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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Parliament resumes Dec. 5: Here’s what’s happening in politics today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with all of the opposition party leaders this week as the Liberals try to craft an agenda for their minority government that can get the support of at least one of the Conservatives, Bloc Québécois or NDP.

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Today he met with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Among the Conservatives’ priorities for the upcoming session is for the PM to study the implementation of an east-west energy corridor in an effort to address the national-unity challenges facing the country.

Trudeau also met today with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who said he was disappointed after Ottawa declined his request to withdraw a federal carbon tax on his province. He said he will be taking steps to increase provincial autonomy, hinting at what appears to be a measure to open up Saskatchewan trade promotion offices abroad.

These sessions come at a time when regional divisions are significant and growing, according to a new survey, with feelings of alienation and job insecurity flaring in Alberta while Quebeckers have become economic optimists and view climate change as their top focus.

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Equestrian star Nicole Walker suspended after testing positive for banned substance

Canadian equestrian Nicole Walker tested positive for a banned substance at last summer’s Pan American Games in Peru – cocaine – and has been suspended.

She was a top performer at those games, helping the Canadian show-jumping team to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo next year. Now, the team is likely to lose its invitation.

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Walker says the result was caused by her drinking coca tea, a legal and common pick-me-up in South America. She has requested an appeal hearing.

Disney Plus arrives in Canada – but not without some bumps

Disney Plus has arrived in Canada, but some users are having technical issues. Some say they were unable to sign up, others say they got an error message telling them they lived outside the countries where the streaming platform was available.

What’s in it for you: To help you decide which streaming platform is right for you, here’s a breakdown of five major players in the Canadian market – Disney Plus, Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV Plus: what they offer, what they cost and special promotions.

Opinion: TV critic John Doyle was unimpressed by Disney Plus’s marquee original series, The Mandalorian, calling it “a massive disappointment. The live-action spin-off from the Star Wars saga is hokey, hackneyed and about as sophisticated as a B-movie western from the 1930s.”

Don Cherry unapologetic after firing over ‘you people’ rant

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In an interview late last night, Don Cherry said he wasn’t apologizing for the comments made during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada on the weekend regarding immigrants and Remembrance Day that led to his firing: “I know what I said and I meant it. Still do.” He also said he could have stayed on with the Sportsnet show “if I had turned into a tame robot who nobody would recognize."

Meanwhile, former NHL executive Brian Burke is listed as the heavy favourite to be Cherry’s successor on HNIC on one sports betting site. Sportsnet has not said whether it plans to keep the Coach’s Corner segment.

Opinion: “Cherry had finally taken on something too big even for him – our collective values. He’d given the country the excuse it needed to move on from the past.” - Cathal Kelly

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Michael Sabia leaving the Caisse: Michael Sabia, CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, is stepping down in February, one year earlier than planned. He’s leaving the provincial pension-fund manager to lead the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

Metro Vancouver transit strike update: Unifor, the union representing Metro Vancouver transit workers, has offered to go back to the bargaining table while announcing escalating strike action by Friday.

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Jimmy Carter recovering: Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is recovering in hospital following surgery this morning to relieve pressure from brain bleeding linked to recent falls. A spokeswoman said there were no complications.

Ricky Gervais returning as Golden Globes host: After vowing not to front another Golden Globe Awards ceremony and once being told he would never be asked back, caustic British comedian Ricky Gervais will return to host the show for a record fifth time.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index edged higher today, mirroring global equities as U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated the United States is close to signing a trade deal with China but offered no new details. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 26.55 points at 16,909.38.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged at 27,691.49, the S&P 500 gained 4.83 points to 3,091.84 and the Nasdaq Composite added 21.81 points to close at 8,486.09.

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TALKING POINTS

The free ride for U.S. billionaires is over - and it’s about time

“Sympathy for the money moguls is in short supply. That their treasure chests could be reduced to a couple of billion hardly leaves the American multitudes furrowing their brows in wonderment as to how the poor fellows will make ends meet.” - Lawrence Martin

Trump impeachment hearings: It better be a small-screen blockbuster

“In the matter of the public impeachment hearings starting Wednesday and going live on TV, it is important to be prepared. Specifically, be prepared for a nothing-burger.” - John Doyle

The real obstacle for reforming military spending isn’t in the Defence Ministry. It’s the Treasury Board

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“Regardless of which party had won this past election, and no matter what tweaks at the edges that the Liberal minority government and its potential supporters pursue, the reality is that the core issue remains unaddressed: Treasury Board’s bulk approach to purchasing the country’s military kit.” - Ken Hansen, defence and security analyst

LIVING BETTER

If you’re longing for the days when bonds or guaranteed investment certificates could earn you 5 per cent, personal finance columnist Rob Carrick says you may consider this alternative: investing in blue-chip stocks that pay handsome dividends. He’s put together a list of stocks offering a 5-per-cent yield, including BCE, CIBC and Enbridge.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Raptors president Masai Ujiri urges African leaders to invest in sports to boost economies

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has some blunt messages for African leaders: build more arenas, stop shuffling their agriculture ministers into the sports minister’s job and fight harder against corruption.

If they take those steps, he says, Africa could experience a sports boom that would galvanize its economies. A new African basketball league, scheduled to begin in March with the NBA’s support, is just the latest in a renaissance that he envisions as someday including new soccer leagues, too.

“Sports is the next big thing in Africa, and I think investors here need to pay close attention to sports,” Ujiri told an African investment conference in Johannesburg this week. “The talent is like gold and diamonds on the continent,” said Ujiri, who grew up in Nigeria and returns to Africa every summer to train young basketball players. Read Geoffrey York’s full story here.

Masai Ujiri founded Giants of Africa, a non-profit that connects youth with top-level basketball coaching and facilities. (Photo by Adrian Armstrong)

Adrian Armstrong

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