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The surprise leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion across the country has given new prominence to the acrimonious debate over abortion rights in the United States ahead of midterm elections this year.

Thousands of protesters both for and against abortion rights descended on the court’s steps in Washington and in cities across the United States yesterday after the draft opinion was published on Monday night. It also ignited a renewed effort in Congress to pass a federal abortion-rights law and set off a search for the person who leaked the text, an unprecedented breach of the court’s secret deliberations.

The ruling is not final and could be changed before the court officially issues its decision, likely in late June. But its strident language in striking down Roe as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that reaffirmed abortion rights, touched off a political firestorm. If it holds, it would cap a decades-long campaign by anti-abortion crusaders and mark a turning point in the country’s caustic culture wars.

A person holds a sign that reads "No Robes, No Masters" during a "Rally to Defend Roe v. Wade" and "Stand up for Abortion and LGBTQ Rights" event in Seattle, Washington on May 3, 2022.JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

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Bank of Canada defends its credibility and independence in face of soaring inflation, Conservative criticism

The Bank of Canada has ramped up efforts to defend its credibility amid soaring inflation and pointed criticism from Conservative politicians who say it has lost its independence from the government.

Senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers used a speech yesterday to explain the mechanics of central bank independence and argue that monetary policy remains free of undue government and private-sector interference. She acknowledged, however, that public confidence in the bank has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many Bay Street analysts have said the bank waited too long to begin raising interest rates, undermining its credibility as an inflation-fighter and increasing the risk that people will start expecting permanently higher inflation. Conservative politicians, meanwhile, have made monetary policy a political issue in a way not seen in decades, criticizing the bank’s actions during the pandemic.

After floods, fires and heat waves, B.C. finally adopts alert system

British Columbia is finally joining Canada’s direct-to-cellphone alerting system for floods and wildfires, but the tool won’t be used for extreme heat events such as the one that killed more than 500 people in the province last summer.

Alert Ready was rolled out four years ago across Canada, but British Columbia is the last province to embrace the system, which allows government officials to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters, as well as compatible wireless devices.

B.C. has already agreed to use Alert Ready for tsunamis, amber alerts for abducted children, and “civil disturbance hazards.” Despite years of planning, however, it did not have the system in place for the natural disasters that hit the province in 2021, a calamitous year of floods, debris slides, wildfires, and the deadly heat dome.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Russian missiles target Lviv: Russian rockets have hit dozens of targets across Ukraine in a fierce intensification of the war that appeared to be aimed at cutting off the country’s supply of weapons from NATO countries. At least four of the strikes yesterday targeted Lviv, where missiles damaged three power substations and knocked out electricity in parts of the city, according to Mayor Andriy Sadovyi. The attacks occurred around 8:30 p.m. local time after days of relative calm and warm weather had created an almost festive atmosphere.

House of Commons to debate bill on lowering voting age: The House of Commons will debate today on whether to lower Canada’s legal voting age to 16 years old. New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said at a news conference Tuesday that the idea – which is being put forward in an NDP private member’s bill – is important as young people are disproportionately affected by the decisions made by politicians, especially on issues such as climate change and the housing crisis.

Ford warns opposition will destroy province: Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the provincial election campaign is a choice between his Progressive Conservative Party’s plans for prosperity and opposition parties he charges have “destroyed” the province. His NDP and Liberal challengers say it’s about the need to shore up health care and protect the environment after what they call Ford’s failures over the past four years.

  • John Ibbitson: Why Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford have gone from mortal political foes to close friends

PEI’s potato farmers now face financial chaos and an identity crisis: Potatoes are a billion-dollar industry in Canada’s smallest province, which grows about 2.5 billion pounds of spuds each year – about 40 per cent of which are usually sold to the United States. As American buyers look elsewhere for a more reliable supply, farmers in PEI say the ripples are being felt across the rural economy.

Line 5 faces second shutdown risk in the Great Lakes: Enbridge’s Line 5 energy pipeline is facing another threat of shutdown: a Wisconsin Indigenous band has asked a U.S. court for a quick judgment on an application to evict the pipeline from its land.

Guy Lafleur remembered as an inspiration for generations: Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur was remembered at a national funeral yesterday as a father, a teammate and a person of exceptional generosity who inspired generations of Quebeckers both on and off the ice.


MORNING MARKETS

Investors await Fed decision: Global stocks were little changed on Wednesday as investors kept their powder dry ahead of an expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.46 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.34 per cent and 0.49 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.10 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed. New York futures were modestly positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.05 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Editorial: “Governments need to stop pretending that the COVID-19 virus is history. Instead, they need to keep the focus on taking steps to make sure the pandemic really does become history. That means constant reminders of the importance of getting a jab, and making vaccines as easy as possible to get.”

Tim Kiladze: “No one wants to hear this, especially not someone sitting on a stock portfolio they had dreams of milking through retirement, but it must be said: The current market crash is necessary. And unavoidable.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

In-store shopping has changed since the pandemic hit. Here’s how retailers are innovating

The pandemic has turned the way we shop upside down. As we return more frequently to independent boutiques and the local mall, what can we expect from the shopping experience? If the designers, retailers and landlords we talked to are right, it might take its cues from the ways we consume style online.


MOMENT IN TIME: MAY 4, 1857

A statue of late 18th century English explorer David Thompson and wife, Charlotte Small, stands in a new park in Invermere, British Columbia.Roy MacGregor/The Globe and Mail

Charlotte Small dies

They were married, according to the custom of the country, at Île-à-la-Crosse in June, 1799, in what is now northwestern Saskatchewan. Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Small was the Métis daughter of Montreal fur trader Patrick Small and an unidentified Cree woman. David Thompson was an English surveyor and mapmaker for the North West Company. They were together for the next 58 years – likely the longest fur trade union in pre-Confederation history. While Thompson did his surveying work, Small performed everyday domestic duties in order to keep her husband fed, clothed and sheltered. She also ensured good relations with Indigenous groups because of her linguistic skills and cultural knowledge. Thompson once admitted “my lovely wife … gives me a great advantage.” Small attended to these tasks while constantly on the move, even while pregnant and caring for their children (eventually numbering 13). It is estimated that she travelled more than 20,000 kilometres – probably more than any other woman across North America at that time. When Thompson retired to Lower Canada in 1812, Small navigated a new life, keeping her family together as they descended into poverty. He died in relative obscurity in February, 1857, and was buried in Montreal’s Mount Royal Cemetery. Small died on this day less than three months later. Bill Waiser


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