Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trump impeachment hearings: Fiona Hill slams Republicans for promoting ‘fictional narrative’ of Ukrainian election meddling
Fiona Hill, the U.S. National Security Council’s former Russia point-person, excoriated Republican members of Congress at the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump for promoting a theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 election.
“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” Hill warned. “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, fired back that “it’s entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time.”
At the centre of the hearings is whether Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, including former vice-president Joe Biden, by withholding US$400-million in military aid. Today’s session also included testimony from diplomat David Holmes.
Opinion: “What the GOP case will likely come down to is the contention that, while what the President did was wrong, it doesn’t warrant impeachment.” - Lawrence Martin
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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on corruption charges
Israel’s attorney-general has formally charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a series of corruption cases. The move throws the country’s paralyzed political system into further disarray and threatens his 10-year grip on power. Netanyahu angrily accused prosecutors of staging “an attempted coup.”
Following a three-year investigation, Netanyahu is charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three different scandals. It is the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been charged with a crime.
Netanyahu appeared on national TV, claiming he was the victim of a grand conspiracy by police and prosecutors and saying the country was witnessing an “attempted coup” against him.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says the lack of interprovincial trade is ‘absurd’
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz criticized barriers that continue to hamper interprovincial trade, saying the lack of free trade among Canada’s provinces is “absurd.”
“That was the reason Confederation happened – to create a free-trade area,” he said at an Ontario Securities Commission conference today. “We spend all our energy renegotiating a free-trade agreement with the United States, but we can’t possibly sit down and figure out how to have free trade within Canada?”
Turning to international trade worries, Poloz said that the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war will have cost the global economy more than $1-trillion in lost output by the end of next year.
Vancouver mayor says Prairie premiers should ‘get over’ themselves and work with Ottawa
Prime Minister Trudeau met separately today with Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Following his meeting, Stewart said his advice to premiers warring with Ottawa over energy and environment policy is to “get over yourselves" and focus on the policy files such as infrastructure and transit where the governments can agree and work together.
After his session, Nenshi said talk about Alberta leaving confederation is “idiotic," but added that the sentiment is “rooted in something very real, it’s not a blind anger or a dislike of confederation.”
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Tesla to unveil electric pickup truck: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has talked for years about building an electric pickup truck that would threaten the heart of the Detroit automakers’ profits, and today in Los Angles he is set to take the wraps off the so-called cyberpunk truck.
Fiat Chrysler recalls SUVs: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling nearly 700,000 sport utility vehicles worldwide – including almost 35,000 in Canada – because a faulty electrical connection could prevent engine starts or contribute to a stall.
Quebec cites CN strike in propane shortage: Quebec Premier François Legault says a strike at Canadian National Railway has left the province with fewer than five days before it runs out of propane, which would wreak havoc at hospitals, nursing homes and farms.
Ontario backtracks on online learning: The Ontario government is walking back on one of its education policies, and will now require high-school students in the province to take two online courses to graduate instead of the initial plan of four.
RBC Taylor Prize shutting down next year: After 20 years of celebrating non-fiction writing, organizers say the RBC Taylor Prize – which comes with a $30,000 payment – will be awarded for the last time next March.
Snowboarding pioneer Burton dies: Jake Burton Carpenter – also known as Jake Burton – who helped propel snowboarding from hobby to a global sport over the past four decades, has died of complications from recurring cancer, his company says.
Order of Canada honours: Governor-General Julie Payette honoured 39 people with the Order of Canada this morning, including actors William Shatner and Donald Sutherland as well as writer Ann-Marie MacDonald and lawyer James Lockyer.
Canada’s main stock index finished slightly lower today, but gains in shares of energy and cannabis producers kept losses at bay. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was down 6.63 points at 16,999.19.
Wall Street stocks pared losses as efforts by China to smooth the path forward in U.S.-Sino trade talks helped sooth investor sentiment, though fears remained that a phase one deal might not get done until next year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.80 points to 27,766.29, the S&P 500 lost 4.92 points to close at 3,103.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.52 points to 8,506.21.
The future of private health care is on trial. It needs to win
“It pits Dr. Brian Day (the renowned champion of a health-care universe that respects individual freedoms) against the B.C. government, which is trying to defend a system designed, in theory, to provide timely care to all regardless of circumstance. Something that, in many instances, it stopped doing years ago.” - Gary Mason
The Leafs’ plan wasn’t working, but by firing Mike Babcock they’re embracing chaos
“This is what it would be like to be given your first naval command, except it’s the Titanic and it has just hit an iceberg. How are you with lifeboats?” - Cathal Kelly
If catching a flick is part of your weekend plans, check out the Globe’s guide to the latest films in cinemas and streaming online. This week’s fare includes the much-anticipated A Beautiful Day in the Neighhorhood, starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rodgers, plus the four-star rated Marriage Story.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Charismatic Spirit of the West frontman John Mann dies at 57
John Mann, who as lead singer of Spirit of the West helped create the soundtrack to countless Canadian parties and celebrations, died yesterday in Vancouver at 57.
A clever lyricist and charismatic showman, Mann is no doubt best known for his band’s anthem Home for a Rest. The song, from its slow, signature start (“You’ll have to excuse me, I’m not at my best”) to its rollicking chorus (“I’m so sick from the drink; I need home for a rest”) has been sparking sing-alongs and bringing down the house at frosh parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations and weddings since its release in 1990.
But when Mann revealed his early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2014 and continued to perform with the support of his band, he became as beloved for his bravery as he was for his musical brilliance. “Everybody was tremendously moved,” band-mate Vince Ditrich says. “He got a hero’s welcome everywhere he went.” Read Marsha Lederman’s full story here.
From the archives: Forget About Tomorrow puts John Mann’s spirit on the stage