Evening Update: Tributes pour in for Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot
Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Neil Young, Justin Trudeau and more remember a quintessential Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot
Tributes have begun flowing in for Gordon Lightfoot, who died last night in a Toronto hospital at the age of 84.
“We have lost one of our greatest singer-songwriters,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on social media. “Gordon Lightfoot captured our country’s spirit in his music – and in doing so, he helped shape Canada’s soundscape.”
Neil Young praised Lightfoot on his website as a “songwriter without parallel,” whose “melodies and words were an inspiration to all writers who listened to his music.”
The impact of Lightfoot’s death registered internationally. By this afternoon, his works took over the top four slots of the iTunes Song Chart in the United States: If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Carefree Highway.
Appreciation: We never had to read Gordon Lightfoot’s mind – we had his songs
In photos: A look at Gordon Lightfoot through the years
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CSIS confirms to MP that he and family were targeted by China
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has confirmed to Conservative MP Michael Chong that he and his family were targeted by the Chinese government after he sponsored a parliamentary motion declaring Beijing’s oppression of Uyghurs to constitute genocide, the MP says.
He said CSIS also confirmed that Zhao Wei, a Chinese diplomat in Canada, was involved.
The Globe and Mail first reported on this yesterday, citing a top-secret CSIS intelligence assessment prepared in July, 2021.
Chong said the CSIS official told him he was authorized to read to him from the report “because it relates to a threat to you and your family.” The Canadian government told Chong it was investigating why he was not alerted of this.
Two Canadians who went to fight for Ukraine killed in Russian attack
Two Canadians who volunteered to fight in Ukraine were killed in a Russian artillery strike last week near Bakhmut, a transportation hub in the country’s southeastern Donbas region that has been besieged for more than nine months.
Emese Fajk, a spokesperson for the International Legion of the Defence of Ukraine – a unit made up of foreign fighters who have joined the Ukrainian military – confirmed the deaths of Cole Zelenco, 21, and Kyle Porter, 27. They are believed to be the fourth and fifth Canadian volunteers killed since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Read more: Polish farmers’ resentment grows as agricultural aide for Ukraine sows trouble in European markets
Increasingly target, it’s getting more dangerous for foreign reporters to do their jobs
Ahead of World Press Freedom Day tomorrow, our correspondents detail the situation in Russia – where The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich is still detained – and China:
Mark MacKinnon: In my 20 years of working in Russia, first as The Globe and Mail’s Moscow bureau chief and later as a visiting correspondent, the regime’s attitude toward my colleagues and me slowly shifted from indifference to confrontation. We were a nuisance, constantly reporting on issues – including persistent homophobia, a dismal environmental record and lingering poverty in the regions beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg – that the Kremlin would rather not have to explain to its new global partners.
James Griffiths: Since the passage of a national-security law in mid-2021, at least 18 journalists have been arrested and 11 outlets have closed in Hong Kong, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Almost a thousand journalists have lost their jobs, largely as a result of the shuttering of Apple Daily and Stand News, whose executives and senior editors are on trial for sedition and other offences.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
RBC-HSBC deal delayed: HSBC Holdings PLC says the sale of its Canadian division to Royal Bank of Canada is going to take longer than first expected, but that the deal remains a key priority. The Competition Bureau has put out a call for input from the public, seeking information that would help it assess potential impacts on competition from the deal.
Vancouver home sales drop: April home sales slid 16.5 per cent from a year ago as new listings remained below historical norms, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says.
Canadian gets Tony nod: Nominations for the 2023 Tony Awards have been announced, with the Broadway musical adaptation Some Like It Hot receiving a leading 13 nods. Canadian David West Read was nominated for writing the musical & Juliet. Awards will be handed out June 11.
Hollywood writers on strike: Late-night TV shows including The Tonight Show and The Daily Show will begin airing reruns as unionized writers fighting low pay in the streaming era launched a strike for the first time in 15 years. Here’s what the strike means for Canadian television audiences and creators.
Met Gala highlights: Actor Jared Leto showed up in a different kind of catsuit to the A-list event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum – a costume depicting Choupette, the fur baby of late designer Karl Lagerfeld, who was last night’s honouree. Here are more highlights, and check out photos of the attendees’ wild, wonderful and weird outfits.
North American stocks ended sharply lower today, as U.S. regional bank shares tumbled on renewed fears over the financial system and as investors tried to gauge how much longer the Federal Reserve may need to hike interest rates. Energy stocks led the decline in both Toronto and New York as oil prices tumbled 5 per cent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 367.17 points or 1.08 per cent to 33,684.53, the S&P 500 lost 48.29 points or 1.16 per cent to end at 4,119.58, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 132.09 points or 1.08 per cent to 12,080.51.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 207.54 points or 1.01 per cent to 20,407.56. The loonie traded at 73.39 U.S. cents.
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The alarm on China’s interference is ringing louder
“If CSIS is aware of a plot to use an MP’s family against him and nothing is done – if a Chinese diplomat can cross a red line with impunity – then what chance is there Canada will ever offer any pushback?” – Globe editorial
Palliative care is still woefully lacking in Canada
“Perversely, one of the hardest places to get palliative care in Canada is in a long-term care home, where life expectancy after admission hovers around 18 months. If anything, care homes should be glorified hospices.” – André Picard
The Florida Panthers can try to neutralize Maple Leafs fans, but it won’t work
“As a state, you can’t go for Donald Trump two elections in a row, and also bar the rich – even if they’re rich Canadians – from getting what they want when they want it. The two things do not belong together.” – Cathal Kelly
Related: Puck drops tonight at 7 p.m. EDT for Game 1 of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Florida Panthers. Check back later tonight at GlobeSports.com for score and highlights.
Listen and learn: Canada’s population is getting older – and fast. The latest episode of the City Space podcasts examines how to reimagine and redesign cities as they become increasingly populated by the elderly – which, if you’re lucky, will one day include you.
TODAY’S LONG READ
AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton leaves Google as he warns of technology’s dangers
Pioneering artificial intelligence researcher Geoffrey Hinton has quit his position at Google in order to speak freely about the dangers posed by AI, saying that part of him regrets his life’s work.
He told The New York Times that chief among his concerns is that generative AI systems can overwhelm the internet with fake photos, videos and text, impairing people’s ability to differentiate truth from fiction. Hinton said he is also worried about job losses and the potential for AI to outsmart humans in the longer term.
He’s not the only AI researcher to call out the dangers of the technology, but as one of the most influential figures in the field, his voice carries a lot of weight. Hinton, 75, is an emeritus professor of computer science at the University of Toronto and the chief scientific adviser at the Vector Institute at Toronto. He’s perhaps best known for his work on artificial neural networks, which learn to complete tasks by analyzing copious amounts of data. Read the full story by Joe Castaldo.
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