B.C.’s playing dirty

The world comes together to take on terrorism in tech, Britney Spears may be done with music, and the Raptors bring the heat to Milwaukee.

B.C.’s playing dirty

The world comes together to take on terrorism in tech, Britney Spears may be done with music, and the Raptors bring the heat to Milwaukee.
John Horgan hosts a town hall at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, BC.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Thursday, May 16, 2019, and you know, this guy’s got a point.


• The Background

World and business leaders came together yesterday in Paris, France to figure out how the eff they’re going to deal with online extremism. Hosted by French President Emmanual Macron (whose country has dealt with its fair share of terrorism) and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (who, quite recently, dealt with the island’s deadliest attack), the main goal of the “Christchurch Call to Action” initiative was to find ways to better regulate social media, as it’s become an incredibly effective tool for those who wish to cause harm and spread hate. (The white supremacist behind the Christchurch attack live-streamed his mass murder on Facebook.) France 24

• What Else You Need to Know

The world leaders in attendance (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) agreed to remove terrorist content online, and the tech giants in attendance (Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, Dailymotion and Microsoft) agreed to do whatever they could to limit their platforms’ power to spread messages of hate.

• What’s Next?

Facebook, Google and YouTube said they would limit access to their live-streaming features, and agreed to work together to develop new tools to identify and quickly remove extremist content, including “sharing databases of violent posts or images to ensure they don’t spread across multiple platforms,” “tweaking their algorithms to prevent violent or hateful content from going viral,” and “making it easier for users to report harmful posts.”


• Retirement Plan

Canadians can rest easy as the Canada Pension Plan’s investment board stated returns that make the fund sustainable until at least 2090. (Yay!) The board racked up returns of 8.9% for this most recent financial year after reporting less than ideal returns in the last quarter of 2018. The Toronto-based investment manager for the Pension Plan said that the CPP Fund has $392 billion net assets, which is up $35.9 billion from the end of 2018. (That’s a heck of a lot more than we can say for own our bank accounts.) Financial Post


• Canada: Coming Clean

The B.C. Attorney General David Eby says his province is done playing nice. Eby stood alongside Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James as Horgan announced that B.C. will conduct a public inquiry into money laundering in the province, to be led by Supreme Court Justice Austin F. Cullen. The inquiry will investigate real estate, gaming, and financial institutions in both corporate and professional sectors for evidence of money laundering. The decision to launch the inquiry follows two reports released last week that discovered more than $7 billion in dirty money has come through the province, mostly within its real estate market. In light of those reports, says Horgan, “it became abundantly clear to us that the depth and the magnitude of money laundering in British Columbia was far worse than we imagined when we were first sworn in.” CBC News

• U.S.: Get Out of Dodge

The escalating situation between Iran and the United States has taken another turn for the worst. The U.S. government just ordered a partial evacuation of its embassy in Baghdad — a surefire sign that it’s worried about the country’s continuous threats against the U.S. All “nonemergency U.S. government employees” at both the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil were ordered to leave the country, after the White House received intelligence that there was “Iranian activity” that would put American facilities and service personnel at “substantial risk.” The same intelligence suggested American troops in Iraq and Syria were in danger of attacks by Shiite Arab militias tied to Iran. New York Times 


“Lord Black has made tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought.”

– White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announcing that President Trump granted “executive clemency” (a.k.a. a pardon) to former Canadian newspaper publisher Conrad Black (who just happens to be a very vocal Trump supporter 🤔). Black had served almost 42 months in a Florida prison and was fined US $125,000 after being found guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice. He’s now back in Canada. CTV News


• Off the Air

Shaw Communications announced yesterday that it’s selling its stake in Corus Entertainment Inc. — for a mere $548 million. The cable and telecommunications company will sell over 80 million class B shares of the Toronto-based broadcaster (which owns radio and television stations such as Global TV, HGTV Canada and Food Network Canada) at a price of $6.80 per share. The sale represents over a third (roughly 38%) of its total stake in Corus, which leaves room for many more shareholders to come in. Shaw announced that the money from its sale will be used for general corporate purposes, particularly repaying some of its debts. Sadly for Corus, it won’t get any piece of sale proceeds. Financial Post


• Baseball: Social Butterfly

Edwin Jackson just might be the most well-travelled guy in major league baseball. The 35-year-old pitcher just set the record for playing on the most teams over his professional career. Edwin made his franchise debut with the Blue Jays yesterday afternoon in a game against the San Francisco Giants. Toronto tentatively became the 14th team on Jackson’s resume when he was acquired by the team from the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, and yesterday’s game solidified the record-making entry. (He’s definitely covering all his bases.) TSN

• Playoffs update 🇨🇦

↳ Despite leading for much of the game, the Toronto Raptors lost the first game of the Eastern Conference finals to the Milwaukee Bucks last night, 108–100. Game two is tomorrow night at 8:30pm ET. 


• Oops, I (Won’t) Do it Again

In truly tragic news, Britney Spears’ manager says the iconic pop singer may never perform again. The statement by Larry Rudolph came just days after Spears appeared in court for a hearing related to her decade-long conservatorship. (ICYMI, Spears’ business and personal affairs have been legally controlled by her father ever since her 2007 breakdown.) Spears apparently wants out of the arrangement, and she’s got the support of the fan-led #freebritney movement to back her up. Spears has been in the press a lot lately, having just been released from a month-long stint in a mental health facility after postponing her much-hyped Las Vegas residency that had been set to start in January. (Can we blame Pluto retrograde for any of this?) One thing that is for certain is that Spears’ manager does not want her performing until she’s ready “physically, mentally, and passionately.” Rolling Stone


• Read

Disappearing Earth may be Julia Phillips’s debut novel, but its 13 chapters are each told from the perspective of a different female character, giving the author lots of room to explore her many voices.

• Watch

Twenty years after leaving ER, George Clooney is returning to TV in Hulu’s adaptation of Catch-22, also starring Christopher Abbott and Kyle Chandler.

• Listen

Canadian pop darling Carly Rae Jepsen is dropping her first album in four years tomorrow with the release of Dedicated, and the reviews are looking real good.


• Parting Gift

There are a lot of things you may want back after a breakup: a video game console, movie collection and pet, to name a few. One thing that should never be on that list? A used sex toy. But that’s exactly what one B.C. man wants. The (possibly) scorned lover took his ex-girlfriend to court over a Hitachi Magic Wand, arguing it was his and should be returned. (It’s been called the “Cadillac of vibrators” and the “mother of all vibrators,” so we kinda get it.) The ex-boyfriend also used the court’s services to retrieve two down pillows that he bought to use whenever he slept over. (Sounds like a good use of taxpayer dollars, if you ask us. 🙄) CBC News


• Older Than Oscar

The first-ever Academy Awards ceremony took place on this day in 1929 (that’s 90 years ago if you’re counting). The iconic gold-plated statuette wasn’t named Oscar until 1939.


• The RCMP is in big sh*t after a video interview was released showing an officer asking a minor inappropriate and abhorrent questions after she reported a sexual assault. 

• Despite optimism on all sides, no deal was struck during yesterday’s talks to lift the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

• Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes owner Restaurant Brands is planning  a 40,000 location expansion over the next decade.

• The nominees for the 2019 Indigenous Voices Awards are here, and Tanya Tagaq and Joshua Whitehead both picked up nods. 


• This Tastes Like…

If it were us, we probably would have skipped using this emoji 💩.

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Image by BC NDPJohn Horgan, CC BY 2.0, Link