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Wilbur L. Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 24, 2018.Denis Balibouse/Reuters

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trump advisers take aim at Trudeau over trade stand in Davos

On the eve of Donald Trump's arrival for the World Economic Forum in Davos, the U.S. President's top economic advisers defended his America First trade agenda, including taking a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of North American free-trade negotiations. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross set the stage for the President's protectionist message in Davos, with Mr. Mnuchin saying the administration's aggressive trade action is aimed at "looking out for American workers and American interests." Mr. Ross singled out Mr. Trudeau after he hailed the new 11-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement as the "right deal" for Canada and for those who believe in "progressive trade." (for subscribers)

Meanwhile, Canadian negotiators have presented proposals to jack up the amount of North American content in vehicles made in the NAFTA zone, in a bit to reach a deal with the United States on one of the key sticking points in the overhaul of the continental trade pact, The Globe and Mail has learned. Two sources said Ottawa began outlining its ideas for a potential compromise on the contentious issue at the sixth round of NAFTA talks in Montreal Wednesday. (for subscribers)

Parents of kids affected by no-fly list ask for meeting with Trudeau ahead of budget

Parents of children whose names closely match those on the no-fly list are asking for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an attempt to secure funding for a system that they say would end the ongoing delays and scrutiny their children face at airports. The group of parents is calling on the federal government to create a redress system to protect law-abiding Canadian airline passengers – particularly children – affected by the no-fly list. After more than two years of campaigning lawmakers in Ottawa, frustrated parents are hoping to take their concerns to Mr. Trudeau himself.

Liberals opt out of Canada Post overhaul

The Liberal government announced on Wednesday that it has decided not to proceed with major changes to Canada Post. Community mailboxes currently in place will not be dismantled, but home delivery will be maintained for those still receiving it. Analysts predict that such an arrangement will lead to a funding shortfall and escalating losses for the postal service. To prevent that, the government will install a new management team at the Crown corporation, charged with finding new methods to cut costs and increase revenues. Canada Post announced the overhaul in 2013, which was supported by Stephen Harper's Conservative government. As part of the 2015 Liberal election platform, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised his government would "stop Stephen Harper's plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in Canada and undertake a new review of Canada Post to make sure that it provides high-quality service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they live."

Barrie McKenna looks at Ottawa's impossible search for a new Canada Post CEO: "The search for a new Canada Post chief executive won't be easy. The federal government has saddled the incoming CEO with a seemingly impossible task after ducking the post office's main predicament – reconciling financial self-sufficiency with a vanishing core business."

Nova Scotia PC leader Jamie Baillie resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

Hours after Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative leader announced on Twitter that he had resigned his seat in the provincial legislature for "personal reasons", the PC Party of Nova Scotia says it requested Jamie Baillie's resignation after a third-party investigator found that the political leader had breached workplace harassment policy. "The PC Party does not, and will not, tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace," the party said in a news release. The announcement of Baillie's resignation comes nearly three months after he revealed plans to leave the helm of the official Opposition once a new leader was chosen.

Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 175 years for sexual abuse

The disgraced long-time USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced on Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison for abusing young female gymnasts, following days of testimony in a Michigan courtroom from about 160 of his victims, including Olympic gold medalists. "I've signed your death warrant," Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar in imposing the sentence, after delivering a searing rebuke of his years of abuse. Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty in November to seven counts of first-degree sex assault in Ingham County, as well as three additional charges in Eaton County, where he will be sentenced next week. He is already serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison for child pornography convictions.

Aurora, CanniMed end row with tie-up valued at about $1.2-billion

Aurora Cannabis Inc. struck a deal to acquire CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. for about $1.2-billion, marking an end to a heated two-month-long takeover battle between the two medical marijuana companies. The takeover by Aurora means an end to CanniMed's proposed acquisition of Newstrike Resources Ltd., the marijuana company that is backed by band members and management of the Tragically Hip. CanniMed will pay a $9.5-million break fee to Newstrike. Despite the agreement, CanniMed chief executive officer Brett Zettl said he was "very disappointed" at the outcome and warned of the risk in the deal as marijuana shares climb to new heights. (for subscribers)

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MARKET WATCH

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 73.34 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 16,284.21. Canada's main index was weighed by declines for financial shares, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Canadian National Railway Co., while gold mining stocks were boosted by higher gold prices. The loonie was trading 0.75 per cent higher at 81.05 U.S. cents. The S&P 500 was little changed while the Nasdaq lagged in the wake of comments by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross which hinted at action against China in a trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41.31 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 26,252.12, the S&P 500 lost 1.6 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 2,837.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 45.23 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 7,415.06.

WHAT'S TRENDING

Elton John will bid adieu to the road after his upcoming three-year global tour, capping nearly 50 years on stages around the world. The 70-year-old singer, pianist and composer announced his impending retirement Wednesday in New York calling it "a way to go out with a bang." John said he wanted to spend time with his family. "My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family." His final tour, 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road', kicks off in September. (for subscribers)

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TALKING POINTS

Quebec mosque shooting: Je me souviens

"Whether after an individual death or larger tragedy, the pattern is familiar. After receiving an initial outpouring of well-meaning sympathy, those most bereaved are gradually abandoned. It's too much to acknowledge the true depth of their suffering, and the reality that it might never end. This is what I see happening in the wake of last year's shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec (CCIQ), when six men were killed on the evening of January 29, 2017. The nation was shocked, for a minute. Politicians pontificated about standing up to hate. Then, slowly, most of us backed away. The Quebec City community is still reeling, but Canada has moved on." Denise Balkissoon

Donald Trump and Davos: Where oil meets water

"Given the risk that Mr. Trump will face derision and even outright mockery from some quarters, why he has decided to attend Davos remains unclear. The only reason I can discern is that he plans to play to his domestic base, by putting his economic nationalism, xenophobic immigration policies, antipathy toward the press and contempt for international institutions on full display." Nina Khrushcheva

Why small businesses don't deserve tax breaks

"Nobody forces anyone to become an entrepreneur. People start businesses because they believe they can make more money working for themselves than for somebody else. That's perfectly understandable. But why should the rest of us subsidize their desire for wealth by giving them a tax break too?" Ian McGugan (for subscribers)

LIVING BETTER

Teaching Canadian children about consent has gone well beyond simply "no means no," but there is still much more work to be done in what and how we teach young people about their sexuality if we want to prevent sexual assaults, experts say. "Consent isn't a magic bullet. It's not that if we just talk about consent then we'll somehow prepare young people to avoid sexual assaults. It's one piece of a larger educational effort," says Jen Gilbert, an associate professor of education at York University in Toronto.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

The Canadian secret behind the sandwiches at Starbucks

Think Starbucks makes its own breakfast sandwiches? Think again. Many are made in factories and supplied by Premium Brands, a Vancouver-based rollup that has quietly become the fastest-growing packaged foods supplier in North America. (for subscribers)

Evening Update is written by Kristene Quan 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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