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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, April 15, 2019, which means we’re just 62 days away from these lyin’ ladies making their return.
BULLETIN: WILD ROSE WILD CARD
• The Background
Albertans are going to the polls on Tuesday to elect their next premier. (In fact, a record 700,000 voters have already cast their votes in the advance polls.) While the Alberta Party and the Liberals have their (few) supporters, really, this is a two horse race. As it stands, surveys have current Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP trailing behind Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party by about 13 points, with the UCP poised for a majority victory (despite some questionable behaviour from Kenney and his cohorts). Global News
• What Else You Need to Know
Before (and since) Notley called for the election back in March, the UCP had made headlines for all the wrong reasons — namely, a slew of racist, Islamophobic and homophobic comments by party members. But somehow, none of that seems to have phased the party’s supporters. Many Albertans have grown impatient with the province’s floundering economy and shrinking job market and are hopeful a change in government leadership will get things back on track. If you live in the province and have yet to cast your vote, here’s a quick primer on what each of the two major parties are bringing to the table:
- Economy & Taxes
– NDP: Focused on diversifying the economy to create new jobs outside of the oil and gas industries, while also offering subsidies and incentives to oil and gas companies; Promised not to implement sales tax, payroll tax or health-care premiums; Aims to balance the budget by 2023-24
– UCP: Promised to cut the province’s corporate income tax rate from 12% to 8% by 2022; Intends to challenge Bill C-69 to free up regulations on pipeline approvals and “turn off the taps” to B.C. in retaliation for obstructing pipeline expansion through the neighbouring province; Aims to build a $714 million surplus by 2023; Plans to reduce minimum wage for teens from $15-an-hour to $13-an-hour
- Health Care
– NDP: Intends to devote $90 million in funding to decrease surgery wait times; Promised to cover prescription drugs for middle- and low-income seniors; Plans to launch lawsuit to sue opioid medication makers for care costs
– UCP: Intends to explore privatization options for health-care system and review public funding in search of $200 million in savings; Plans to expand treatment programs for people battling opioid and drug addiction
- Education & Childcare
– NDP: Promised 13,000 new daycare spaces at $25-a-day; Earmarked $1.3 billion to build and upgrade 70 schools and a $23 million increase to the province’s classroom improvement fund; Set a goal of hiring 1,000 more teachers
– UCP: Intends to double number of schools offering vocational training and lift the cap on the number of charter school in the province; Plans to ensure consent is taught in all sex ed. courses and to roll-back NDP protections for gay-straight alliances clubs to those established by the previous PC government
– NDP: Plans to continue Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan focused on phasing out coal, capping oil sands emissions and investing in renewable energy
– UCP: Intends to scrap Alberta’s carbon tax and replace it with Technology Innovation and Emissions Reductions program targeting the biggest greenhouse gas emitters
– NDP: Intends to spend $1.4 billion on building new roads, including a secondary highway out of Fort McMurray to create an alternative escape route in case of another wildfire emergency; Plans to create a strategy to improve high-speed internet access province-wide
– UCP: Plans to create a Crown corporation to backstop up to $1 billion in Indigenous investment in natural resource projects and infrastructure, including pipelines; Plans to dedicate $5 million in support funding for survivors of sexual assault; establish a fixed election date
• What’s Next?
Despite what the voting surveys say, come election day, anything can happen. One thing you can count on: we’ll have the news on how it goes down to you on Wednesday morning.
• Spring Has Not Sprung
Just when we thought patio season was finally upon us, a severe storm system started battering the U.S. in a real way. Tornadoes ripped through homes, hail and high winds lashed against trees and cars, and flash floods completely submerged areas of the southern states. At least five people, including three children, were killed due to the dangerous weather. That same storm system barrelled over to the east coast on Sunday, threatening 90 million people in its wake. Tornadoes, torrential downpours and other catastrophic conditions pummelled major cities like New York, Washington and Atlanta. (Yes, it’s mid-April.) CNN
• U.S.: Deep Probe
It’s no longer just Republicans swimming in murky legal waters. Greg Craig, former White House counsel during the Obama administration, has been charged with making false statements and concealing material information regarding work he performed for Ukraine in 2012, according to an investigation that stemmed from the Mueller probe. (We have a feeling that smoke spreads a long way.🙄) The case originated as an investigation into Craig over an alleged Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) violation. The indictment says Craig didn’t want to register as an agent for Ukraine lest it prevent him from working for the federal government in the future. Craig’s former firm, Skadden, has since been required to fork over $4.6 million earned for its work in Ukraine and to register as a foreign agent. Craig is the second agent from the firm to face such charges. CNN
• World: Progress for a Nation in Peril
The latest drama in a series of protests and political unrest in Sudan: the military council chief’s decision to quit his job after just one day. Awad Ibn Auf declared his resignation on state television, after leading the revolt against longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The announcement came as tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied for a civilian-led transition after the long-awaited overthrow of al-Bashir, who faces charges by an international court for crimes against humanity and genocide. The people of Sudan began protesting price hikes and food shortages back in December, and the demonstrations only escalated in recent weeks. Ibn Auf says he is confident that his successor, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, “will steer the ship to safe shores”, and that his decision is what’s best for the nation. The move was greeted with cheers from the public, who are still celebrating the president’s downfall. Al Jazeera
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I did not run for Congress to be silent. I did not run for Congress to sit on the sidelines.”
– Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, responds to the GOP’s attacks against her (including a video shared by the president), which she says have taken her comments about 9/11 “out of context” and used them to incite violence and spread hate. Omar has since received several death threats. BBC News
• Bed, Bath & Buh-bye?
Another big box retailer is losing its battle against online shopping. This weekend, Bed Bath & Beyond announced plans to close 40 stores, while it tries to turn around its in-store sales with 15 new “lab” stores that have “a greater emphasis on home decor, food and beverage, and health and beauty care.” (The company’s already opened 21 “next-generation lab stores,” which it says are doing better than its traditional locations.) Executives said the team is still making a last-ditch effort to keep all locations open by trying to renegotiate better lease terms on the stores that are suffering the most. CNN
• Up, Up, and Out of This World
The world’s largest airplane took its first successful trip. In a critical test flight, the 500,000-pound plane (with a wingspan as large as a football field), took off for two hours and landed safely. After several years of development in a desert north of L.A., rocket launch company Stratolaunch, finally flew the six-engined mega jet. “It was an emotional moment to watch the bird take flight,” said Stratolaunch Systems CEO. Sadly, this mammoth jet is not meant for commercial use. It’s designed to send satellites and rockets into orbit around the earth. The company’s central mission is to make sending satellites into space “as easy as booking an airline flight.” Imagine that. The Verge
• Golf: Back on Top
Tiger Woods is a champion once more. After years of back problems, drug addiction and headline-making wild behaviour, the 43-year-old golf pro completed his epic comeback yesterday, winning his fifth Masters title and his 15th major championship. Woods shot a 2-under 70 for a one-stroke victory — his first green jacket at Augusta National since 2005. The world-famous athlete credited his kids for his success, saying he wanted them to see their dad win: “To let them see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope it’s something they’ll never forget.” TSN
• Playoffs update 🇨🇦
↳ The Toronto Raptors dropped the first game in their series to the Orlando Magic, 104–101. Game two is tomorrow night at 8pm ET.
↳ The Winnipeg Jets dropped game two and won the eff out of game three of their series against the St. Louis Blues (2–0 and 6–3). Game four is tomorrow night at 9:30pm ET.
↳ The Calgary Flames lost game two in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche 3–2. Game three is tonight at 10pm ET.
↳ The Toronto Maple Leafs lost game two to the Boston Bruins 4–1. Game three is tonight at 7pm ET.
• Quick Sale
In a heated Hollywood auction, Universal Pictures won the rights to an exclusive, untitled comedy pitched by the one and only Mindy Kaling, along with newlywed Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Dan Goor. Unsurprisingly, numerous media giants fought over this one, including Sony, Netflix, Amazon and Legendary. The film is about a big Indian wedding and the inevitable culture clashes between an American and Indian family. (Could it be based off someone’s recent nuptials?) It’s being dubbed Crazy Rich Asians meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding, so it’s no wonder so many suitors were eagerly bidding. This is the second auction in 2019 for a Kaling-scripted project. Amazon Studios dropped $13 million for Late Night, a comedy being released in early June. Deadline
• Pornographic Problems
One of the very few things more embarrassing than your parents finding your porn stash is filing a lawsuit against them for getting rid of it. A 40-year-old Indiana man is suing his parents for confiscating his extensive porn collection, which he claims is worth nearly $30,000. (Who knew?) It all started when the unnamed — and for good reason — plaintiff moved in with his parents after going through a divorce in 2016. When he moved out 10 months later, they delivered his belongings to his new home but failed to include 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines. He promptly sued his parents for financial damages of roughly $87,000. Though the parents admitted to destroying the porn, the prosecutor declined to press charges. (That is…whacked.) WAFF 48
• Never Let Go
On April 15, 1912, the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic sunk at approximately 2:27am off the coast of Newfoundland. According to survivors, the band played as the ship went down. The tragic accident took the lives of between 1,490 and 1,635 people.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Not that there was ever any doubt, but South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is officially running for president in 2020.
• If you have a Mazda, take note: The car company’s just recalled 200,000 vehicles in Canada and the U.S.
• Game-streaming site Twitch released its first game yesterday, a karaoke-style experience called Twitch Sings that’s meant to be live-streamed (obviously).
• Eyebrow Raiser
Proof you should always (always!) check reviews.