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In response to a Globe and Mail investigation, 54 Canadian police services have publicly committed to auditing unfounded cases. (artolympic/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
In response to a Globe and Mail investigation, 54 Canadian police services have publicly committed to auditing unfounded cases. (artolympic/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Morning Update

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Ontario police force includes external advocates in sex-assault audit

Brantford Police Service in Ontario has become the first Canadian police force to complete a preliminary review of sex-assault cases with input from front-line advocates. In response to a Globe and Mail investigation, 54 Canadian police forces have publicly committed to auditing sex-assault cases dismissed as “unfounded.” But only eight forces to date have said they are open to including outside advocates in their review processes. In Brantford, the review team was asked to enter a “memorandum of understanding” with the department on confidentiality. It finished the audit’s first phase – analyzing 94 cases from 2014 and 2015 – a little more than a week ago.

Ontario appeal of stayed murder charge to put trial time limits to test

Ontario prosecutors, seeking to stop an accused murderer from walking free due to trial delays, say a judge ignored society’s wish to combat serious crimes when she threw out the charge. The case of Adam Picard of Ottawa is one of three across Canada in which courts have stayed murder charges over delays under new time limits set down by the Supreme Court. A victory for Ontario on the issue of seriousness could blunt the Supreme Court ruling’s impact by discouraging other judges from throwing the most serious cases out of court.

U.S.-Russia relations sour over Syria

The Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Russia to cease backing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad after a gas attack killed more than 80 civilians last week, going so far as to float the possibility that Vladimir Putin’s regime was complicit in the carnage. The shift in tone could put Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a collision course with the Russians when he visits Moscow on Wednesday, in the first major meeting between administrations. The meeting between Mr. Trump’s chief diplomat and his Russian counterpart will test the U.S.’s ability to exert pressure on Russia to drop Syria as an ally.

Rocky political start shows B.C.’s Clark willing to take some risks

Before the B.C. election in 2013, Premier Christy Clark confronted her fractious caucus, offering to quit so they could choose a new leader. That was a turning point, say some caucus members, that diffused the hostility she had been facing. After that, Ms. Clark pulled off an unexpected upset. This time, she faces different circumstances: unified caucus, overflowing war chest, growing economy and strong job creation. She also faces 16 years of Liberal baggage, with cash for access and soaring real-estate prices in the spotlight.

Canada’s CEOs are optimistic on economy, but not hot on Trump

Canadian executives believe they’ll benefit from the pro-business stance of the new U.S. administration, but are “extraordinarily ambivalent” about President Donald Trump and his team. Seven in 10 executives in the latest C-Suite Survey of Canada’s corporate leaders said they stand to gain from the President’s policies and direction, but only half had faith in his overall economic policy. Fewer than one in five feel assured in Mr. Trump’s ability to handle trade, immigration and foreign policy.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

“Changing the Senate appointments process to make its members more competent and less partisan has been one of Justin Trudeau’s boldest innovations. Yes, he has appointed mostly progressives. The next Conservative prime minister might choose merit-based conservatives. Or a future prime minister of whatever party might return to appointing based on patronage, claiming the non-partisan experiment has failed. To prevent that, this Senate must prove its value as a true chamber of sober reflection.” – John Ibbitson

“Once the most heralded young golfer in the world, Sergio Garcia had become the sport’s middle-aged punch line. He may not have been born a loser, but he’d worked up to it. It wasn’t a function of talent. Rather, it was the paucity of practising exorcists left in the world. Because clearly, Garcia was cursed. … So on Sunday, as we watched him win his first major at the Masters, it was more than a highlights package, a garish jacket and a big cheque. It was an opportunity to watch in real time as someone redeemed a lifetime’s effort after 20 years of failure.” – Cathal Kelly

“The suspected hateful violence unleashed against Reker Ahmed has provided a moment of short pause for sections of the British tabloid press, which had spent the past year in the run-up to the Brexit vote highlighting the alleged danger and threats to Britain – and the so-called British way of life – by immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The attack on this innocent man, however, suggests that Britain is less safe for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees – particularly now, as racism has been further mainstreamed by Brexit, and recorded hate crime has increased.” – Shaista Aziz

“The Jays’ New Millennium fans seem hell-bent on the hockeyization of baseball, with the hurling of beer cans, racial insults and water bottles, directly at opposing players from the upper decks of the chaotic SkyDome – a stadium that corporate influence forces me to call, in this forum, the Rogers Centre. When the Baltimore Orioles visited late last season, they complained that playing outfield in Toronto means running a gamut of racial slurs and projectiles alike. Alas, none of this is news if you have ever attended one of the beer-soaked bro-parties that Blue Jays night games have become.” – Mark Kingwell

“While some measures were taken last fall by the federal government to make our dairy sector more competitive, the most recent federal budget did not add anything more. We have seen some debates on how farmers and cheese makers should be compensated considering CETA, but what should matter most is to whom Ottawa will grant permission to import tariff-free European cheese. As the July 1 implementation date looms, a decision on import quotas is expected soon following months of highly politicized consultations.” – Sylvain Charlebois

THE LOOKAHEAD

Economic improvement not enough to change BoC rate outlook

The Bank of Canada is expected to leave its key interest rate unchanged this week – despite an improving economic backdrop. Oil is above $50 (U.S.), employment figures for March beat estimates, and the economy has grown more quickly over the past six months than at any time in about the last seven years. But that doesn’t mean the BoC will hike rates any time soon. Most economists believe the chances of a rate hike this week are essentially zero. (for subscribers)

MORNING MARKETS

Markets mixed

The U.S. dollar inched toward three-week highs on Monday drawing support from U.S. rate hike expectations while global stocks were stuck in neutral ahead of U.S. earnings season this week. Trading volumes were muted for many financial market assets with investors refraining from making big bets because of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped slightly and the Shanghai composite lost 0.5 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 per cent by about 5:05 a.m. (ET), though Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent. New York futures were up, and the Canadian dollar was just above 74.5 cents (U.S.). Brent crude was up 0.7 per cent at $55.63 per barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.6 per cent at $52.55 a barrel.

HEALTH PRIMER

Leslie Beck: Will a late-night snack sabotage your weight-loss regimen?

Growing evidence suggests that weight gain is not just about “calories in versus calories out.” Weight-loss studies have shown that the timing of meals does influence how much weight people lose. The theory that’s gaining ground is that weight control is linked to the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that regulates calorie burning, hunger hormones, digestion and metabolism of fat and glucose, among many other bodily processes. In other words, your body is programmed to burn fat at certain times of the day and store it at others.

MOMENT IN TIME

Alaska purchase finalized

April 10, 1867:
After fighting Britain in the Crimean War, Russia worried that it might lose Alaska to its European rival if there was another war. To cut potential losses, Russia sold the territory to the Americans. The $7.2-million (U.S.) deal was signed at the end of March, and was approved by Congress about a week later. The Globe was unconcerned over the U.S. takeover of another big chunk of the continent: “To us the cession of Russian America to the United States is a matter of perfect indifference, and practically will remain so forever,” it said, calling Alaska a “frozen region” that “can never be utilized … to the detriment of any country.” Moreover, the Americans probably “paid too dearly” for “an expanse of ice.” The United States hoped the purchase might eventually lead to its takeover of British Columbia, a prospect that provided some impetus for British Columbia to join Canada in 1871. – Richard Blackwell

Morning update is written by Steven Proceviat.

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