Canada Eyes a New Course on the Boeing 737 Max

Canada’s aviation regulators joined their counterparts from around the world in Texas this week for a progress report on Boeing’s repair of an anti-stall system in the 737 Max plane, a system that has been linked to two devastating crashes. For anyone hoping that the airplanes would soon return to service, the news wasn’t encouraging.

Air Canada and WestJet, Canada’s two major airlines, are both adjusting schedules because of the 737 Max grounding.CreditArtur Widak/NurPhoto, via Getty Images

[Want the Canada Letter in your inbox every week? Sign up here.]

As my colleagues Natalie Kitroeff and David Gelles reported, there is still no general agreement among regulators on how and when the software fixes, which have yet to be completed, will be approved. That could leave the planes on the ground for several more months.

[Read: To Get Boeing 737 Max Flying, Global Consensus Will Be Hard]

While public officials are running Canada’s review process, Marc Garneau, Canada’s transport minister, is an unusually well-informed politician when it comes to software and aviation. A former astronaut, Mr. Garneau holds a doctorate in electrical engineering and he was the navy’s guru on communications and electronic warfare systems.

Before the meeting in Texas, Mr. Garneau was a proponent of retraining all 737 Max pilots using flight simulators before letting the jets fly again. Such a step would considerably lengthen how long they remain grounded. But Natalie said that her reporting during the meeting found that Mr. Garneau has since backed away from that position.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announcing the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max jets in March.CreditAdrian Wyld/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Canada also seems to be edging away from the Federal Aviation Administration. At the beginning of the process, Mr. Garneau was supportive of the American regulator. But its certification process for the 737 Max has come under widespread criticism for giving up too much control to Boeing. On Thursday, Natalie said, Canada indicated it now “would also prefer to act in conjunction with the European Union.”

Like Canada, Europe had been working closely with the American agency. But it suggested this week that it may go its own way.

Natalie has been a core member of a team of Times journalists reporting on the 737 Max story, a team that recently reported that, because of failings by Boeing, flight simulators still don’t properly recreate the software failure that brought two 737 Max airliners down. They’ve also revealed that Boeing’s attempts to win back the confidence of the aviation community have a long way to go.

The Times has also reported on hair-raising assembly problems with Boeing’s flagship, the 787 Dreamliner. Those included shards of metal inside fuselages and dangling over wires critical to the planes’ flight controls, as well as a ladder and a string of lights left inside the tails of planes. The executive who ran that South Carolina plant left the company this week.

Dreamliners, like the 737 Max, form part of the fleets at both Air Canada and WestJet, Canada’s two major airlines.

Two Sunwing Boeing 737 Max jets grounded in Windsor, Ontario.CreditIan Austen/The New York Times

Air Canada told me this week that it had no comment on the consequences of its 24 737 Maxes sitting on the ground for perhaps months longer than expected. At the end of April, the company said that it didn’t expect them to be back in the air until Aug. 1, a prospect that seems increasingly unlikely.

Morgan Bell, a spokeswoman at WestJet, said that it has made schedule adjustments through to early July “to reduce the number of last-minute cancellations and disruption,” of flights, adding that it will continue to make tweaks as needed. About 1,000 WestJet flights a month are affected and service on several routes has been suspended. Sunwing, the vacation carrier, didn’t get back to me. But it looks increasingly like Canadians booked on any of these three airlines may face new, potentially unwelcome changes to their summer travel plans.

Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors being guarded by Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday in Milwaukee.CreditJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

O.K., I know you’re out there. You don’t normally pay much attention to basketball, but now that the Toronto Raptors are one win away from the N.B.A. finals, you’re all over the game. There’s no shame in sudden Raptors enthusiasm; bandwagons were made to be jumped on.

Drake watching the Toronto Raptors take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the N.B.A. Eastern Conference Finals in Toronto on Tuesday.CreditGregory Shamus/Getty Images

Drake, of course, is no Raptors-fan-come-lately. Here’s my colleague Sopan Deb on Drake’s performances on the sidelines: “I know he annoys many N.B.A. watchers. He has for a while, ever since he was named the Raptors’ global ambassador in 2013. Complex named Drake the “most annoying celebrity fan” last year. But, man, I do enjoy watching him troll N.B.A. players. I wish every team had a Drake.”

[Read: Now for a Few Words About Drake: More, Please]

And those of you playing catch-up would be well advised to read Peter S. Goodman’s terrific profile of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star who is the greatest threat to the Raptors’ hopes. Back in Greece, where he was born to African immigrants, Antetokounmpo has gone from an outcast and victim of racism to the pride of the nation.

—Most of the steel tube manufacturing operations Barry Zekelman runs from Windsor, Ontario, are based in the United States and headquartered there. No one has any problems with that. But questions are being asked about his status as a foreigner seeking to promote protectionism in the United States.

—Earthworms had vanished from Northern North America during the last ice age. Now, after a break of 10,000 years, they’re back, and climate scientists are dismayed.

—Everything appears to be in place for the infamous containers of Canadian garbage to leave the Philippines by the end of June. But President Rodrigo Duterte is reported as “so upset about the inordinate delay.”

—Endangered right whales may be traveling more than 1,000 kilometers to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in search of food.

—In India, Narendra Modi’s “brawny Hindu nationalism, populist humility and grand gestures for the poor — like building tens of millions of new toilets — helped him become the first prime minister in nearly 50 years to win a majority in successive parliamentary elections.”

—A cartoon version of Russia’s leader will star in an upcoming T.V. show in Britain. There are widespread predictions that President Vladimir V. Putin won’t be joining in the laughter.

—Sy Presten, 95, is reputedly New York’s oldest living press agent. He “prefers to be called a publicist, but the connotation no longer suits him. A publicist is a joyless and disembodied gatekeeper, unfamiliar with you or your publication.” There is plenty of joy left in Mr. Presten.

—“The denial of aging is unhealthy,” said Emma Thompson, who turned 60 last month. “It’s always been bollocks.”

—The economist Emily Oster, a proponent of data-driven parenting, wrote that “What we do in day-to-day parenting may matter less than we think, but what we do over all to serve the nation’s children may matter quite a bit more.”