MPs Agree: Ottawa’s Proposed Tax Plan Stinks

The Background 

Provincial leaders on opposite sides of the political spectrum are united in their criticism of Ottawa’s proposed tax changes. (That’s when you know it’s bad.) During the First Ministers’ meeting in Ottawa yesterday, Manitoba PC Brian Pallister and B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan confronted the Liberals’ on their plan to rollback small business tax loopholes. Pallister panned the idea as provoking “class warfare” while Horgan said many B.C. entrepreneurs still don’t get what’s in it for them. The contentious issue wasn’t originally part of the agenda, but it was added because of mounting backlash from business owners across the country. Other issues tackled at Tuesday’s meeting included NAFTA, Indigenous issues and pot. CBC

What Else You Need to Know

It looks like the criticism worked. Last night, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the Liberals would be reevaluating their tax plan after they received quite a bit of backlash from both members of government and Canadian citizens. According to Morneau, the plan requires changes to make sure that it’s fair and encourages investment.

What’s Next?

The government plans to review the feedback they received over the past 75 days (a consultation period) and will provide an update (and clarity for small business owners) as soon possible. (Get on that, would ya?)

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Gunman Opens Fire on a Country Music Festival in Las Vegas

The Background 

Horrific details continued to pour out of Las Vegas yesterday, after a gunman killed at least 59 and injured more than 500 others at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Sunday night. The shooter was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a retired accountant from Mesquite, Nevada. Paddock had checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel on Thursday with at least 23 firearms, including 10 rifles and two devices that allowed him to deploy semi-automatic gunfire. As it stands, two Canadians were killed and another two were injured in the attack. Global News

What Else You Need to Know

Despite ISIS claiming that Paddock had converted to Islam “months ago” and that the group was responsible for the attack, the FBI says that they haven’t found a connection between the two. Police questioned a woman thought to be tied to the attack, but later determined she was out of the country and wasn’t involved in any way. Authorities are still trying to determine Paddock’s motive, and it’s still unclear whether he committed suicide before authorities breached his hotel room or after (or if he was killed by police).

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Terrorists Just Targeted a Canadian Football Game

The Background 

The terrorist attacks that have plagued Europe over the past few years made their way to Canadian soil this weekend. The attack happened in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium, after military appreciation night at the Eskimos CFL football game, leaving five injured, including one police officer. Imitating many of the attacks that have become all too common in other parts of the world, it’s believed 30-year-old Abdulahi Hasan Sharif used his vehicle to break through a pedestrian barricade, hitting the officer. He then proceeded to stab him. After escaping on foot, he returned in a U-Haul cube van and attempted to again hit pedestrians with his vehicle. The four who were injured were hit during the police chase. Toronto Star

What Else You Need to Know

All levels of Canadian government condemned the attack — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply concerned and outraged, while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said the incident was “horrific.” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said he believed it was a “lone wolf incident” and called on his city to “not succumb to hatred. That we not be intimidated by violence … We will not be divided.” Despite the attack, the terrorist threat level remains at “medium.”

What’s Next?

The suspect is currently being questioned by authorities. Police chief Rod Knecht said the investigation is in the early stages, and police haven’t yet determined if the suspect was working alone.

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The Loonie’s Making a Comeback

The Background 

The loonie had a good day yesterday, bouncing back from a four-week low that was amplified by comments Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz made on Wednesday. While many financial experts were expecting Poloz to confirm that interest rates would continue to rise, the BoC representative did no such thing, saying, “There is no predetermined path for interest rates from here. Although we are confident that the economy has made significant progress, we cannot be certain of exactly how far there is left to go.” He even suggested that rates could go — gasp! — in either direction. Globe and Mail

What Else You Need to Know 

At the end of the day yesterday, the Canadian dollar was up to US $80.46, which is a 0.4% increase from Wednesday’s dip. The boost is partly due to today’s GDP announcement, which economists expect to still show growth (0.1%), though it’ll be a little slower than last month’s 0.3%.

What’s Next? 

The Bank of Canada’s next rate announcement is scheduled for October 25.

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Netflix is Here to Save the Canadian Media Industry

The Background 

Finally, some good news for the struggling media industry: Netflix (a.k.a. the bane of broadcasters’ existence) is investing some major moola into the Canadian economy. According to CBC News, at least $500 million in funding is going to be earmarked for original Canadian productions, though no there’s no word yet on how producers will be able to get their hands on it. CBC

What Else You Need to Know

For the past few years, Canadian broadcasters have been trying to convince the CRTC to impose a tax on Netflix in order to level the playing field. (Canadian media companies are required to produce a certain amount of Canadian content each year and spend a percentage of their profits on “programs of national interest.”) This investment by Netflix may appease those that were complaining (since they’ll hopefully benefit from the funds), and prevent Canadian Netflix users from having to shell out more dough for the streaming service. (Just one request: can that Canadian content include more of the Ryans?)

What’s Next?

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is expected to announce the deal this morning, along with other plans for Canadian content and cultural industries, both of which have faced challenges in a constantly changing digital environment.

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Bombardier Just Got Some Really Bad News

The Background 

The legal drama between Bombardier and Boeing took a turn yesterday when the U.S. Department of Commerce ruled in favour of Boeing (surprise, surprise) and slapped Bombardier with a 220% duty on their CSeries commercial planes. Boeing’s been complaining for months that their Canadian competitor was selling jets at below-market pricing, making it impossible for the two companies to compete. The department believes that Bombardier is benefitting from “improper government subsidies” which gives them an unfair advantage over their American rivals. CBC

What Else You Need to Know

The good news is that Bombardier won’t have to cough up the dough until they deliver the CSeries commercial jets they sold to Delta (which is expected to be sometime in the spring). The bad news is they sold 125 of them, so the duty is going to be pretty hefty. This is just the latest development in an ongoing dispute between the two companies that could really impact Bombardier’s future, depending on which way it goes. A final ruling is expected in March. Until then, U.S. officials at the Trade Commission will continue to pour over documents and details to determine whether the deal between Bombardier and Delta actually had a negative impact on Boeing’s bottom line. Oh, and if all that wasn’t bad enough, two of Bombardier’s European railway competitors announced a mega merger.

What’s Next?

The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to make another ruling on October 4, deciding whether Bombardier “‘dumped’ its CS100s into the U.S. market by selling them below cost.”

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Did Trump Just Declare War on Twitter?

The Background 

North Korea’s foreign minister is accusing President Trump of declaring war via Twitter (yes, this is the world we now live in). Speaking in New York City yesterday, Ri Yong Ho said Trump’s tweet, which claimed Pyongyang’s senior leadership “won’t be around much longer,” was tantamount to a war declaration and the regime is within its right to defend itself by shooting down American jets. The Trump administration pushed back on that “absurd” interpretation saying it has not declared war on North Korea and is not looking to overthrow their government. Associated Press
(“@Twitter can suspend an account for a perceived declaration of war against another nation, right? Asking for a country.” – @pepspeed)

What Else You Need to Know

Despite the White House’s best attempts to backpedal, it seems like Trump’s Twitter behaviour has finally gotten the U.S. in some serious doo-doo. Pyongyang is really peeved and Kim Jong Un seems intent on proving he has the bigger… um, the more powerful military. Neither Trump nor Jong Un seem concerned about the effects their comments or actions will have on the world — or how many people would die should these two batsh*t crazy leaders actually start a war.

What’s Next?

Hopefully if Trump says he didn’t declare war enough times, someone in NoKo’s loco government will believe him and we can avoid WWIII — for now.

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POTUS Takes Aim At Professional Athletes in Latest Twitter Rant

The Background 

It appears Donald Trump is ready to rumble. After revoking his White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors because their star player, Stephen Curry, refused to attend, POTUS went on a Twitter tirade suggesting NFL owners fire or suspend any players that refuse to stand for the national anthem. Whether it was intentional or not (we’ll go with intentional), his comments ignited a war with professional athletes in leagues all over the country. Despite the comments being directed at football players, NBA star LeBron James took to Twitter to call the president a “bum,” while MLB catcher Bruce Maxwell (the first baseball player to publicly get involved) took a knee during the pre-game national anthem. Toronto Star

What Else You Need to Know

This whole “taking a knee” thing started with the now unemployed quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, Kaepernick began taking a knee during the American national anthem to protest the way African Americans were being treated across the U.S. At first, he was pretty much on his own, but as of yesterday, more than 130 players and coaches followed his example. In fact, almost the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stayed in the tunnel and refused to even come out for the anthem. But not quite everyone is pissed at POTUS. The Pittsburgh Penguins have accepted his invitation to visit the White House, saying they respect the presidency and “the long tradition of championship team visiting the White House.”

What’s Next?

With the NHL season kicking off in October and the NFL season barely underway, expect to see a lot of players taking a political stand over the next few months.

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Trudeau Tells the UN That Canada Is a ‘Work in Progress’

The Background

Twenty-four hours after Trump addressed the UN General Assembly, Trudeau showed up to show him up (as usual). Instead of touting how amazing Canada is, Trudeau said that the Great White North is a “work in progress” and that there are a lot of areas where we’re failing — especially when it comes to Indigenous people from coast to coast. He shone a light on the “human rights crisis” that’s plaguing Indigenous women, and explained that the government is working with community leaders to improve the situation in reserves across the country. (Oh, and he removed Lynne Beyak from all Senate committees after she made some really questionable comments about the First Nations…so that’s a good start.) CBC

What Else You Need to Know

Not only did Trudeau focus on Canada’s Indigenous population, but he also took the opportunity to flex his feminist muscles on a worldwide stage. Talking about the gender-based violence many Indigenous women face, he said “We need women and girls to succeed, because that’s how we grow stronger economies and build stronger communities.” (Can we get an Amen?) He followed it up with this exciting tidbit: “That is why our government will be moving forward shortly with legislation to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.” (OK, now we need a Hallelujah.)

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Hurricane Maria Just Wiped Out Puerto Rico’s Entire Power Grid

The Background 

Everyone knew Maria was going to wreak havoc on any island in its path, but we’re not sure anyone could have predicted this: Puerto Rico has gone dark. Like full-blown lights out. And there’s no light at the end of this tunnel. Maria took out the entire island’s power grid, and because (to put it nicely) Puerto Rico’s government is broke AF, they’re going to have a really hard time fixing it. At this point, experts are expecting the island to be without power for at least four to six months. New York Times

What Else You Need to Know

According to longtime residents, they’ve never seen anything quite like Maria (and that includes Irma).The winds were strong and ruthless, and the rain didn’t stop for hours. Even the most well-built shelters were no match for the storm, including the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, which lost its roof along with all running water. Between broken power lines, snapped trees and waist-deep water, there’s almost no way to get around the island to assess the damage — though word is spreading that several rural areas have been decimated by the storm. If this is any indication what Mother Nature has in store for the future, we’re in deep, deep, trouble.

What’s Next?

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, is urging POTUS to declare the island a disaster zone in order to escalate the assistance coming from the U.S.

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