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Morning Update: NAFTA; Boushie’s mother hopeful after Trudeau meeting; Zuma refuses to step down

South African police exit after a raid on a home in Johannesburg, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. The police raided the home of a business family linked to President Jacob Zuma as the nation awaited word from the embattled leader on whether he will obey a ruling party order to quit.

AP

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Canada's lead NAFTA negotiator criticizes U.S. proposal as Freeland heads to Washington

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Canada's lead NAFTA negotiator is taking public aim at American bargaining positions, saying the proposal for government procurement is the "worst offer ever" made by the United States at the trade table. In an unusual intervention, Steve Verheul, an assistant deputy minister at the department of Global Affairs, spoke to an Ottawa audience Tuesday about the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement that began last August at the request of U.S. President Donald Trump. "The U.S. offer on government procurement … is the worst offer ever made by the U.S. in any trade negotiation. It would leave us in a position where the country of Bahrain would have far better access to U.S. government procurement markets than Canada would, or Mexico would," he told a Canadian Global Affairs Institute conference. Washington has said it wants to cap the amount of work available to Canadian or Mexican companies at the sum total of what their governments make available for U.S. firms to bid upon. (for subscribers)

Olympics 2018: The pressure is on for Canada's curlers

Both the men's and women's squads are hitting the ice for round robin competition. Skip Rachel Homan is leading the women's squad, which kicks things off against host nation South Korea this evening. And Kevin Koe is at the helm of the men's rink, which picked up a 5-3 win against Italy to get things going. Cathal Kelly writes about the enormous pressure facing Koe and co.: "While men's hockey gets the glory, their curling counterparts instead get the strain. The last time the Canadian men's team failed to win Olympic gold, Jean Chrétien was prime minister.​"

Elsewhere on the Olympics front:

Weather is wreaking havoc on skiing events in Pyeongchang. Huge gusts of wind have forced the postponement of the women's giant slalom, while some athletes have complained about being forced to compete in poor conditions.

Canadian pairs figure skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford​ are looking to wrap up their Olympic careers with a medal tonight. The duo are currently sitting in third place behind Chinese and Russian skaters heading into the long program. Duhamel and Radford already helped lead Canada to gold in Pyeongchang in the team event.

Canada's Kim Boutin, who captured a bronze in 500m speed skating after initially finishing fourth, has been the target of online threats. Boutin was awarded the medal after South Korean skater Minjeong Choi was disqualified for interference. The RCMP and the International Olympic Committee are looking into the matter.

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American snowboarding legend Shaun White returned to the top of the podium with a gold in men's halfpipe. White, 31, first won gold at the Turin Games in 2006, and added another in Vancouver. He's now mulling the possibility of competing in skateboarding at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Medal count (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Total)

Germany: 6, 2, 2, 10
Netherlands: 5, 4, 2, 11
United States: 4, 1, 2, 7
Norway: 3, 5, 3, 11
Canada: 3, 4, 3, 10

Want to get caught up further? Our daily Olympics guide gives you everything you need to know about the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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Colten Boushie's mother hopeful for change after meeting Trudeau

Colten Boushie's mother met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday and emerged optimistic that the Liberal government will address the concerns she raised about the judicial process that ended in an acquittal for the man accused of killing her son. Debbie Baptiste, Mr. Boushie's mother, said the Prime Minister expressed his sympathy to her and told her he believes things need to change, and that her son's death was not in vain. "It was a very good meeting," Ms. Baptiste said. "It feels like there's going to be a change, but not right away. Eventually. It's slowly working to try and make change." Ms. Baptiste said Mr. Trudeau did not discuss any specific legislative changes that are under consideration as a result of the outcry over Gerald Stanley's trial.

The acquittal of Mr. Stanley in Mr. Boushie's death on Friday sent shockwaves across the country and sparked demonstrations in many cities. It also reignited debate about criminal justice, colonialism and Indigenous reconciliation. Get caught up on The Globe's coverage of what has happened since the verdict.

Long before Mr. Stanley's lawyer argued that "for farm people, your yard is your castle," Canada's government used slick advertising to tell settlers the Prairies were theirs for the taking – and left Indigenous people out of the picture. Gina Starblanket, an assistant professor with a joint position in the Native Studies Department and Gender Studies program at the University of Manitoba, and Dallas Hunt, a full-time lecturer at the University of Manitoba's Native Studies Department, look at how the death of Colten Boushie became recast as the story of a knight protecting his castle.

Globe in South Africa: Jacob Zuma defies ANC's order to resign

As police launched a dramatic raid on associates of the Zuma family in a widening corruption investigation, President Jacob Zuma continued to defy a ruling party decision that he must resign from office. The African National Congress, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, announced on Tuesday that it has told President Jacob Zuma to resign "with urgency" because of the "uncertainty and anxiety" in the country over the transition to his heir apparent, ANC Leader Cyril Ramaphosa.

Influenza taking heavy toll on children in Canada

Influenza is taking a higher-than-usual toll on children in Canada so far this flu season, with the virus sending an above-average number to hospital and killing at least eight, including a boy and girl who attended the same Guelph, Ont., school. Infectious disease experts say the increased flu level among children is likely due to the early arrival of a strain that can be harder on the young, and there is no reason to believe the 2017-2018 flu season will prove to be worse overall than other non-pandemic seasons in the past decade. This flu season has been unusual in that the A and B strains of the virus gathered steam and spread at virtually the same time, rather than in separate waves. Influenza A often dominates through the winter, while influenza B usually peaks in the spring.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses bid to halt legal action by Britain

On Tuesday, a British judge rejected WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's bid to quash a British arrest warrant for skipping bail. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot called Mr. Assange someone who lacks courage and believes he's above the law. "He appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favour." The ruling leaves the Australian-born Mr. Assange in a continued state of legal limbo and raises questions about the future of WikiLeaks, which has a long and controversial history of publishing leaked documents. He has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for nearly six years, avoiding the British arrest warrant over fears he'll be sent to the United States and prosecuted for WikiLeaks's disclosures.

MORNING MARKETS

U.S. inflation report looms for North American markets

The U.S. dollar slid to a 15-month low against the yen on Wednesday, while world stock markets found firmer ground ahead of U.S. inflation numbers that could soothe, or inflame, fears of faster interest-rate hikes globally. European stock markets opened the day higher. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.64 per cent just before 6 a.m. (ET) while Germany's DAX rose 0.76 per cent and France's CAC 40 advanced 0.69 per cent. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei lost 0.4 per cent, though Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.3 per cent, and the Shanghai composite gained 0.5 per cent. Wall Street futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.51 US cents. West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at US$58.82 a barrel. Brent crude was trading at US$66.52.

FYI: The Globe now provides all users access to real-time stock quotes for both Canadian and U.S. markets. Go here to find out about the major changes to our Globe Investor site.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Budget will show how far Morneau will go to put money where Trudeau's mouth is

"Politically, the Liberals have made a decision to steer left, to appeal to a 'progressive' political audience by underlining inclusion and gender equality, rather than trying to mirror Mr. Trump's cuts or to slash the deficit. The emphasis on gender is also in line with the Liberals' electoral calculations: They consistently hold a lead in opinion polls because of much higher support among women than the second-placed Conservatives. While there will be many other elements in the budget, gender will be a thread through several sections, according to a source." Campbell Clark

Pipelines and politics: Notley is the clear winner

"Alberta Premier Rachel Notley should consider sending John Horgan a case of Okanagan pinot noir when their pipeline fight concludes. It would be the least she could do given the political gift he bestowed on her. If it wasn't apparent earlier it is now: Ms. Notley is not just winning this tussle, she's mopping the floor with B.C.'s NDP Premier. She called a momentary truce this week to give the federal government a chance to bring the B.C. government to its senses. The Alberta Premier needed a rest anyway, exhausted as she likely is from flailing away on her hapless opponent for well over a week now." Gary Mason

Oxfam scandal is shaking up the entire international aid industry, rightfully

"In the #MeToo era, a new paradigm has just arrived for international co-operation agencies and humanitarian-aid organizations: We can no longer keep silent, we cannot hide, we can no longer hope that people forget. On the contrary, we must condemn this cover-up. We must blame those who hoped for silence. The aid industry must enter the #MeToo era and denounce every incident, use judicial tools to punish crimes and provide support and compensation to victims. This is an opportunity. All aid workers know it. There is a taboo that must be broken." François Audet

HEALTH PRIMER

Good news, Valentine: Chocolate may be good for your heart

"Who doesn't like – or love, for that matter – chocolate? Its unique rich flavour and velvety mouthfeel makes it one of the most craved foods. Some experts even believe that eating chocolate induces amorous feelings, thanks to its natural chemicals. Even if chocolate doesn't spark feelings of romance this Valentine's Day, plenty of studies suggest it's still good for your heart. Dark chocolate, in particular." Leslie Beck

MOMENT IN TIME

Wayne's World hits the big screen

Feb. 14, 1992: Whether hosting their TV show in Wayne's parents' basement, singing Bohemian Rhapsody in the Mirthmobile or chowing down on sugar pucks at Stan Mikita's Donuts (based on Tim Hortons) the silver-screen life of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar was never dull, and often excellent. Released in 1992, Wayne's World was just the second Saturday Night Live sketch to receive feature-film treatment, following on from The Blues Brothers. However, it proved far more successful at the box office. Shot in just 34 days with a modest US$20-million budget, Wayne's World hauled in more than US$121-million in the United States. While SNL producer Lorne Michaels had a hand in both, the story and its lead character were the brainchild of fellow Canadian Mike Myers, pictured at left. The Scarborough, Ont., native conceived the mullet-haired rock 'n' roll fanatic as a teenager, and upon joining SNL as a cast member in 1989 introduced Wayne Campbell to an even greater audience. Although the movie release introduced phrases such as "Schwing" and the sarcastic use of "Not!" to the common lexicon, it also went a long way to propelling Myers to comedic stardom and memorable roles in the Austin Powers and Shrek franchises. "Party on, Wayne!" — Paul Attfield

Morning Update was written by Kristene Quan and Arik Ligeti.

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Justin Trudeau says the government wants to ensure no family goes through what Colten Boushie’s family did. The Prime Minister and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould met Tuesday with relatives of the slain Indigenous man. The Canadian Press
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