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Jess Frampton

Bracing for blizzards – soon a thing of the past?

The highlight of winter in frosty Ottawa – one of the world’s coldest national capitals – is the annual opening of the Rideau Canal Skateway, when the waterway at the heart of the city is transformed overnight into the world’s largest rink. Every year since 1970, when it first opened, thousands of hardy skaters have glided to and fro on it, stopping for hot chocolate and deep-fried treats on the ice.

Every year, that is, except 2023. Last year, for the first time in five decades, the canal did not freeze hard enough for skating to be safe, delivering a blow to the tourism industry and depriving frostbitten citizens of a chance to enjoy their city when they otherwise would be huddled indoors against the bitter cold.

With a dangerous storm hammering the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada, and a blizzard hitting the Northwest, this week, readers may not be pining for more opportunities to shovel snow or slog through slush, but winters are getting warmer, which has disturbing and unpredictable implications for agriculture, water security, public safety, and winter sports.

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Logos of mobile apps, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix displayed on a screen.

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Canada averts a Google news block, US bills in the works

Last week, the Trudeau government reached a deal with Google that will see the web giant pay roughly CA$100 million a year to support media outlets in Canada. The agreement is part of the Online News Act, a law that requires big tech outlets to compensate the journalism industry. It’s also an important moment in the ongoing, cross-border battle to regulate these companies.
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Luisa Vieira

Canadian Liberals cry “Trump”… at their peril

Less than a year out from the US presidential election, concerns about Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House now include warnings of a possible slip into dictatorship. Last weekend, in the Washington Post, Robert Kagan wrote of a “clear path to dictatorship in the United States,” one that is “getting shorter every day.” Liz Cheney, a former Republican member of Congress and potential 2024 third-party presidential contender, echoed the concern, warning that the country is “sleepwalking into dictatorship.”

Meanwhile, north of the border, a desperate Liberal Party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, way down in the polls, are doing their best to paint their main rival, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, as a MAGA North incarnation of Trump, with everything that implies. As Politico reports, Trump’s influence over Canadian politics is significant, a potential “wild card” for Trudeau and a force that will shape the country’s next election, which is due by the fall of 2025 – but could come sooner.

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

REUTERS/Blair Gable

Google throws Trudeau a lifeline

Canada’s Online News Act, introduced last summer to force revenue-sharing on tech giants, backfired badly when Meta decided to block Canadian news outlets from their platforms rather than pay up.

Bill C-18 and the tech giants’ response to it spelled trouble for a media industry already in crisis – traffic and revenue plummeted. It was bad news for PM Justin Trudeau, whose revenue-sharing law was intended to improve things for media outlets, not make things worse, and it opened him to criticism that he was incompetently wrecking an industry he was trying to help.

But this week brought a turn in fortune. Canada reached a deal with Google that will see the tech giant compensate Canadian news outlets for linking to their stories. The deal, which requires Alphabet to pay between $100 million and $172 million a year, is a huge relief to Trudeau after months of withering criticism.

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Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.

REUTERS/Blair Gable

Will Trudeau’s digital services tax lead to trade dispute?

The Liberals announced plans this week to introduce a 3% digital services tax on big tech companies, setting Ottawa up for a likely showdown with Washington.
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Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth: Where immigrants to US & Canada come from

When it comes to immigration policies, Canada and the United States often go in opposite directions. Ottawa’s per capita total towers over Washington’s – 1.05 to 0.30 – because it strategically positions immigration as a cornerstone of its economic growth plan. In short, it bolsters the labor force.

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Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks to journalists on Parliament Hill.

REUTERS/Blair Gable

Expect a ‘big fight’ over digital service tax

The US ambassador has once again warned Canada that it should expect consequences if it proceeds with a plan to impose a digital service tax on the tech giants. David Cohen, in response to an audience question at a Canadian Club luncheon in Ottawa, signaled that it could get nasty.

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Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, hands small Canadian flags to 53 new Canadian citizens representing 22 diverse nations, as they embark on their citizenship journey during a special ceremony at Canada Place, on Oct. 12, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Reuters

Support for immigration fades in Canada

While political tension around immigration in Canada is nowhere near as intense as in Washington, there are signs that may soon change. Canadians’ traditionally strong support for high levels of immigration is slipping, according to a long-running tracking poll, putting pressure on Ottawa to stop letting so many people in.

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