No Peace

One of the three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor has been indicted by a grand jury on three counts. The two other officers who fired shots were not charged, and no charges have been announced for actually causing her death.

Back Story: Breonna Taylor was killed by police this summer in Louisville, KY, when they raided her apartment late at night. Her death, that of George Floyd and many others at the hands of police drove the massive Black Lives Matter protests that erupted across the United States and the world over the past several months.

Soft on Crime: The charges against the, now former, officer Brett Hankinson, are neither homicide nor manslaughter but the much lighter "wanton endangerment," which carries a maximum sentence of five years. The crime Hankinson allegedly committed was firing through a glass door and window, both of which were covered by blinds, a violation of police department policy requiring a clear line of sight to fire a weapon.

Fallout:

  • Breonna Taylor's family was awarded a $12 million settlement in a wrongful death suit against the city of Louisville, but lawyers for the family insisted there would be no justice without murder charger against all three officers.
  • Protesters took to the streets in Lousiville and around the United States outraged at the leniency afforded to the officers involved in this case and many other cases of police shootings of people of colour.

Zoom Out...This summer the United States experienced months of intense and energetic protests against police brutality with Breonna Taylor as a central rallying point. This outcome has a lot of people who are hungry for change feeling that the people in power aren't responding.

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1,000,000 Jobs!

Canada's Governor General Julie Payette delivered the speech from the throne yesterday, outlining the Liberal Government's pledge to do "whatever it takes" to support the economy through the pandemic.

What is a Throne Speech?
Good question, the speech from the throne is delivered by the Governor General to Parliament at the beginning of a new sitting. Although the GG is technically the representative of the Queen, the speech is written by the governing party and used to provide an overview of their legislative agenda.

What's On Tap This Parliament?
Another good question, look at you! Attention grabbing announcements made in the speech include:

  • 1,000,000 jobs to be created through environmentally focused measures.
  •  "Commitment" to early learning and child care programs, and"work toward" a universal pharmacare program.
  • An extension of the Canadian Emergency Wages Subsidy through next summer.
  • New taxes on "extreme wealth inequality," and "digital giants."
  • The creation of a testing assistance response team to improve covid testing capacity and reduce wait times.

What's Next?
First, the throne speech must pass parliament, which requires the support of at least the Conservatives or NDP, failure to get the votes would lead to an election. If passed, Canadians will just have to wait and see if and how the Liberals will deliver on their promises in turbulent times.
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Peak Picks

  • In May, the Trump administration seized a $3 million transformer on its way to Colorado. Now it's being studied in a government lab in New Mexico...
  • Introducing SopranoTok – the Italian mafia is on TikTok and it gives us a glimpse into the changing world of organized crime.
  • Controversial podcaster Joe Rogan is already causing a headache for Spotify. How will Shopify's experience affect future media deals?
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Leftovers

COVID: US Coronavirus related deaths top 200,000 as cases in previously spared parts of the country surge.

Carbon Tax: Ontario and Nova Scotia struck a deal with Ottawa to impose a carbon tax on industry. The move was meant to strengthen the province's Supreme Court case against the federal government.

Flu Shot: Ontario invests $70million to purchase 5.1 million doses of the 2020 flu shot to avoid 'twindemic'.

Fundraising: Boston-based Providence Strategic Growth acquired a majority stake in Nova Scotia startup Wagepoint. The investment includes $10 million in new capital.
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Infrequent Flyer Miles

It's been a rough year for the airline industry. With air traffic seeing an 80-90% drop, airlines are pleading for mandatory testing to get more people traveling.

Their plan: The IATA (International Air Transport Association) wants countries to adopt universal and mandatory COVID-19 testing for departing passengers. New rapid antigen tests, available next month, would make testing at this scale possible.

The IATA argues that universal testing would remove the need for mandatory quarantines on arrival and make pandemic travel more accessible.

Will this happen: Hard to say, but up to this point, countries have been very hesitant to surrender their public health policy to outsiders. The IATA argues that if countries don't come together to develop a unified travel policy many of the world's largest airlines may go bust.

That's probably their best argument since airlines are some of the world's biggest employers.
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Made In Canada

Yesterday, Ford reached an agreement with the union representing the company's Canadian workers on a deal to keep its only vehicle-assembly plant in the country open.

The deal was praised by union leader Jerry Dias as a home-run. Here's what it includes:

  • Three year deal to keep the Oakville and Windsor auto plants open
  • An investment of $1.95 billion in Ford's Canadian manufacturing operations
  • Commitment to produce five electric vehicles and host a battery assembly facility at one of the plants
What's the catch: Neither Unifor, the union representing the auto workers, or Ford would clarify how much of $1.95 billion is coming from Government.

Takeaways: It's always great to see manufacturers committing to keep jobs in Canada but it's probably worth having a conversation over if a corporate handout is the most effective use of our taxpayer dollars.
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Bezos The Bully

Jeff Bezos is looking meaner than Regina George. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is limiting the ability of brands to promote devices that directly compete with Amazon's own products, such as digital doorbells, smart speakers, and tablets.

Why does this matter: A seller's position on Amazon's search results can make or break the success of their product. This is why ads have become big business for the e-commerce giant, only ranking behind Google and Facebook in the size of their digital advertising business.

But Amazon's become so big that if a rival merchant can't promote their own product on the platform, the seller loses access to the biggest retail channel in the world. And while that's good for Amazon, it seems like a pretty raw deal for the third party merchant...

And governments are starting to take notice:

  • Untied States: The House Judiciary Committee, hauled in the top tech CEOs to grill them on anti-trust. Amazon's aggressive actions towards third party merchants was a frequent line of questioning by concerned congressmen and congresswomen.
  • Canada: Canada's Competition Bureau launched an investigation into Amazon's marketplace conduct and whether it has hurt local businesses.
  • EU: The European Union is set to file formal anti-trust charges against Amazon over their use of third-party marketplace data to compete against them.
The big picture: Amazon has built a hugely profitable business around their ability to outcompete with third party merchants on the platform. Any action by government to undermine this could significantly impact their bottom line and transform the e-commerce landscape.
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Beam Me Up, Elon

Star Trek meet SpaceX. Elon Musk's futuristic space exploration company has applied for a Canadian telecom license as it plans to start beaming high-speed internet to hard-to-reach places in Canada.

The Context: If you've ever lived or visited rural Canada, you know that access to high-speed internet is a real issue. Whether you're a student or an accountant, reliable and fast internet access is no longer a luxury – it's a necessity.

Residents in hard-to-reach communities are disadvantaged by the lack of digital infrastructure and they have been advocating for years for better access.

Now they finally might get it...

What does SpaceX offer? Over the past 5 years, SpaceX's internet division Starlink launched hundreds LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites into space in a race to offer universal high speed internet access.

On Starlink's website, they say they aim to offer service in the US and Canada by 2020 and near global coverage by 2021. That means that by next year every Canadian household – even those in the most remote areas – could have access to the same high-speed internet as our biggest cities. Pretty cool, huh?

Is Starlink alone? No. In fact homegrown Canadian company Telesat is among Starlink's two most advanced rivals. Telesat, which has secured $85 million in funding from the Canadian Government, received the same approval as Starlink to operate in the US.

Zoom out: One of the drivers of inequality is the digital divide. Universal access to high-speed internet could close the gap and create equal opportunity for both urban and rural Canadians. And that's something we can all get behind.

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Market Highlights

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Peak Picks

  • I don't know about you, but I often fail those CAPTCHA tests. It's a source of constant humiliation. But there's a good explanation: here's why it's so hard to detect the difference between real people and bots.
  • There hasn't been one locally transmitted case of COVID in Wuhan since May, and the nightlife scene is back in a big way. Here's what clubbing looks like in the former epicentre of the pandemic.
  • Check out this video of a model Coliseum built with 22,000 dominoes collapsing.

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