These are the top stories:
The first public Trump impeachment hearings get under way today
First came the whistleblower revelation in early September about Donald Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s President. Then, on Sept. 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry. And for the past two weeks, we’ve seen the release of closed-door transcripts with witnesses.
Now, the bright lights of television cameras will capture the testimony of key players in the Ukraine saga, starting at 10 a.m. ET. Here’s a look at the two individuals speaking today:
William Tyler: A career diplomat overseeing Kyiv embassy duties, Tyler repeatedly expressed alarm that Trump was trying to withhold U.S. military aid as a tactic to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens as well as a conspiracy theory that Ukraine (not Russia) meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
George Kent: A civil servant in the State Department, Kent has said he was concerned about a back-channel Rudy Giuliani had opened in Ukraine, in turn circumventing official diplomacy. He also confirmed Trump ordered U.S. officials to push for probes on the Bidens and the 2016 vote.
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Business leaders paid thousands to dine with Doug Ford
The Ontario Premier had five separate private dinners with business executives who paid $20,000 each at a charity auction. Two of the companies that secured access to Ford were also lobbying to do business with the province, while a third – a real estate developer – asked for a meeting to discuss Ontario Place following the dinner.
The dinners aren’t subject to political fundraising rules since the funds went to a charity, in this case to Victim Services Toronto after an auction at the Toronto Police Chief’s fundraiser.
But observers say that while the money went to charity, the practice still raises ethical concerns because it’s akin to trading cash for access.
Canada’s intelligence agencies are at odds over whether to bar Huawei from 5G
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) disagree on what to do about Huawei, an official tells The Globe.
Spy service CSIS wants to bar the Chinese telecom giant from next-generation 5G wireless networks, the official said, while electronic surveillance agency CSE says robust testing and monitoring of Huawei’s equipment could mitigate potential risks.
The Trudeau government isn’t expected to make a decision on Huawei until 2020, the official added. Both the U.S. and Australia argue that Huawei poses a security threat because the company could be compelled by China to collaborate on intelligence work.
Global consulting firm McKinsey and Co. is under investigation, reports say
The company formerly headed by Canada’s new ambassador to China is reportedly under criminal investigation in the U.S. over allegations it concealed conflicts of interest while advising bankrupt companies.
The probes cover the period when ambassador Dominic Barton was McKinsey’s global managing partner, though there is no indication Barton himself is under investigation.
At question is whether McKinsey “quietly steered valuable assets to itself or favoured its own clients over other creditors,” which would break Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules.
The court battles could see Barton called to testify about his former firm’s work. The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to say whether she is concerned about the investigation.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canadian equestrian star suspended: Nicole Walker tested positive for cocaine, sparking a suspension that could see Canada’s equestrian team lose its 2020 Olympics invite. Walker blamed the result on coca tea. The drink is often served in Peru, where Walker tested positive while competing at the Pan Am Games.
Clashes in Bolivia: The latest protests came after the Senate’s opposition leader declared herself Bolivia’s interim president. Evo Morales, who resigned as leader in what he described as a coup, has arrived in Mexico, where he has been granted asylum.
NHLers react to Don Cherry’s firing: A number of Maple Leafs players expressed disappointment at the way Cherry’s career ended, but said they don’t support his comments. In Montreal, Max Domi – whose dad is former hockey brawler Tie Domi – praised Cherry’s contribution to the sport and said he “will always look up to him.”
Stocks fall after Trump threatens more China tariffs: Global stocks sank Wednesday after President Donald Trump threatened more tariff hikes on Chinese imports if talks aimed at ending a trade war fail to produce an interim agreement. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.8 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite slid 0.3 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.6 and 1.1 per cent by about 4:30 a.m. ET. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was below 75.5 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Russia’s election meddling, and its allies in the West
Globe editorial: “This is the most shocking thing about Russia’s open attacks on foreign votes: that some Western leaders, on one side of the political spectrum, are willing to play it down.”
Sabia’s critics wanted him to fail. He did the opposite
Konrad Yakabuski: “Michael Sabia could hardly pick a better moment to step down as head of Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, having guided the giant provincial pension-fund manager out of the mess it was in when he arrived nearly 11 years ago and leaving before the next recession plunges it back into the dumps.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Streaming service Disney+ has launched in Canada
With titles from Pixar to Marvel to Star Wars, nearly 500 films and 7,500 episodes of TV shows are on offer for $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year. That’s cheaper than Netflix and Crave, but higher than Apple TV (Amazon Prime is an extension of the premium shipping service).
But John Doyle writes that the much-anticipated Disney+ launch was a “technical mess of malfunctioning log-in attempts and movies and series failing to load.” And he says Disney’s marquee original series for the streaming platform, The Mandalorian, “is a massive disappointment.”
MOMENT IN TIME
First Barbie sold wearing a hijab
Nov. 13, 2017: She didn’t have long blonde tresses, bubble-gum pink heels or an anatomically-impossible waist, but trust us, she was still Barbie. On Nov. 13, 2017, Mattel announced a doll that was a far cry from how the world had come to see their iconic product: the only exposed skin on this Barbie was on her face and her left hand. This was the Ibtihaj doll or, as she became known colloquially, Hijab Barbie. She was modelled after fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab. In a white fencer’s uniform that sheathed most of her body as well as a matching headscarf, this Barbie was more covered up than any of her predecessors. She was part of the manufacturer’s Shero line, launched two years earlier, which included dolls based on other women meant to inspire, including director Ava DuVernay and plus-size model Ashley Graham. At the time, Ms. Muhammad told The New Yorker that her hijab was “something I wear like I wear a shirt or I wear pants.” She said she hoped children would “take it off and try it on their other Barbies.” – Dakshana Bascaramurty