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CN Rail will shut ‘significant’ sections of track if Coastal GasLink protests continue

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Track congestion is piling up as hundreds of trains hauling fresh produce and other goods remain parked on tracks as Wet’suwet’en Nation supporters block rail lines in Canada’s most populous areas.

Port operations in Halifax, Montreal and Prince Rupert were also slowed, while Via Rail cancelled dozens of passenger trains in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor.

The protests also reached the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, where hundreds of people blocked entrances to the Parliament buildings and forced a delay in official proceedings ahead of the Throne Speech.

Protesters in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs block the entrance to the library at the B.C. Legislature before the Throne Speech. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

The B.C. government used the speech to reiterate its support for the LNG Canada project in Kitimat, which will rely in part on the GasLink pipeline for shipment of liquefied natural gas.

The protests have thrust the Wet’suwet’en hereditary system into the spotlight. Hereditary chiefs say pipelines cannot be built through their territory without their consent. Their governance system is complex and rooted in cultural traditions. But there are disagreements over how it works and who benefits.

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Jason Kenney is defending his government’s emissions numbers

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The Alberta Premier disputed federal figures which say the province’s oil-sands emissions are at roughly 87 megatonnes. “We haven’t come up with novel numbers, this is the science, this is the data,” Kenney said, referring to Alberta’s calculations of about 67 to 68 megatonnes.

Emissions numbers are coming into focus as the federal cabinet debates whether to approve the Teck Resources’ Frontier oil-sands mine, which would emit 4.1 megatonnes annually and complicate Canada’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions nationally by 2050.

Alberta, meanwhile, will lose $1.3-billion from the sale of oil-by-rail contracts signed by the previous NDP government.

Canadian officials are weighing asking all travellers from China to ‘self-isolate’

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam and other top officials are debating requesting anyone entering the country from China to voluntarily quarantine themselves to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Right now, the request to “self-isolate” only covers those arriving from Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak. A decision around a broader request is being considered carefully on a real-time basis. “It is limiting someone’s movements, so we have to do that in a balanced way,” Tam said.

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In the Toronto area, Chinese restaurants are struggling to deal with a loss of customers, with businesses reporting decreases in sales of between 30 and 80 per cent in recent weeks.

“There’s still a lot of discrimination out there,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “We want to make sure that people know that it’s safe to go out, it’s safe to come to your favourite restaurants to come and eat, it’s safe to go shopping.”

In China, many factories remain quiet despite the Communist Party’s back-to-work order. “I don’t know anyone that is open,” said Meng Xin, who works at a rubber and plastics factory in Dongguan, a city home to scores of manufacturing companies.

Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire Democratic primary

The Vermont senator emerged with 26 per cent of the vote, just ahead of moderate Pete Buttigieg, who picked up 24 per cent. But the biggest story of the night may have been Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, another moderate who soared to a third-place finish with 20 per cent of the vote.

David Shribman offers this view on what lies ahead: “Is there a fundamental contradiction between Sanders’s position as front-runner and his profile as insurgent? Can Buttigieg reconcile his role as the leader of the shock troops of a new generation when so many of that generation see him as a shiny figure who has moulted out of the shell of an old-style politician? Is Klobuchar, perhaps with the assistance of some women now disillusioned with [Elizabeth] Warren, a formidable threat to them both?”

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In other U.S. politics news, four lawyers who prosecuted President Donald Trump’s associate Roger Stone have quit the case after the Justice Department said it would lower the sentencing recommendation. The lawyers had recently signed onto a court filing recommending up to nine years in prison for Stone.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Sudan agrees to hand over al-Bashir to ICC: The country’s transitional government plans to send deposed former president Omar al-Bashir, 76, to the International Criminal Court to face charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

MAID patients are wealthier, younger: Data from a major new Canadian study show that those who opt for a medically assisted death are wealthier, younger and less likely to live in long-term care than those who die naturally.

Canadians among plaintiffs in NXIVM suit: A lawsuit involving about 80 plaintiffs, including 43 Canadians, alleges that two daughters of Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. funnelled millions of dollars to a sex cult to finance efforts to dig up dirt on opponents of the organization.

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MORNING MARKETS

Investors shift back into stocks on signs coronavirus spread is slowing: A drop in the number of new coronavirus cases and the Federal Reserve chairman’s optimistic view of the economy lifted world stocks for a third day on Wednesday and sparked a rally in oil prices, on hopes the epidemic’s effects would be contained. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.87 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also finished up 0.87 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.74 per cent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.33 per cent around 6:10 a.m. ET. Germany’s DAX gained 0.71 per cent. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.38 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.34 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

How Ottawa helped Newfoundland build the multibillion dollar fiasco that is Muskrat Falls

Globe editorial: “The financial disaster that is the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project has many authors. The most important may be the Stephen Harper government.”

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

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(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

LIVING BETTER

Books to read or gift this Valentine’s Day

Sarah Laing offers up seven suggestions for reads that speak to the heart. Here are two:

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls (HarperCollins): A bittersweet, searching comedy with strong echoes of Nick Hornby’s 1990s classic High Fidelity, it’s as much a love letter to film as it is to life off the silver screen.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (HarperCollins): Set in the summer of 1997, this is a devastatingly clever, lyrically written story about passion, grief and growing up – perhaps the greatest heartbreak of them all.

MOMENT IN TIME

Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony

(Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Feb. 12, 2010: The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics look distinctly different when viewed from the vantage of history than the first Friday night of the games. The Globe and Mail hailed the opening ceremony as “a daring, dazzling show that made us proud,” but the spectacle had its awkward moments. There was a partial malfunction of the Olympic cauldron inside BC Place and then Wayne Gretzky thereafter journeyed in the back of a pickup truck to light an outside cauldron nearby on the Burrard Inlet. There was also mourning: Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili had died earlier in the day on a training run at Whistler. Two days later, however, spirits began to lift, even before the rainy weather abated. Skier Alex Bilodeau won gold in moguls. It was Canada’s first Olympic gold at home, after a shutout in 1976 in Montreal and 1988 in Calgary, and Bilodeau’s win was the first in a long series that steadily rose to a record haul of 14. The games finished with a storybook ending. On the Olympics’ final day, Sidney Crosby scored for Canada as the men’s hockey team overcame the United States with a 3-2 overtime victory. The golden goal unleashed a party across the country. – David Ebner

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