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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that Quebec can unilaterally amend the Constitution to advance its plans to bolster the use of French is being disputed by some constitutional experts, who say the proposal would have to be approved by Parliament.

In his first comments since the announcement of Quebec’s most notable language policy in decades, Trudeau said yesterday that the province can amend part of the Constitution to underscore that it is a nation and that its official language is French – adding that both things have already been recognized by the federal government.

But Errol Mendes, a professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Ottawa, said Quebec would need parliamentary approval to proceed. Also, political scientist Emmett Macfarlane of the University of Waterloo said Quebec’s unilateral action on this issue would not be permissible.

Editorial: François Legault just set a constitutional trap for Justin Trudeau

Andre Coyne: Quebec’s anglophone minority is a target, once again – and no one is coming to the rescue

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease, May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Blair GableBLAIR GABLE/Reuters

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Could Quebec’s successful battle against the opioid epidemic be turning?

The harm prevention worker Jean-François Mary carries a black zip-up case about the size of an old phone receiver wherever he goes in Montreal.

Inside are four vials of naloxone, which helps counteract opioid overdoses. He and his colleagues have had to jab the antidote into more users than they can count this year – far more than ever before.

Until recently, Quebec existed in a charmed circle all its own amid the raging opioid epidemic. In 2018, it ranked second from the bottom among Canadian provinces and U.S. states in terms of opioid fatalities, with 207 deaths.

But the province’s advantage is beginning to slip away.

Women in executive roles make 56 per cent less than men, study shows

Women executives earned about 56 per cent less on average than men executives and this pay gap widened even further for racialized women, who earned about 32 per cent less than non-visible minority women, according to a new study from Statistics Canada that underscores the sweeping disparities in Corporate Canada.

Translated into dollar figures, there was a $600,000 difference between the average woman executive’s income ($495,600) and the average executive man’s ($1.1-million). The average compensation for visible minority women was $347,100, while visible minority men took home $681,900.

More: Follow The Power Gap, The Globe and Mail’s investigative series on pay inequity in Canada

The Decibel podcast: The Tokyo Olympics are happening despite Japan’s COVID-19 surge

In today’s The Decibel, host Tamara Khandaker speaks to columnist Cathal Kelly about why, even in the face of widespread disapproval among Japanese and the threat of COVID-19 infecting the Games, the Olympics are scheduled to take place in Tokyo at the end of July.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

New treatment potential ‘game-changer’ for cancer patients, oncologists say: A new technology called the MR-Linac combines radiation and high-resolution MRI in one device, and doctors say it has the potential to be a “game-changer” for the treatment of various cancers, from brain cancers to pancreatic, liver and prostate cancers.

Trudeau calls for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas conflict: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined a chorus of international leaders calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as the NDP urged the federal government to stop selling arms to Israel.

Opinion: How long did Israel think Palestinians would put up with their current situation?

David Shribman: The U.S. could use carrots or sticks to sway Israel, but Biden is biding his time

John Ibbitson: When it comes to the Mideast conflict, it is important to know the difference between criticism of policy and criticism of people

Niagara Falls’ newest attraction offers visitors a closer look at its historical power: The 115-year-old Niagara Parks Power Station is the kind of place that young families and engineering geeks will both love as the once-abandoned hydroelectricity station opens its doors to tourists this summer.

Up to 2,500 fans allowed at Bell Centre for potential Leafs-Canadiens Game 6: A limited number of fans will be permitted in the Bell Centre to watch a May 29 playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, should the series last that long, the Quebec government announced yesterday.


MORNING MARKETS

World stocks slide: Global stocks slipped and cryptocurrencies sank on Wednesday as a threat of unwanted inflation had investors shy away from assets seen as vulnerable to any removal of monetary stimulus. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.78 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 1.10 per cent and 0.78 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.28 per cent. Markets in Hong Kong were closed. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was trading at 82.80 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Jeffrey Jones: “The IEA has laid out a path to allow the developed world to achieve its [climate] targets at a time when hard decisions have to be made. In Canada, the cultural change necessary to follow the directions will surely be one of the hardest parts.”

Gary Mason: “But Dr. Fauci’s announcement could have widespread consequences. Right now, everyone is trying to figure out what this new directive means in practical terms. The biggest and most obvious question: How is anyone to know whether a person without a mask on is actually fully vaccinated? Mr. Biden has said he is not in favour of anything that resembles a vaccine passport or vaccine verification, and that’s going to be an issue.”

Cathal Kelly: “The Leafs are in that sweet spot now. They might not be in 10 days or so. But for the first time since – what? The nineties? The early aughts? – that’s a problem for 10 days from now, rather than a problem to obsess over right this moment.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Globe Craft Club: Learn how to make the zestiest scones

Who isn’t craving comfort these days? Join Raufikat Oyawoye-Salami, winner of Season 4 of The Great Canadian Baking Show, for our latest Globe Craft Club class, live-streamed next Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT. An engineer in her day job, she’ll be teaching us how to make lemon zest, dried cranberry and white chocolate scones. Watch the class at tgam.ca/craftclub or on Facebook, and for the latest updates join our Facebook group.


MOMENT IN TIME: MAY 19, 1536

Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, executed 1536.The Stapleton Collection/The Stapleton Collection / Bridgeman Images

Anne Boleyn is beheaded

As if playing a principal role in England’s Reformation drama and giving birth to one of its most important monarchs wasn’t enough, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, also achieved the distinction of being the first English queen to be publicly executed. Unable to produce the male heir Henry so desperately wanted, Anne fell victim to political machinations at court and the king was made to believe she had been unfaithful. During the annual May Day jousting tournament, Henry departed without telling Anne, whom he never saw again. She was taken into custody on May 2 on a litany of charges (including adultery and treason), convicted and sentenced to death. The conventional mode of execution was burning, but Henry, out of what he said was “pity,” allowed for a beheading. On this day in 1536, Queen Anne was led from her lodgings in the Tower of London to the scaffold outside. A skilled swordsman from France did the deed in a single stroke while Anne kneeled in an upright position – seen as a more dignified end than the block and axe. Henry married his third wife, Jane Seymour, less than two weeks later. Ian Morfitt


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