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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, December 12, 2018 and we think this is right on Time.
BULLETIN: (SHUT) DOWN OR (WALLED) OUT
• The Background
Donald Trump just won’t back down on his border wall — and he’s willing to shut down the government to get it. The president met yesterday with Democratic Senate and House leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to discuss (read: make threats about) his funding ask for construction of his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other, whether it’s through you, through military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government,” declared Trump, adding that he’d also take all the blame for the extreme measure. Globe and Mail
• What Else You Need to Know
So, what exactly does Trump and his (few) supporters want? The president has asked for US $5 billion to be allocated to building the wall— but the Senate has only approved US $1.6 billion in funding for all border security measures, of which physical barriers are just a piece. In Pelosi and Schumer’s counterproposal to the president, they asked for support for six government funding bills widely agreed upon by lawmakers, as well as maintained funding for the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through Sept. 30, 2019. That last bill earmarks about US $1.3 billion for border fencing and other security measures.
• What’s Next?
Funding for the government agencies in question is set to expire on Dec. 21, giving the conflicting sides a total of 10 days to reach an agreement and avoid a shutdown. “We gave the president two options that would keep the government open,” Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer said in a joint statement released following the meeting. “It’s his choice to accept one of those options or shut the government down.” But judging from Trump’s heel-digging in yesterday’s talks (the
tantrum very professional exchange was televised live, if you’re looking for something to rage-watch), it’s unlikely he’ll ease off without a fight (especially after Pelosi took a perfectly deadpanned dig at his manhood).
• Bye Over Brexit?
British Prime Minister Theresa May will fight for her political life later Wednesday in a no-confidence vote called by members of the Conservative party over her handling of Brexit. May has faced some criticism over the deal she negotiated to allow for Britain to withdraw from the EU, and postponed a vote on it earlier this week. If she loses the no-confidence vote Wednesday evening, she will be out as Conservative leader and would be expected to announce a date when she will step down as prime minister. In an address outside 10 Downing Street Wednesday morning, May vowed to fight the move against her leadership with “everything I’ve got.” BBC News
• Strasbourg Shooting
Tragedy has struck again in Europe. At least three people were killed and another 13 have been injured after a gunman opened fire near a Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg. According to police, the suspect was able to flee the scene (though he was injured after exchanging gunfire with a soldier) and is now on the run. He’s known to the country’s security services and was considered a possible terrorist threat. BBC News
• Made in Canada
Canadian cops are taking their fight against firearms straight to the source. Yesterday, Ontario Provincial Police arrested 23 people involved in a massive gun manufacturing ring. The bust was the culmination of an eight-month-long investigation into the source of illegal firearms that were finding their way throughout the GTA. Four hundred officers across the Greater Toronto Area executed raids last week, acting on 39 warrants issued in connection with “Project Renner.” The OPP seized 14 handguns, six long guns, an assault rifle, four silencers, grenades, body armour and a stun gun in the raids — as well as a bunch of drugs and money, four cars and even a house. Police say the guns were built domestically completely from legal parts. Despite their locally made origins, OPP Supt. Bryan MacKillop said, “there’s no other reason to own these firearms other than for criminality,” and that it was clear “this group manufactured these illegal guns for mass distribution to multiple criminal cells in Ontario.” CityNews
• Canada: Fighting the Fight
The government may have forced Canada Post employees back to work, but they’re not going without a fight. Yesterday, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) announced that they’re filing a challenge in the Ontario Superior Court, arguing that the Liberals’ back-to-work legislation violated workers’ constitutional rights. According to Mike Palecek, CUPW president, the feds cannot “legislate labour peace,” and the law “violates our right to free collective bargaining under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Global News
• Canada: An Eye for an Eye
China has turned its threat of retaliation in the Meng Wanzhou case into a reality. After making demands on Monday that the Huawei Technologies’ CFO be released or else (we’re paraphrasing, obvi), Chinese authorities detained a former Canadian diplomat in China yesterday, just hours before a Vancouver judge granted Wanzhou’s release on $10 million in bail. While the reason for international-affairs analyst Michael Kovrig’s arrest was not publicly stated, both Canadian and American government officials are treating the move as retribution for Wanzhou’s arrest. PM Trudeau has been in contact with Chinese authorities, and a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Robert Palladino, made a statement saying his department “urge[s] China to end all forms of arbitrary detention and to respect the protections and freedoms of all individuals under China’s human rights and consular commitments.” (President Trump, however, wasn’t much help; he floated the idea of using Wanzhou as a bargaining chip in trade talks with China.) CTV News
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.
– Google CEO Sundar Pichai, responding to Rep. Steve King’s question about his iPhone. (Pichai was on Capitol Hill testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee.) 🙄 The Hill
• Modern Makeover
Staples Canada is testing out a new business strategy — and it has absolutely nothing to do with office supplies. Yesterday, the chain announced plans to transform itself (it’s now the “Working and Learning company”) along with several of its stores (the locations in Kirkland, Que., and in Toronto near University Ave. and Dundas St., will add co-working space, called “Staples Studio”). The chain will also start stocking thousands of new design- and tech-related products, including the addition of a Tech Discovery Zone, where shoppers can try before they buy. The store changes are set to roll out in January 2019, with other locations expected to follow. BlogTO
• Wire Transfer
PayPal is making it even easier for Canadians to conduct international business. The online payment tool has just launched Xoom in Canada, an international digital money transfer service that allows Canadians to send funds to recipients in more than 130 countries. Xoom also allows users to pay bills or reload phone plans with low remittance fees (3.93%, which is close to half of other providers) and track their money until it arrives at its destination. Canadian PayPal users will automatically have access to Xoom with their PayPal login. Techvibes
• Olympics: Historic Win
For the first time in history, a freestyle skier has won the Lou Marsh Trophy. Yesterday, Olympic gold medallist Mikael Kingsbury was unveiled as this year’s winner (a title that is also known as Canada’s athlete of the year) after being selected by a panel of sports journalists from across the Great White North. Hailing from Deux-Montagnes, Que., Kingsbury has become a well-known name in skiing circles around the globe, winning a career total of 50 World Cups. (For real.) Kingsbury beat out figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, golfer Brooke Henderson, Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid and curler Katilyn Lawes to take the top spot. Sportsnet
• When the Bottle Runs Dry
After 11 years, Kathie Lee Gifford is putting down her wine glass and bidding farewell to the Today show. Ever since Gifford left Live With Regis and Kathie, her and Hoda Kotb have been a staple on NBC on weekday mornings. According to NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, Gifford will stay with the show through her 11th anniversary, which falls on April 7, 2019. In terms of replacements, nothing’s official, but word on the street is that the show’s looking to tap Jenna Bush Hager, who’s filled in for Gifford any time she’s been away. People
• Money Made Me Do It
Crocs seems to have found the ideal partner in Post Malone. On the (exposed) heels of the hugely successful design collaboration with the rapper released last month — the plastic clogs sold out in less than a day — the brand released a second batch of Post Malone X Crocs yesterday afternoon…which sold out in just 10 minutes. This time, resellers were somehow ready before the coveted kicks even went live online. The bright yellow clogs — emblazoned with a digital image of barbed wire and six “Post Malone-themed Jibbitz” (we suppose someone’s trash is another’s fashion treasure) — were already listed on eBay and Stock X (another popular reselling site) on Monday, the day before their public release. Naturally, they were also marked up a pretty penny from the retail price of US $60; one eBay listing put their market value at upwards of US $850. (Post might want to change those lyrics from “Rich & Sad” to “Rich & Glad.”) Complex
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Canadian military personnel are being advised to check their credit card statements for suspicious activity following a “malicious attack” on a military retailer’s website that exposed customer’s personal information.
• After a newly elected Indigenous municipal councillor stepped down in protest before he was even sworn in, the Ontario government created a new municipal oath which doesn’t require civic officials to pledge allegiance to the Queen, setting a welcome new precedent.
• British PM Theresa May made her new year’s resolution early — She’s announced she’s delaying the parliamentary vote on Brexit to next month.
• Selena is heading to the small screen. Netflix just green lit a series based on the music legend’s life.
• Ladies Who Lead
On Dec. 12, 1950, Paula Ackerman, the first female appointed to perform the functions of a Jewish rabbi in the United States, led a congregation in her first services. (L’chaim!)
• Ryan’s Got Your Back
Proof that magic happens when Canadians stick together.