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Fear of a violent confrontation is stopping police from using force to end the protest blocking Canada’s busiest border crossing, as factories begin cutting production and laying off people because of shortages caused by the Ambassador Bridge blockade.

On Day 3 of the blockade, Drew Dilkens, mayor of Windsor, Ont., said arresting the demonstrators opposed to pandemic health measures and towing their vehicles could lead to violence, because some have said they are “willing to die for it.” So instead, police are trying to negotiate an end to the blockade.

The Ambassador Bridge connects Detroit and Windsor and carries about one-quarter of Canada’s trade with the United States – about $450-million daily in goods between the countries. Commercial traffic is being diverted to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., where the wait to cross to the U.S. on Wednesday was almost five hours.

Demonstrators also parked trucks and tractors on a highway near Sarnia on Wednesday, forcing another detour and more delays. Similar blockades of trucks and other vehicles are gripping downtown Ottawa and the border crossing at Coutts, Alta.

Protestors block traffic at the Ambassador Bridge, linking Windsor and Detroit on Wednesday, February 9, 2022.Nicole Osborne /The Canadian Press

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What the 2021 census tells us about Canada’s changing population

Statistics Canada rolled out the first batch of data from the 2021 census on Wednesday, offering a picture of an urbanizing country whose growth was too robust for the COVID-19 pandemic to squelch.

The data show Canada’s population grew by 5.2 per cent from 2016 through 2021, bringing the total to 36,991,981 people. Most of that increase came in the first four of those years. The final year, during the pandemic, had the lowest growth since the First World War. The agency said it did not model how much more the population might have grown had the pandemic not emerged.

The census data also show a turnaround in the long trend of population loss in the Maritimes, and an increased rate of population growth in city centres.

Russian figure skater turns up for practice after reports of failed drug test

Russian figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva showed up for her scheduled practice at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday, after Russian media reported the 15-year-old had tested positive for a banned substance.

The teenager was part of the Russian Olympic Committee ensemble that won the figure skating team event on Monday ahead of the United States and Japan. The ceremony to present her and her teammates with their Olympic medals has been delayed since then for unexplained legal reasons. Canada placed fourth and would be in line to be upgraded if the team from Russia is disqualified.

Cathal Kelly: With festering doping story, Russia returns to its black-hat glory

More from the Beijing Olympics:

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ontario, B.C. say they’ll take more gradual approach to lifting restrictions: As Alberta and Saskatchewan unveiled plans on Tuesday to quickly end pandemic restrictions, Ontario and British Columbia both said they had no plans to speed up their reopening plans. The move by Alberta’s government has forced its capital city Edmonton to contemplate its own COVID-19 public-health measures.

On NATO’s eastern flank, Latvia contends with a migration crisis: As Russia’s menacing of Ukraine sets off alarms in Eastern European countries, Latvia’s border patrols and national guard say they’re ready for the worst-case scenario where a threat to the Baltics emerges from the chaos of war in Ukraine. But officials say the biggest challenge for Latvia right now is the continuing migration crisis orchestrated by neighbouring Belarus.

Boost business investment to fuel growth, Macklem says: Canadian businesses need to boost investment in machinery and technology if the country is going to achieve robust economic growth without putting upward pressure on inflation, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said yesterday.

Military sexual-misconduct settlement hit by privacy breach: The company administering the federal government’s $900-million settlement deal with Armed Forces members and veterans who experienced sexual misconduct while in uniform has inadvertently released private information about dozens of claimants.

Saskatchewan, Ottawa look to end historic tax exemption for CP Rail: The federal government and Saskatchewan are moving to amend the Constitution to abolish a 140-year-old political fossil that exempts Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. from paying taxes to the province on its main line, with hundreds of millions of tax dollars at stake.

Bill on crypto aims to boost industry’s potential: The Conservatives are calling on the federal government to create a national framework for growing the cryptocurrency industry, in what is the first bill tabled in the House of Commons aimed directly at the rapidly developing sector.


MORNING MARKETS

The rebound in share prices took a pause on Thursday as investors geared up for a crucial U.S. inflation report that should offer new clues on the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.  European stocks were mostly higher or unchanged on the day, while U.S. futures pointed to small declines at the open on Wall Street. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.87 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

John Doyle: “What we’re seeing in Ottawa is a pack of Ford-type hosers holding the city hostage. We’re seeing hoser-extremism and somehow that extremism has become normalized. Some embrace it, the majority are wary of it and the media, especially TV, doesn’t know what to do with it.”

Editorial: “In city and suburb alike, opponents will be legion. Most homeowners in established neighbourhoods want nothing in their neighbourhood to change, which is why the impulse in housing policy – look at city councils in Toronto and Vancouver – is always to bury zoning reform in years of ponderous study. Both cities have long chewed over the ideas in Ontario’s report, but their actions have been few. Meanwhile, housing prices keep surging. All of which underscores the report’s simple conclusion: ‘The need to act now.’ ”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Where to watch the Oscar-nominated movies for 2022 in Canada

With almost an entire two months ahead until the 94th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 27, there’s plenty of time to catch up on some of the critically acclaimed films of the year. The list of nominations were announced Tuesday morning, and most are available to stream from home (with Netflix and Disney+ dominating nominations), while others could make for a good reason to get to the big screens and enjoy with long-overdue movie theatre popcorn.


MOMENT IN TIME: FEBRUARY 10, 2007

U.S. senator Barack Obama, with wife Michelle, waves after formally announcing his campaign for U.S. president in the 2008 election during a campaign rally in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, February 10, 2007.JASON REED/Reuters

Barack Obama announces U.S. presidential campaign

With a U2 guitar chorus swelling over wild cheers, Barack Obama smiled under a Midwestern winter sky and launched his presidential campaign. “It’s humbling, to see a crowd like this. But in my heart I know you didn’t just come here for me,” he said. “Yeah, we did!” someone in the crowd yelled. “No,” Mr. Obama said, laughing. “You came here because you believe in what this country can be.” It was Feb. 10, 2007, and Mr. Obama stood before the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., where, he said, “Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together.” Within two years he was president, entering the Oval Office as “Obama the Uniter,” riding a crest of optimism in the United States after years of terror and war. In his two terms, he changed the country’s health care, but not its divisions. Eight years after the Springfield announcement, Donald Trump declared his own presidential run, attacking Mr. Obama as “a negative force” under whose leadership “we as a country are getting weaker.” For that moment in 2007, though, Mr. Obama’s presidential announcement held the promise of a different kind of United States. “We can,” he said, “build a more hopeful America.” Nathan VanderKlippe


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