These are the top stories:
Donald Trump has become the third U.S. president to be impeached
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted almost exclusively along party lines, impeaching Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
What comes next: Trump will now face trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict Trump and remove him from office, but Republicans have indicated they will unanimously vote against conviction. Democrats are suggesting they may delay sending over the impeachment articles until Republicans agree to a “fair” process.
What’s happened in the past: Andrew Johnson (1868) Bill Clinton (1998) were the only other U.S. presidents to be impeached. Both stayed in office after the Senate failed to convict them. Richard Nixon resigned before the House could vote on impeachment.
The wider view: Journalist and author Andrew Cohen reflects back on the Clinton saga and how it set the stage for Trump’s impeachment – “the latest act in this long-running, peculiarly American melodrama – and surely not the last.”
More on the charges: The first article of impeachment charged Trump with soliciting foreign interference from Ukraine for his benefit in next year’s U.S. presidential election. The second article said Trump obstructed Congress by preventing people in his administration from testifying about the scandal.
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SNC-Lavalin: Everything you need to know about the guilty plea for fraud
With a single charge of fraud and a fine of $280-million, a unit of SNC-Lavalin has reached a deal over its Libya dealings that brings to a close a saga that rocked the company and Justin Trudeau’s government.
The terms of the deal: The fine will be paid out over five years and SNC-Lavalin Construction will be under a three-year probation order. A more potentially damaging charge of bribery was dropped. SNC said the agreement allows for it to continue bidding on federal contracts.
Political reaction: The Liberal government said it played no role in the deal, which comes 10 months after Jody Wilson-Raybould said the Prime Minister and members of his inner circle put pressure on her to drop the charges. Trudeau defended his conduct but said “there are things we could have, should have, would have done differently.”
Market reaction: SNC shares jumped 19 per cent yesterday, with investors able to set aside worries about a potential obstacle to the company’s turnaround efforts.
Opinion and analysis
Konrad Yakabuski: “In the end, the scandal that rocked Trudeau’s government for the better part of a year will have produced no winners, only losers.”
Globe editorial: “Wednesday’s settlement is just more proof of how off-base Trudeau was. While it’s fair to argue that SNC-Lavalin got off lightly, the bottom line is that the justice system appears to have done its job, independently.”
Campbell Clark: The deal “will help [Trudeau] turn the page on the story that dogged him and his government in 2019. Wednesday was New Year’s Day.”
UN peacekeepers impregnated – and abandoned – hundreds of women in Haiti
Haitian women have shared stories about children fathered by United Nations peacekeepers who left them to live in poverty.
“The narratives reveal how girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and then, as one man put it, ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone,” according to the study, which surveyed 2,500 Haitians in 2017.
The researchers tracked the nationalities of the peacekeepers; Canada ranked ninth of 13 countries named.
The “vast majority” of the cases involved transactional sex, where women received small amounts of money. Some were subsequently ostracized by their families after having a child, and others were not able to return to school.
A UN spokesperson said the organization takes the issues raised “seriously.”
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Albertans to get largest carbon-tax rebate: The value of the tax credit for a family of four in Alberta will work out to $888 when the federal carbon price takes effect Jan. 1. That’s higher than the $448, $486 and $809 in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively.
Vancouver raising property taxes: City council voted to approve a 7-per-cent increase in property taxes to help pay for initiatives on affordable housing and climate change. Increases in utility fees, the school tax, TransLink Tax and Metro Vancouver tax will also add to taxpayer bills.
Calgary mother charged after video broadcast: Police have charged a 31-year-old with assault after being alerted to a broadcast on online game-streaming platform Twitch showing a woman hitting, shoving and biting an infant while playing Fortnite.
Asian shares pulled back from a one-and-a-half year peak on Thursday as investors took some money off the table ahead of holiday trade and looked to fresh data on the state of the global economy. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan briefly touched the highest since June, 2018, but then fell 0.4 per cent. The pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 0.05 per cent, German DAX futures were down 0.12 per cent, but FTSE futures edged up 0.02 per cent.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
The CRTC is cracking down on spam calls, but Canada’s wireless carriers should go further
Peter Nowak: “Carriers in both the U.S. and Canada tout their respective markets as competitive, but significant anti-spam technologies … would already be in place if they truly were. Service providers would rush to advertise them as advantages over competitors, but instead they’re allowing consumer and regulatory anger to build.” Nowak is a Toronto-based tech writer and author.
There’s lots of jobs out there. Why won’t Canadians move to get them?
David Parkinson: “The annual percentage of Canadians relocating from one province to another has fallen from more than 2 per cent in the early 1970s to less than 1 per cent today. That decline makes the country’s labour force less responsive to regional economic shocks.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Your best streaming bets for this Dec. 21-22 weekend
On Crave, low-budget sci-fi thriller Fast Color offers a far more inventive story than anything pumped out of the Marvel Studios factory floor.
On Amazon Prime Video, Booksmart is a comedy about two friends who spend their last night as high schoolers shaking off their straight-arrow reputations.
And on Netflix, American Made takes you on a rollicking journey into the criminal underworld, with a frenzied and frantic energy courtesy of leading man Tom Cruise.
MOMENT IN TIME
A Christmas Carol is published
Dec. 19, 1843: After reading a government report on the brutal conditions facing child labourers in the United Kingdom, Charles Dickens set out to write a polemic called “An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child.” But after giving it some thought, he decided to make his case in the form of a story instead. A Christmas Carol was written in three weeks and published just before Christmas in 1843. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption helped popularize the phrase “Merry Christmas” in Victorian England and gave us the curmudgeonly exclamation “Bah! Humbug!”
The novella was an instant hit upon publication. The first edition had sold out by Christmas Eve, and the book has never been out of print. Adapted for countless productions on stage, radio and film, Dickens’s story, written when he was 31, is a perennial reminder of the true spirit of Christmas – that caring for the people in our lives is much more important than personal gain or profits. Dickens wanted to show the world that even the worst man can change for the better. – Dave McGinn