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Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says his department is examining whether there is a widespread problem throughout government with inflated résumés as it reviews three IT staffing firms facing allegations of wrongdoing related to their work on federal contracts.

The Canada Border Services Agency has temporarily suspended all contract work with the three firms – Coradix, Dalian and GCStrategies. The three companies have altogether received nearly half a billion dollars in federal outsourcing work over the past decade.

The allegations focus on contracts with layers of subcontracting that hide key details about who is getting paid for what, cozy ties between private staffing firms and the public servants who hire them, as well as falsified résumés. The allegations are being investigated by the RCMP.

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Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, speaks to reporters before attending a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

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Toronto man in incel-inspired murder case sentenced to life in prison

A Toronto man who murdered one woman and attempted to kill another in an attack at a North Toronto massage parlour was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

Although the now-21-year-old man, Oguzhan Sert, was a youth at the time of the attack, Ontario Superior Court Justice Suhail Akhtar decided to sentence him as an adult because he was just shy of his 18th birthday. The judge said Sert was fully to blame for the violence, which the court found to be an act of misogynistic terrorism.

The conviction in Ontario Superior Court was the first time in Canada that a court had concluded that online communities that call for the killing of women meet the legal definition of terrorist groups, making the case a closely watched one in legal circles.

Diplomats seek extension of Israel-Hamas truce as deadline looms

As more Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners are being released, international mediators in Qatar are working to extend a truce between Israel and Hamas.

CIA director William Burns and David Barnea, who heads Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, were in Qatar, a key mediator with Hamas, to discuss extending the ceasefire and releasing more hostages, according to a diplomat who is not being named because of the sensitivity of the talks.

In the latest swap since the ceasefire began Friday, Israel said 10 of its citizens and two Thai nationals were freed by Hamas and had been returned to Israel. Soon after, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners. The truce is due to end after one more exchange Wednesday night.

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Also on our radar

Ukrainian military intelligence leader’s wife poisoned: Ukrainian Lieutenant-General Kyrylo Budanov and the GUR military intelligence service have been crucial in disrupting Russia’s plans in Ukraine. But now it appears that his enemies have retaliated after sources revealed that Budanov’s wife and several GUR employees have been poisoned.

Alberta details new carbon capture program: Danielle Smith’s government unveiled a new multibillion-dollar grant program yesterday for the oil and gas industry in an effort to capture carbon for emissions reduction. Alberta and the federal government are at odds over Canada’s green energy strategy ahead of the COP28 climate summit.

Sports Illustrated’s alleged AI articles are latest misstep: Sports Illustrated is immersed in a controversy after a media report accused the iconic publication of publishing stories that were generated by artificial intelligence, under bylines and headshots of writers who themselves seemed to be made up.

Freeland tables motion to bring in Digital Services Tax: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a package of tax measures yesterday that includes provisions for a Digital Services Tax, a plan that is strongly opposed by business groups and the Biden administration.

First Nation’s aim to spare old-growth forests: A First Nations community on the west coast of Vancouver Island intends to buy forest land, backed by a $15.2-million commitment from the federal government, to stop old-growth logging in selected watersheds and protect critical salmon habitat around Nootka Sound.

Morning markets

Markets focus on rate talk: Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar hit multi-month lows on Wednesday after a U.S. Federal Reserve official made fresh hints of interest rate cuts, while stocks were mixed globally. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.13 per cent. Germany’s DAX added 0.96 per cent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.43 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.26 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.08 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was down modestly at 73.63 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Gary Mason: “I’ve never felt this hopeless about our collective willingness to sacrifice anything in the name of saving our planet. We simply do not have the leadership necessary to confront the gravest threat we have ever faced. Instead, we have phonies and carnival barkers more interested in playing petty politics in the name of getting votes and staying in power. Over the next week or so you’ll hear plenty of depressing stories coming out of COP28. What you won’t hear amid the alarm bells are the voices of those truly willing to do something about it.”

Cathal Kelly: “[Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson’s] explanation – that Perry did something wrong, that the club is not prepared to say what, but that whatever it is ‘does not involve any players or their families.’ This was the crux of the rumour. At this point, some people already know what I’m talking about, some are Googling in another tab, and a few elevated souls are confused and plan to stay that way. If you’re in the third group, I salute you.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

Seven stylish and practical cocktail tables for the holiday party season

For something so diminutive and decorative, the cocktail table can be surprisingly practical. When one really shines is during holiday party season, especially when a guest needs to juggle their wine glass and a plate of canapés. Any of these options will come to their rescue with a stylish surface while still leaving everyone lots of room to mingle.

Moment in time: Nov. 29, 1963

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The Beatles perform 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' and 'This Boy' on Granada Television's Late Scene Extra programme in Manchester, England on Nov. 25, 1963.David Redfern/Getty Images

Beatles release I Want to Hold Your Hand in Britain

“Oh, yeah, I’ll, tell you somethin’,” the Beatles sang to their fans, “I think you’ll understand.” They understood – did they ever. Bubble gum in the key of G, the single I Want to Hold Your Hand was released in Britain 60 years ago today. If the pop-culture psychosis known as Beatlemania had an anthem, this high-spirited Lennon-McCartney co-write was it. The two-minute-and-24-second song is both sweet and excited in its portrayal of puppy-love anticipation. Hormonal exhilaration has never been melodized so perfectly. Blocked by the band’s previous hit She Loves You, the instantly popular I Want to Hold Your Hand took two weeks to reach the top of the British record chart, where it remained for five weeks. On Dec. 26, it was released in the United States. It was the Fab Four’s first American No. 1 hit and the warning shot of the British Invasion. On Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles performed I Want to Hold Your Hand and four other songs for their landmark first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Beatles had landed. Brad Wheeler

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included an incorrect United States release date for I Want to Hold Your Hand. This version has been updated.

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