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Stimulus packages, including multibillion-dollar bailout of oil and gas sector

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Federal and Alberta government insiders are saying little about the details but the oil and gas sector can expect to get more access to credit, especially for struggling small- and medium-sized operations, and significant financing to create jobs for laid-off workers to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells.

The federal government is also developing additional lines of support for Canada’s small and medium businesses.

One of Canada’s biggest commercial-property landlords said it is deferring rent for its retailers in Quebec and others are working on rent deferrals for their hardest-hit tenants.

Around the world:

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Family of first Quebec coronavirus death pleads with public to follow health advice, keep distancing

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Mariette Tremblay, 82, died this week at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital after she contracted the novel coronavirus, likely from a family member who had travelled overseas in February.

“We would have liked to be able to hold her hand, to comfort her, to whisper softly in her ear, but we didn’t have the chance,” said the letter published on Facebook by eight members of the Tremblay family.

More from Globe staff:

Carla Pereira at home in Brampton, Ont., with her family, including Carla’s elderly parents Isabel and Jose, who are in their 70s. March 18, 2020 (Melissa Tait / The Globe and Mail)

Melissa Tait

Canadian companies begin laying off thousands of employees in first wave of pandemic job losses

From automotive to airlines, hotels to tech. Restrictions on large public gatherings mean even Cirque du Soliel is unable to put on shows.

Economists are warning the layoffs could just be the beginning. “This is going to be very, very bad,” said Kevin Milligan, economics professor at the University of British Columbia.

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But some small businesses are finding innovative ways to operate behind closed doors so they can keep staff working, customers engaged and bring in some revenue. For many the measures aren’t just about business survival, but also keeping their employees motivated during the coronavirus crisis.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Supreme Court declines to hear appeal in case over late Apotex mogul’s treatment of cousins: Barry Sherman was found dead with his wife Honey in their Toronto home in 2017 – an apparent double-homicide police have been unable to solve – and the civil case has continued against his estate.

National Arts Centre, Facebook to fund online performances by Canadian entertainers: Professional musicians, dancers, comedians, theatre artists and more are encouraged to apply for $1,000 grants from a $100,000 relief package financed by Facebook Canada.

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ends her 2020 presidential campaign: Noting their political differences, Gabbard said she respected Joe Biden and had confidence in the motivations of his campaign effort.

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Profiteers bypassing Facebook, Shopify bans to push marked-up masks amid COVID-19 pandemic: A Globe and Mail analysis found more than two-dozen Facebook ads for masks since late February. Most of the ads linked to pop-up stores on Shopify, where the masks were often sold at significant markups.

MORNING MARKETS

Markets lifted as central banks, governments pour in cash: World stock markets rebounded from some of their recent huge losses on Friday, pulling further away from three-year lows as central banks and governments pledged masses of cash to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Just after 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 3.14 per cent. Germany’s DAX rose 5.49 per cent. France’s CAC 40 gained 6.36 per cent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished up 5.05 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.61. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 70.30 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Coronavirus crisis highlighting Ottawa’s misguided approach to reducing wireless prices

Rita Trichur:Wireless is a high-growth industry and one of Canada’s last industrial bright spots. The government’s target of a 25-per-cent price reduction always seemed arbitrary, but in light of the current crisis, it’s downright tone deaf. Ottawa should scrap it.”

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The need for parks: In a time of sickness, we all need to take a breath

Alex Bozikovic:We’ll stay far from the playgrounds and we will touch no one. But we’ll get outside into the grand places that our society has built and maintained for us: the lungs for the city.”

‘There is more to admire in men than to despise’: The Plague is essential reading for a pandemic

Konrad Yakabuski: “Plagues bring out the best and worst in people. ... Calls for social distancing are still being resisted by many among us; self-isolation is taking an emotional toll on many others. It is a test of wills.”

We thought we were in control of our lives. The virus shattered that

Margarete Wente: “When will we get that world back? Not any time soon. Disease and the coming Great Recession will test us like no other challenge we have ever faced.”

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TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

By Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

A photo scavenger hunt to keep kids active and engaged while schools are closed

One bright spot in the midst of all the confusion surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the humble scavenger hunt – which evolved from ancient folk games – has emerged as a popular way kids and parents are filling their days after being advised to stay home.

Eco-friendly household cleaning products that work

According to a recent study from consumer-advocacy group Choice, many of the most popular cleaning solutions, including options from Pledge and Ajax, performed no better than plain tap water. Canadian sustainability advocate Candice Batista also recommends a less-is-more approach.

MOMENT IN TIME

Alessandro Volta, inventor of the electric battery in 1800. Credit: Giancarlo Costa / Bridgeman Images.

© Giancarlo Costa/Bridgeman Images

Volta unveils the battery

March 20, 1800: In 1791, Luigi Galvani, an anatomist at the University of Bologna, started a scientific debate when he described how dissected frog legs sometimes twitched when laid out on a metal table or when hanging from brass hooks. He was certain that some kind of “animal electricity" was the cause. Alessandro Volta of Pavia University in Italy’s Lombardy region was not persuaded. He agreed that electricity was responsible for the convulsions, but he suspected the source was what the frog legs were touching. He tested the idea on different pairs of metals applied to his tongue and carefully noted the sensations he experienced. To increase the effect he made a stack of alternating silver and zinc discs separated by cardboard soaked in brine. Though the French Revolution and its related wars in Northern Italy interrupted his work, Volta managed to get a letter describing his invention to Britain’s Royal Society in the spring of 1800. ​​The device, known as the “Voltaic pile,” was groundbreaking because it produced a steady flow of electric current rather than a sudden discharge. As the forerunner of the modern battery, it would set the stage for a host of world-changing experiments and discoveries over the next two centuries. - Ivan Semeniuk

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