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Canada Morning Update: Sahota family pursues marijuana licence; Ford denies lawsuit claims

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Vancouver’s Sahota family is pursuing a licence for a medical marijuana farm

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The family, which is known for owning hundreds of run-down rental units that were subject to municipal bylaw violations, is in the advanced stages of pursuing a federal licence to produce medical cannabis (for subscribers). This isn’t the family’s first attempt to get into the marijuana business: Their bid to open a dispensary in Vancouver was rejected by the city last summer. The Sahotas’ current licence application is now one step closer to being approved by Health Canada to start cultivating test crop on a property northwest of the city. In an investigation published last week, The Globe detailed how the family’s aging properties have been allowed to deteriorate as vulnerable renters struggle to live in poor conditions.

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Doug Ford is calling Renata Ford’s lawsuit a ‘desperate money grab’

In a news conference on Tuesday, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford called into question the motives behind the lawsuit filed against him, dismissing the allegations as “false and without merit.” Renata Ford, the widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, alleges that Doug and his brother, Randy, mismanaged the family company, Deco Labels & Tags Ltd. She alleges that the brothers’ actions ultimately left her and her children with very little as the beneficiaries of her late husband’s estate.

The leaders of other parties competing in the June 7 election weighed in on the allegations as well. Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne called on Doug Ford to release his companies’ financial statements, while NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked, “if he can’t run his own business properly, how can he be trusted to run the province?”

The election is this Thursday, and, according to Adam Radwanski, the outcome may be more volatile than polls suggest.

The Globe’s editorial board writes that, for Ontario voters, leadership and vision are not on offer this election.

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Facebook gave user data to at least four Chinese electronic companies

The social media company said it has data-sharing partnerships with major Chinese firms that date back to at least 2010. One of these firms is Huawei, a massive telecommunications company that U.S. intelligence has deemed a threat to national security. The firm has stirred up controversy in Canada as well; a recent Globe and Mail investigation revealed that Huawei has established a vast network of relationships with Canadian universities in an effort to create a steady pipeline of intellectual property to aid in the development of mobile networks.

Donald Trump wants to negotiate separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico

But Canada immediately rejected the idea. The North American free-trade agreement must remain a trilateral pact, International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne said (for subscribers). Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow had said the U.S. President plans to “rather quickly” move to bilateral talks. Trump has floated breaking up NAFTA before, but Kudlow’s comments are the first indication he has serious plans to push for that option.

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The inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women has been granted a limited extension

The federal government has given the inquiry until April 30, 2019, to finish its work, far short of the two-year extension the commission requested. That will force the inquiry to narrow its scope, in turn leaving out some important topics, chief commissioner Marion Buller said. Another commissioner, Michèle Audette, said she will take a few weeks to decide whether to stay on, saying the decision left her feeling “incomprehension and deep disappointment.” The inquiry will focus its efforts on hearing from the remaining survivors and family members still waiting to testify.

Kate Spade was found dead in New York

Spade, a fashion designer known for her handbags, was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in an apparent suicide, according to police. She was 55. Spade rose to prominence in the 1990s after co-founding Kate Spade Handbags in New York. Today, the company has more than 300 stores worldwide.


Euro boosted but bonds and stocks cautious

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The euro rose to a ten-day high on Wednesday after hawkish comments from the European Central Bank, adding upward pressure to bond yields and sinking some stocks as worries over Italy also weighed.At 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE was up 0.41 per cent while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.25 per cent and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.54 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.38 per cent while the broader Topix gained 0.15 per cent. In commodities, Brent crude was modestly higher while West Texas Intermediate was little changed. The loonie was trading at 77.25 US cents.


G7 must calmly confront the madness of King Donald

“King George III lost his American colonies when his Parliament wanted to tax them and they rebelled. King Donald is taxing his own people with his steel and aluminum tariffs and risks losing the WTO, NATO and his European and Canadian allies in the process. … The G7 Summit is an opportunity to lower the heat. It gives our Prime Minister an opportunity to assert firmly but calmly – and without chest-beating histrionics – the resolve of America’s closest allies to resist the slide into an all-out trade war while at the same time lending their support for Trump’s Korea initiative. If Trump snubs such overtures, we have little choice but to put on our hard hats, ride out the storm and await credible voices of sanity and support to emerge from within America. At least King George III had a medical reason for his lapse into madness. Unless his doctors know something that we don’t, Trump does not.” – Derek Burney (former Canadian ambassador to the U.S.) and Fen Osler Hampson (Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University)

Why a Roseanne-free Roseanne spinoff is inevitable

“A Roseanne spinoff is being cooked up. Even as I type this, as sure as the sun rose in L.A., there are executives, agents and actors hashing out the possibility of a Roseanne-free Roseanne spinoff. It might happen. It’s fraught, and success would be elusive, but this is network TV and, frankly, it’s inevitable. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the sensational ratings for Roseanne‘s nine-episode revival season this year means that talks started soon after ABC issued its blunt one-sentence cancellation announcement last week following Roseanne Barr’s stunningly racist tweet. There’s the key issue – Barr’s racist statements mean that the public and ABC cannot tolerate a spinoff that would enrich Roseanne Barr. The idea that Barr would continue to make money from the series is unimaginable. That’s what is truly fraught.” – John Doyle

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Building walls around our research won’t lead to made-in-Canada innovation

“Unfortunately, there are some people who raise concerns about working with foreign partners. Something has to be done, the argument goes, to stop academics from handing over our national know-how to foreign players with little in return. It’s a seductive narrative – the appropriation of Canada’s intellectual crown jewels by external actors – and it often comes with a call for the government to prevent it from happening. Indeed, these same voices may also criticize universities for being out of touch with market forces in one breath, and in the next, raise the alarm that our graduates and researchers are leaving Canada to take jobs with multinationals. Last week, such nationalistic arguments rose to a new level in the pages of this newspaper, with the additional criticism that foreign partnerships can lead to national-security concerns. A reality check is needed.” – Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation at the University of Toronto


How involved should I be in my child’s politics?

There are a number of resources to provide your kids with during election season. Student Vote, for instance, is aimed at teaching students about the electoral process, as well as parties and candidates. Elections Ontario offers outreach programs as well. When teaching your children about politics, Shireen Ahmed writes, it’s best to let them do the research for themselves.


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Electric iron is patented

June 6, 1882: “But not only the lady of the house will rejoice; also the poor, hen-pecked husband will be in transports of delight, as it will make his path easier in many ways. The constant complaints he was hitherto obliged to endure, will grow mute for ever.” What device could Johanna S. Wisthaler have been talking about in her 1894 book, By Water to the Columbian Exposition? Believe it or not, the modern miracle she wrote about was the electric iron. While it’s hard to imagine anyone, male or female, rejoicing over ironing these days, before New York inventor Henry Seely patented the first electric version in 1882, ironing was a sweaty and laborious task that required rotating through two or three irons kept hot on a hearth or stove. No wonder a 1935 New York Times poll indicated the iron was deemed the most essential electrical household appliance, far more so than the humble refrigerator or washing machine, according to the poll’s respondents. By the 1950s, wrinkle-resistant fabrics such as nylon and polyester were emerging, and as ironing became less burdensome, couples found new chores to argue about. – Dianne Nice

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