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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, April 1, 2019 and all those annoying pranks the internet is bound to play on us today will be good for something, at least.
BULLETIN: OIL THE WAY
• The Background
Today’s a big day for the oil industry — on both sides of the border. In Canada, the much-debated federal carbon tax goes into effect in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, jacking up the price of gas, natural gas, propane, butane and aviation fuel. (It also means residents in the four provinces will be getting a new rebate on their tax returns.) In the U.S., POTUS is doing his best to get the Keystone pipeline built. Trump signed a new permit on Friday that will allow TransCanada Corp. to begin the build, despite a block issued by a Montana court. The permit will obviously face pushback from environmental groups, so it’s possible that the pipeline still won’t be built. And speaking of pushback, a federal judge in the District of Alaska ruled that one of the president’s executive orders (which opened up oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast) was unlawful and “exceeded the president’s authority.” (He is not going to like that one.)
• What Else You Need to Know
The Alaskan judge who made the ruling on Trump’s executive order added that the Obama-era protections “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.” (Good luck with that.) In other American environmental news (never a dull day), a group of senators re-introduced a bill to instate the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA). The Act offers incentives and sets federal goals for advanced nuclear energy — a next-generation technology that produces massive amounts of power with no direct carbon emissions. 🙌🏼
• What’s Next?
If there’s one thing we know about Donald Trump, it’s that he won’t go down without a fight. Expect him to appeal both court rulings, and try to kibosh the Senate’s Nuclear Energy Leadership Act.
• Canada: Secret Recording
Just when the SNC-Lavlin scandal seemed to be cooling down, its main player dropped a bomb that heated it right back up. Liberal MP (and former attorney general) Jody Wilson-Raybould released an audio recording of a conversation she had with Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, where she repeatedly raises the issue of political interference and how it would look if she overrode the federal prosecutor to offer SNC-Lavalin a deal to avoid criminal trial. The recording is evidence of a conversation both Wernick and Wilson-Raybould admitted to having in December of last year, and provides evidence of Wilson-Raybould’s version of events. In the recording, she can be heard telling Wernick repeatedly that the conversations both he and other senior political staff were having with her were “entirely inappropriate.” It also revealed that Wernick wasn’t honest when he said Wilson-Raybould never raised concerns. Global News
• World: Step in the Right Direction
Who run the world? Girls — and another country just got the memo. This weekend, Slovakia elected its very first female president. Zuzana Caputova won 58% of the vote, with high-profile diplomat Maros Sefcovic, winning 42%. The 45-year-old divorceé and mother of two is considered an extremely liberal leader (she supported LGBTQ+ rights during her campaign) and is a member of the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, which currently holds no seats in parliament. Caputova said she decided to run for president after an investigative journliast and his fianceé were murdered for looking into links between politicians and organized crime. She’ll be sworn in to office in June. BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Mr. Trudeau is really revealing himself to be who he really is, which is a very self-centred, conceited, arrogant individual.”
– Indigenous Grand Chief Stewart Phillip on how he feels about our prime minister, amidst the SNC-Lavalin scandal and his treatment of the Grassy Narrows demonstrators last week. Global News
• Grand Theft
Despite Elon Musk’s best efforts to distract us with his weird antics (see here for his latest WTF moment), Tesla has found itself in a bind with the readily accessible, unencrypted customer data on wrecked vehicles. A CNBC report revealed that two security researchers calling themselves “white hat hackers” were able to pull location data and camera footage and other personal data off a salvaged Tesla Model 3 previously owned by a construction company. The car’s computer had stored data uploaded from phones of several employees who’d driven the vehicle, including their phonebooks, calendar entries and navigation history. Tesla says car owners can erase the data by performing a factory reset on the vehicle — but that’s not likely to be a top-of-mind priority for people following a car-totalling crash. The Verge
• Hockey: Season Finale
It looks like Canada isn’t the hockey juggernaut that we thought it was. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which has been around since 2007, announced yesterday that it would be ceasing operations as of May 1, 2019. According to the league’s board of directors, while the “on-ice hockey is exceptional, the business model has proven to be economically unsustainable.” Last season, the entire organization operated on a budget of less than US $3 million; Players were paid for the very first time in 2017, but even then, it was only between $1,500 and $7,500 for the whole season. The announcement sparked a huge response from the hockey community, including from young fans whose dreams of playing in the CWHL were now crushed. Global News
• Homegrown Talent
The northern stars were shining bright last night in Toronto. After a week spent honouring the best of Canadian film, TV, news and digital storytelling, the Canadian Screen Awards culminated with a gala at the Sony Centre. Big winners included Letterkenny (Jared Keeso won for lead actor in a comedy), Cardinal (its two lead stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse both picked up trophies), Schitt’s Creek (best comedy series and Catherine O’Hara won for lead actress) and Anne with an E (which picked up the award for best drama and AmybethMcNulty won for best lead actress in a drama). The series, based off Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, won a total of seven awards, tying with Cardinal for the top spot. On the movie front, Unecolonie (A Colony) won for best motion picture and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch won the Ted Rogers award for best feature length documentary. CBC News
• Black Power
In what was probably the most satisfyingly predictable win of the 2019 awards’ season, Beyoncé was crowned entertainer of the year at Saturday night’s 50th annual NAACP Image Awards. Queen Bey used her speech to graciously call out the accomplishments of her fellow nominees, actress Regina King, basketball star LeBron James, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and actor Chadwick Boseman. Coogler and Boseman got their due in the show’s film categories, with Black Panther and its cast winning outstanding motion picture, outstanding actor (Boseman), and breakthrough performance (by actress Letitia Wright). Black-ishcleaned up in the TV comedy categories, with the show’s stars, Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson (who also hosted the awards) each earning trophies. The night’s one surprise: English R&B newcomer Ella Mai beat her more experienced competition to win the title of outstanding album for her self-titled debut. See all the award show’s winners here. Variety
• Uncovered Cop
An off-duty Swedish police officer made the arrest of his life this weekend when he stumbled upon a fugitive under rather delicate circustances. The officer was enjoying a day at the sauna in the typical Scandinavian fashion (i.e. buck naked) when he recognized the (equally nude) criminal — wanted for multiple drug offences and attempted assault on a public servant — across the crowded spa. While it’s not clear whether what followed was as dramatic (read: terrifying) as thatscene in Eastern Promises (you know, the NSFW one), the cop somehow managed to detain the criminal and place him under arrest, without the help of his badge, gun, handcuffs or underpants. The Telegraph
• April Fools’
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Algeria’s embattled President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a major reshuffle of his government’s cabinet, replacing 21 of the country’s 27 ministers.
• A public petition calling on British parliament to call off Brexit has now racked up over six million signatures.
• More than 200 Palestinians were wounded on Saturday in a confrontation with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. People had gathered to mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests, defending Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their ancestral homeland.
• After years of anticipation and delays, Apple has officially cancelled the launch of its AirPower charging mat. (Maybe the U.K.’s House of Commons can learn something from Apple’s willingness to admit defeat?)
• Great View
The world sure looks awesome from this new vantage point.