Need to know

Your morning five: Winter is the worst

Also: Kijiji may be to blame for inflated job vacancy rates

Winter park

We tell you five things you need to know this morning.

1. Winter won’t end. Canadians are united in a long lament for cold temperatures, ice and snow, and biting winds that have hampered our outdoor experiences for so long we barely remember the warmth of the sun on our skin. Today, the Maritimes faces down a storm that may be more severe than White Juan, a 2004 winter storm that brought furious winds to the east coast and dumped several feet of snow on Maritimers. So preoccupied are we with our own despair that the lingering cold is’s top story this morning. How bad was this winter? Bad.

2. Venezuela quells a coup. Authorities arrested three air force generals who allegedly hoped to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a coup. The government claimed the generals maintained links to an opposition that, in the wake of social unrest that’s killed at least 34 Venezuelans, is restless. The last attempted coup in the country, in 2002, interrupted former president Hugo Chavez’s hold on power. He was eventually reelected.

3. The UN debates Sri Lankan atrocities. The Human Rights Council is debating a probe into the Sri Lankan government’s allegedly criminal actions as the armed forces extinguished the Tamil Tigers in 2009, after a prolonged civil war. The government’s not expected to welcome an international investigation, and will frame any UN investigation as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

4. Kijiji could explain inflated job vacancies. Economists are starting to, in a sense, blame volatile job postings on a popular corner of the internet for job vacancy rates that Finance Canada says are on the rise. Numbers wonks at the Conference Board of Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Office both claim that Kijiji’s job board, which is incorporated into broader online analyses of job vacancies, is simply outdated and unreliable. Remove that faulty measure, they say, and Canada’s vacancy rate levels out.

5. Vancouver port workers are on strike. Truckers have picketed for three weeks, demanding better pay and shorter wait times at port. The B.C. government tabled back-to-work legislation to force 250 truckers back on the job, but will have no effect on the rest of the 1,500 strikers who have pledged to stay off the job. The Globe and Mail‘s editorialists, which admit the strike is a complex challenge for all sides, support the government’s move and argue the strike’s per-day cost to importers and exporters is too high.

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