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Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Transport Canada missed flaws in the Boeing 737 Max

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The aviation authority believed the 737 Max was safe when it approved the new plane three years ago, but officials are now acknowledging gaps in their review process.

“We have to pick and choose the areas that we will review,” David Turnbull, Transport Canada’s national aircraft certification director, said on the first day of federal hearings on the Max. “It so happened that [the software] was not an area that we delved into in any great depth.”

The hearings are in part examining Transport Canada’s reliance on U.S. oversight; American authorities cleared the Max, with two jets subsequently involved in deadly crashes that killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians.

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.

Pipeline protests and blockades show no signs of letting up across Canada

Protestors block rail lines in Hamilton on Tuesday. (Brett Gundlock/The Globe and Mail)

A rail blockade in Hamilton halted commuter and rail traffic yesterday – and organizers say they will be back. Disruptions also stymied travellers on or near three separate GO Transit rail lines in Toronto during rush hour. Transit authorities warned further delays are possible today.

Those actions were among several new protests nationwide, including one blockade in New Hazelton, B.C., that resulted in several arrests, including a hereditary chief of the Gitxsan Nation, which neighbours Wet’suwet’en Nation.

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“I was prepared to get arrested to show how Canada treats Indigenous people – that they [police] would come on to our unceded land and arrest us,” said Chief Norman Stephens, who is also known as Spookwx.

Ottawa says that Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink project have been in discussions with the B.C. RCMP about a de-escalation plan.

In Alberta, Jason Kenney says he won’t cede jurisdiction to Ottawa on climate change

The Alberta Premier said his province won’t cede “an inch” to the federal government as he readies for future battles with Ottawa over climate policy and oil sands development.

“We are not going to sit back and allow Ottawa to decide the future of Alberta’s economy,” Kenney said in an interview with The Globe. His comments were made a day after the province’s appeals court ruled against the federal carbon tax, setting the stage for a Supreme Court decision.

Kenney said he was still open to regulating a cap on heavy emitters, but that he wouldn’t agree to one without concessions from Ottawa, including the approval of three or four major oil sands projects.

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Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan is on an hastily scheduled trip through Alberta in a bid to contain the backlash from the Frontier mine cancellation.

Meanwhile, the province has tabled a bill that would jail pipeline protesters for up to six months and impose fines starting at $1,000 a day. Legal experts questioned its constitutionality and said it could face a challenge if passed into law.

Health officials are increasingly voicing concerns over coronavirus

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the recent trajectory of the virus has raised concern about “community spread” in the country. And Bruce Aylward, a Canadian doctor who led a team of health experts on a recent trip to China, said countries must prepare as if the virus “is going to show up tomorrow.”

Those comments came as South Korea and Italy both reported significant increases in infections, while Austria, Croatia and Spain’s Canary Islands all announced their first confirmed cases.

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Bernie Sanders hit with attacks in debate: The Democratic front-runner was the primary target in South Carolina as his rivals sought to gain ground ahead of key contests, including next week’s Super Tuesday. Joe Biden, who has slipped in the polls, went after Sanders for voting against gun control legislation.

Queen’s under pressure to reinstate coach: A growing chorus of athletes, alumni and academics are calling on Queen’s University to bring back Steve Boyd, who was fired for criticizing the University of Guelph’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations. Some Queen’s track athletes said they may quit the program out of protest.

B.C. hospice losing funding over MAID stand: The province will be pulling funding for a Delta hospice that refused to allow its patients access to medical assistance in dying. The hospice gets 94 per cent of its operating funds from a regional health authority.

U.S. agents raid offices of Canadian fashion executive: Police are seeking evidence on Peter Nygard as part of a sex-trafficking investigation. At least four women have accused Nygard, 78, of sexually assaulting them in the Bahamas when they were 14 and 15. Nygaard has denied the allegations, blaming them on his neighbour in the Bahamas.


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World shares slump for fifth day, bets grow on interest rate cuts to counter damage: World stocks tumbled for the fifth straight day on Wednesday, while safe-haven gold rose back towards seven-year highs and U.S. bond yields held near record lows after governments and health authorities warned of a possible coronavirus pandemic. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 1.08 per cent just before 6:30 a.m. ET. Germany’s DAX fell 2.06 per cent. France’s CAC 40 slid 1.49 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.79 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.73 per cent. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.22 US cents.


Virus fears? Sell-off has more to do with high valuations, overdue market correction

Ian McGugan: “Investors should be worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus. But they should be equally concerned about the psychological impact of the outbreak. For at least some people, the virus appears to be crystallizing a wider set of anxieties around stock prices.”


(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)


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What’s on stage across Canada Feb. 25 to March 1

Critic J. Kelly Nestruck offers these picks for the week:

Us/Them – a play about the 2004 Beslan, Russia school siege that left 334 people dead, including 186 children – has its Canadian premiere at the CAA Theatre in Toronto.

Winnipeg will see the world premiere of the new full-length version of Frances Koncan’s fringe fest comedy Women of the Fur Trade at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

The Assembly, a piece of verbatim theatre that brings real people together to discuss politics and examine our polarized times, is now at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

For a weekly preview of what’s opening on Canadian stages, sign up for The Globe’s new Nestruck on Theatre newsletter, launching next week.


Canada’s first female surgeon dies


Feb. 26, 1981: Medical pioneer Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson lived for 103 years, a feat that is the least of her accomplishments. Robertson, who died on this day in 1981, studied medicine and became a surgeon at a time when that just wasn’t done. She was the first woman in Canada to perform major surgery, removing a patient’s ovaries on a kitchen table, according to a University of Toronto publication. Robertson was born on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, studied at the Ontario Medical College for Women and then at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1909. She found Toronto hospitals refused to hire a woman as an intern, so she moved to Philadelphia to continue her work, returning to Toronto after two years a trained and experienced surgeon. Still, she was unable to find a hospital that would hire her, and Robertson helped found Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, a facility built for women by women. She served as the hospital’s associate chief of gynecology until 1942. Today, 42 per cent of Canada’s 89,911 physicians are women, according to 2018 data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. And 30 per cent of surgeons are women, following a path forged by Robertson. – Eric Atkins

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