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TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry has just 90 victims’ names in database
The inquiry looking into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women says privacy and process issues have left it with the names of fewer than 100 victims’ families in its database just two months before commissioners will start hearing from those who have lost loved ones. A 2014 RCMP report said the force identified nearly 1,200 Indigenous women and girls who disappeared or were slain in recent decades. Some have criticized the list as far from complete. Family members of victims are expressing concern that they have heard nothing from the inquiry and fear they will not get a chance to give their testimony when commissioners start taking evidence in May.
Budget expected to flesh out infrastructure bank plans
The federal budget to be unveiled this week is expected to include new details on the government’s planned Canada Infrastructure Bank, as debate ramps up over the merits of Ottawa’s efforts to attract billions in private capital. Two reports to be released Monday detail conflicting outlooks of what the bank will mean for Canadians. TD Bank says it has the potential to build large new infrastructure, but the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the plan risks costing Canadians billions over the long term. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced last November that Ottawa will commit $35-billion to a new infrastructure bank aimed at partnering with private investors.
Comey faces questioning into Russia-Trump ties
Congress will grill two top U.S. intelligence officials on Monday in an effort to garner details of Russian contacts with President Donald Trump’s campaign and inner circle, and refute Mr. Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration spied on him during the campaign. FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers will appear before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in the first open hearing of the panel’s probe into Russian interference in last year’s U.S. election.
Canadians worry about country’s supply of fresh water: poll
Canadians see fresh water as the country’s most important resource, but worry the country faces a growing risk to the quality and supply of clean water, a new poll from the Royal Bank of Canada says. The release of the survey Monday comes after President Donald Trump proposed eliminating programs and regulations that protect the Great Lakes and other binational waterways. Mr. Trump’s proposed cutbacks are sparking new fears about the future quality of shared Canadian-U.S. water resources. “What happens in the U.S. is of critical importance to Canada,” said Robert Sandford, chair of the water-security program at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Mr. Sandford has worked with RBC on its annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study, released Monday to mark Canada Water Week.
Trump’s ‘America first’ agenda raises the spectre of inflation
U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to put American workers first could end up hurting U.S. consumers in the process. His proposals on trade, taxes and infrastructure could hit American wallets through higher prices, investors and economists say. And that may start a struggle with the Federal Reserve over the future of the U.S. economy and how quickly it should be growing. Mr. Trump has vowed a series of measures to boost economic output, such as cutting taxes, increasing infrastructure spending and raising tariffs to move production back to the U.S. But the Fed sees the economy as running close to current potential and nearing full employment. To boost the potential growth rate of the economy requires, in the Fed’s view, investments enhancing productivity, such as spending on education and training.
Kevin O’Leary campaign organizer accused of vote buying
A signed affidavit provided to The Globe and Mail alleges that one of Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary’s key organizers in the Sikh-Canadian community in Brampton, Ont., offered to pay for party membership – a clear breach of party rules. The affidavit is being used by leadership candidate Maxime Bernier’s camp to target the reality-TV star as a hypocrite after the O’Leary team accused his Quebec rival of committing mass membership fraud last week. Six Sikh-Canadians signed an affidavit on Sunday alleging that the president of the Conservative Brampton East Riding Association offered to pay for their memberships, an allegation that the O’Leary campaign denies.
Global stocks opened the week on a cautious footing on Monday after the G20’s decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism, while the U.S. Federal Reserve’s conservative rate guidance continued to push the greenback lower. Tokyo’s Nikkei was closed, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.4 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.3 and 0.4 per cent by about 6 a.m. ET. New York futures were also down, and the Canadian dollar was just below the 75-cent U.S. mark. Oil prices continued their downward trend as OPEC supplies remained steady despite touted cuts and rising U.S. drilling contributed to concerns about a supply glut.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Are blaring headlines a diversion from Trump’s agenda?
“Political junkies will be transfixed Monday when FBI Director James Comey talks about wiretaps and Russian interference to the House Intelligence Committee. But is it all a distraction? President Donald Trump has launched the most activist presidency since Ronald Reagan’s first months, almost 40 years ago. With the support of Congress, the president is rewriting the rules around health care; his first budget proposes staggering cuts to spending on domestic programs, while ramping up spending on defence; Congress and the administration will soon set about a wholesale reform of tax code. But these issues, which should dominate the news every day, often take a back seat to efforts to temporarily ban visitors from certain Muslim countries, or Mr. Trump’s claim that Barack Obama tapped his phone during the election campaign. As the headlines roar, work on the Trump agenda continues.” – John Ibbitson
If Don Meredith won’t quit, the Senate has a duty to police its own
“Dodge, obfuscate, duck, weave. That was the path that Senator Don Meredith took when the Red Chamber’s ethics officer investigated allegations he had a relationship with a teenage girl. Now that a damning report has been issued, the senator insists God has forgiven him. But the Senate has no right to be so forgiving. The Red Chamber can’t judge whether Mr. Meredith can be redeemed. It must decide whether he crossed a line with conduct that damages the dignity of the Senate, such as it is, and whether he is in contempt. His deceit, in the relationship with the teenager and when Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard investigated, means the answer is yes. It’s important for the Senate, despite its tattered reputation, to be able police its own. No one else can. Senators don’t have bosses and don’t answer to voters. It does have the power, and a duty to use it.” – Campbell Clark
On ‘big money’ politics, John Horgan’s not so subtle himself
“B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan will hold his major pre-election fundraiser on Thursday night in a posh Vancouver hotel ballroom with 450 or so supporters and would-be allies. Donors are paying up to $1,000 a person for a stand-up reception – not even a chicken dinner – with the man who hopes to end the B.C. Liberals’ 16-year-long reign on election day in May. Corporate interests and their fat wallets are welcome – in fact some in the business community got a not-so-subtle reminder in an e-mail last week that their failure to buy a ticket had been noticed. “John asked me to reach out to you to see if you can attend next week’s Leader’s Reception. I was going over the guest list and I did not see your name,” wrote Craig Keating, party president. The irony is that the first piece of legislation Mr. Horgan would introduce if he becomes premier would be designed to get rid of “big money” in politics.” – Justine Hunter
The runway is clear, but will Ottawa go for an airport sale?
“The federal Liberals have a credibility problem when it comes to their promise to renew Canada’s infrastructure: Much talk, no action. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has a chance to fix that perception and put as much as $16-billion into government coffers in the budget he is scheduled to table on Wednesday, if he moves forward aggressively with the sale of the country’s eight largest airports. The runway is clear. The government is sitting on a privatization plan filed last year by investment bank Credit Suisse. Pension plans and other deep-pocketed investors are lining up to buy these assets. Smoke signals from Ottawa say the government is dithering when it comes to airports. Civil servants in the Finance department are said to be keen on privatization, while the Transport department that oversees the facilities wants more time to look at options. As the Liberals’ second year in power flies by, what exactly is the government waiting for when it comes to infrastructure?” – Andrew Willis (for subscribers)
Canada’s strong lumber case could falter in a ‘Buy American, Hire American’ world
“These should be happy days for the U.S. lumber industry. Prices are up, mills are operating near full tilt and housing starts are on a tear. Builders broke ground on new homes at an annual rate of nearly 1.3 million units in February – the second-highest monthly tally of the past decade. All that construction points to growing demand for lumber. Surely, in this auspicious environment there should be plenty of spoils for everyone, including Canadian producers, who have roughly a third of the massive U.S. lumber market. And yet, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to be his administration’s top trade negotiator said fixing the ‘very serious’ lumber problem is at the top of his U.S.-Canada to-do list. Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing last week, Robert Lighthizer talked about slapping a ‘quantitative restraint’ on Canadian lumber. Mr. Lighthizer should lighten up. The first question he might ask himself is: Where is the crisis?” – Barrie McKenna (for subscribers)
What is food combining and will it help with digestion?
These days, my usual breakfast consists of oats, kefir and raspberries. I eat them all mixed together; I don’t eat the berries first. And I may even eat an orange soon after finishing my lunch. Does this mean that my body is shortchanged vitamin C, folate, potassium and other nutrients contained in my berries and citrus fruit? Simply because I eat them with – or in close proximity to – other foods? Hardly.
MOMENT IN TIME
Toronto drunks face The Globe’s wrath
March 20, 1876: In 1867, Canadian newspapers took a moralistic approach to police and court activity – especially concerning charges of drunkenness – and sprinkled their reports with editorializing comments. A Globe police court file from Toronto in March said one of those charged, Sarah Norton, was “a very old offender indeed, out of gaol three weeks.” She “promised to behave herself, and was discharged with the moral certainty that she would soon be back.” Margaret Evans, another previous offender, “pleaded in an artistic whine to be let go, and was discharged, with a promise of six months if she appeared again.” James Larman, who was found drunk on Queen Street, “said he had come into the city to get some clothes [but] had apparently taken an internal instead of an external method of warming himself.” Like most of the others, he was let off by the judge. – Richard Blackwell
Morning Update was written by Steven Proceviat.
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