Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Amazon’s Vancouver expansion tripling in size with deal to occupy city’s largest downtown office space
Amazon.com is undertaking a major expansion in Vancouver with a deal to occupy the largest block of office space in the city’s core.
The e-commerce giant will take up a full city block by leasing two new office towers under construction in a development called The Post, named for its location on the site of Vancouver’s old Post Office. That will make Amazon the dominant corporate tenant in Vancouver and provide space for thousands of high-paying technology jobs.
Amazon initially agreed to lease 35 per cent of the space in the towers. Now, it will lease both buildings, according to people with knowledge of the matter, tripling its footprint to 1.1 million square feet. The Globe and Mail granted the sources anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.
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TMX launches a review of harassment claims against CEO Lou Eccleston before joining the exchange
TMX Group, which operates Canada’s major stock exchange, has launched a review into allegations of sexual harassment by chief executive officer Lou Eccleston while he was working at Bloomberg LP in the 1990s.
He was a senior executive at Bloomberg – founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – for 14 years until 2002. He joined TMX Group in 2014.
In an article published yesterday, online publication Business Insider alleged Eccleston was part of a “sexualized, predatory environment” at New York-based Bloomberg. BI said he was not named in any lawsuits filed by Bloomberg employees but was cited in filings at the New York State Division of Human Rights.
TMX said in release that it has become aware of “past allegations” and is reviewing the matter.
Freeland travels to Washington to join American, Mexican leaders in USMCA talks
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was flying to Washington for a meeting this evening to negotiate an addition to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Freeland will join U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Jesus Seade, Mexico’s USMCA point man, for talks at Lighthizer’s office, her office said.
The three sides are trying to agree on a side letter to the USMCA trade pact that would include concessions demanded by Democrats in the U.S. Congress in exchange for ratifying the deal.
Most of the Democrats’ demands are targeted at Mexico, which they accuse of taking American jobs by undercutting the U.S. with cheap labour.
Catalyst Capital proposes takeover bid for HBC to counter offer from Richard Baker group
Catalyst Capital Group says it is proposing a takeover bid for Hudson’s Bay Co. in an effort to disrupt a plan by executive chairman Richard Baker to take the retailer private.
The Toronto-based private-equity company says it is prepared to consider offering $11 a share in cash for HBC. That compares with Baker’s offer of $10.30 a share, which has the blessing of HBC’s board and on which shareholders are due to vote Dec. 17.
Catalyst already has a 17.5-per-cent stake in HBC, and has been vocal in its opposition to the privatization offer from Baker and his allies, which control 57 per cent.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Metro Vancouver transit strike averted: Unifor, the union representing thousands of Metro Vancouver transit workers, has reached a tentative deal with operator Coast Mountain Bus Co., averting a system-wide bus and SeaBus strike that would have lasted through Friday.
Trump briefed on whistle-blower before aid released: U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the whistle-blower complaint about his dealings with Ukraine before the White House released nearly US$400-million in military aid to Kyiv, officials say, shedding new light on events that triggered the impeachment inquiry.
Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao dies on set: Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao has died after suffering an apparent heart attack while filming a sports reality show in China. He initially rose to fame by becoming the first Asian male model for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton.
Maas fired as Eskimos head coach: The Edmonton Eskimos have fired Jason Maas following an 8-10 season, ending his four-year run as head coach of the CFL team.
Lightfoot postpones shows: Gordon Lightfoot is postponing concerts this week in Fredericton, Montreal and Ottawa to recover from a summer leg injury. The shows are rescheduled for next April.
Suspect arrested in Toronto feces attacks: Toronto police have charged Samuel Opoku, 23, who is accused of throwing buckets of feces at five people in three separate attacks. He faces five counts of assault with a weapon and five counts of mischief interfere with property.
North American stocks rose again today after U.S. data brightened the economic outlook and investors remained bullish on the prospect of a U.S.-China trade accord.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 42.32 points to 28,164.00, the S&P 500 gained 13.11 points to close at 3,153.63, and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.25 points to end at 8,705.18.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 64.69 points at 17,100.57, with 10 of the index’s 11 major sectors higher.
The perils of teen vaping are no surprise
“The industry has been flouting laws as it pushed its understudied, addictive product for years, hooking a new generation of kids on nicotine.” – Denise Balkissoon
You might almost feel sorry for the International Olympic Committee
“WADA loves picking a fight, but expects the IOC to do all the punching. This week, it asked that Russia be put in Olympic jail again – no uniforms, no flag, no anthem, no dessert at the village canteen.” – Cathal Kelly
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. If you’re looking for good-quality wines to share at a reasonable price, check out Globe wine critic Christopher Waters’ list of 11 picks. They include California cabernet sauvignons, malbecs from Argentina and a white Côtes du Rhône blend from France.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
CEO Susan Senecal revived the A&W brand by listening to what millennials want and giving it to them
As no one will have missed, A&W Food Services of Canada released its Beyond Meat burger in October, 2018, the first plant-based burger in North America from a fast food chain. The patty came from an L.A.-based company of the same name, but the branding was all from the Canadian firm. The release was so successful that A&W ran out of patties and had to suspend sales for a month before relaunching the product. Since then, they haven’t looked back. Today, it’s no stretch to say that the company has had more press coverage of its Beyond Meat product than it has received for anything else it ever sold in the 60 odd years since it was founded.
Susan Senecal is 18 months into her role as A&W’s CEO, but a company veteran, starting as an area manager in 1992 and doing stints as both chief marketing officer and chief operating officer. But even she doesn’t pretend to have seen this all coming exactly as it played out. Visiting her in the A&W headquarters in North Vancouver, she laughs when asks if she might have been a bit surprised. “Well yes,” she says. “It was certainly surprising.”
But as with all things in the A&W world under Senecal’s leadership, that’s not because it was an accident either. While a great deal has happened at A&W under her leadership as the result of the shrewdest planning, there’s another quality baked into the brand that lends to its success: a readiness on the part of consumers to quickly and warmly embrace its efforts. As with the arrival of the new product, guests feel they’ve been given exactly what they were requesting. Read Timothy Taylor’s full story here.