voters themselves.

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Shelling heard around Syrian town hours after Turkey agrees to ceasefire deal

Shelling and gunfire resounded around the northeast Syrian town of Ras al Ain on Friday, a day after Turkey agreed with the United States to pause its offensive in Syria for five days to let Kurdish forces withdraw. The agreement some 13 hours earlier was meant to defuse mounting bipartisan anger in Washington over U.S. President Donald Trump’s go-ahead for Turkey to invade last week. But whether it will ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria or calm the waters in Washington, as Mr. Trump seeks to rally his Republican caucus in the face of an impeachment inquiry, remain open questions. Under the terms of the pact, Turkey will agree to a ceasefire while the YPG, a Kurdish group, retreats from a 32-kilometre strip on the Syrian side of the border. The Trump administration will ultimately lift sanctions on Ankara, including a 50-per-cent tariff on Turkish steel.

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Transport Minister faced barrage from Canadians over delay in grounding 737 Max

More than 360 pages of e-mails expressing concern and fear for loved ones set to fly after a second deadly 737 Max crash were obtained by The Globe and Mail under Access to Information legislation. The documents also indicate that federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and his staff did not consider the issue a top priority in the immediate aftermath of the crash on the morning of Sunday, March 10. That afternoon, Mr. Garneau sent an e-mail to his advisers requesting an update on the Ethiopian situation the following morning, so that he could address the media on Monday. The e-mail suggests that the focus of department meetings would be on the formulation of Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which are new rules aimed at compensating consumers for delays, lost baggage and cancellations.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Opposition lawmakers shout down Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for second day: The lawmakers shouted and waved placards depicting Ms. Lam with bloodied hands, prompting the removal of 14 by guards and the suspension of the question-and-answer session.

Health Canada considers allowing e-cigarette companies to promote harm-reduction benefits: Physicians, researchers and health organizations say allowing companies to make those claims would be a critical misstep because such statements play down the risks of e-cigarettes and could encourage more young people to vape.

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Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest to climate rally with Greta Thunberg: The counter-rally is meant to be peaceful and show the pride of Alberta’s oil and gas sector, said Glen Carritt, who organized the United We Roll convoy that travelled to Ottawa in February.

NBA Commissioner says league hit by huge financial losses due to Daryl Morey’s Hong Kong tweet: The National Basketball Association spent years building a huge following and burgeoning business in China, a market worth an estimated US$4-billion for the league, but its future in the country is suddenly on shaky ground.

MORNING MARKETS

Weak China GDP report weighs on markets: U.S. stock futures were slightly lower early Friday as weak GDP figures out of China again highlighted the impact of the U.S.-China trade row on the global economy. World markets were also down as the disappointing figures offset gains seen in the wake of a Brexit agreement between Britain and the European Union. On Bay Street, TSX futures were just below break even. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 and the Paris CAC 40 were each down 0.4 per cent by about 4:45 a.m. ET, with Germany’s DAX up 0.1 per cent. Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.2 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.3 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading above 76 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Why Jason Kenney is afraid of Greta Thunberg

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Gary Mason: “Greta Thunberg doesn’t have a particular grievance against Alberta any more than she does any province or country not doing enough to turn the tide on the most existential threat we have ever faced.”

Not sure how to vote? Start with the parties that recognize there’s a climate crisis

Margaret Atwood: “You can’t afford to be squeamish. A while ago people were urging you to consider your grandkids, but things are moving faster. It’s not just your grandkids you need to worry about now. It’s you.” Atwood’s latest novel is The Testaments, co-winner of this year’s Booker Prize.

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

Looking to see what’s new in theatres and streaming this week? Check out The Globe’s weekly round up of what to watch, including the four-star Parasite, Netflix’s The King and fan-service Zombieland: Double Tap (the sequel you never knew you didn’t really need). Also opening are Greener Grass, a comedy destined to achieve cult status, and the misfire sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

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MOMENT IN TIME

J. WALTER THOMPSON/The Associated Press

Oct. 17, 1931

He was at the forefront of America’s first technological revolution and chummed with the likes of Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. But while the other two men were known for primarily one contribution to commerce and society (cars and tires, respectively), Thomas Edison was heralded for inventing a laundry list of things including the first electric railroad, the first alkaline battery, the forerunner to the first motion picture camera and projector, the phonograph (no small feat for a man who was mostly deaf) and, most significant, perhaps, the first complete electrical distribution system for light and power. He founded several companies, one of which – after many amalgamations – went on to become General Electric. Little wonder he’s often referred to as America’s greatest inventor. However, for all those accomplishments (he received 1,093 U.S. patents over the course of his life), Edison is still best known as the inventor of the light bulb – which he technically is not. Edison gave the world the first long-lasting one. He worked until his death at the age of 84, from complications of diabetes. To honour him, communities and corporations dimmed their lights or briefly turned them off. His motto? “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” — Gayle MacDonald

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