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Oil price at lowest in more than a year

Oil got hammered on the markets today, plunging nearly 8 per cent on continued concerns about a rising global surplus. Producers are considering cutting output to curb supply. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 6 and is expected to announce cuts to output. Prices have dropped more than 20 per cent so far in November. Its effect has been particularly acute in Alberta’s oil sands, where price of Alberta heavy crude has crashed owing in part to a shortage of pipeline capacity and temporary closings at refineries. On Thursday, the Alberta government asked the federal government for help to move more of the province’s oil by rail, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered no immediate aid for the industry, although he recognized it was in “a crisis.” While the price of Alberta heavy crude is expected to recover by spring, Ms. Notley and Mr. Trudeau said the Canadian economy is losing $80-million a day.

Economics reporter Barrie McKenna weighs in on the “crisis,” as Mr. Trudeau called it, pointing out this epic clash of economic narratives falls on Grey Cup weekend" “It’s Canada’s new economic divide. And Sunday’s Grey Cup showdown – Ottawa vs. Calgary – is shaping up as a metaphor for the duelling economic narratives playing out across the country.”

More on oil’s troubles: A niche ETF for Western Canadian Select, the heavy-oil benchmark that made headlines last week when it tumbled to less than US$14 a barrel, has plummeted. The Canadian Crude Index ETF (CCX-T), created by Calgary-based Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd., has plunged about 78 per cent since its 2015 inception.

Derek Burney, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States and a former director of TransCanada Corp., argues in a column that Alberta’s oil problem is Canada’s problem. “Alberta’s energy sector is hurting severely but few in the rest of Canada seem to care. What had been a locomotive for growth both in the province and the country is reeling under the combined pressure of collapsing oil prices and policy paralysis.”

Meanwhile, Gary Mason weighed in on Alberta’s reliance on the energy industry: “A peer-reviewed study published this summer in the journal Nature Climate Change predicts that advances in cheaper, clean technology will begin killing fossil-fuel demand in the next 15 to 20 years – or sooner. It suggests that oil-exporting countries, including Canada, will see a steep decline in their output and consequently will experience massive layoffs. ... I mention this against the backdrop of what is happening currently in this country, and in particular, in Alberta. ... All anyone is talking about is the need for more pipelines, as if that alone will solve the province’s problems.”

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Ontario PC party to pay for Doug Ford’s $25,000 private jet trip through Northern Ontario

The Globe and Mail has learned the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party paid for the use of a private plane that was used to transport Premier Doug Ford and his team during a three-day visit to northern Ontario. As Laura Stone and Karen Howlett report, The Globe obtained documents that show top staffers in Mr. Ford’s office arranged a charter aircraft, using private e-mails, for the Premier’s recent visit at a cost of $25,000. Now, while taxpayers may grin at not being billed, critics are pointing out how odd it is that a political party would pay for a government trip during which Mr. Ford made several public appearances and his office issued government news releases. While it is standard practice for political leaders to attend party events in the same location as government announcements, it is not standard practice for a political party to pay for an entire government trip, as opposed to a portion, if travel to a party event is included.

Commons debates back-to-work bill as postal service halted in Ottawa

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu tabled a bill to end mail disruptions today, saying that the government has a responsibility to protect all Canadians and businesses that drive the economy. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Canadian Labour Congress condemned the move and suggested the Liberal government is now at odds with the labour movement. “The mail was moving, and people know it,” said CUPW president Mike Palecek. “People have been getting their mail and online orders delivered. That was the point of our rotating strike tactics, not to pick a fight with the public.” Today, rotating strikes affected mail service in Ottawa as well as smaller towns in Ontario and British Columbia, and Sherbrooke, Que.

That fast-tracking motion was scheduled to be put to a vote late today and, if it passes as expected, the Canadian Press reports, MPs will resume debate on the back-to-work bill, concluding with a vote on the legislation sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

All of this, of course, falls on Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, one of the biggest shopping days of the year (the final few shopping days before Christmas give Black Friday a run for its money, so to speak). So how will the rotating strike affect your online shopping? A lot depends on where you buy: Amazon, for example, delivers their packages through a variety of carriers while small retailers who advertise on sites such as Kijiji, eBay or Etsy may rely more heavily on Canada Post.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh still intends to run in B.C. by-election

Jagmeet Singh says he still intends to run in a federal by-election in British Columbia’s Burnaby South even though a friendlier riding in his hometown of Brampton, Ont., has suddenly opened up. Yesterday, Liberal Raj Grewal announced his resignation, leaving open a riding that Mr. Singh would likely win. The choice of Burnaby South will be a harder challenge -- the NDP won the riding in 2015 by 500 votes. Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to set an early February date for the by-election in Burnaby South and at least two other vacant ridings, something Ottawa columnist Campbell Clark says shows a whole whack of cynicism at play.

Officials escorted out of B.C. Legislature demand reinstatement

The Clerk of the House, Craig James, and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz say MLAs acted improperly and without sufficient information when they voted unanimously to suspend them without explanation. The pair was escorted out of work by police on Tuesday. In a letter addressed to the three House leaders who agreed to the actions at the request of Speaker of the House Darryl Plecas, Vancouver lawyer Mark Andrews wrote that Mr. Lenz and Mr. James were expelled in a "deliberately public and humiliating manner” and their reputations “are in the process of being destroyed,” the Canadian Press reports. Last night, The Globe’s Justine Hunter in the B.C. bureau filed a piece highlighting some of the odd things happening in the B.C. legislature: Speaker Darryl Plecas tried to install his political aide and personal friend Alan Mullen as the replacement for Sergeant-at-Arms Lenz. However, the proposal was rejected by the leaders of the three parties in the house, because Mr. Mullen had been hired in January in part to co-ordinate an investigation into the sergeant-at-arms and clerk.


Tumbling oil prices pushed U.S. energy shares down more than 3 per cent. As a result, the benchmark S&P 500 stock index ended lower to confirm correction territory, having dropped more than 10 per cent from its record closing high in late September. Trading volume was light in a shortened session after the Thanksgiving holiday. Canada’s main stock index tumbled today as a dive in oil prices hammered shares of energy companies. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was unofficially down 80.80 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 15,010.78. Energy stocks dropped 4.7 per cent.

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Mississauga jewelry store workers fight off would-be thieves with swords

The saying goes, never bring a knife to a gunfight. But on Wednesday, four jewelry thieves and three jewelry store workers turned that idiom on its head. Several surveillance cameras (click through to watch the video on the article page) recorded the attempted robbery. An SUV screeched to a halt at the corner of Beverley Street and Airport Road in Mississauga, Ont., and four people jumped out and smashed their way through the jewelry store’s window with a large hammer. But as two of the attempted robbers tried to crawl through the window, the store clerks fought them off with swords. One suspect then pointed a gun through the window, but the gun did not discharge. The four suspects then fled. Store owner Baldev Manjania said he thought his wife was going to be shot during the robbery, so he grabbed a sword and fought the suspects off. “I went to get my sword because I had to do something to save my family,” he said.


PSA: Black Friday is terrible

“Where Boxing Day always felt like an adventure in spending gift cards and Christmas money with friends after days of family-only extravaganzas (and still does, let me have this), Black Friday became the capitalist Hunger Games. By courting long lines to amplify the demand for extremely limited deals, stores pit customers against each other. And then, to highlight the frenzy the day ends up breeding (see footage of people running into Walmarts or Best Buys), those same customers are often videotaped and laughed at, as though trying to buy something at an affordable price is a punchline. As if the working class responding to the one day they’ve been given to buy what they’ve been told their worth hinges on is hilarious. As if the pressure we put on everyone to create the perfect holiday via rabid consumerism isn’t the result of a system that sets up the majority to fail.” – Anne T. Donahue, author of Nobody Cares

For boys, all-male environments can be an abusive, toxic place

“… boys who are abused often don’t speak up or ask for help for fear that being a victim will make them appear unmanly or weak. Homophobia is central to this. Straight boys are afraid of being perceived as gay, and gay and bisexual boys worry that they will be outed or blamed if they talk about their abuse. All-male, fraternal environments such as boys-only schools, sports teams and fraternities magnify these gender dynamics and biases. British psychotherapist Joy Schaverien coined the term “boarding school syndrome” to describe how exclusive, hierarchical boys’ academies such as Eton and Harrow teach young men to be bullies, to be loyal to their clique-ish institution and disdainful of “the other,” to bury their emotions and take pride in their capacity to endure pain, to feel entitled and to dominate those weaker than themselves.” — Rachel Giese, author of Boys: What it Means to Become a Man

The lessons of Harry Leslie Smith: The fight never ends

"Harry’s message was that the monuments of progress – the hospitals and schools and social safety net – were not permanent and inevitable. They’d been fought for and built by men and women, in living memory, and they were under threat. This is what had roused him from comfortable retirement in his 90s to become a one-man living history tour, an author and advocate railing against corporate greed, cynical politics and voter apathy. I interviewed him for the first time shortly after I heard him speak, and asked him if he wasn’t just a tiny bit tired of waging this endless battle. He laughed (although “laugh-wheezed” might be a better way of putting it.) “Oh no,” he said. “I’m going out of this world fighting.” " — Elizabeth Renzetti


What tools do you really need in the kitchen – and which can you do without?

Are your cupboards full of kitchen gear you never use? Feel frozen when faced with the array of choices in pots and pans and knives? If you’ve ever wondered what knives you need in the kitchen, what to do with a cast-iron frying pan and is it worth investing in an air fryer, Lucy Waverman has you covered. She has answers to all your questions on cooking tools and equipment.


The big squeeze: Inside the fight over juice in Canada’s Food Guide

Two years ago, Health Canada revealed a slate of proposed changes to the Canada Food Guide to help Canadians eat better, including plans to remove fruit juice as an alternative to fruits and vegetables. Also revealed were plans to implement a new law requiring all unhealthy foods, including juice, to bear a warning label for its high sugar content. Since then, the Canadian Beverage Association — armed with a roster of some of Ottawa’s most well-connected lobbyists and funded by the likes of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — has placed intense pressure on Ottawa to backtrack. Based on hundreds of pages of e-mails, secret internal memos and documents obtained through freedom of information requests, food reporter Ann Hui pieces together the beverage industry’s years-long lobbying campaign — including the creation of The Canadian Juice Council — to defended juice as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Today’s Evening Update is written by Michael Snider. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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