TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Another death and new arrests made in London attack
A man injured in Wednesday’s attack has died, raising the number of fatalities to five. Here's the latest on the aftermath of the terrorist attack on London.
In addition, British police said they had made two further significant arrests in the investigation into the attack on London’s parliament and gave the birth name of the man behind the assault as Adrian Russell Ajao.
Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said police had nine people in custody after the attack on Wednesday which killed five people including the assailant.
Defiant London picks up the pieces after terrorist attack
Thousands of people gathered in London last night to honour the victims of Wednesday’s terror attack. Four people were killed and nearly 30 others injured after a 52-year-old man drove an SUV into a large crowd near the city’s Parliament buildings. He then got out of the vehicle and stabbed a police officer to death before being shot dead. The perpetrator has been identified by police as Khalid Masood. He had a criminal record but was never convicted on terrorism charges nor was he identified as a terror threat.
Capital-gains changes aren’t part of Ottawa’s tax plans
Investors can breathe a sigh of relief: Finance Minister Bill Morneau says there are no plans to raise the capital-gains rate. The federal budget put off any major tax changes until a later date, and there was concern a future Liberal target would be capital gains. Right now, only 50 per cent of investment profits – from selling stocks, for example – are taxed. Some had speculated that would be bumped up to 66 or 75 per cent.
Not all in the business community are pleased with Ottawa’s tax plans, though (for subscribers). Oil firms drilling new wells are currently eligible for tax breaks. But to keep up with their environmental pledges, the Liberals cut that incentive in the federal budget. Small and medium-sized companies say they’re being hit hard by that measure: “It’s a short-sighted view of the industry,” said Tamarack Valley Energy CEO Brian Schmidt. “It takes a lot of capital, that you put at risk, to develop new plays.”
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China wants full access to Canada’s economy
Beijing wants Chinese firms to have full access to the Canadian market, including the oil sands, the country’s ambassador said (for subscribers). And Ottawa shouldn’t use human rights as a “bargaining chip” in free-trade talks currently under way, Lu Shaye said. He also dismissed security concerns as “political factors” that shouldn’t be part of the negotiation process. Intelligence agencies in Canada and the U.S. have said Chinese state-owned businesses, and so-called independent companies, are beholden to the will of the Communist Party.
McGill under fire after Andrew Potter resigns
Andrew Potter announced his resignation as director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of Canada yesterday, after a column he wrote sparked controversy in Quebec. McGill’s handling of the affair has led many in the academic community to express concerns about academic freedom. Shortly after the article was published, McGill tweeted that Potter’s views didn’t reflect those of the university. McGill’s principal, Suzanne Fortier, emphasized the school’s commitment to academic freedom, but added that Potter “failed to uphold” the institute’s mission. Potter had argued in his column that the bungled response to a Montreal blizzard was related to “social malaise” in the province. He apologized after a backlash from politicians and pundits. Potter will continue to work at McGill as a professor.
Markets were again nervously awaiting a vote on U.S. President Donald Trump's health-care plan. The vote, which was delayed Thursday, is seen as a litmus test for the Trump administration's ability to gain backing for its fiscal and economic efforts. European stocks were down slightly at the start of trading, with the U.S. dollar back in negative territory against the euro. Markets in Europe, however, also found some support in stronger-than-expected readings on factory activity in France and Germany. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.1 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.6 per cent. On Wall Street, U.S. futures were up. Crude prices also inched slightly higher Friday morning. The Canadian dollar was trading just below 75 cents (U.S.).
U.S. vote on health-care bill
Members of U.S. Congress are expected to vote on the Republican health-care overhaul bill today. The GOP is still scrambling to get enough support for the vote to pass. But Trump issued an ultimatum, calling on Republicans to unite or else Obamacare will stay in place.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Why did McGill fail to defend Andrew Potter’s academic freedom?
“McGill University’s decision to accept the resignation of a staff member whose published opinion displeased Quebec’s political and chattering classes is extremely troubling. It is only made worse by the university’s refusal to explain itself properly. … Unless McGill offers a viable explanation, or Andrew Potter himself clears the air, the logical conclusion is uncomfortable: McGill professors can write whatever they want, as long as their views are palatable to Quebec’s establishment. There can be no harsher condemnation of a university. Or of a society, for that matter.” – Globe editorial
Trudeau’s budget: Delaying decisions on Trumpian matters
“Making major changes to tax benefits – for example, by taxing employee health and dental benefits paid for by employers – would have increased taxes for the middle class. That would have meant increasing taxes in Canada while the Trump administration is cutting them in the United States. Instead, decisions about the tax credits will be postponed. …. In an integrated North American economy, the Canadian government is going have to make difficult decisions to adapt to the new American reality so that Canada remains competitive. Failure to do so has the potential to cost Canadians jobs and opportunities.” – Janice MacKinnon, former Saskatchewan minister of finance and current professor of public policy at the University of Saskatchewan
Filth City a sample of the queasy politics of political biopics
“One day, there might be a good movie made about Rob Ford. The late politician’s life overflowed with drama, after all – there was enough scandal and conflict and heartache to fill at least two hours’ worth of your time, if not an entire miniseries. But just as Rob Ford was not the mayor Toronto deserved, the new feature Filth City is not the Rob Ford movie anyone – Torontonians, the Ford family, moviegoers with even a modicum of good taste – needs. … Directed by Andy King, Filth City at least lives up to its name: This is a gross, slimy project in which no one emerges clean, especially its creators.” – Barry Hertz
A runner’s guide to the perfect shoe
Is your risk of injury affected by the type of running shoe you wear? The answer is complicated, but research suggests it isn’t as big of a factor as was once hyped by shoe companies. For one, the stiffness of the cushioning doesn’t make a difference, one study found. But a shoe with decent motion control may help prevent injuries. Ditto rotating between two different pairs. The biggest takeaway, though, is to just stick with the type of shoe you’re used to, as long as it’s comfortable.
MOMENT IN TIME
The Germanwings tragedy
March 24, 2015: At 9:01 a.m., Germanwings flight 9525 left Barcelona en route to Dusseldorf. Thirty minutes in, the pilot stepped out to use the washroom and co-pilot Andreas Lubitz took the controls. He locked the door, set the plane to descend from 38,000 feet to 100 feet and pressed the autopilot button. He did not say a word. The crew tried desperately to break into the cockpit but security measures instituted after 9/11 made that impossible. The plane crashed into the French Alps, killing all 144 passengers and six crew members instantly. Lubitz was suffering from severe depression and psychosis and was taking a cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics and sleeping pills, but his employer knew none of this. After the tragedy, European regulators recommended more stringent medical exams for pilots and that no fewer than two pilots be in the cockpit at all times. – André Picard
Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.
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