May calls surprise election as U.K. heads into Brexit negotiations
British Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap election for June 8, saying she needs a solid mandate to negotiate the country’s exit from the European Union. The election call is a sharp reversal for Ms. May, who has consistently said since the Brexit referendum last June that she would not call a snap election.
Ontario considering non-resident speculation tax
A real estate speculation tax may be coming in Ontario. The province is “looking at it intently,” according to a senior official. The possible tax would apply to home purchases by non-residents; it’s not clear if Canadians living outside the province would fall under this designation, or whether it would only affect those based outside the country. The average price of a detached house in the Greater Toronto Area surpassed $1.21-million last month. Last week, Bank Of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said speculation in Toronto’s housing market was “unsustainable.” Toronto Mayor John Tory is sitting down with the federal and Ontario finance ministers today to discuss the state of housing affordability.
OMB powers could be curbed
Kathleen Wynne’s government is also considering measures that would curb the powers of the Ontario Municipal Board, a tribunal that some have criticized as being too favourable to developers. On the flip side, weakening those powers could result in fewer new housing developments in Toronto’s already hot market.
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B.C. NDP goes after high-income earners
The BC NDP are targeting the rich in their bid to win the province’s May 9 provincial election. The BC Liberals introduced a tax bracket for those making more than $150,000, but only kept it in place for two years. The NDP say bringing it back would bring in $250-million in revenue, which would help pay for promises such as $10-a-day daycare. The populist message isn’t all that different from the tactics used by Justin Trudeau in his bid to appeal to the middle class during the 2015 federal election.
NHL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP
Tyler Bozak scored in overtime, and the Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Washington Capitals and take a 2-1 series lead. All three games in the series have been settled in overtime. The Ottawa Senators also took a 2-1 lead in their series against the Boston Bruins after Bobby Ryan netted the game-winner in overtime. The Senators were up 3-0 early in the second, but the Bruins came back to even the score and force extra play. The Calgary Flames stormed out to a 4-1 lead but couldn't hold on against the Anaheim Ducks, who won in overtime on a Corey Perry seeing-eye goal. The Flames are down three games to none in that series. The Chicago Blackhawks are also on the brink of elimination, after the Nashville Predators beat them in overtime 3-2 after coming back from a two-goal deficit.
Hamilton’s light-rail future in doubt
A plan to create a light-rail network in Hamilton is sparking a divide in the city. Supporters see it as a chance to help revitalize downtown, while opponents say it would cause major traffic problems and use up limited tax revenues. If councillors vote on Wednesday to oppose submitting an environmental report, the project could be left in limbo. The nearly $1-billion provincial funding offer, and the opposition to the plan, bear similarities to a situation that played out in Brampton, Ont. A few years ago, councillors there rejected an offer for LRT funding because they didn’t want transit running on the main downtown road.
European shares fell and the U.S. dollar dipped against the yen on Tuesday as tensions over North Korea and the coming presidential election in France kept investors nervous. Tokyo’s Nikkei was the only major global market to see an upswing, rising 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.4 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.8 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.7 and 1.4 per cent. New York futures were also down, and the Canadian dollar was just below the 75-cent (U.S.) mark. Oil prices fell after a U.S. government report indicated U.S. shale production was rising.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Turkey, Erdogan and the end of liberal democracy
“A terrifyingly large portion of the Turkish people has been fooled into voting against their highest interests by a wannabe despot who played to their fears, nationalism and ignorance. … Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in a referendum that will give the president unilateral powers of decree, eliminate the competing position of prime minister, reduce the country’s elected parliament to a non-entity and make every judge the personal appointee of the country’s omnipotent ruler. The Turks who voted Yes were rejoicing in nothing less than the end of their liberty.” – Globe editorial
Marijuana legalization: What was Justin Trudeau smoking?
“Legalizing pot is trickier than it looks. Some of the benefits have been wildly overstated, and some of the consequences are unintended. Take, for example, the Liberals’ blithe assurance that tough new laws will, if anything, reduce the availability of pot to youth. This ain’t gonna happen. It hasn’t happened in Colorado and it won’t happen here. Nor is it easy to believe that all those new laws will be vigorously enforced. Do you really think the cops, who barely have the resources to fight drug crime now, will waste their time busting teenagers for possession?” – Margaret Wente
We all pay the price for ballooning student debt
“Going to college is no longer just about getting an education. It’s a financial investment, akin to taking out a mortgage but with a nasty sting in the tail. Unlike real estate, you can’t sell the educational asset when you find that your ticket to fame and fortune has become an unaffordable nightmare. … In any leveraged financial transaction, success depends on the rate of return exceeding the cost of debt. For college graduates, wondering how they will ever afford to buy their own home, the return on their bachelor’s degree may be falling well below the cost of investment. That is a problem that could be with us for decades to come.” – Carl Mortished (for subscribers)
How depression can set the stage for heart disease
Those who suffer from depression are more likely to get heart disease at an early age, multiple studies have found. And the lifestyle choices of those dealing with depression – say, lack of exercise and smoking – don’t fully explain the difference. One possible explanation is that those with depression often have increased inflammation levels, which is known to boost the risk of cardiovascular disease.
MOMENT IN TIME
Oklahoma City bombing claims 168 lives
April 19, 1995: Everybody in Oklahoma City heard – and felt – the blast outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. At 9:02 a.m., a van loaded with nearly a quarter-ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane and diesel fuel detonated outside the building’s north entrance, virtually obliterating one-third of the structure. The sheer force of the explosion shattered glass in more than 250 surrounding buildings. More pointedly, the shocking terrorist act killed 168 people and wounded hundreds. The responsible parties were domestic terrorists: Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf War vet with seething hate for the U.S. federal government, and accomplice Terry Nichols, an ex-farmer with his own issues. The pair were summarily tried and convicted. McVeigh died by lethal injection in 2001. Nichols avoided the death penalty but instead received 161 consecutive life terms without possibility of parole. – Andrew Ryan
Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.
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