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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, November 29, 2018 and this may be the first person in history to land a job for swearing.
BULLETIN: NO VACANCY
• The Background
If you want to rent a place to live in Canada, you’re going to need one thing (and it’s not money): you’re going to need a helluva lot of luck. According to a new report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the country’s overall vacancy rate has dropped to 2.4%, down from 3% in 2017 (and also puts it at a 10-year low). The demand for rental housing across the country is growing at a rate that supply just can’t keep up with. Thirty-seven thousand new rental apartments were added this year, but the demand for those apartments was closer to 50,000. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
Vacancy rates in Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba all went up, while rates declined in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces. Rent costs are also on the rise, with the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment jumping 3.5% between October 2017 and October 2018. As a province, B.C. saw the largest spike in rent, with apartment costs in Kelowna rising by 9.4%, while Saskatchewan saw a slight dip, with rent prices falling 0.5%. The report also looked at average rent costs across the country. Surprising nobody who lives anywhere near Toronto, Ont., it ranked the highest, with a two-bedroom apartment costing a whopping $2,393 per month. Vancouver came in a close second at $2,034, followed by Victoria ($1,665), Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo ($1,614) and the Ontario area of Ottawa-Gatineau ($1,579). On the other end of the spectrum was the Quebec area of Ottawa-Gatineau ($784), Montreal ($809) and Quebec ($839).
• Payment Plan
The surviving Humboldt Broncos players and the families of those who were killed in April’s crash are finally getting what they deserve: a big cash payout. While it can’t ever make up for the loss and trauma they’ve endured, it’s something that will hopefully brighten the team’s upcoming Christmas season. Yesterday, Saskatoon Justice Neil Gabrielson approved a plan to distribute almost $15 million in charitable donations amongst the victims and their families. In the committee’s proposed plan, each surviving player will receive $425,000 (in addition to the $50,000 interim payment) while the families of the players killed in the accident will each receive $475,000 (in addition to their $50,000 interim payment). The remaining $207,000 will be divided up between the 13 survivors. Saskatoon Star Phoenix
• U.S.: The Power of Pelosi
Though she faced some resistance, Nancy Pelosi took another step towards reclaiming her position as the Speaker of the House. Democrats voted overwhelmingly (203–32) in favour of putting Pelosi forward as their nominee for the Speakership, despite a group of “insurgents” who are looking to make a change to the Democratic leadership. Though the vote puts Pelosi on the right track, she’ll need the support of those 32 votes in order to win a majority and secure the position in January. The Hill
• U.S.: Standing Firm
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is determined to make his mark on Washington before he calls it quits. With his self-imposed retirement looming, Flake plans to vote against every single one of Trump’s judicial nominees until the Senate agrees to vote on legislation that protects special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation (which was blocked yesterday for the second time in the past month). Flake’s plan seems to be having some effect: Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley cancelled votes on nearly two dozen of President Trump’s judicial nominees and VP Mike Pence was forced to cast a tie-breaking vote to advance Thomas Farr’s controversial nomination after Flake voted with the Democrats.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
All of my emails are stored and preserved. There were no deletions. There is no attempt to hide.
– First daughter Ivanka Trump defends her use of a personal email account for political business, which she says is nothing like when Hillary Clinton did exactly the same thing. Global News
• The Train Has Left the Station
Premier Rachel Notley is getting oil out of Alberta one way or another, and she won’t take no for an answer from the federal government. “We have already engaged a third-party to negotiate and work is well underway. We anticipate conclusion of the deal within weeks,” said Notley in a speech to business executives in Ottawa yesterday, outlining her government’s purchase of two rail cars to transport oil. The move follows a six-week nosedive in the province’s economy due to record low Canadian oil prices of $11 per barrel. The trains would cost the province approximately $350 million to buy, and in exchange allow it to move an additional 120,000 barrels of oil per day out of the province by late 2019. Notley says this would generate $1 million per day in new federal revenues. Financial Post
• Putting It In Hyperdrive
Move over Tesla — there’s a new name to know in the world of electric cars. Rivian is a small U.S.-based company that’s revving up to grab a big share of the market with its newly announced “Electric Adventure Vehicles”: an all-electric pickup truck (revealed earlier this week) and an all-electric SUV (announced yesterday). Unless Tesla has any surprises up its sleeve (but judging from production struggles with the Model 3, we doubt it), Rivian’s vehicles will be the first all-electric SUV and pickup to market when they roll off the production line in 2020. Both models feature an all-wheel drive system thanks to individual motors in each wheel, and two large touchscreens on the dashboard for futuristic handling. There’s also a plethora of other techy bells and whistles, such as LIDAR — radar, ultrasonic and ‘high-precision’ GPS for autonomous highway driving. Buyers have a choice of battery capacity (105, 135 or 180 kWh), giving a range between 370 to 659 kilometres per charge. All this won’t come cheap: The truck’s base price is US $69,000, and the SUV starts at US $65,000. Mobilesyrup
• The Next Chapter
Margaret Atwood isn’t quite done with Gilead. Yesterday, the Canadian author-turned-international star announced that she was writing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. The new novel, called The Testaments, is set 15 years after the end of the original story and will be narrated by three female characters. According to Atwood, who made the announcement on Twitter, the story is “inspired by everything you’ve ever asked about Gilead and its inner workings” as well as “the world we’ve been living in.” It’s expected to hit shelves in September 2019. (Praise be.) CBC News
• False Alarm
When making a death announcement, it’s wise to make sure the person in question is actually, you know, dead. A Dublin, Ireland-based amateur football club learned this lesson the hard way this week, when it mistakenly informed its league that one of its players, Fernando Nuno La Fuente, a Spanish native, had died in a traffic accident last Thursday. The team’s next game was then cancelled out of respect for the mourning teammates, while others in the league held a moment of silence at each game in honour of the lost player. It was only after the league posted a notice of his death in a local newspaper that it discovered La Fuente was alive and well, and had simply flown home to Spain without telling anyone. (Guess he wasn’t dead on arrival.) talkSPORT
THE WEEKEND PLAYLIST
If you’ve missed Lena Dunham since she wrapped her HBO series Girls, this honest and open profile may just fill the void — or make you miss her more.
Speaking of opening up, pop darling Ariana Grande is finally releasing her much-anticipated docu-series, Dangerous Woman, which goes behind the scenes of her most recent tour (available today on YouTube).
• Sisters Doin’ It for Themselves
On Nov. 29, 1893, Elizabeth Yates was elected mayor of Onehunga, New Zealand, becoming the first female mayor in the entire British Empire.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• The Canadian Navy is going to have to wait a little longer for its new warships — a trade tribunal is forcing the federal government to press pause on the $60-billion project.
• To make matters even worse, Russia just announced that it’s deploying new missiles to Crimea.
• In news that should surprise no one, Royal Bank of Canada revealed in its latest quarterly earnings report that it’s made a record $12.4 billion in annual profit this past year.
• Now, not even the visually impaired are safe from Instagram’s addictive scroll. The app has added a new accessibility feature that uses AI to describe photos out loud to users.
• Author Roald Dahl’s perennial childhood favourites — Willy Wonka, Matilda, The BFG, and the like — are being adapted for the streaming generation.
• After 12 consecutive draws, Chess champion Magnus Carlsen beat Fabiano Caruana in a tie-breaker to retain his title.
• Comedic Value
What do boff, yaps, cooch, puffball and jiggly have in common?