Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten’s history of shady ventures
When he was a 15-year-old, Gerald Cotten was selling get-rich-quick schemes on online forums that taught him how to deceive investors and cover his tracks. Now he’s dead, and the secrets of Quadriga’s money are gone with him – but the digital trail of his early ventures is still here. The Globe and Mail spent months following his online activities, piecing together his history through interviews with investors and colleagues and by analyzing e-mail and IP addresses, archived websites, domain registrations and correspondence – all of which reveals a pattern of deceitful behaviour.
Cotten co-founded and operated QuadrigaCX, which became Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange before collapsing dramatically this past January, a month after Cotten died at age 30 on his honeymoon in India of complications from Crohn’s disease.
When he died, he took his secrets with him, including how to access $214.6-million in funds belonging to roughly 76,000 users. Only he knew where the cryptocurrency – and the passwords needed to unlock it – were located. Quadriga, which he ran mostly on his own from his Halifax home, is now in bankruptcy proceedings.
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China warns Canada against imposing sanctions on Hong Kong officials
China’s new ambassador to Canada warned Friday that Ottawa would be unwise to copy the U.S.'s censure of China over human-rights abuses in Hong Kong if there’s any hope of thawing relations between Canada and China. This week, the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted unanimously on two bills, one that compels their government to impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human-rights abuses in the territory and a second that would ban the export of certain crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong police forces.
Envoy Cong Peiwu, who spoke to reporters in Ottawa at his first major interview with Canadian media, said that China would view any such Canadian measure as foreign interference. “If anything happens like this we will certainly have very bad damage in our bilateral relationship and that is not in the interest of Canada,” he said. The U.S. legislation expressly says in its text that Washington should work with allies such as Canada “to promote democracy and human rights in Hong Kong."
Under India’s new order, ominous quiet reigns in Kashmir
Since Narendra Modi’s Indian government stripped Kashmir of its autonomy, travel restrictions have lifted and authorities want tourists to come back – but not foreign journalists.
The Globe’s Nathan VanderKlippe spent a week in the region, which has been under communication lockdown and a heavy military presence since August, and reports on what life is like under the most significant and prolonged crackdown in the region in modern memory. He saw businesses locked up, hotels under guard and locals still seething about the new normal.
The growing question is: how long can New Delhi keep a lid on Kashmir? And how long can Kashmiris go without the tourism economy that they depend on?
Drug maker urges patients to speak out as provinces consider switch to cheaper biosimilars
Ontario and Alberta are looking at following British Columbia’s lead in forcing patients to switch to cheaper drugs called biosimilars, prompting the maker of Canada’s most lucrative drug to send letters directly to patients in both provinces asking them to voice any concerns about the change to provincial politicians.
Janssen Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is warning patients by mail that their provincial governments are considering de-listing Remicade, a pricey biologic that treats rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, in favour of its biosimilar near-copies.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
It’s Grey Cup weekend: The 107th Grey Cup starts Sunday at 6 p.m. ET at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium, and whichever team wins will end a long drought since last bringing home the championship. It’s been 20 years since the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won the CFL trophy, and almost 30 years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Find out more about each team’s road to the championship.
CN Rail strike enters day four: Round-the-clock negotiations continue under the watch of federal mediators, but the Teamsters union representing 3,200 striking workers said Friday that “no substantive progress has been made.” Quebec Premier François Legault said Thursday that the province is days away from running out of propane. The union claims this “appears to be largely manufactured” by Canadian National Railway Co. amid rising pressure from industry and Prairie premiers to reconvene Parliament ahead of schedule and pass back-to-work legislation.
Trump accuses impeachment witness of lying: On Friday, the day after the fifth and final scheduled day of public hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump accused a witness of lying and offered an explanation for his controversial use of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine policy, saying Giuliani’s crime-fighting abilities were needed to deal with a corrupt country.
Ontario court strikes down postsecondary fee opt-out policy: The Student Choice Initiative, which was struck down in a Divisional Court ruling Thursday, sent shock waves through student councils when it was announced in January because it threatened the financial stability of dozens of organizations. The policy allowed any student to opt out of paying fees for services or groups deemed non-essential, such as student unions, campus media, clubs or food banks. The opt-out process at many schools was set to begin again over the next few weeks.
Mother stunned by progress of former Humboldt Broncos player: Ryan Straschnitzki, who was paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, has received spinal surgery in Thailand. His father Tom Straschnitzki has posted videos of the 20-year-old’s rehab, including one where the young man was able to move a leg. Another video shows him strapped into a harness as physiotherapists slowly help him walk with the use of a machine on wheels. “It’s definitely not a quick fix. It’s not a cure, but it’s certainly progress and it’s more than we’ve had in 19 months,” said his mother Michelle Straschnitzki.
Canada’s main stock index completed its first losing week in five weeks after falling from a record high as investors remained cautious about trade risks. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 44.35 points at 16,954.84.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 109.33 points at 27,875.62. The S&P 500 index was up 6.75 points at 3,110.29, while the Nasdaq composite was up 13.67 points at 8,519.88.
This sham of a British election should have us all bloody worried
“Unfortunately, if you treat people cynically you’re going to get cynicism in return. That’s a danger not only for Britain, but for any country that fails to restore the trust of the electorate – and the trends are swirling downward.” – Elizabeth Renzetti
Parliament Hill’s new public bathroom fails Canada’s women
“By the numbers, it’s a disaster. The facility includes two all-gender, accessible, single-room washrooms, a women’s washroom with 15 stalls, and a men’s with five stalls and 12 urinals. If you’re keeping count, that’s 15 for the women and 17 for the men. And that? Well, that’s just not going to work.” – Lezlie Lowe, author of No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs
The Roman Catholic priesthood needs a new role model
“We are on hostile terrain; reverence for the office has gone, the identity of the priest is in flux and sacerdotal authority irreversibly diminished.” – Michael W. Higgins, distinguished professor of Catholic thought at Sacred Heart University
If holiday shopping is on your to-do list this weekend, we have some inspiration for you. First up, our sustainable gift guide includes 100 eco-conscious presents you’ll feel good about giving, including a parka made from post-consumer plastic, reusable food wraps made with sustainably harvested beeswax and candles made with soy wax. Following the adage that good things come in little packages, our guide to tiny gifts that will make a big impact includes handmade chocolate bars and a compact incense holder and stick combo.
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Globe Book Club: The devil in the domestic details
Jacqueline Baker’s ghost story The Broken Hours is Esi Edugyan’s choice for the second instalment of The Globe and Mail Book Club for subscribers. This week, Elizabeth Renzetti looks at the nature of haunted houses. At the beginning of The Broken Hours, Arthor Crandle, rain-soaked and empty-pocketed, arrives at 66 College St. in Providence, R.I. He agreed to do some housekeeping – or, as the narrator revealingly mishears, “hisskeeping” – for the reclusive novelist H.P. Lovecraft.
And what a house he’s supposed to keep. “There was something unwelcoming about it,” Crandle observes, “… a kind of squat and sublimated misanthropy.” Our narrator finds a bit of gravestone underneath his pillow. He feels himself “eaten up by darkness” as he climbs the stairs to his grim little room. You get the sense that Arthor’s grasp of the handles of sanity, perhaps never firm to begin with, has begun to slip.
Gifted ghost-story writers realize where true horror lies. What is haunted is not the walls of the house or the hotel or the sanitarium, but the living things inside them. Read Renzetti’s full story here. And if you’re in Vancouver next Thursday, Nov. 28, Baker and Edugyan will be appearing onstage at Granville Island’s Performance Works to discuss The Broken Hours. The event is free for Globe and Mail subscribers – register here.