Skip to main content

Good morning,

The federal government has suspended two senior officials without pay in connection with allegations of misconduct in the awarding of federal contract work, but both say the move is an intimidation effort aimed at silencing their criticism.

Cameron MacDonald, an assistant deputy minister at Health Canada, describes the reprisals against him and Antonio Utano, a director-general at the Canada Revenue Agency, as “Kafkaesque madness” in a strongly worded letter to the House of Commons committee on government operations.

Both MacDonald and Utano worked together at the Canada Border Services Agency, and their names regularly appear on CBSA contracting documents related to outsourcing work on the ArriveCan app for cross-border travellers.

The House committee is looking into how the cost of the ArriveCan app grew to in excess of $54-million. It is also looking at the growing cost of federal outsourcing in general.

Open this photo in gallery:

The Canadian flag flies on the Peace Tower of Parliament Hill as pedestrians make their way along Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

This is the daily Morning Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Morning Update and more than 20 other Globe newsletters on our newsletter signup page.

As cold snap strains Alberta grid, province’s energy debate with Ottawa back in focus

For a third straight day, Alberta has asked residents to conserve electricity as the province’s power grid struggled to keep up with demand during severe cold weather.

The brutal cold snap has brought back into focus the battle between Alberta and Ottawa over the federal government’s draft clean electricity regulations, which aim to create an electrical grid that produces net-zero carbon emissions by 2035.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith argues Ottawa’s plans will cause blackouts and price spikes, because they would limit Alberta’s ability to generate power from natural gas. The federal government has rejected this interpretation, saying fossil fuel plants with carbon capture technology will be permitted, and those without will be allowed to generate electricity during emergencies and at times of peak demand.

Trump wins Iowa caucuses by wide margin, staking dominant position in race for GOP nomination

Donald Trump claimed a thundering victory in Iowa yesterday, easily defeating his opponents in the first contest of the Republican nomination process. Trump’s win raised the possibility he could soon have the race for the party’s presidential nominee wrapped up.

Early returns showed the former president taking close to 50 per cent of the vote, far ahead of Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who were locked in a battle for second place and each pulling a little over 20 per cent.

Voters braved freezing conditions and icy roads to give Trump a record-breaking margin, reinforcing his dominance of the Republican Party and possibly squeezing the others out of the race as they struggle to raise enough money to continue. The action now moves on to New Hampshire, which votes next week.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

Also on our radar

B.C. police secretly collected DNA to solve murder: Undercover police investigating the murder of a 13-year-old girl in British Columbia disguised themselves as tea marketers to secretly collect the DNA of about 150 Kurdish community members, court recordings reveal. But the B.C. Civil Liberties Association called the operation “unacceptable and reprehensible” if police did not obtain a warrant for it.

Drop in pediatric ER visits did not lead to worse outcomes: The start of the pandemic led to a sharp decline in emergency-room visits and hospital admissions among children, but new Canadian research shows that for most patients, this did not result in a later rebound of admissions or worse long-term outcomes.

Canada needs to reduce immigration, report says: Canada needs to rein in immigration significantly to escape a “population trap,” a report from National Bank of Canada economists says. The report is part of an emerging consensus that explosive growth is making some of the country’s economic troubles worse.

Ukraine losing artists in war with Russia: Dozens of prominent Ukrainian artists, writers, musicians, directors, dancers and designers have been killed since the war with Russia began as many of them decided to enlist in the fight to defend their country. The deaths are a massive loss for Ukrainian arts and culture, and many believe part of Putin’s plan to bring Ukraine back under Russian cultural dominance.

‘Succession’ dominates Emmys: “Succession” won best drama series, “The Bear” won best comedy, and both dominated the acting awards at the Emmys last night, while Quinta Brunson scored an emotional and historic win for “Abbott Elementary.”

Morning markets

Rate jitters hit stocks: World shares slipped and the U.S. dollar and bond yields rose on Tuesday as hawkish remarks from central bank policymakers in Europe contributed to markets reducing bets that global interest rate cuts could come as early as March. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.57 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.73 per cent and 0.59 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.79 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 2.16 per cent. New York futures were negative. The Canadian dollar was down at 74.09 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Campbell Clark: “Foreign students can and do bring real benefits to Canada. Unfortunately, governments screwed up the system.”

Editorial: “Juries are fundamental to our legal system, which makes it all the more puzzling why governments across Canada, with the notable exception of Saskatchewan, refuse to properly pay jurors for their time.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

Open this photo in gallery:

Editorial cartoon by David Parkins, Jan. 16, 2024.Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

Three hacks to keep your house ‘clean enough’

While maintaining a tidier home is a common New Year’s resolution, figuring out where to start can be challenging. The Globe and Mail spoke to three Canadians about how they keep their places clean enough to experience the benefits that come from having an organized, tidy space.

Moment in time: Jan. 16, 2003

Open this photo in gallery:

Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center, Jan. 16, 2003, in Cape Canaveral, Florida.Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

Space Shuttle Columbia blasts off on its final mission

It was a sunny morning when the oldest of NASA’s space shuttles lifted off from Cape Canaveral for a 16-day flight. The long-delayed mission had to be fit into a busy launch schedule as other members of the fleet worked to build the International Space Station. Columbia’s crew of seven included Israel’s first astronaut and the first Indian-American woman to fly in space. Also on board was a menagerie of lab animals, including rats, fish, spiders and silkworms – all part of the mission’s extensive array of life science experiments. But while the crew and cargo made it into orbit safely, not all was well. Video of the launch revealed that a piece of insulating foam had detached from the shuttle’s external fuel tank and struck Columbia’s left wing. Mission controllers deemed the shuttle was safe, but neither they nor the astronauts could see the damage to the wing’s protective heat shield. The entire crew perished on Feb. 1 when the shuttle broke up during re-entry. While more flights followed, Columbia’s loss was the beginning of the end for the space shuttle program. Ivan Semeniuk

Enjoy today's horoscopes. Solve today's puzzles. Read today's Letters to the Editor.

If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday morning, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe