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Democrat congressional vote a tale of 2 Americas

Democrat congressional vote a tale of 2 Americas

WASHINGTON — Democrats demoralized by the election result faced a symbolism-laden choice Wednesday: Stick with the California progressive stalwart who leads their congressional wing, or replace her with with a man from a working-class Ohio area. They wound up re-appointing Nancy Pelosi to another term as their leader in the House of Representatives. But the challenge to her reign from Ohio colleague Tim Ryan was like a microcosm of a broader debate within the party. The dilemma for the Democrats was embodied in the two people running for the leadership — one from the solidly liberal bastion of San Francisco, where they actually improved on their score from 2012, versus one from a formerly solid bastion where the party hemorrhaged votes. Ryan fell short — getting one-third of the votes Wednesday. He had challenged Pelosi with a clear message: that Democrats need to refocus on bread-and-butter economic issues, after getting electorally clobbered in working-class areas, and among male voters. Economic opportunity was always central to the party’s 2016 platform — but critics on the left say it was too often obscured by less voter-enticing issues such as gun control, climate change, police brutality, and transgender bathrooms. “We need to talk about economics. It’s the issue that unites us,” Ryan said after the caucus vote Wednesday. “Many of you have heard me say this a million times in the last two weeks, and I believe it in my heart that if we’re going to win as Democrats, we need to have an economic message that resonates in every corner of this country.” A look at their two districts — Ryan’s and Pelosi’s — tells the story of what just happened to Democrats. Ryan’s district contained five of the counties where Democrats lost the most votes in Ohio, compared with 2012. According to a database gathered by The Canadian Press, they saw 80,000 of their voters in these counties stay home, vote for a third party, or switch to Donald Trump. It’s a working-class area on the edge of Appalachia, the mountain range that divides the eastern U.S. with the midwest. It was once filled with steel mills, steel-workers’ unions,...

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Crude gains 9% amid surprise OPEC deal

Crude gains 9% amid surprise OPEC deal

TORONTO — The price of crude shot up more than nine per cent Wednesday to settle near US$50 a barrel after OPEC, the world’s largest oil cartel, agreed to trim production for the first time in eight years. The deal sent the January contract for West Texas Intermediate crude higher by $4.21 to US$49.44 per barrel amid optimism that a smaller global supply will help drive up oil prices. The last time a barrel was priced above the US$50 mark was on Oct. 24, when it closed at US$50.52. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries says its 14-member group will collectively scale back a total of 1.2 million barrels to a daily output of 32.5 million a day starting in the new year. The cartel produces a third of the world’s oil. Non-OPEC nations, including Russia, were expected to also pare an additional 600,000 barrels a day off their production. The agreement came as a surprise to stock markets, which had been fraught with worry over the past few weeks that the historically disagreeable group would not be able to reach a consensus with all its members. Crude prices had sunk four per cent on Tuesday as the markets bet that no deal would materialize. But as with other major global decisions this year, like the British exit from the European Union and the victory of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, the markets had gotten it wrong. “Historically, the old adage is that the market is always predicting, the market is always looking ahead six months, the market is always right. But here’s a third major deal that the market got completely wrong,” said Michael Currie, a vice president and investment adviser at TD Wealth. He noted markets couldn’t really be blamed for the wrong call because the history has shown that OPEC often cannot agree due to a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudis have long been hesitant to shoulder the lion’s share of a cut, while Iran had resisted reducing its own production, arguing that it has yet to recover its output levels hit by years of sanctions. Currie said this deal shows that OPEC...

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Some government ads in fact partisan: auditor

Some government ads in fact partisan: auditor

TORONTO — Ontario’s taxpayers have footed the bill for millions of dollars in government advertising that actually appears partisan, the auditor general said Wednesday, and millions more in social media ads her office isn’t allowed to review. “We cautioned when the government changed the law in 2015 that it was opening the door to this sort of thing,” Bonnie Lysyk said as she released her annual report. “Sure enough, the government walked right through that open door.” Changes the government made to advertising rules removed the auditor’s discretionary powers to approve or reject ads, she said, reducing her office to a rubber stamp. The old rules banned ads as partisan if the intent was to foster a positive impression of government or a negative impression of its critics, but the new rules say an ad is partisan only if it uses an elected member’s picture, name or voice, the colour or logo associated with the political party or direct criticism of a party or member of the legislature. Government ads also used to have to inform people about programs, policies, services or their rights and responsibilities, change social behaviour or promote Ontario. Of the approximately $50 million in government ads during the last fiscal year, Lysyk said she would have flagged several under the old rules as misleading or self-congratulatory, as opposed to giving the public information. Treasury Board President Liz Sandals defended the new rules as “the most aggressive government advertising legislation of any jurisdiction in Canada.” She disputed that any were self-congratulatory. “Obviously the auditor has an opinion there and what I would say is that the information that is being conveyed in those ads is factually true,” she said. The government spent $8.1 million advertising the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, which was scrapped after an agreement to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, and Lysyk says she would have rejected some of those ads under the old rules. Government money was used to reinforce a partisan message, Lysyk said, as publicly funded ads ran on radio and digital at the same time as Ontario Liberal Party television spots featured the premier talking about retirement security. The...

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Ottawa close on B.C. pipeline conditions: Clark

Ottawa close on B.C. pipeline conditions: Clark

VANCOUVER — Premier Christy Clark says the federal government is close to meeting British Columbia’s five conditions for its approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and she wants the prime minister to come to the West Coast to explain why his government thinks the project is in the national interest. Clark said Wednesday her government is still working with Ottawa on spill response and it wants assurances on jobs and the economic benefits for B.C., but believes those issues can be settled well before a provincial election in May. “The federal government, through its work as the result of our very hard work over the last four-and-a-half years, has come very very close to making sure they meet the five conditions we set out,” she said at a news conference in Vancouver. “I’ve always said from the very beginning that if the five conditions on any of these projects are met, the project can expect B.C.’s support.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the project will be approved with 157 conditions. He said he expected the decision to be “bitterly disputed” across the country, but said the project is in Canada’s best interests. The $6.8-billion project would triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day, and would add 980 kilometres of new pipe along the route from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. It would also increase the number of tankers leaving Vancouver-area waters seven-fold, prompting fierce opposition from local mayors and First Nations who say any risk of a diluted-bitumen spill is unacceptable. Clark said Trudeau should come to the province to explain to British Columbians directly why his government supports the pipeline expansion. “It’s important that he make that argument, as he did in Ottawa (Tuesday), that he make that argument here in B.C. where so many people are passionate on either side of the project,” she said. Clark said she expects to have the five conditions in place before B.C.’s election in May, when the pipeline is expected to be a major issue. “I believe we have to find ways to balance resource development and job creation...

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'Knees together' judge should lose his job: committee

'Knees together' judge should lose his job: committee

CALGARY — A inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council has recommended the removal of a judge over controversial comments he made in a sex assault trial. Court transcripts show Robin Camp called the complainant “the accused” throughout the trial, suggested her attempts to fend off her alleged attacker were feeble and asked her “why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” He also told her “pain and sex sometimes go together.” Camp acquitted the man, Alexander Wagar, but the verdict was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. Testimony in the retrial wrapped up earlier this month “We conclude that Justice Camp’s conduct … was so manifestly and profoundly destructive of the concept of the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judicial role that public confidence is sufficiently undermined to render the judge incapable of executing the judicial office,” the committee said in its recommendation released Wednesday. “Accordingly, the inquiry committee expresses the unanimous view that a recommendation by council for Justice Camp’s removal is warranted.” The committee also said Camp “relied on discredited myths and stereotypes about women and victim-blaming during the trial and in his reasons for judgment. “Accordingly, we find that Justice Camp committed misconduct and placed himself, by his conduct, in a position incompatible with the due execution of the office of judge.” At a hearing earlier this year, Camp apologized for what he called his rude and insulting attitude toward the then 19-year-old woman when he was a provincial court judge in Calgary in 2014. The hearing heard that Camp had undergone sensitivity training and counselling with a superior court judge, a psychologist and an expert in sexual assault law. He admitted in testimony that he had made mistakes, but said he was willing to learn from them and wanted to remain on the bench. The committee said that didn’t make up for his comments. “In these circumstances, the impact of an after-the-fact commitment to education and reform as an adequate remedial measure is significantly diminished.” It’s now up to the Canadian Judicial Council to decide whether the recommendation should be taken to the federal justice minister, who...

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Petition calls for new UK 5-pound bank note to be 'fat-free'

Petition calls for new UK 5-pound bank note to be 'fat-free'

LONDON — The Bank of England’s new plastic 5-pound note is stronger, cleaner and safer — but apparently not suitable for vegetarians. Vegans and vegetarians are calling for the new bank notes, which have only been in circulation for two months, to be replaced because they are made with a substance derived from animal fat. The Bank of England confirmed on Twitter that the notes contain “a trace of a substance known as tallow” — a rendered form of animal fat, processed from suet, which is sometimes used in soaps and candles. An online petition against the notes has been getting attention Wednesday. The petition says the use of tallow is “unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.” By The Associated Press Source...

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Canadian economy grows 3.5% in third quarter

Canadian economy grows 3.5% in third quarter

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy slightly exceeded expectations in the third quarter as it grew at an annual pace of 3.5 per cent, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. Strong numbers for energy exports helped the country’s real gross domestic product bounce back from a deep second-quarter contraction, which saw the economy recoil by a revised 1.3 per cent, the Ottawa-based agency said. The healthy rebound followed a second-quarter decline largely caused by oil-production shutdowns caused by Alberta wildfires and scheduled maintenance at oilsands facilities. Statistics Canada said exports of energy products expanded 6.1 per cent in the third quarter following a decline of 5.1 per cent during the previous period. Overall, exports of goods and services rose 2.2 per cent in the third quarter compared to a contraction of 3.9 per cent in the second quarter. A consensus of economists had been expecting the numbers to show that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.4 per cent in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. The key reading for GDP came ahead of the Bank of Canada’s scheduled announcement next week on its trend-setting interest rate, which is widely expected to stay at its low level of 0.5 per cent. In its October monetary policy report, the central bank predicted 3.2 per cent growth for the third quarter and 1.5 per cent for the final three-month period of 2016. Economists will scrutinize the numbers for signs that economic momentum will carry into the final three months of the year. In September — the final month of the third quarter — the economy expanded at a non-annualized rate of 0.3 per cent. Economists had been predicting September GDP to rise 0.1 per cent. That hand-off followed growth of 0.2 per cent in August and 0.5 per cent in July. The report also found that business investment in machinery and equipment contracted 3.2 per cent in the third quarter, following a gain of one per cent in the second quarter. Business investment in residential structures decreased 1.4 per cent in the third quarter after nine straight quarters of growth. Statistics Canada said most of the decline...

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COC signs on 'We the North' agency Sid Lee

COC signs on 'We the North' agency Sid Lee

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors’ iconic “We the North” campaign generated a whopping 160 million impressions on social media in its launch season alone. But Vito Piazza didn’t need numbers to know it would be an astronomical success. “When I went to the first Raptors game right after (its launch), and people were chanting it in the halls, you knew it was going to be something special for sure,” said Piazza, president of Sid Lee Toronto, the ad agency responsible for “We the North.” Hoping to capture some of that “We the North” magic, the Canadian Olympic Committee has partnered with Sid Lee as its creative agency of record. The “We the North” campaign would generate half a billion impressions on all media combined in its 2014 launch season, with its pervasive black flag and resonant lyrics — “We are the North Side, a territory all our own. And if that makes us outsiders. . .we’re in.” The campaign took something that could be seen as a negative — the NBA’s lone outpost in Canada and the perceived challenges that came with it — and turned it into a positive. It was embraced not just in Toronto, but virtually across the country. “You can cite metrics, page views, YouTube views, but a true mark of success is when a campaign actually reflects and penetrates culture, changes people’s views beyond a brand or a product or a service, and it becomes part of the common nomenclature,” said Sid Lee’s Joseph Barbieri. “That campaign itself, it’s about a brand, but it really reflects a state of mind for our country.” Sid Lee didn’t create the “enthusiasm” for basketball in Canada with “We the North,” Piazza added. “We just captured it and amplified it,” he said. “We didn’t reinvent basketball, we found a way to express it in a way that ignited some fuel that was already there.” The unique challenge for the COC is promoting athletes that compete largely in the shadows in the three seasons when there are no Olympic Games. “There’s the bright spotlight during the 17 days (of Olympics), and our goal is to try and extend...

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Navy to scatter vet's ashes near site of 1963 sub sinking

Navy to scatter vet's ashes near site of 1963 sub sinking

HARTFORD, Conn. — For a half-century after the deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history, Navy Capt. Paul “Bud” Rogers struggled with feelings that it should have been him — and not his last-minute replacement — on the doomed voyage of the USS Thresher in which 129 men died. This week, at his family’s request, a Navy submarine is bringing his cremated remains to be buried at sea near the Thresher’s wreckage some 200 miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “I’m just so happy. I feel like my husband will be at peace,” said his widow, Barbara Rogers, 86, of Wernersville, Pennsylvania. “He felt he should have gone down with the Thresher.” It was within a few days of the loss of the Thresher that its captain replaced Rogers with a more experienced sailor for deep-dive testing. On April 10, 1963, the submarine suffered a mechanical failure, descended below crush depth and imploded. The sub’s remnants came to a rest on the ocean floor at a depth of 8,500 feet. At a memorial service for the lost men, Rogers served as an usher and tried, unsuccessfully, to console the wife of the man who took his place on the crew. “He said that she wouldn’t speak to him, and that really made him upset,” Barbara Rogers said. “He wanted to apologize to her.” Rogers served 41 years in the Navy, including time spent as a manager for the Trident Missile Program in Washington, D.C., before retiring in 1990. When he died in October 2015 at age 86, he expressed in his will that he wanted to be buried at sea. His son-in-law, Fred Henney, made inquiries about depositing his ashes near the site of the Thresher disaster. His ashes and a Navy chaplain were aboard an attack submarine, the USS Springfield, when it left the Navy base in Groton, Connecticut, on Tuesday. The chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Paul Rumery, said he plans to recite passages from Scripture, and the submarine’s security force will fire a three-round volley before he lowers the ashes over the side of the submarine and into the North Atlantic. Rogers’ family will be presented with the empty shells, an...

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Raul Castro, regional leaders honour Fidel Castro at rally

Raul Castro, regional leaders honour Fidel Castro at rally

HAVANA — Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans jammed the Plaza of the Revolution on Tuesday night, celebrating Fidel Castro on the spot where he delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power. The presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and South Africa, along with leaders of a host of smaller nations, offered speeches paying tribute to Castro, who died Friday night at 90. Gov. Gen. David Johnston represented Canada. South African President Jacob Zuma praised Cuba under Castro for its record on education and health care and its support for African independence struggles. Castro will be remembered as “a great fighter for the idea that the poor have a right to live with dignity,” Zuma told the crowd. The rally began with black-and-white revolution-era footage of Castro and other guerrillas on a big screen and the playing of the Cuban national anthem. Castro’s younger brother and successor, President Raul Castro, saluted. Raul Castro closed the rally with a speech thanking world leaders for their words of praise for his brother, who he called the leader of a revolution “for the humble, and by the humble.” Cuban state media reported that an urn containing Fidel Castro’s ashes was being kept in a room at the Defence Ministry where Raul and top Communist Party officials paid tribute the previous evening. During the day, lines stretched for hours outside the Plaza of the Revolution, the heart of government power. In Havana and across the island, people signed condolence books and an oath of loyalty to Castro’s sweeping May 2000 proclamation of the Cuban revolution as an unending battle for socialism, nationalism and an outsize role for the island on the world stage. “I feel a deep sadness, but immense pride in having had him near,” said Ana Beatriz Perez, a 50-year-old medical researcher who was advancing in the slow-moving line with the help of crutches. “His physical departure gives us strength to continue advancing in his ideology. This isn’t going away, because we are millions.” “His death is another revolution,” said her husband, Fidel Diaz, who predicted that it will prompt many to “rediscover...

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