Essential reading: the morning five -

Essential reading: the morning five

Molson trash talks Budweiser and Tyler Ennis sinks a shot from downtown


Geoff Robins/CP

While you slept, we tracked an automaker who wants federal cash, an overconfident Canadian brewery’s taunts, a circus shot by a Canadian basketball star, parliamentary bickering about taxpayer-funded junkets, and extreme weather in the United Kingdom.

1. Chrysler shouldn’t get greedy. When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a $500-million investment in the country’s auto sector in his 2014 budget, conventional wisdom suggested the money was a response to Chrysler’s potential plans to beef up its plant in Windsor, Ont. The automaker has since said it’s asking for $700 million from the feds and the province to upgrade not one, but two of its plants (the other is in Brampton, Ont.). Not so fast, said Industry Minister James Moore. The money may be budgeted, but it’s not earmarked. Okay, then. Let’s see how serious Moore is about considering other options for the dough.

2. Molson trash talked Budweiser. Vancouver changed Canada’s Olympic attitude. The country’s pre-2010 approach to the quadrennial winter games was one of polite patriotism, targeted hope, and occasional pride. Someone would win gold, wrap themselves in the Canadian flag, and the country would rejoice. Now, Canada taunts outright anyone that shows any sign of weakness. Budweiser is this morning’s victim of Canada’s brimming confidence. The uber-patriotic Molson, itself swallowed up by an American brewer in 2005, challenged Bud’s dual allegiance to the American and Canadian Olympic teams. Bud, it seems, has made supportive statements on both sides of the border. Molson, sensing advantage, took out a two-page spread in The Globe and Mail. “Hey Bud, which side are you on?” Canada had better keep winning, because this kind of confidence doesn’t look good on a loser.

3. Tyler Ennis hit a crazy three-pointer. Canada’s basketball future is bright. Canadian prospects are all over the American college system, and they’re trickling into the NBA. Andrew Wiggins, the impossibly hyped teenager, beckons. Steve Nash, the two-time NBA MVP and architect of whatever future Canada’s national program has on the world stage, is constantly excited. Last night, the Syracuse Orange trailed the Pittsburgh Panthers 56-55 with a few seconds left in the game. The orange-clad Ennis, a top prospect from Toronto, calmly dribbled upcourt and unleashed a last-ditch shot from way, way downtown. Nothing but net. Syracuse won. ESPN called the shot “typically clutch.” Momentum builds.

4. Parliament bickered over taxpayer-funded junkets. A disagreement about how the House of Commons should study the government’s attempted electoral reform could threaten all planned parliamentary travel. Such is the level of maturity in a chamber that just can’t play nice. When the NDP suggested a committee may want to hold hearings across the country to study electoral reform, Conservatives disagreed. So, obviously, the NDP removed its consent for all parliamentary travel. Conservatives mocked the move. They don’t require the NDP’s support for the taxpayer-funded trips, but didn’t put approval to a vote. The whole debacle perfectly encapsulates the toxicity pervasive in the House of Commons.

5. The Brits are reeling. America’s deep south has endured successive winter storms this season, and ostensibly balmy southeastern states are currently mired in another blast of ice and snow. Canadians and Americans spent weeks acquainted with the polar vortex. Winter has been for real in North America, and deep freezes and ice storms have come to define the continent’s season. But at least winter is supposed to be cold. Brits are stuck in the middle of an intense meteorological mix of massive flooding, enormous waves, high winds and sandstorms. Extreme versions of expected weather is one thing. Sandstorms outside the Sahara are another.

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