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Justin Trudeau significantly retooled his cabinet on Wednesday, bringing in seven new cabinet members and leaving only eight in their current positions, as he promised to place more focus on housing and the economy for the “millions of Canadians who are struggling.”

The shakeup comes as living costs soar and the government faces political pressure from the Conservatives on its handling of the economy and affordability crisis. Liberal insiders say the cabinet shakeup is a major makeover designed to help position the party ahead of the next race. An election call is not expected soon, however, because of the Liberals’ confidence-and-supply agreement with the New Democrats.

Sean Fraser, a Nova Scotia MP first elected in 2015 who held the Immigration portfolio, is taking on Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, in one of the key focus areas for the government. Trudeau moved Anita Anand from the Defence file to President of the Treasury Board, which is responsible for the government’s fiscal operations.

Jean-Yves Duclos moves from Health to the Public Services and Procurement portfolio, a file that has stirred up criticism over the federal government’s significant increase in spending on outsourcing. Toronto MP Arif Virani is one of the new cabinet members. He will become Justice Minister, taking over from David Lametti. Trudeau removed Marco Mendicino from his post in Public Safety, after controversy around serial killer Paul Bernardo’s move from a maximum- to medium-security prison.

Get caught up on the rest of the changes here.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Anita Anand after she was sworn in as the President of the Treasury Board during a cabinet shuffle, in Ottawa, Wednesday, July 26, 2023.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Site of Nova Scotia flash flood known for poor cellular service, politicians say

The mayor of West Hants said he has repeatedly told Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and Kings–Hants MP Kody Blois about the unreliability of cellular service and the unavailability of the 911 system in the area where four people were swept away in floodwater over the weekend. He says he has seen no action for the past two years.

On Wednesday, teams worked to drain 52 acres of flooded hayfield in the community, as they were searching for a young person who went missing early Saturday morning. The bodies of two children and a 52-year-old man were recovered earlier this week.

The province issued two emergency alerts via cellphone for West Hants: one at 3:06 a.m. Saturday asking people to shelter in place or call 911 if they couldn’t, and one at 3:41 a.m., ordering an evacuation. Mayor Abraham Zebian said he has been told some residents didn’t receive alerts. The Globe and Mail has been unable to determine whether the alerts reached the victims of the flash flood, or what role, if any, those alerts may have played in their decision to flee. Police have said the people who went missing were leaving their homes at 4 a.m.

Controversial closing of Brexit crusader Nigel Farage’s account leads to NatWest Bank CEO’s resignation

A recent dispute between Nigel Farage, who led the charge to take Britain out of the EU, and NatWest Bank is raising questions about how banks approve customers and how far they must go in assessing public figures who could be open to corruption.

NatWest’s private banking arm, Coutts & Co., closed the ex-politician’s accounts in June, telling him the decision was based on commercial reasons. However, Farage obtained an internal report that revealed the bank made the call because of his political views. The report provided a detailed overview of his statements on dozens of topics including the Black Lives Matter movement, net-zero targets, LGBTQ+ rights and Russia. The committee behind the report concluded there were “reputational risks” to associating with him and approved an “exit decision” to close his accounts.

Britain introduced regulations in 2017 that require banks to perform extra due diligence on “politically exposed persons,” or PEPs. These are generally considered people who hold prominent positions and who could be susceptible to bribery or corruption. There have been concerns that some banks have gone too far and imposed excessive requirements on PEPs and their families.

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Also on our radar

World Cup: Canada had a slow start in its match against Ireland on Wednesday, but the team’s veteran players turned things around in the second half to pull off a 2-1 win. Cathal Kelly has more on what that means for its next game facing Australia.

B.C. hikers: Three friends were hiking B.C.’s Mount Bruce Monday when a forest fire blocked them from their car, leading to a dramatic helicopter rescue. There were 435 active wildfires burning in B.C. on Wednesday, including the one that ignited Monday afternoon on Mount Bruce.

Conservative Leader: Pierre Poilievre has confirmed that his leadership campaign for the federal Conservative Party paid the legal expenses of a whistle-blower working on the campaign of rival leadership hopeful Patrick Brown. Financial returns filed with Elections Canada show Mr. Poilievre’s team paid $37,000 to two law firms that represented Debra Jodoin.

Niger coup: Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been removed from power, according to a group of soldiers who appeared on Niger’s national television late on Wednesday, hours after the President was held in the presidential palace. The country’s borders are closed and a curfew declared.

Israeli Supreme Court: Israel’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday it would hear an appeal against a new law that curbs some of its own powers and that critics say could encourage corruption and abuses of power. The decision pits the court against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government that is seeking an overhaul of the judicial system.

Morning markets

Global stocks gain: World shares were at a 15-month high and the euro climbed on Thursday as focus shifted from a widely-expected nudge up in U.S. interest rates to what is almost certain to be a similar move by the European Central Bank later. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.22 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.81 per cent and 1.28 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.68 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.41 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was higher at 75.92 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Trudeau shakes up his bag of meaningless ministerial baubles to build an unserious cabinet

“They are made-up jobs for make-work purposes. The point is not to fulfill some urgent public responsibility but to give their recipients something to do, for which the requisite qualification is neither their views nor their experience, but their membership in whatever region or demographic group the government is most anxious to court.” - Andrew Coyne

My Greek holiday went from heaven to Hades. How can we vacation in the climate crisis?

“That cloud rising behind the beach hills, I dismissed. Who knew what that was? It was only when I planned the next day’s car trip on Google Maps that I grew concerned. A flame icon appeared in the middle of the screen: wildfires.” - Tom Rachman

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by Brian Gable

Living better

Parents, have you thought of selling half your home to your adult kids and then sharing the space?

There’s more than one way to help your kids buy their first home. While many parents gift their adult children money for a down payment, selling your kids a share of your own home is another option.

That’s what Aidan Grove-White’s parents did. Grove-White and his partner gave his father and step-mother the money they were saving for a down payment and moved into the top half of their duplex. The money went toward renovations, paid down the older couple’s debt and built up their retirement fund. Now the couple, 78 and 79, have help around the house as they age, and Grove-White and his partner have child-care for their future family right downstairs.

Rob Carrick has more on the upsides of multigenerational living in the current housing market as well as tips on how to do it right, from setting boundaries to planning for the death of an owner.

Moment in time: July 27, 1921

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Dr. Charles Best (left) and Sir Frederick Banting pose with one of their lab dogs after the historic discovery of insulin at their University of Toronto lab in 1921.The Canadian Press

Researchers at the University of Toronto discover insulin

Researchers made a significant step forward in diabetes treatment when they successfully isolated the hormone insulin for the first time on this day. Little was understood about diabetes until 1889 when German researchers discovered that dogs who had their pancreases removed immediately became severely diabetic, showing that an internal secretion in the gland was essential to treat diabetes – but what was it and how could it be isolated? Biochemist and physician Frederick Banting had a thought: What if others can’t find the internal secretion because it was being destroyed by the pancreas’ external secretions? In other words, if the flow of digestive juices could be surgically blocked without obstructing the production of cells responsible for the hormone secretion, the latter could be isolated. Banting and then-medical student Charles Best did exactly that, with the help of University of Toronto professor and physiologist John Macleod. They later produced diabetic symptoms in dogs and provided insulin injections, leading to normal blood sugar levels. Biochemist James Collip joined the team and purified insulin to clinically test on humans. After this breakthrough, Banting became Canada’s first professor of medical research at the University of Toronto and the first Canadian to win a Nobel Prize in 1923. Mahdis Habibinia

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