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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

GM to shut Oshawa plant in Ontario, slash thousands of jobs in bid to cut $6-billion globally

General Motors announced today that production would end at five North American plants, including one in Oshawa, Ont., by next year. (for subscribers) As it shifts focus on electric vehicles, it’s aiming to cut 15 per cent of its work force and save US$6-billion.

GM said it has no plans to make automobiles at three factories in Oshawa, Detroit and Warren, Ohio, as well as parts plants in Maryland and Michigan.

Employees at the Oshawa plant walked out by the dozens this morning, asked to do so by their union, Unifor Canada. A union meeting was scheduled for this afternoon to discuss the fate of more than 2,500 jobs. “It’s a slap in the face to the work force here,” said tool-and-die maker Eugen Weber, who has been at the plant for 38 years. In a press conference, the union thanked workers, but ordered them back to the assembly line tomorrow.

A sore point for many is the billions of dollars of taxpayer money GM received over the years. But, Barrie McKenna writes, we go what we paid for: “The money bought time. But it did not come with promises to keep jobs or specific plants in Canada forever.”

Did U.S. President Donald Trump’s America-first policy have a hand in the Oshawa plant’s fate and CEO Mary Barra’s decision? Eric Reguly writes: “If her global restructuring, which will eliminate 10,000 or more jobs, were to leave the Oshawa operation fully intact, or even enhanced, while at least four GM factories south of the border turn into echo chambers, the White House certainly would not have been amused.”

Keep up-to-date with the latest on this evolving story here.

Chinese scientist provokes furor with claim of world’s first genetically edited babies

A Chinese researcher has provoked furor in his own country, including calls for new laws on genetic experimentation, after claiming the creation of the world’s first genetically edited babies, Nathan VanderKlippe writes.

The claim, if true, would mark a major technological milestone: the birth of twins with a genetic code manipulated to make them less vulnerable to HIV. It’s a technological step whose far-reaching implications promise both the utopian eradication of heritable disease and the dystopian fashioning of human beings designed with innate biological advantages.

China has been at the forefront of such genetic advancement, with vast funds devoted to cutting-edge research and a less rigid legal environment than countries such as Canada, which has banned the alteration of inheritable genomes. Even so, China’s scientific community was stunned by the announcement.

André Picard’s take: “We can’t let fear of eugenics stifle scientific progress. We need to find a way to navigate that ethical minefield.”

TD Bank to pay $1-billion to be lead partner in Air Canada’s takeover of Aeroplan

Toronto-Dominion Bank is paying $1-billion to become the lead financial partner of Air Canada’s takeover of the Aeroplan loyalty program. Final takeover terms revealed today show TD has a 10-year contract with the airline that will take it through 2030. Air Canada will take control of Aeroplan next year, with TD’s contract beginning in 2020. Also part of the takeover group, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will take a backseat in the new contract, Tim Kiladze writes. (for subscribers) In an e-mail to plan members, Air Canada said it was still in talks with American Express to continue co-branded cards.

When the deal was announced in August, Rob Carrick offered this look at what it means for all those Aeroplan points you have.

Senators to resume debate on Canada Post back-to-work legislation

Senators are to resume a special sitting today to examine a back-to-work bill that would force an end to rotating strikes at Canada Post as the walkouts enter their sixth week. Bill C-89 was debated in the upper chamber on Saturday after the Liberal government fast-tracked the legislation through the House of Commons.

Final debate on the legislation was expected to begin by mid-afternoon, likely followed by an early evening vote. The bill could receive royal assent and become law a short time later, which would force striking postal workers back to work by noon tomorrow.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index edged higher by the close today, but was held back as oil stocks weren’t able to keep their gains despite a slight recovery in oil prices and marijuana stocks declined. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX rose 1.92 points to 15,012.65.

Wall Street bounced back as bargain hunters returned in force after last week’s selloff and expectations of a flurry of holiday cyber-spending drove up shares of retailers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 354.29 points to 24,640.24, the S&P 500 gained 40.89 points to 2,673.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 142.87 points to close at 7,081.85.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Renowned filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci and Nicolas Roeg die

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who won Oscars with The Last Emperor and whose erotic drama Last Tango in Paris enthralled and shocked the world, died today. He was 77.

British cinematographer-turned-director Nicolas Roeg died Friday night at age 90. The influential filmmaker works included Don’t Look Now with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie and The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie.

The two directors had more in common than the time of their passing, Ryan Gilbey writes in the Guardian: “Their reputations were forged at the forefront of a new kind of transgressive cinema in the 1960s and ’70s, in which explicit depictions of sex and desire were a driving dramatic force.”

TALKING POINTS

America is the bad guy now

“Though Americans pride ourselves on our presumed identities as the heroes of history – the good guys on the world stage – we have, under the toxic direction of Mr. Trump, become the villains of world affairs. We have ceded all leadership and stewardship in the name of throwing our lot in with the most despicable and corrupt countries on the planet, and on every meaningful issue of the day, we find new and disappointing ways to fail the test of our times.” - Jared Yates Sexton, author and associate professor at Georgia Southern University

Vancouver City Council is trying to make nice – but look out for the fireworks

“Wrangling the whole show is Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who leans left but is a pragmatic sort who knows the only way he’ll get anything done is to form coalitions. His closest ally may be OneCity’s Christine Boyle, but his big job will be to make common cause with the Greens, and, on a case by case basis, COPE or the NPA.” - Adrienne Tanner

LIVING BETTER

There’s a potential danger hiding in your kitchen junk drawer: batteries. Health Canada says it received more than 100 consumer reports over the past year involving batteries – from overheating to starting fires. To guard against hazards, store batteries properly in their original container, or other non-conductive packaging to prevent them from being shorted. Charge batteries away from fabric or other combustibles – so don’t leave your laptop plugged in on a sofa. The small “button” style batteries in watches, greeting cards and some toys are not only a choking hazard for young children, but when swallowed they can burn through the oesophagus, windpipe or stomach causing potentially fatal injuries.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Leaving America: Why I gave up my citizenship

The turning point came in 1972, during the Summit Series between the Soviet men’s national hockey team and Team Canada, David A. Welch writes. The series was, of course, a proxy for the Cold War, and global bragging rights for moral and athletic superiority were on the line. When the Soviets trounced Canada 7-3 in Game 1 in Montreal, the entire school – nay, the entire country – went into shock. Canada came back to win Game 2 in Toronto, and the two teams tied Game 3 in Winnipeg, but the Soviets handily won Game 4 in Vancouver, and it was with the weight of the country’s pride on their shoulders that Team Canada boarded the plane for the final four games in Moscow, down two games to one.

The Soviets won Game 5, but Canada stormed back to win the next two games. With overall victory on the line in Game 8, our headmaster cancelled classes, and we all huddled around the television set in the common room in trepidation. The game was tight. For two periods, the Soviets dominated, but in the third period Team Canada tied the score, and with 34 seconds left, Paul Henderson buried the winner behind Soviet goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak. The room exploded with euphoria, everyone sang O Canada!, and I knew for the first time that I. Was. Canadian.

Stockholm syndrome may be an inauspicious beginning for a new national identity, but I never looked back. I have felt Canadian – and only Canadian – since that day. By that point, my mother had already told me that I had Canadian citizenship, so that was the first moment since moving to Canada that I felt the universe properly ordered. When I learned 15 years later that I had actually been an American all along, something seemed off.

Open this photo in gallery:

Team Canada players and members of the Russian National Hockey Club during Game 8 of the Canada-Russia Summit Series played in Moscow, Sept. 28, 1972. Credit: TASS

Halifax councillor inspiring youth to have a say in how their communities are built and run

The phone call came when Halifax city councillor Lindell Smith happened to be in his office to pick up, a few months back, Jessica Leeder writes.

A high-school student on the line was confused by the city’s public smoking rules and wanted to know where lighting up was legal. The boy had Mr. Smith’s business card from a recent classroom visit and called the councillor to get a straight answer. Mr. Smith, 28, could barely contain his excitement over the call. Getting youth involved in local government – helping them see it as their own – is a top priority and this call was proof of achievement.

“It’s about making municipal politics accessible to folks who usually wouldn’t get involved,” Mr. Smith said recently of his political agenda. “In the community I grew up in, you had to be a go-getter and have sharp edges. I decided to run not only to show youth in the community that you can do this, but also … I want to change the narrative.”

He began doing that simply by being elected. His 2016 victory was a historic win in the city – Mr. Smith became both the youngest and the first African-Canadian councillor to be elected in Halifax in 16 years. Just two years into his four-year term, Mr. Smith has already become a driving force in the city, pushing it to publicly reckon with its long struggle with racism. He is determined to use his council seat to create opportunities for marginalized people to have a voice in how their communities are built and run.

Open this photo in gallery:

Halifax city councillor Lindell Smith takes a selfie after delivering a keynote speech to a leadership conference for high school students in Halifax on Saturday, November 10, 2018. Darren Calabrese for The Globe and MailDarren Calabrese

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