While you slept, we tracked the failed truce in Kyiv, Justin Trudeau’s big opportunity, a Nigerian central banker’s suspension, Canada’s newest mailboxes, and Colorado’s overachieving pot smokers.
1. Ukraine’s truce collapsed. When Canadian newspapers went to bed, Ukraine had settled into a tenuous truce. By morning, peace was shattered and fighting in Kyiv resumed anew. The BBC reports that European Union officials are threatening sanctions against whomever might have triggered new violence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and urged him to sit down for peace talks with his opposition. Bogdana Matsotska, a Ukrainian skier, left the Sochi Olympics in protest. Events are moving quickly, and the pressure’s on Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to react to the sudden chaos.
2. This is Justin’s moment, maybe. Today, Liberals start to filter in to Montreal for their party’s biennial convention. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will deliver an evening speech to his faithful. Trudeau’s earning plaudits that he may be worth more than the sum of his follicles. The National Post‘s John Ivison says so, after watching a seven-minute YouTube summation of Liberal economic strategy. “We are starting to see glimpses of a Trudeau Liberal Party that is not just about a debonair leader afloat on a sea of platitudes,” writes Ivison. His Post colleague, remains unconvinced. The Toronto Star‘s Chantal Hebert says Trudeau should be bold on policy, or stand ready to lose. Paul Wells talks about pressure. There’s lots of it.
3. Nigeria suspended its central banker. Lamido Sinusi made an extraordinary claim earlier this month that $20 billion in Nigerian oil revenue had, poof, disappeared. The accusation earned Sinusi rebukes from President Goodluck Jonathan and a skeptical oil industry. Jonathan fired back that Sinusi’s term in office has been marred by “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct,” while the state oil company said the central banker exhibited ”little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry.” Sinusi enacted significant reform in 2009, and was eventually awarded Central Bank Governor of the Year by global finance website The Banker in 2011.
4. Canada Post unveils its new mailboxes. Canada’s city dwellers are still getting used to the idea that the mailboxes beside their front doors will soon be made redundant by the national mail carrier’s new plan. But Canada Post announced the first phase of its plan to plunk community mailboxes into cities across Canada. If you live at T2B or T3J households in Calgary, you’re one of more than 10,000 addresses in the city that will shift to a community mailbox during this first wave, which also targets 12,500 homes in Winnipeg, nearly 10,000 addresses in Halifax, 8,450 in Fort McMurray, Alta., and thousands more in seven other cities.
5. Colorado’s pot tax pays off. The state that legalized marijuana and slapped a 12.5-per-cent tax on all sales, beginning on New Year’s Day, has earmarked $99 million in expected revenue for substance abuse prevention programs. The windfall, sourced from a projected $610 million in overall sales during the next fiscal year, beat initial tax revenue projections of about $70 million. Among Governor John Hickenlooper’s largest pledges is $45 million for youth use prevention. Trudeau’s team, fending off Conservative attacks that pot legalization only drives schoolchildren into welcoming arms of drug dealers in dark alleyways, may want to take note.
Thursday, February 20, 2014