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Congress holds a hearing on reparations, two bills are about to become Canadian law and Shoppers Drug Mart makes a big announcement.

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Congress holds a hearing on reparations, two bills are about to become Canadian law and Shoppers Drug Mart makes a big announcement.

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Good morning! Today is Thursday, June 20, 2019, and it looks like we may have found our new home


• The Background

Things got heated on Capitol Hill yesterday, as Congress opened up its first hearing in more than a decade to discuss whether or not the government should compensate descendants of American slaves. There were two sides to the argument, with half the group saying it would “damage the relationship between white and black Americans” and others saying it was “imperative to achieve justice.” The committee (which oversees issues related to the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties) said it was opening up the issue to examine “the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.” BBC News

• What Else You Need to Know

The main topic of conversation was a bill brought forward by Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee, which asks the government to set up a commission to look at paying reparations. The hearing venue and the overflow room were both packed, along with hundreds more outside the room. Two well-known African-Americans (former NFL player Burgess Owens and actor Danny Glover) testified both for and against reparations. The issue is bound to be a big one over the coming year as several Democratic candidates for president (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders) have said they’d create a commission to look into it. 

• What’s Next?

While it’s obviously a very important issue, there’s little chance we’ll see a decision anytime soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it very clear that no matter what the committee decides or what type of bill the House passes (if it passes anything), no reparations bill will get through the Senate while he’s in charge.


• Crash and Burn

Five years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine (which left 298 people dead), new details are emerging about the devastating wreck. Four suspects have been named, and will be charged with murder and instigating the crash. The four men (three of which are Russian, one is Ukrainian) are not accused of firing the missile at MH17, but are allegedly “just as punishable as the person who committed the crime.” They’ve been accused of obtaining the missile with the intention of shooting down the plane. The trial will begin on March 9, 2020. CNN


• Canada: The Rule of Law

Two new bills are just one step away from becoming Canadian law. Yesterday, the Senate passed both Bill C-77 (which makes changes to the military justice system) and Bill C-78 (which makes changes to family law) without amendments. Bill C-77 will create a bill of rights for victims in the military justice system, including a new type of military violation termed a “service infraction,” which will allow lawyers to differentiate between minor breaches of conduct and more serious offences. Bill C-78 puts more of a focus on children in family disputes and outlines ways to better enforce child support requirements (e.g., using tax information to enforce payments). iPolitics


• U.S.: Lump of Coal

In a bold rollback of an(other) Obama-era plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now allowing states to set their own carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants. While President Trump is thrilled with the move, as it helps fulfill his promise to improve things for the coal industry, it will no doubt face backlash in court from environmental advocacy groups, as well as some states who see the move as a detriment to the planet. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was never implemented, would have saved 3,600 lives per year, prevented 1,700 heart attacks and 90,000 asthma attacks. (On the flip side, Trump’s change could mean 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030.) CNN


“People in Alberta know when they see the fires that are going on here, and people in Eastern Canada know when they see the floods, we know that there’s an enormous challenge going on with climate emergencies.”

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, addresses a crowd in Calgary, and tries to explain why a low-carbon future is critical (and how the Trans Mountain pipeline is going to help Canada get there). CBC News


• Drugs to Your Door

No, not that kind. Yesterday, Shoppers Drug Mart announced that it’s rolling out same-day home delivery service across Ontario. The new program will allow Shoppers’ shoppers (say that five times fast) to order groceries, everyday essentials and over-the-counter medications, which can be delivered in as little as an hour. Customers just go to the Shoppers Instacart page, select their city and store (60 Shoppers locations are participating in the program), and then they can start shopping. For orders over $35, delivery will be just $3.99, or shoppers can select an Instacart subscription for $9.99 per month or $99 per year. No word yet on whether or not the company plans to roll out same-day delivery across Canada. Daily Hive



• Crystal Clear

In other big partnership news, Universal Music Group has teamed up with YouTube to remaster hundreds of iconic music videos, taking them from standard definition to HD. (Get ready to have one helluva dance party.) More than 100 music videos from legendary artists like Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie and Lady Gaga, as well as decades-old tunes like Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” and Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road”will get a major visual upgrade. And that’s not all: By the end of 2020, the two companies are hoping to bring the number of remastered music videos to 1,000. The Verge


• Hockey: Golden Hour

While most of Canada’s attention is on basketball (and whether or not a certain star player will stay put), our country’s former favourite sport had a big night in Las Vegas. The National Hockey League held its annual awards gala last night to honour the “best of the best” from the 2018–19 season. Among the big winners were Andrei Vasilevskiy (who won the Vezina trophy for goaltending), Ryan O’Reilly (who won the Selke trophy for excellence in defensive aspects of the game), and Mark Giordano (who won the Norris trophy for demonstrating the greatest “all-around ability” as a defenceman). The Boston Bruins’ Don Sweeney picked up the award for GM of the year. The final (and arguably most important) award of the night (the Hart trophy for most valuable player) went to Nikita Kucherov. Next up: the league turns its attention to the NHL Draft, which kicks off tomorrow. Sportsnet


• Nothing to Mock

In a historic deal, Janet Mock has entered a multi-year deal with Netflix, making her the first trans creator to do so. Mock, an American writer, TV host, producer, director and transgender rights activist, will produce a new series for the streaming giant, as well as serve as an executive producer and director on Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series and other future projects. This groundbreaking deal is a big win for the LGBTQ community, particularly trans women of colour. And this isn’t the first glass ceiling Mock has shattered: she’s also the first trans woman of colour to write, produce and direct a TV series. Deadline 


• Read

Kick off the summer season with the “Queen of Beach Reads’” (a.k.a. Elin Hilderbrand’s) new novel Summer of ’69.

• Watch

Toy Story 4 is hitting Canadian theatres tomorrow — and despite what you may think, you don’t need to be a kid to get excited about this one.

• Listen

If you miss Prince as much as the rest of the world, you’ll be thrilled to know that his estate is releasing a new 15-track album tomorrow. Created with Jay Z, Originals is a compilation of previously unreleased songs.


• Poor Example

Kids aren’t always the best behaved, but at a recent children’s baseball game, it was the parents who needed timeouts. Some questionable calls by a 13-year-old (we repeat: 13-year-old!) umpire turned into a full-blown brawl on the diamond, with several parents throwing sucker punches and others running for cover. According to Lakewood police, the tussle involved 15 to 20 adults at Westgate Elementary School, which is in a suburb southwest of Denver, Colorado. Police are still trying to track down all those involved. ABC News


• Come One, Come All

Today is World Refugee Day, an international event dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of refugees all over the world. And though the issue is far from resolved, there is a glimmer of hope: A new report found that in 2018, Canada resettled more refugees than any other country.


• In one of America’s biggest drug busts, more than $1-billion worth of cocaine was seized from a ship in Philadelphia.

• Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks appeared for a closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, where she failed to answer questions about President Trump and the White House.

• Rory Stewart has been knocked out of the U.K. race for British prime minister. A fourth round of voting will take place today.

• Amazon is expanding its Amazon Air fleet and will have 70 planes by 2020 — all so it can do more of its own deliveries.

• Box office hit Avengers: Endgame is heading back to theatres with a new post-credits scene.


• The Way You Want It

This is the kind of subway sing-along we’re talking about. 

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