These are the top stories:
The death toll continues to rise in California’s most destructive wildfire on record
At least 42 people are dead in Northern California and more than 200 still missing as crews battle to suppress the flames that have destroyed more than 7,000 homes and other buildings. Fires have spread with erratic intensity, catching residents by surprise. Remains have been found in cars trapped in traffic gridlock and the visibility in some areas has been reduced to less than a kilometre. Only 30 per cent of the blaze, dubbed Camp Fire, has been contained.
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Turkey is linking the Saudi Crown Prince to Jamal Khashoggi’s killing
Shortly after the dissident journalist was killed, a member of the team sent to kill him instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss” that the mission in Istanbul was complete. That boss is believed to be de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The audio recording was shared last month with the CIA’s director, and intelligence officials see it as the clearest – though not conclusive – evidence yet of Prince Mohammed’s possible role in the murder. The Saudis continue to deny the Prince had any involvement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, became the first Western leader to acknowledge his country has heard the audio recording of the killing. CSIS director David Vigneault travelled to Turkey to listen to the recording. He provided a briefing to Trudeau and other officials upon his return, though the Prime Minister said he has not personally heard the recording, which Turkish officials also provided to the U.S., Britain and others.
Calgarians are casting ballots today in a plebiscite on the 2026 Winter Olympics
Residents are weighing in today on whether they want the city to proceed on its Olympic bid, a project budgeted at $5-billion. While it’s non-binding, the vote is a pivotal step in whether Calgary will push forward to host another Olympics amid a sputtering local economy. Polls show a tight race, though the odds of a Yes vote aren’t great if Olympic plebiscites in other cities are any indication: The only vote that passed in recent decades was Vancouver’s 2003 ballot (with 64 per cent in favour).
If the plebiscite passes, Calgary would present its bid to the International Olympic Committee in January, with a decision expected in June. Stockholm and an Italian bid that includes Milan are also vying to host the 2026 Games.
The backroom workings behind the apparent public-sector firing of a former Patrick Brown aide
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, personally intervened to request Alykhan Velshi be removed from the executive role he started at Ontario Power Generation. Sources say Velshi was fired on his first day at the job after French contacted the head of the board of OPG. Velshi has been kept on at the Crown agency until his termination formally takes effect (that date isn’t known).
It’s unusual for a premier’s chief of staff to get involved in personnel decisions at a Crown agency, and it’s not clear what motivated the request. Velshi resigned as Brown’s chief of staff the night the Brown was forced to step down as provincial Progressive Conservative leader amid sexual-misconduct allegations.
Amazon is on the verge of announcing its new HQ2 sites
New York City and Crystal City in Northern Virginia will be the new joint homes for the tech giant, with an announcement expected as soon as today (for subscribers). Amazon is planning to hire up to 50,000 people as it opens up headquarter offices beyond its home base in Seattle. The firm received 238 bids and plenty of publicity after it revealed in September of 2017 that it was accepting proposals for HQ2. Toronto was the only Canadian contender to make Amazon’s shortlist of 20 cities earlier this year.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Marvel’s Stan Lee died at the age of 95
The comics legend dreamed up Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and scores of other characters etched into the minds of generations of fans. Many of the sketches he created have found new life in the 21st century, with dozens of Marvel movies grossing north of US$20-billion at theatres worldwide.
Barry Hertz remembers Lee as the father of the American superhero and modern entertainment: “Lee and Marvel completely redefined what it meant to be a superhero. Suddenly, you didn’t need to be a perfect physical and emotional specimen to rescue the world – flawed characters could save the day, too. Maybe, even, someone like you.” (for subscribers)
European shares recovered on Tuesday after feeling the strain of a tech rout on Wall Street, while political risks in Europe helped the U.S. dollar as investors dumped riskier assets. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 2.1 per cent, but that’s about where the downdraft ends so far today, as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.9 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.1 and 0.6 per cent by about 6:25 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar was at 75.59 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Maxime Bernier goes to a dark place
“Maxime Bernier wants to win the Canadian Trump vote. In a speech on Saturday at a conference hosted by the right-wing Rebel Media in Calgary, the leader of the new People’s Party of Canada questioned the science of climate change, pilloried the United Nations and insisted immigrants to Canada must embrace ‘Western civilization values.’ His language was not as extreme as Donald Trump’s – this is Canada, after all – but he made it perfectly clear, at least to this listener, that the implicit motto of the People’s Party is: Canada First. For however many believe that the Canadian economy and social fabric are being undermined by environmentalists, do-gooders and immigrants, Bernier promises he will be their voice.” – John Ibbitson
Solitary by another name is just as cruel
“Rather than ending segregation, Bill C-83 rebrands administrative segregation as ‘structured intervention units.’ It allows the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada to designate any unit or penitentiary as a structured intervention unit without imposing restrictions on the nature or number of cells. This creates the risk that an ever-increasing number of prisoners will be segregated – an all-too-easy answer to managing mental-health issues and other needs that should be addressed through community supports rather than by restrictive confinement. These measures fly in the face of the recommendations of the jury in the Ashley Smith inquest, which said prisoners should not be segregated and those with mental health issues should be in community-based mental-health facilities, not prison.” – Senator Kim Pate
Let’s not forget that our medicare system was also born of war
“More than half of all of Canada’s physicians and nurses at the time [of the First World War] served overseas; almost all of them volunteered, and many sacrificed their lives. The skills they acquired would forever change medicine. Canada alone operated 10 large hospitals in England and France to tend to its wounded, along with 10 stationary hospitals and four casualty clearing stations. Back home, the federal government also took control of 11 hospitals for the care of returning soldiers, and built the first state-run hospital. The Conscription Crisis of 1917 – which threatened to tear the country apart – ended when the government agreed to provide free medical care for all veterans. That was the beginning of the medicare system we have today, which provides ‘free’ hospital and physician care.” – André Picard
Netflix’s The Kominsky Method is wry, dry and recommended
“In the TV arena, it is established that I am wary of the work of Chuck Lorre, whose now-vast resume includes, as creator/co-creator: Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg, Cybill, Two and a Half Men, Mom, Mike and Molly, and The Big Bang Theory. All those hit shows, conforming to network orthodoxies and only sometimes leaping beyond them. … The Kominsky Method (streams from Friday, Nov 16; starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin) is a very different kettle of comedy. It’s charming, droll, a little wry and a lot more heartfelt than anything Lorre has done.” – John Doyle
MOMENT IN TIME
Hazel McCallion elected mayor of Mississauga
Nov. 13, 1978: When Hazel McCallion was making her first run for mayor of Mississauga, the incumbent, Ron Searle, said his instinct was “to hammer the hell out of her,” but he couldn’t do it: After all, she was a woman. It was one of the last times anyone would patronize McCallion. She took the mayor’s chair and kept it for 36 years, winning 12 elections. “Hurricane Hazel” became known across the country as the white-haired little-old-lady mayor with a brick in her purse. After a driver knocked her down as she crossed the street, McCallion, then 82, said: “The pickup truck is still in for repairs.” Her toughness sometimes shaded into arrogance. When a judicial inquiry faulted her for championing a land deal that would have put millions in her son’s wallet, she insisted: “I did nothing wrong.” When critics accused her of paving over her booming Toronto-area municipality, she shrugged it off. The income from all those subdivisions helped build hockey arenas and keep taxes low. But in her last years as mayor, she became a surprising convert to “smart growth,” putting her fierce energy into pushing for denser development and public transit. – Marcus Gee