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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, March 21, 2019 and what can we do to help cheer you up, Canada?
BULLETIN: ALL NIGHT LONG
• The Background
The Liberals may have shut down the SNC-Lavalin probe (and the company’s CEO may want to put the whole thing behind them) but that doesn’t mean the federal opposition is going to allow it. Last night, Conservatives started a marathon voting session in the House of Commons that could last “up to 48 hours,” in response to the Liberals’ decision to wrap up the inquiry. Conservatives introduced a record 257 motions that oppose portions of the 2019 budget, each of which requires a vote. This hooplah was supposed to go down on Monday in order to delay the budget bill announcement, but Liberals were able to push it. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
Conservatives said they were open to skipping the long series of votes, but in order to do so, the Liberal Party needs to waive all privilege and “let Ms. Wilson-Raybould speak.” The major issue (and scary one for the Liberal party) is that because each one of these votes deals with “fiscal matters,” they’re considered “votes of confidence.” Should the Liberals lose a vote of confidence, it can trigger a general election. (So basically, nobody’s getting any sleep — except of course, on the cots that were set up outside the chamber.)
• What’s Next?
Hopefully, some rest, but if the Liberals don’t agree to let JWR speak, this could go on for quite some time.
• Canada: Later, Liberals
Another Liberal MP has called time on her time in caucus. Yesterday, Celina Caesar-Chavannes announced that she would no longer be sitting in the House of Commons as a Liberal and would now serve as an Independent. Caesar-Chavannes has been a vocal supporter of both Joy Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott amidst their resignations from Trudeau’s cabinet, and had some less-than complimentary things to say about our prime minister in a recent interview with the Globe and Mail. According to the Whitby, Ont. MP, Trudeau reacted with “hostility” and “anger” when she said she wouldn’t be seeking re-election in the fall. CTV News
• U.S.: There’s Hope
Another one of Donald Trump’s most-trusted confidantes may be about to stab him in the back. Democrats have revealed that Hope Hicks is cooperating with their investigation into the president, specifically the allegations of obstruction of justice, and is providing documents to the House Judiciary Committee. The requested documents include “any personal or work diary, journal or other book containing notes, a record or a description of daily events” related to Trump, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, the firing of former FBI director James Comey, the 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower and the hush money payments Michael Cohen made to keep Trump’s affairs under wraps. Hicks served as the White House’s director of strategic communications for nine months (a role created just for her) before becoming communications director. She held that position until March 2018, when she announced her resignation. CNN
• World: Road Block
Britain may want a delay on Brexit, but the EU isn’t jumping on board so fast. Yesterday, British PM Theresa May asked the bloc to delay the country’s exit until June 30, but EU Council President Donald Tusk only agreed to a short extension, “conditional on a positive vote.” Tusk also added that the group isn’t open to negotiating, and that the existing Brexit deal will remain as is (which is a big effing problem, since the House of Commons can’t vote on it again unless it’s “substantially” different). Understandably, the announcement received backlash from the Opposition and pro-EU members who worry Britain will be left high and dry with no deal. But May says her intention is to “bring the deal back to the House” and pass the necessary legislation for Britain’s smooth departure. But having Tusk’s consent is not enough. May’s delay petition will need approval from the 27 remaining EU countries. CBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The U.S. economy is in a good place, and we will use our monetary policy tools to keep it there.”
– U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announces the central bank’s plan to hold interest rates steady through the rest of 2019. Market Watch
• Lucky Number
Tim Hortons isn’t letting Starbucks hog the media spotlight. One day after the Seattle coffee giant announced its rewards revamp, Timmy’s announced the official launch of its long-awaited loyalty program. Introduced nationwide yesterday, the new program tallies customers’ “visits” — which require a minimum purchase of $0.50 and must be at least 30 minutes apart to be counted. Visit seven times, and you’ve earned yourself a free coffee or tea of any size or a free baked good. (One catch: Timbits and bagels sadly aren’t eligible as freebies.) Customers can track their buys via the Tim Hortons mobile app or — for the less digitally inclined— ask for an optional reusable swipe card. Financial Post
• Hey, Siri!
Get ready to look even more like you’re talking to yourself all the time. Apple has launched its second-generation AirPods, now Siri-enabled. Powered with an H1 chip, the new AirPods promise to be more performance efficient, giving 50% more talk-time and faster device connectivity. Apple’s also given the AirPods Siri-support, enabling users to switch songs or make calls hands-free. So what’s the damage? Pricing will vary, depending on whether you want the standard wired charging case ($219 for the set) or the new wireless case ($269 for the set). The wireless case will also be available for standalone purchase ($99), which is good news for existing AirPod owners — it’s fully compatible with the first-generation AirPods. TechCrunch
• Hockey: Popularity Contest
Connor McDavid is the real deal. The NHL Players Association released the results of its annual player poll yesterday — which asks opinions on various on- and off-ice issues — and the Edmonton Oilers captain’s name came up more than a few times. The 22-year-old Ontario-native was voted by his colleagues as the league’s best forward (63.6% of NHL players can’t be wrong) and the most difficult player to play against (even though Tampa Bay winger Nikita Kucherov currently ranks above him in points for the season), as well as the player league members would select to start a franchise with (beating out the ever charismatic Sidney Crosby). Some other highlights: Boston’s Brad Marchand was somehow named as both the best and worst trash talker in the league; Canadian arenas dominated for having the best ice; and Philly’s meme-bait mascot Gritty is (nearly) everyone’s favourite. TSN
• Biography Channel
After a brief hiatus (RIP The Mindy Project), Mindy Kaling is coming back to TV — sort of. Streaming giant Netflix has ordered a new comedy series from the comedian-actress-writer-producer (talk about talent) based on her childhood as a “modern-day first-generation Indian-American teenage girl.” The 10-episode first season will be brought to life by some of the most brilliant brains in comedy: Kaling will serve as writer, executive producer and showrunner alongside Lang Fisher (who worked on The Mindy Project), Howard Klein (who worked on The Office) and David Miner (who worked on 30 Rock and Master of None). No word yet on whether or not Kaling will star in the still-untitled series. Hollywood Reporter
📖 👀 🎧 THE WEEKEND PLAYLIST
One of this year’s most-anticipated books is finally on store shelves. Look How Happy I’m Making You is a story collection that will appeal to all kinds of parents (wannabe, not-so-sure they wannabe and those who are just trying to figure out those first days).
Speaking of parenthood, Amy Schumer’s back with another standup special — but this time, she’s talking pregnancy (so you know it’s going to be good).
And for those who just need to take a minute (parents or not), Deepak Chopra’s first (and brand spankin’ new) podcast, Infinite Potential, is sure to help.
• Mr. Clean
Women have long been bombarded with personal care products that get a little too personal. Now, men in the U.K. can treat their most private parts with the same level of care. The aptly named Boners Penis Cleaner (you can’t make this stuff up) is a cleansing gel that spritzers your you-know-what, which users say leave their manhood looking “magical” and “smelling like rainbows.” Described by the company as an “intimate soap,” the cleaner is used in the shower to give your genitals a “refreshing boost” before or after participating in “sexy games.” According to the Amazon.co.uk writeup, this is how to use it: “Apply some spray to your penis and rub it out.” (Note: “it,” not “one.“) The label on the bottle, however, instructs a different, more unsettling method, involving the words “spray” and “into,” and, well, we’re just going to stop right there.Plymouth Herald
• F*ck Racism
The United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The date was selected to commemorate the tragic 1960 incident when South African police opened fire on civilians who were peacefully protesting the apartheid “pass laws,” killing 69.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Six days after Cyclone Idai ravaged Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, authorities say the death toll has risen to at least 298.
• It only took one mass shooting. (Pay attention, America.) New Zealand is banning all automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
• Google’s in big trouble with the EU. Regulators just fined the company another $1.69 billion for, once again, violating its antitrust laws.
• The Canadian magazine industry just got a wee bit smaller, but not in the way you’re thinking. St. Joseph’s Communications has acquired Rogers Media’s publishing division. (Think Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada, Maclean’s et al.)
• The kids are all grown up. The trailer for Stranger Things season three is here, and it’s taking us right back to 1985.
• Start the countdown: Anderson Cooper has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins. The first will be released in 2022.
• Spreading the Love
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear cool nerdy glasses.