Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Hard Numbers: “Missing teeth,” US-Canada inflation jinx, Kyiv calls out fatal footdragging, New border plan hits critical barrier, Toronto taxes rattle renters

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets dental students during his visit to the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario, Canada, December 1, 2022.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets dental students during his visit to the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario, Canada, December 1, 2022.

REUTERS/Cole Burston

4.4: What’s more unpleasant than a trip to the dentist? Not being able to afford to go to the dentist at all. A new report, amazingly titled “Missing Teeth,” says Canada’s new national dental insurance plan leaves out some 4.4 million Canadians — more than a tenth of the population — because the income ceiling for eligibility is set too low. In the US, meanwhile, nearly 70 million adults have no dental insurance, according to data from 2023.

3.4: Jinx! Canada’s December inflation reading is out, and it’s exactly the same as the US number from last week: 3.4%. That, like in the US, was above expectations, marking an increase from 3.1% in November. The readout undercuts hope that the Canadian central bank might start to cut rates again early this year.

53: Has Canada’s foot-dragging cost Ukrainian lives? A top Ukrainian security official suggested Tuesday that Canada’s 53-week-long delay in fulfilling its promise to purchase a major air defense system from the US for Kyiv had led to needless deaths, including — perhaps — that of his own nephew, who was killed near the front lines earlier this month.

2: A new two-year pilot plan to create preclearance posts along the US-Canada border — in which Canadian guards would work in US posts, and vice-versa — has run into pushback. NDP public safety critic Peter Julian says the plan, billed as a way to streamline flows of people and goods into Canada through a pre-clearance system, hasn’t been properly vetted by border guard unions or lawyers. He is threatening to uncork a formal parliamentary review.

10.5: Toronto’s government has proposed a new budget with an “extraordinary” 10.5% property tax increase. Officials say it’s needed to plug a budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion, and they predict that given the low existing tax rates, most homeowners will see an increase of only $30 per month. But tenants rights groups are bracing for any higher costs to be passed through to renters — an unwelcome prospect at a time when Toronto is already suffering a housing shortage.

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