Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Liberals plan up to $100-billion in new stimulus spending, begin plotting pandemic recovery
The federal government is planning a major stimulus program worth as much as $100-billion over three years to jolt the Canadian economy once the pandemic is under control, a pledge that is in addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars it has already spent to support workers and businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the new figures today in a wide-ranging fall economic statement that is essentially a mini-budget. The update pushes the projected size of this year’s deficit to $381.6-billion, up from the $343.2-billion forecast in early July.
Details of the stimulus plan will be developed over the coming months, ahead of the 2021 budget, and the government says the trajectory of the pandemic will influence its size and timing.
Ottawa also is proposing to spend $1.5-billion to expedite the lifting of long-term drinking-water advisories for Indigenous communities, an admission that it will not meet its goal of providing clean water in all those communities by the end of March.
Other highlights include:
- A plan to offset the cost of energy retrofits for homeowners will receive $2.6-billion over seven years.
- An existing program to build electric vehicle charging stations will receive an additional $150-million.
- The maximum Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy rate will increase to 75 per cent from 65 per cent, starting Dec. 20 and continuing until March 13, 2021.
- The current Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy rates will be extended until March 13, 2021, and the Lockdown Support program that adds an additional 25-per-cent top up has been extended to Dec. 19, 2020.
Opinion: How transparent is this economic statement? It’s unclear - Andrew Coyne
In other coronavirus developments: Moderna said today it is applying for U.S. and European emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1-per-cent effective with no serious safety concerns.
Opinion: Partisan sniping won’t get vaccines into Canadians’ arms. Only planning will - André Picard
- Ottawa extends rules and restrictions for travellers amid steady rise in COVID-19 case counts
- Canada on track for 4,000 coronavirus patients in hospital by Christmas, eclipsing first wave
- Inside the communications battle to reach pandemic-weary Canadians
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Van attack trial continues: Alexander Westphal, a psychiatrist testifying in the defence of the man who killed 10 people in Toronto’s van attack, says the accused has never shown aggression toward others, just himself.
Bitcoin hits all-time record: Bitcoin soared to a record high against the dollar today, touching an all-time peak of $19,864.15, boosted by increased demand from both institutional and retail investors that saw the virtual currency as a safe-haven and a hedge against inflation.
Cottage country house prices jump 15 to 40 per cent: Interest in living in resort towns, cottage country and tourist areas has spiked across most of Canada, as the pandemic’s work-from-home trend pushes buyers to escape the city for nature and more space.
Ottawa warned against blue hydrogen: Not everyone is welcoming blue hydrogen, which is extracted from natural gas. In a letter to Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, a group of 27 signatories says if Ottawa funds such technologies, it would be a fossil-fuel subsidy, and goes against Canada’s G7 and G20 commitments.
‘Pandemic’ named Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population. On March 11, when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, lookups on Merriam-Webster for pandemic spiked hugely.
Canadian and U.S. stocks ended lower today as investors took profits after a sharp rally in recent weeks that led to the S&P 500 benchmark index’s best November ever. Most of the major S&P 500 and S&P/TSX Composite sectors fell, with the energy indexes leading losses, tracking a drop in crude prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 271.73 points or 0.91 per cent to 29,638.64, the S&P 500 lost 16.72 points or 0.46 per cent to close at 3,621.63 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 7.11 points or 0.06 per cent to 12,198.74. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed dropped 206.31 points or 1.19 per cent to 17,190.25.
Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes three post-pandemic recovery picks, stocks still showing upside and bond ETFs on a tear.
We can’t keep ignoring the public health crisis of alcohol dependence
“One in five Canadians will struggle with alcohol overuse at some point in their lives, and a recent Nanos poll found that stress – not enjoyment – was a common reason for increased drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.” -Hasan Sheikh, Edward Xie and Jennifer Hulme
December is (almost) here and The Globe has a holiday baking countdown for you. The 24 Treats of Christmas is a free series for readers over text. From Dec. 1 to 24, we will send out a text message each day with a link to a recipe for a new holiday treat. From ginger cookies to chocolate truffles to panettone bread pudding, we’ll have all your holiday cravings satisfied. You can also text us your baking questions and photos of the treats you’ve made. Sign up at tgam.ca/24treats or text the word TREATS to 647-694-7124.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Board Games 2020: Canadian companies fall short on board diversity
When it came time last winter to prepare their 2020 disclosures, Canadian companies largely chose not to share information about racial and ethnic diversity on their boards of directors, despite new federal rules that required many of them to do so. The problem may have been that they didn’t have much to talk about.
This marked the first year that federally incorporated companies were required to disclose in shareholder circulars whether they had directors who were visible minorities, of Indigenous heritage or persons with disabilities. The rules didn’t apply to the half or more of companies with provincial incorporations, and governance experts surveyed by The Globe and Mail said companies that didn’t have to abide by the rules would wait and see how others responded.
Underwhelmingly, it turns out. Read the full article here.