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Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb.27, 2018.Sean Kilpatrick

Good evening,


Federal budget 2018

Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced the federal Liberals' third budget of this mandate earlier this afternoon. Gender is a major theme of the spending bill but the budget does not address the massive U.S. tax reform package that was passed last year and that has an impact on Canadian competitiveness. The budget is titled "Equality + Growth" and Mr. Morneau says that the focus on gender will translate into positive economic growth. "Studies have shown that increasing gender diversity alone leads to more growth," he told the House of Commons. "When women hold leadership positions, companies see stronger financial performance, more innovation and more effective decision-making at the board level."

What are the main takeaways from this budget? We've identified the 12 most important things you need to know on everything from the deficit (it's projected to be $19.4-billion in the 2017-18 fiscal year and $18.1-billion in 2018-19) to science research and innovation (an extra $3.8-billion over five years in support of the sciences and an increase in business innovation funding programs).

The federal government is also opening the door to charitable status for news organizations as the media industry continues to cope with digital disruption and a decline in advertising revenues. The move would enable media companies to receive tax-deductible donations to help them pursue investigate and public-interest journalism. The plan is still at least a year away from coming into effect. Ottawa also announced that it would provide $10-million a year to local news organizations in "underserved" communities, with the funding to be distributed through non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Campbell Clark writes that the Liberals borrowed from the NDP playbook to deliver this budget: "This was social-justice spending on a Liberal shoestring. That is, it wasn't an austerity budget, because it increased spending, but it kept the spending within constraints. It said a lot about the Liberals' political priorities. They believe their fight in next year's election is on the left and relies on promising equity and equality to keep the NDP from making inroads – fitting for a government led by Justin Trudeau, son of a prime minister who promised a 'Just Society.' They think Canadians don't care about eliminating the deficit, as long as they're reassured it's under control." (for subscribers)

Globe Investor columnist Rob Carrick has seven changes that could affect your personal finances: "Savers, conservative investors, low-income families and workers with company pension plans are all affected by measures in the federal budget." (for subscribers)

Fedeli says Ontario PCs ready to 'turn the page' after Brown quits race

Vic Fedeli, the interim leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, says that the party is ready to move on after former leader Patrick Brown dropped his bid to reclaim his role. "The last 10 days have been unprecedented in Ontario's politics," Mr. Fedeli said. "No one will question that it has been a difficult time for our party. But we are now ready to turn the page." Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney are still in the running to be the leader of Ontario's Official Opposition. Although a winner will be announced on March 10, party members can begin voting online starting this Friday.

Need to get caught up on how we got here and what comes next for the Ontario PC leadership race? We have an explainer for that.

Scotiabank, BMO report earnings

Bank of Nova Scotia reported first-quarter profit that topped market estimates and raised its dividend, boosted by strong gains in its Canadian and international banking operations. The robust results continued the string of impressive earnings from the country's largest lenders, after Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Royal Bank of Canada both surpassed expectations last week. Bank of Montreal also beat market predictions with its first-quarter results on Tuesday, even as its absorbed a $425-million writedown due to U.S. tax changes.

China using big data to detain people before crime is committed: report

The Integrated Joint Operations Platform melds together information from facial-recognition software, licence-plate cameras, banking records, WiFi information and a variety of other data points to help Chinese authorities identify people who may commit a crime in the future. Reports from the platform are then used to send individuals to "re-education" centres where people receive a political re-education that sometimes involves forcibly detaining people for months at a time without charges. The Globe and Mail's Nathan VanderKlippe reports on how China is leveraging data to increase its crackdown on Uyghur minorities in its Xinjiang region.

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World stock markets fell and government debt yields rose Tuesday following remarks by Jerome Powell, the new Federal Reserve chairman, in testimony before the U.S. Congress. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 299.24 points, or 1.16 per cent, to 25,410.03, the S&P 500 lost 35.32 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 2,744.28 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 91.11 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 7,330.35.

Canada's main stock index also fell 37.13 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 15,677.53 despite gains in Bank of Nova Scotia following its first-quarter results.

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The names Josef Pwag and Ijong Tchoi may not ring a bell but their faces are undeniably recognizable. That's because North Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and his late father Kim Jong-il used those aliases in fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports to apply for visas in Western countries in the 1990s.


Ottawa's employee policies must end abuse – not office romance

"If we were not aware before of the sensitivity and emotional pain sexual harassment can cause, the #MeToo movement has revealed disgusting and disgraceful behaviour from powerful men in all sectors. It has also achingly revealed the secrets that many women have kept to themselves over decades. This legislation is only the beginning. Relationships within the entire supply chain of the political world need a revamped professionalism when it comes to harassment and the power imbalance that comes with political workplaces and lifestyles." – Penny Collenette

Why gun control is a lost cause in America

"Guns are deeply embedded in American life and identity. They are enshrined in the Constitution – or at least in many Americans' and the Supreme Court's reading of the Second Amendment. According to Pew Research Center polls, three-quarters of gun owners (74 per cent) say owning a gun is essential to their personal freedom, and two-thirds (67 per cent) say they own a gun for protection. Guns are also deeply embedded in American culture. In U.S. cultural products, good guys kill bad guys with guns – whether they're in the Wild West, in U.S. cities, in foreign wars, or in outer space. My bet is that America in the years to come will continue to have a few gun-free zones, such as airplanes, sports stadiums and Republican Party conventions. But places explicitly free of guns – or 'soft targets' as U.S. President Donald Trump has framed them – will become fewer." – Michael Adams

A costly revolution the car companies could do without

"The price of ditching diesel and developing electric cars in a hurry might be unaffordable to some car makers, even a few of the biggies. As the bills pile up, more mergers are inevitable as investor returns diminish. The death of diesel is triggering a revolution, but it's not a revolution that the car companies, or their shareholders, wanted." – Eric Reguly


Exercising helps build muscle memory, but can it also help your brain strengthen its memory? New neurological research in mice found that exercising regularly can act against the effects of stress and adversity to increase the ability of your brain cells to communicate, which may help you remember memories.


Divided by a highway, a Mi'kmaq nation paves its road to revival in Nova Scotia

In the 1960s, the TransCanada highway split the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation apart, hiding it from the world and hampering its economy. The Globe's Atlantic correspondent Jessica Leeder reports on how a new interchange and municipal partnerships could turn things around.

Growing labour shortages, higher wages a pressing concern for Canadian businesses

As the economy heats up, Canadian entrepreneurs are ready to start investing more in their workforce. But employers are facing a challenge they haven't seen in years: too much work, and not enough workers. The scramble for talent is on. Is corporate Canada ready? (for subscribers)

Evening Update is written by Mayaz Alam and Kiran Rana. If you'd like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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