These are the top stories:
SNC-Lavalin wooed Gadhafi’s son with jet, second yacht
Former executives of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. were prepared to go to great lengths to curry favour with the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, including agreeing to buy him a Bombardier luxury jet and an even bigger yacht than the one SNC had already paid for, evidence in the company’s criminal case suggests.
The new details are contained in transcripts of witness testimony made during the preliminary hearing in the criminal case.
In all, SNC spent $47.7-million on cash, gifts and personal expenses for Saadi Gadhafi between 2001 and 2011, according to the statement of facts agreed to between the company and prosecutors as part of the plea deal. In return, SNC benefited from his influence to secure contracts worth roughly $2-billion in Libya.
- SNC-Lavalin plea deal could make Canada look soft on corruption, experts say
- Crown recommends nine-year sentence for former SNC-Lavalin executive Sami Bebawi
- Opinion (Andrew Coyne): SNC’s guilty plea resolves nothing
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Ottawa to ban e-cigarette ads in bid to curb youth vaping
The federal government is planning to ban e-cigarette promotions from convenience stores, public transit and all social-media platforms in response to a major rise in teen vaping and fears of health risks.
The plan announced on Thursday is the first measure to address the rise in youth vaping. The move comes in response to months of increasing pressure to crack down on the vaping industry, which heavily promotes its products in stores, other public places and online.
Trudeau says U.S. should hold off on trade deal with China until Canadians released
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asking the U.S. government to hold off on wrapping up a new trade deal with China until Beijing releases former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor who were locked up one year ago.
“We’ve said that the United States should not sign a final and complete agreement with China that does not settle the question of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said in French, in an interview with TVA network’s morning show Salut Bonjour.
Mr. Trudeau also said Canada is trying to convince China that it gains no leverage in Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case by punishing Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.
On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Trudeau’s request is “doomed to fail,” adding, “Those who pull other people’s chestnuts out of the fire will only end up burning themselves.”
Eviction factories: How Ontario’s tenants get trapped in a never-ending cycle with landlords
In Ontario, no one counts the number of eviction notices served by sheriffs on an annual basis or tracks what happens to potential evictees once they begin to wend their way through the province’s housing tribunal system. That gap has left researchers and policy makers in the dark about the true state of the housing market – and the fate of renters who have lost their homes.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Liberal plan to save $1.5-billion a year questioned by budget watchdog: Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is urging MPs to take a closer look at plans, after a PBO report said the government is providing “incomplete” information as to where these savings will be found.
China seeks volunteers to help ensure ‘safety’ of citizens in Canada: The initiative has been undertaken by consulates in Calgary and Toronto, as well as in missions around the world, but the call-out has raised concerns among pro-Hong Kong activists and China experts who question the work China wants the volunteers to do.
Judge dismisses assault charges against former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle: It took Judge Peter Doody more than three hours to deliver the verdict, which concluded the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the 19 charges against Mr. Boyle, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement.
Two Australian firefighters die as flames circle Sydney; prime minister cuts short holiday: Australia has been fighting wildfires across much of its east coast for weeks, leaving eight people dead, more than 700 homes destroyed and nearly three million acres of bushland burnt.
World stocks hit record high, as sterling endures torrid week: World stocks touched record highs on Friday, as trading wound down before the year-end holidays, while the British pound was heading towards its worst week for more than two years amid renewed worries over how Britain will leave the European Union. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.40 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.20 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.25 per cent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.26 per cent just before 5:30 a.m. ET. Germany’s DAX gained 0.25 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading around 76.15 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Family Feud on CBC? Survey says ... pathetic
Konrad Yakabuski: “Maybe it’s time for the CBC to get serious and concentrate on smart and challenging programming that private networks won’t touch”
Donald Trump’s impeachment is monumental – and meaningless
Robyn Urback: “To have an impeached President run for re-election exposes the paradox that is the impeachment process.”
Jason Kenney and Brian Pallister are Ottawa’s best hopes for fixing interprovincial trade
Rita Trichur: “Given recent strides by Alberta and Manitoba to lift some internal trade restrictions on their own, Ms. Freeland would be wise to tap Mr. Kenney and Mr. Pallister as her emissaries to mediate with holdouts."
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
My children are spoiled during the holidays. How can I instill more gratitude?
Many parents get a little worried at this time of year that their children are turning into spoiled kids. They want their children to know that the season of giving is not just about taking. If it feels like your child always wants more, take a deep breath and don’t catastrophize. If you want the holidays to mean more than receiving, help your children give presents. Encourage helping. Donate to the local food bank. Help a neighbour by clearing their sidewalk. Make some care packages for homeless people and hand them out.
MOMENT IN TIME
Canada’s first artificial ice rink opens
Dec. 20, 1911: In case it needs to be said, artificial ice is real ice; it’s the freezing method that is artificial. Refrigerant chemicals are piped beneath a concrete pad, ensuring rinks can be made indoors or in places where winters are too mild for natural outdoor ice pads, such as Vancouver. That’s where Canada’s first artificial ice rink, Denman Arena, opened on this day in 1911. At the time, artificial rinks could be found in many countries, but not in Canada. The Patrick family built the 10,500-seat arena at 105 West Georgia St., as a home to their pro hockey team, the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. The rink also played host to public skating, concerts and, in the basement, a curling club, before it burned down in 1936. High on the list of achievements that make Denman Arena noteworthy is the winning record of the Millionaires. The team, led by a speedy scorer named Fred (Cyclone) Taylor, defeated the Ottawa Senators to win the Stanley Cup there in 1915, a feat today’s Vancouver Canucks have yet to match. — Eric Atkins