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John McCallum speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Dec. 14, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
John McCallum speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Dec. 14, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

MORNING UPDATE

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Canada ‘a long, long’ way from China extradition deal: McCallum


Canada’s new ambassador to China, John McCallum, says that formally discussing an extradition treaty is “not high” on his priority list, but that Ottawa is open to discussions in the future. The Chinese government has been looking to force the return of people it calls corrupt fugitives, and Canada agreed last fall to discuss the issue. But the lack of a deal hasn’t stopped Canada from sending people back to China, without receiving any assurances that they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale defended Canada’s removal process Monday when asked how the government can be sure that those deported to China will not be treated badly.

Widespread anger clouds Bombardier’s backtrack on executive pay

Criticism continues to mount as Bombardier Inc. chief executive Alain Bellemare tries to defuse public outrage over company plans to increase the pay of senior management after the plane and train maker received government aid and announced thousands of job cuts. Opposition parties in Quebec and Ottawa, in addition to a shareholder rights group, all said Monday that Bombardier’s decision to delay half of last year’s planned compensation for its six top paid executives an extra year until 2020 does not go far enough. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was “not pleased” with the company’s decision to hike executive pay while laying off workers and the Conservatives called on the Liberals to compel Bombardier to suspend the pay increases until it repays any outstanding government loans.

Ex-Mountie Pierre Perron takes job with controversial Chinese firm Huawei

A senior Mountie has retired from Canada’s national police force to take a job with a Chinese corporation that Ottawa officials have sometimes shunned as an espionage risk. RCMP assistant commissioner Pierre Perron, a 35-year Mountie, was the national police force’s chief information officer until he retired in March. He has been hired by Huawei Technologies as a brand ambassador for the Shenzhen-based company’s police information technology initiative. Huawai, founded by a senior officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army and long viewed with suspicion by North American governments, has lately been hiring government officials from the West, including some who spent many years promoting public safety.

Fear of delay prompts bid to remove lawyer from first-degree-murder trial

An Ontario prosecutor is urging a judge to remove a defence lawyer from a first-degree-murder trial because the defence lawyer is not available until next March, raising concerns for the prosecution that the case will be thrown out for unreasonable delay. If the move succeeds, it will mark the first time the Crown has had a defence lawyer removed to prevent delay since a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last summer set new time limits for criminal proceedings and imposed obligations on defence lawyers, prosecutors and judges to minimize delay.

MORNING MARKETS

European shares rose on Tuesday, shrugging off falls on Asian bourses, but low-risk government debt yields fell as investors fretted about a meeting between the U.S. and Chinese presidents and Donald Trump’s ability to deliver economic stimulus. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai composite were closed. In Europe, the Paris CAC 40 was little changed by about 5:15 a.m. (ET), London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 per cent, and Germany’s DAX was down 0.1 per cent. New York futures were down, and the Canadian dollar was down to below 74.5 cents (U.S.). Oil prices fell, hit by a rebound in Libyan crude production and an increase in U.S. drilling. Brent crude fell 21 cents a barrel to $52.92.

THE LOOKAHEAD

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose will appear at Commons status of women committee on Bill C-337, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code. The private member’s bill is aimed at improving judicial training and transparency in sex-assault cases, in response to high-profile ones, such as that of Justice Robin Camp, who ignited a national debate about the training judges receive after it was revealed he asked a complainant in a rape trial why she did not keep her knees together.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

“After all, Kevin O’Leary, the Conservative leadership candidate, can argue quite neatly that none of this business about skipping debates or spending half his time in the United States has stopped him from becoming a front-runner. And if Conservative Party members don’t care about potential leaders showing up for their party’s debates, why should anyone else? The problem, for those Conservative Party members, is that it amounts to a major weakness in what Mr. O’Leary touts as his strong suit: his electability. Kevin O’Leary is bad at masking the fact that it’s all about Kevin O’Leary.” – Campbell Clark

“History shows that short-term anger has never done any lasting, long-term damage to the business of hockey. Until and unless that changes, the NHL will continue to make decisions based on its bottom line, which – like it or not – is what business operations do. If you clung to the quaint notion that hockey played at its highest levels in 2017 was still primarily a sport, then Monday’s decision should permanently disabuse you of that belief.” – Eric Duhatschek

“The outrage over Bombardier’s decision to increase by 50 per cent the pay packages of top executives, including controlling-family scion Pierre Beaudoin, illustrates that even Quebeckers have now come to see the transportation giant as a ward of the state. So, it should act like one, with salaries that seem more in line with those of civil servants than Wall Street bankers.” – Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)

HEALTH PRIMER

Greg Wells on how ‘microchanges’ can make a major difference
: Toronto physiologist Greg Wells’s new book, The Ripple Effect, makes lofty promises, pledging that we can Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better. A superachiever himself (Ironman, PhD, researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids and professor at the University of Toronto), Wells nevertheless tempers those assertions by sticking to a simple message in the book, in stores April 4. It’s okay to dream big, but start small. Peppered with “1 per cent tips,” Wells advocates staying focused on micro-improvements (using spices, not sauces, to cut calories; walking 15 minutes a day to potentially lower risk of breast and colon cancer 24 to 40 per cent). “Microchanges are sustainable forever,” he says. “When they add up over time, it’s like compound interest for your body and mind.”

MOMENT IN TIME

Bomb blast in Montreal triggers diplomatic row with Cuba:
Planted in an elevator shaft outside the Cuban Trade Commission in Montreal, the bomb detonated after midnight, ripping off part of the building’s roof and spraying debris onto the streets below. Montreal Police officers who arrived, after running up 12 floors in the dark, were confronted by armed Cuban guards. After a standoff, the police overpowered them and took an injured Cuban, Sergio Perez Castillo, to hospital, where he died. Inside, officers seized pistols and Uzi submachine guns. Two days later in Ottawa, acting external affairs minister C.M. Drury apologized to the Cuban ambassador after Fidel Castro called the police intervention “brutal and fascist.” Journalist John Sawatsky later wrote that the RCMP used the confusion that night to steal a code book from the Cubans. An anti-Castro group claimed responsibility, but the case was never resolved. – Tu Thanh Ha

Morning update is written by Kiran Rana.

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