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Fallout continues from the General Motors plant closings

You can add U.S. President Donald Trump to the list of those angry at General Motors for the announced closing of five North American plants after the auto maker had taken billions in public bailouts and subsidies. Mr. Trump tweeted he is looking at cutting all GM subsidies, and criticized the company for not closing facilities in Mexico or China.

Yesterday, GM said it would end production at five plants, including one in Oshawa, Ont., by the end of next year in a global restructuring aimed at saving the company US$6-billion. Thousands of jobs will be lost, including more than 2,500 in Oshawa. After walking out yesterday, plant workers returned to the job today as Unifor president Jerry Dias met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ian McGugan looks at what the closings say about the auto industry (for subscribers): “GM’s announcement demonstrates the industry’s new commitment to cutting costs – but also underlines doubts about whether the industry can return to robust health.”

Campbell Clark’s take (for subscribers): “The Liberals in Ottawa can argue, as they did, that the Oshawa plant’s closing was part of a global restructuring that hit plants all over, and that’s true. But that doesn’t fully answer the political question they face: Are they steering Canada’s industry safely through those global winds?”

New national guidelines recommend earlier screening for colorectal cancer

If you have a parent, sibling or child who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, new national guidelines say you should undergo earlier and more frequent checks for the disease. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology recommends people with a history of the disease in their immediate family get colonoscopy screening between 40 and 50, or 10 years earlier than the age at which their family member received a cancer diagnosis – whichever comes first. People who have more than one immediate family member diagnosed should get a colonoscopy every five years instead of 10.

Scotiabank posts profit slightly below forecasts, selling Caribbean businesses

Bank of Nova Scotia today was the first of Canada’s big banks to report fourth-quarter results, which were marginally below forecasts (for subscribers). It reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.77 in the quarter ended Oct. 31, up 8 per cent but short of the average analyst forecast of $1.79 per share. Analysts blamed the miss on costs related to recent acquisitions.

Scotiabank also said today it planned to exit nine countries in the Caribbean, including Antigua and Grenada, by selling banking operations as well as its insurance operations in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

“You might be tempted to invest in Bank of Nova Scotia because of its big dividend yield, low valuation or large emerging markets footprint,” David Berman writes (for subscribers). “But here’s a better reason: The stock is a dud.”

Royal Bank of Canada reports tomorrow and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Toronto-Dominion Bank report on Thursday.

RCMP probed former Liberal MP Raj Grewal’s gambling for months

The RCMP have been investigating former Liberal MP Raj Grewal for months, analyzing millions of dollars in transactions and at times tracking his movements, federal sources say. He resigned last week from the Liberal caucus and his seat of Brampton East.

There has been growing interest by law-enforcement authorities into his gambling activities, according to sources who were granted anonymity by The Globe and Mail. They said Mr. Grewal spent millions of dollars in total in the past three years, including at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill.

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The S&P 500 and Dow edged higher today after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart on Saturday was an opportunity to “turn the page” on a trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108.49 points to 24,748.73, the S&P 500 gained 8.75 points to 2,682.20 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.85 points to close at 7,082.70.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was down 68.56 points at 14,944.09. Seven of the index’s 11 major sectors were lower, led by a 1.9-per-cent slide in the materials sector.

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Elizabeth May engaged

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has announced she’s engaged. (for subscribers) She and John Kidder, who has deep roots in the party and is the brother of late actress Margot Kidder, set the date for April 22. She said the couple have known each other for about five years, but the sparks flew at a party convention in September. “I had a crush on him and he had a crush on me,” she said. “It was kind of like high school.”

SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg dies

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the animated TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, has died at age 57 (for subscribers). He said last year that he was suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mr. Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher in Southern California when he started creating sea creatures as teaching tools.


Two surprise names you should know if you’re looking for top GIC rates

“One of the best deals in GICs today comes in a roundabout way from two big banks. Tangerine and Simplii Financial present themselves as customer-friendly alternative banks, but they’re owned by Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, respectively. On savings accounts, both Tangerine and Simplii offered a weak rate of 1.25 per cent as of Nov. 26. But on GICs, they’re competing like tigers right now.” - Rob Carrick (for subscribers)

Doug Ford’s terrible TV persona revealed: He’s no Trump

It was a subdued Doug Ford who appeared in front of TV cameras on Monday morning. The Ontario Premier had to say something about General Motors Co. announcing a major restructuring and saying it will shut production at five facilities in North America, including Oshawa, Ont. What he said was rambling and barely coherent, and Ford looked ill-prepared and out of his depth. If anyone ever thought Ford had a Trump-like quality to boast, blather and bewilder the media, they were proved wrong. It was one of those moments when live TV reveals everything about character and competence. - John Doyle (for subscribers)


With the holiday season set to go into full swing, the scramble begins for gift-exchange ideas. Shop online from the comfort of your couch with our roundup of presents for every personality on your list (for subscribers): For the locavore, there’s B.C.-distilled gin. For the nostalgist in your life, a classic of at-home gaming is back with the Nintendo NES Classic. Consider a roll-up bamboo cutlery kit for the eco-friend making serious strides toward a sustainable lifestyle.


Dispute between industrial bakery, neighbours highlights tension over noise in Toronto

Late one night last February, Susanne Carnelos heard rumbling coming from the laneway next to her home, Amy O’Kruk writes. When she looked down from her second-floor apartment in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood, she saw a moving van.

She went downstairs and introduced herself to chef Marc Thuet, who was setting up his new industrial bakery in the commercial building next door. Explaining that she lived in the building overlooking the lane, Carnelos asked whether he could keep the noise down. Thuet apologized, and the van left. An hour later it returned and equipment was moved in throughout the rest of the night.

“That was day one,” Carnelos said. “We deal with a lot of noise Monday to Friday during business hours, but now that they’ve moved in, it’s all weekend and overnight.”

The resultant dispute between the Petite Thuet bakery and residents in the east-end neighbourhood highlights the tensions that can develop when homes and industry sit side-by-side. Such conflicts are cropping up in Toronto as residential development intensifies and creeps closer to land zoned for commercial use.

Open this photo in gallery:

Marc Thuet works in his industrial bakery in Toronto. (Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail)Christopher Katsarov/Globe and Mail

Living large with Canada’s crypto king

Earlier this year, a huge wave of flamboyance and conspicuous consumption issued from usually self-effacing Canada, Joanna Pachner writes. (for subscribers) In May, hundreds of global digerati navigated Manhattan through heavy rain to board a 210-foot yacht for a party cruise around New York Bay. At the end of the six-hour bash, hosted by a Toronto cryptocurrency company, two attendees won Aston Martin sports cars, each worth about $250,000.

A month later, the media were invited to tour Canada’s largest condo. Purchased for $28-million, the apartment in downtown Toronto’s St. Regis Residences (formerly the Trump International Hotel and Tower) boasts more than 16,000 square feet laid out over the building’s top three storeys, with a balcony that circles the middle floor like a glass-and-steel belt.

The man whose money paid for all this pageantry is Anthony Di Iorio, a Toronto entrepreneur who flirted with the billionaire elite on the back of prescient investments in bitcoin and other digital currencies (though this year’s crypto crash likely damaged his net worth). Over the past five years, Mr. Di Iorio has emerged as Canada’s leading ambassador for the crypto economy, and he hasn’t minded blowing big wads to raise the nascent industry’s profile.

Open this photo in gallery:

Anthony Di Iorio (John Kealey for The Globe and Mail)John Kealey/The Globe and Mail

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