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Messages are placed near a mosque that was the location of a fatal shooting in Quebec City, Quebec on February 1, 2017.

ALICE CHICHE/AFP / Getty Images

First-past-the-post isn't going anywhere

The Liberals have backed away from their campaign promise to reform the electoral system. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former democratic institutions minister Maryam Monsef had been criticized for how they'd been handling the file: dismissing feedback from the electoral reform committee and an unpopular online survey. The Liberals now say there's not a consensus among Canadians to support a change in voting systems. But "Trudeau didn't really seek consensus," Campbell Clark writes. "The Liberals pretended they had an open mind, but didn't really want proportional representation." The decision to abandon the promise could send more left-leaning voters to the NDP in the next election.

Alleged shooter visited mosque before attack

The alleged Quebec City mosque shooter reportedly visited the building two times in the days before Sunday's shooting. Congregants said he accosted some people leaving the building, but it didn't seem odd at the time because mosques sometimes attract curiosity-seekers. The mosque is now reopen for worship, but for many, things will never be the same: "There is before Jan. 29 for us and there is after. It's another world," a former vice-president at the mosque said. Meanwhile, Montreal police say they've received 29 reports of hate incidents since the attack. Muslim students say the show of support they've been receiving on Canadian university campuses is an important measure to combat Islamophobia.

The price of medical aid in dying

Some doctors in B.C. are calling on the province to increase the rate for helping patients seeking an assisted death. The doctors argue that they could be making more money handling routine office visits. It's an issue that affects all provinces: If fees are too low, not enough doctors will be willing to handle assisted-dying cases, advocates argue. In B.C., a committee is working on a proposal for what medical-aid-in-dying fees should be, which they'll be presenting to the province.

Sex-assault trials and the justice system

An Alberta judge's handling of a retrial has sparked fresh concern that the justice system isn't working for sex-assault victims. The case was first thrust into the spotlight when the original judge asked the alleged victim why she didn't keep her knees together. Then, on Tuesday, the man accused was found not guilty in a retrial. The judge appeared to be more skeptical of the complainant's testimony than that of the accused.

MORNING MARKETS

The volatility of the U.S. dollar continued as the greenback slipped to a 12-week low on Thursday, and stock and bonds markets both showed caution after the U.S. Federal Reserve stuck to its mildly upbeat view of the world but gave no hint on when it will next raise interest rates. Tokyo's Nikkei lost 1.2 per cent amid a stronger yen, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.6 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.1 and 0.3 per cent, while Germany's DAX was down 0.2 per cent. New York futures were down. Oil began to edge higher after news of a sharp rise in U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles triggered a pause overnight.

THE LOOKAHEAD

Will Betsy DeVos be confirmed?

The U.S. Senate is set to vote today on whether to confirm Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for secretary of education. Two Republican senators say they'll oppose her nomination. If all Democrats and independents also vote against her, that would split the vote at 50-50. Vice-President Mike Pence has the power to break a tie, but if one more Republican flips, she won't be confirmed.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

On electoral reform, it's bad promise made, bad promise broken

"The electoral reform promise was made in haste 2015, pursued unseriously through 2016, and finally repented of in 2017. That the government gave the controversial and high-profile file to a young and inexperienced MP, Maryam Monsef, and then allowed her and it to founder, shows that the Trudeau government's heart was never really in it. … Canada's system of government, while not perfect, has spent 150 years being remarkably stable and successful. If major changes are to be made, Canadians must be persuaded that these really do improve our democracy." – Globe editorial

The broken promise of electoral reform: The emperor has no shirt

"Wednesday's announcement is not just another broken Liberal promise; it's a uniquely dangerous devaluation of Canadian democracy. Never before has a prime minister publicly disparaged the very source of his legitimacy, as Mr. Trudeau did when he called the 2015 election unfair. To now suggest that unfairness at the heart of our democracy and at the foundation of his authority can only be fixed by spontaneous public consensus is absurd." – Rob Mason

Mothering in a time of terror

"We are Muslim. All four of my children used to attend a full-time Islamic school. It was adjacent to a mosque that they walked to for prayers. … For years, it never occurred to me that they might not be safe. My husband and I have been frustrated and, truthfully, very concerned these past weeks, observing what can only be described as a political gong show in the United States. But never did I expect that a horrific terrorist attack against Canadian Muslims would take place so soon after a misogynistic xenophobe took over the White House." – Shireen Ahmed

Criticizing Trump isn't in Canada's national interest – and Trudeau knows it

"In a world where everyone has an endless supply of insta-opinions, all of which must be expressed as quickly and coarsely as possible – see @realDonaldTrump – the Trudeau government's diplomatic restraint sounds old-fashioned. Well, good. The business of running a country is old-fashioned. We've been doing it successfully for 150 years, and we'd like at least 150 more." – Tony Keller

HEALTH PRIMER

Vegan nutrition

Thinking about ditching meat and fish for a vegan or plant-based diet? You'll need to find your sources of nutrition other ways. Protein is easy: beans, lentils, soy beverages and nuts are all great choices. To get your vitamin B12 fix, you can turn to fortefeid nutritional yeast. There are also plenty of options to satisfy your calcium, iodine and omega-3 needs.

MOMENT IN TIME

Provinces, regions gain veto power

Feb. 2, 1996: The act is short – just 232 words packed with consequences. In the glow of near-victory by separatists in the 1995 referendum, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien proposed and Parliament passed the Act Respecting Constitutional Amendments. British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario gained a veto over constitutional changes. Atlantic provinces representing a majority of their people could team up for a veto. Saskatchewan and Manitoba were at the mercy of more populous Alberta for the Prairie veto. Few were happy with the result. The "desultory package of constitutional leftovers" described by one Globe and Mail columnist was layered on the Constitution, which required seven provinces representing at least 50 per cent of the population for most changes. Constitutional reform was already difficult; the new math made it nearly impossible. No politician has dared test either formula with a Constitutional amendment since 1983. – Les Perreaux

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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