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Good morning,

Over four hours of at-times heated testimony at a House of Commons finance committee yesterday, the co-founders of WE Charity defended their organization as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife and mother. Craig and Marc Kielburger asserted that WE did not stand to financially benefit from a now-cancelled contract to administer a student volunteer program.

The $912-million contract, which was awarded and then cancelled by the federal government, has been the source of a conflict-of-interest controversy involving members of the Liberal government, including Mr. Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whose families have financial ties with the charity. Marc told the committee that WE Charity took a $5-million loss with the cancellation of its role in the program.

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The Kielburgers also denied any conflict-of-interest allegations in their relations with Margaret Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who have both been paid for appearances at WE Charity events.

Read more on WE Charity:

Michelle Douglas, former chair of the board of directors for WE Charity, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into government spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant.

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 more Globe newsletters on our newsletter signup page.

Nova Scotia, Ottawa now say they will support public inquiry

In response to growing political pressure, the federal government announced yesterday that it will now support a public inquiry into April’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead.

The reversal comes as Nova Scotians and Canadians across the country staged protests and signed petitions calling for a public inquiry into Canada’s deadliest mass shooting. The federal government had originally planned to hold a joint review with Nova Scotia, but it was heavily criticized for the lack of subpoena powers or public hearings that it would allow.

The long-awaited public inquiry will authorize greater judicial powers, including the ability to summon witnesses and to order police and others to produce documents, giving hope to supporters that it will be able to make recommendations to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

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Young children less likely to spread coronavirus, McMaster review shows

As back-to-school season approaches, one of the major questions for policy-makers is determining the role that children play in spreading COVID-19. A new study out of McMaster University sheds some light on the issue, finding the primary schools and daycare centres have not been major sources of coronavirus transmission.

In fact, the virus was most often introduced in elementary schools and child-care centres by adults, who were also more likely to spread coronavirus.

Researchers reviewed 33 studies across 16 countries and found that young children – particularly those under the age of 10 – are less likely than teenagers and adults to spread COVID-19.

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


ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Toronto food bank usage has tripled amid pandemic, report says: Food insecurity in Toronto has increased during the pandemic, as evidenced by a tripling of the number of people who use the city’s food banks. A new report by Daily Bread Food Bank found that an estimated 6,100 new clients began using the organization’s food banks in June, compared to roughly 2,000 new clients in February. The report also found that child hunger is on the rise.

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Record COVID-19 deaths in four U.S. states: Arkansas, Florida, Montana and Oregon each reported one-day records for coronavirus deaths on Tuesday. In California, where Latinos make up just more than a third of the population, they are accounting for 56 per cent of COVID-19 infections and 46 per cent of deaths.

People relax on the beach in Miami Beach, Florida, on July 28, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Florida reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese diplomat accuses critics of sowing division: China’s consul-general in Vancouver, Tong Xiaoling, is accusing Canadians who criticize Beijing’s new Hong Kong security law of trying to sow discord among the Chinese-Canadian community. Chinese-Canadian activists are in turn criticizing her comments as indicative of the Chinese government belief that it has a proprietary claim on people of Chinese origin in Canada.

Kingston youth pleads guilty to terrorism-related charges: A 17-year-old has pleaded guilty to a series of terrorism-related charges for trying to encourage and facilitate a bomb attack. The teenager cannot be identified under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Sentencing is expected at a later date and the Crown is asking for him to be sentenced as an adult.


MORNING MARKETS

European shares edge up but investors cautious ahead of Fed meeting: European shares edged up slightly on Wednesday after mixed earnings reports, but a resurgence of COVID-19 cases kept investors cautious while they waited to hear from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.28 per cent. Germany’s DAX was down 0.20 per cent and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.69 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 1.15 per cent. New York futures were mostly stronger. The Canadian dollar was trading at 74.94 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Trudeau family ties to WE aren’t evidence of quid pro quo, but do speak to the power of a name

Campbell Clark: “If the case of Mr. Trudeau’s family, the hearings didn’t turn up evidence of a quid pro quo, or that it led to a government contract. But it was pretty clear WE paid for the promotional value of the Trudeau name.”

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MPs asked. WE answered. Too many questions remain

The Editorial Board: “The actions of both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Morneau appear to be clear breaches of conflict-of-interest rules. Both have effectively acknowledged as much.”

The U.S. is burning – and Donald Trump is the gleeful arsonist-in-chief

Gary Mason: “The United States is a country racked by racial inequality and bigotry, dealing with a plague made worse by the gross mismanagement of the federal government, while being led by a dangerous huckster who believes he can benefit from the mayhem and destruction we are witnessing.”

The Torstar sale will have a lasting impact on Canada

Charles Pascal: “What is the rush? My hope remains that a more thorough and public opportunity to hear arguments from both sides will take place. We need a thoughtful understanding of the complexities of what ownership of the Star means to Canada going forward.”

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TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

The Emmy nominations list is not the guide to the best TV

The nominations for the 2020 Emmy Awards, announced Tuesday morning, amount to a puzzle. That’s not unusual, given the depth and breadth of TV content across multiple platforms, but this year’s list seems oddly biased toward both the usual suspects, frivolity and what became available recently.

Read more on the Emmys


MOMENT IN TIME: July 28, 2018

Wild Plains bison cross the Panther River in Banff National Park in this recent handout photo. Parks Canada says wild plains bison that were reintroduced to Banff National Park are now officially free-roaming animals. Officials say 31 bison were released into a 1,200 square-kilometre zone along the park's eastern slopes that features meadows and grassy valleys for grazing.

Dan Rafla/Parks Canada via The Canadian Press

Wild bison are released in Banff National Park

About 30 million bison once roamed the North American continent, but years of over-hunting by European settlers nearly drove the animals to extinction. In Alberta’s Banff area, bison disappeared altogether in the late 1800s. They are considered a keystone species because of the vital role they played in the ecosystem; bison “[altered] the landscape in ways that benefit many other plants and animals ranging from bugs to birds to bears,” Parks Canada’s website explains. In 2010, the national entity announced it planned to reintroduce the species to Banff National Park. In February, 2017, 16 Plains bison were brought to the park from Elk Island National Park, also in Alberta. They lived in a closed-off pasture in the park’s eastern slopes, where they familiarized themselves with the environment and also gave birth to calves. On this day in 2018, a total of 31 Plains bison were released from the pasture into a 1,200-square-kilometre area of the Banff National Park. This allowed the bison to roam freely and interact with the park’s other species. Experts say their presence has already had a positive impact on the park’s ecosystem. Mugoli Samba

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