Facebook Advertisement “Let’s get talking Canada! The reality is that mental illness affects all of us – 1 in 5 directly, and 5 in 5 of us in some way every day with the impact of the disease on our family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues,” said Olympic medallist Clara Hughes, the campaign’s national spokesperson.“But we can and we are making a difference. Start your own conversations today by talking about mental health with everyone you know, and join the millions of people in Canada and worldwide showing their support by making a call, sending a text or getting the word out on social media.“Together, we all sent almost 126 million messages of support on Bell Let’s Talk Day last year – and I know we can take our fight against the stigma even further this year!”Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of these interactions you make today, at no extra cost to you:Every text message, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell Canada and Bell Aliant customersTwitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk – which now includes a Bell Let’s Talk hashtag emojiFacebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook.com/BellLetsTalkInstagram: Every Instagram post using #BellLetsTalkSnapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter on SnapchatLast year, the 125,915,295 interactions on Bell Let’s Talk Day meant $6,295,764.75 in new Bell funding for Canadian mental health programs. #BellLetsTalk was the most used hashtag in the world on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2016 and the #1 Twitter hashtag in Canada for all of 2016; #mentalhealth was also in the top 10, a clear indication that Canadians are talking about mental health all year long. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisement Today is the seventh annual Bell Let’s Talk Day aimed at raising awareness and funds for mental health initiatives. It’s time to talk, text and join in on social media as Canadians everywhere share in the national conversation about mental health.Throughout the day Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives in Canada, by counting every text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and Snapchat geofilter.A press release from Bell said that by getting engaged, you’re not only offering support to the millions of Canadians living with mental illness, you’re also having a direct impact by driving Bell’s donations to mental health programs all year round.
Advertisement Lorde is headed to this year’s iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards — but whether her lamp will make an encore performance remains to be seen.The New Zealand-raised musician is among the first round of artists announced for the televised street party in Toronto on June 18.It marks Lorde’s second time at the MMVAs. Advertisement The singer created a viral moment at the event in 2014 when she prominently featured a floor lamp in her performance of hits “Team” and “Tennis Court.”The moment caught fire on social media and inspired the Twitter account “LordesLamp” in response to the unusual performance. Other artists slated to perform include Iggy Azalea, “Cake By the Ocean” singers DNCE, and Imagine Dragons, known for their massive hits “Radioactive” and “Demons.”Rounding out the first wave of performers is Toronto-based Jazz Cartier, fresh off his Juno Awards win for best rap recording, and Julia Michaels, whose single “Issues” is climbing the upper echelons of the Billboard Hot 100.The MMVAs will air on Much, CTV and stream through the iHeartRadio app. Nominees and a host for the awards show will be announced in May. Advertisement Twitter Facebook Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
Advertisement Though the two performers have never met, Reich has the megastar’s stamp of approval. Gaga herself has tweeted in support of the earlier iteration of #ARTBIRTH, which was inspired by Reich’s own struggle to conceive. That journey is also documented in a Netflix documentary called Vegas Baby, which shows Reich going through in vitro fertilization and eventually getting pregnant with the help of an egg donor. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Reich, 41, fell into the role of impersonator by accident while living in New York City after a YouTube video of her doing a cover of one of Gaga’s hits in 2009 got a lot of views. I’d been a Lady Gaga impersonator for years, and then I wanted to have a family and I found myself single at 36, and I said, “Well, I’m just going to do it on my own. I’m not going to wait for the perfect relationship.” I went to the doctor and found out I had all these infertility problems so I went on this long journey, and it was very difficult with medical procedures and IVF and miscarriages and everything. So it was a very dark time. So basically I just created the show as a way to distract myself … because it’s just this really outrageous, out-of-the-box funny show about bodies and women and fertility and birth. It’s just this perfect hilarious distraction if you’re going through something really dark. Below is an edited version of a conversation with Reich. What do you hope the audience takes away from the show? For Athena Reich, being herself is a part-time job. The rest of the time is spent wearing leotards, wigs and sunglasses while impersonating Lady Gaga. What’s it like being Lady Gaga? “I thought, ‘OK, this could be fun’ and then I just started studying her and learning her music and choreography, and playing at all these parties and events in New York and the U.S., and that’s how it started.” Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement I just want them to laugh and have an amazing good time. Some deeper take-aways are just a love of your body, a release of any shame about it, critique about celebrity culture and fame culture. Those are things it touches upon. It is kind of a feminist comedy because we’re celebrating — but also mocking — all things feminine. It exists in this very strange place of comedy and critiquing things, but also rejoicing in them and silliness. So I hope they just have a really good time and come away more comfortable with the female body and with a little more critique on fame culture. How was the show born? Athena Reich makes up to $6,000 for each appearance as a Lady Gaga impersonator. What’s your favourite part of the show? From birthdays to parties in the Hamptons to corporate events, Reich as Lady Gaga is available for hire with prices ranging from $600 to $6,000. Advertisement I’ve been working for years and years with my own original music and, when you perform original music, it’s new to people so they have to think about it and they have to work a little harder. This was such a counter to that to just go out and perform at an event and … do stuff that people already know and already love. It was a big high and really easy. Lady Gaga is always pushing boundaries so it’s so fun to be her as an actress, to take on her character because there’s no boundary you can’t push with her. Reich opens a new show, #ARTBIRTH, in which she portrays a pregnant Lady Gaga, at the Berkeley Street Downstairs Theatre in her native Toronto beginning Thursday. “People started contacting me and saying, ‘You really sound like her, you look like her. I’ll pay you a lot of money if you do my party,’” she recalled. #ARTBIRTH first ran in New York, but the Toronto version is completely different, says Reich. Unlike the old show, which was a cabaret, this is a full-blown musical with a longer run time and new content. I think my very favourite part is just if you have a good audience and they’re vocal. I’m really hoping that the audience will let loose a little and laugh really loud because my favourite part is having that connection with the audience, and just playing with them and even improvising off their laughter, because the more they give me the more crazy I get. My favourite is just whatever moment happens from the audience giving and being with me in that moment. Twitter
Facebook Soulpepper Theatre Company has been in dialogue with the artists of Amadeus and has made the decision to support their recommendation to cancel the production.The actors and designers of Soulpepper’s production of Amadeus say the following: “We reached a consensus to recommend not to continue with the show. Amadeus was directed by Albert Schultz. We believe Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan, and Hannah Miller, and stand with them.”*Members of Soulpepper are experiencing profound anger, hurt, and confusion, both on a personal level and on behalf of all victims of harassment. We have a lot of questions and a lot of uncertainty. But we are determined to reimagine the future at Soulpepper by grappling with where the company has come from, facing difficult questions, in order for healing and transformation to take place. We are committed to making art at Soulpepper in a safe, respectful and professional environment.Colleen AllenDerek BoyesCourtney Ch’ng LancasterLeah CherniakOliver DennisAlan DilworthRaquel DuffyKen MacKenzieDiego MatamorosKelly McEvenueMiranda MullhollandGregory PrestMike RossLorenzo SavoiniGregory J. SinclairGuillermo VerdecchiaPaula Wing* Actors and Designers of AmadeusFrank Cox-O’ConnellMiriam FernandesKatherine GauthierHailey GillisKevin LamotteDiego MatamorosJohn NgColin PalangioGregory PrestPaolo SantaluciaLorenzo SavoiniJames SmithSugith VarugheseJennifer VillaverdeMichaela WashburnJeff YungArtists wishing to add their name to this statement should contact Lorenzo Savoini at email@example.com.To view the pdf version of this statement – CLICK HERE The organization has agreed to share a statement from artists of Soulpepper Theatre Company.January 6, 2018The Soulpepper Artists listed below acknowledge there has been an unhealthy workplace culture for a long time. Unequivocally, the behaviour described in the allegations is not acceptable and has no place at Soulpepper. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitter
Facebook Advertisement Admission has been selling for three consecutive days, but it seems that no matter how hard people tried, tickets for the L.A.-based comedians ultimately ended up on StubHub at jacked-up prices.We all know Toronto is obsessed with true crime, but the level of MFM dedication is insanity. Advertisement Toronto fans of the wildly popular true crime podcast My Favorite Murder are devastated after tickets for the live show sold out within minutes of going on sale on Wednesday.The way my heat broke when I saw that tickets are sold out for @MyFavMurder live show in Toronto
APTN National NewsThe Yukon coroner will be holding an inquest into the sudden death of a First Nations man.Robert Stone, 34, was found dead after he had been in the hands of the RCMP, health-care workers and detox centre staff for 14 hours.Stone’s death happened around the time when another inquest in the Yukon was looking into the death of another First Nations man who also died in police custody.The coroner in that case found that the RCMP watched but did nothing as Raymond Silverfox died in his cell.APTN National News reporter Shirley McLean has more on the story.
APTN National NewsJohn Graham has been convicted of murder in teh death of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash.Graham was found guilty Friday in connection with the 1975 execution of Aquash.Graham and Aquash were both members of the American Indian Movement.Graham’s family says his murder conviction is unjust.
APTN National NewsA plane crash in northern Ontario Tuesday has left four people dead and one survivor.Witnesses say the weather at the time of the crash was like a blizzard.Now a community is left to work through the trauma and wonder what exactly happened.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler has the story.
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Native Women’s Association says it will be “denouncing” the Conservative government over its decision to slash 10 per cent from core funding to Aboriginal organizations across the country.NWAC president Michele Audette says her organization will show the country the government’s true colours.“I’ll make sure that Canadian society sees what this government does to an organization that is really important,” said Audette. “They know that family violence is an epidemic in our communities, they know that women are being murdered, we are the ones pushing on this every day. I will make sure people know.”The department of Aboriginal Affairs announced this week it would slash 10 per cent from the core funding to Aboriginal organizations.The department announced on Tuesday it would be changing the funding formulas for so-called “Aboriginal Representative Organizations” and tribal councils. On Wednesday, Michael Wernick, deputy minister for Aboriginal Affairs, sent letters to band councils, tribal councils the heads of the AROs, which includes NWAC and Assembly of First Nations, outlining the cuts.The department, however, couldn’t say how much the cuts would save or provide an official to explain the move.According to Wernick’s letter, on April 1, 2014, core funding for national Aboriginal organizations will be cut by 10 per cent and regional organizations will face the same cuts and be put under a $500,000 core funding cap.Wernick said the department would also be reducing money available for “proposal-based” projects, which was one of the sources for NWAC’s much-vaunted Sisters in Spirit initiative. Wernick said only proposals in line with the department’s priorities, like education, economic development and infrastructure, will be considered.“We are ensuring that government funding is directed primarily at the delivery of essential services and programs for Aboriginal peoples,” said Wernick.Tribal councils will also face funding changes for the first time in 30 years, said Wernick, in the letter. Tribal councils will no longer receive money for “advisory services” to member First Nations. The department will now focus funding for tribal councils that “support increased delivery of Aboriginal Affairs…programs and services to communities.”Audette said that the 10 per cent cut will take about $67,000 from NWAC’s core budget, which is a major hit for their small organization.“For them, it’s probably not that much, but for what we do every day … it is going to impact us a lot,” she said.
APTN National NewsNova Scotia’s second largest First Nation has a new chief.APTN National News reporter Tim Fontaine has this story.
APTN National NewsCooling the fires is the new goal of the Ontario provincial police when it comes to First Nation protests.And it’s released a report on how the organization is doing just that.APTN’s Donna Sound has more.
APTN National NewsA day after the special assembly rejected the federal government’s education bill, a small number of chiefs were meeting again at the Assembly of First Nations.APTN’s Annette Francis reports.
APTN National NewsA high school in Edmonton is taking a different approach to teaching at risk youth.It’s providing students wtih one on one time and is catering to each student’s individual need.Learning about Indigenous culture is a big part of the curriculum.APTN’s Chris Stewart brings us this story.
Uni’stot’en Healing Centre in LNG pipeline path. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTNKathleen MartensAPTN NewsThe Unist’ot’en Healing Centre stands among the tall trees more than two hours drive southeast of Smithers, B.C.An impressive three-storey complex surrounded by outbuildings.“It’s a healing facility – not a protest camp,” said spokeswoman Freda Huson, who lives here with her husband and hereditary Chief Smogelgem (Warner Naziel).A healing centre that just happens to be in the path of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline that will carry natural gas from northeastern B.C. to tanker ships waiting at the Port of Kitimat to sail to Asian markets.When LNG Canada announced the $40-billion pipeline approval in October, it said it had unanimous support from all northern B.C. First Nations.But the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are opposed – even though their elected band council has endorsed the project.“We don’t want their money,” said Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale).“We’ve stripped the names from three female hereditary chiefs for supporting the pipeline. A name is more important than money.”(Hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation in northern B.C. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Ridsdale speaks for one of five clans that comprise the nation made up of 22,000 square kilometres of territory between Burns Lake and Kitimat.It’s a stunning terrain, dotted with snow-capped mountains and pristine waterways.Ridsdale and the other chiefs, wearing traditional regalia, are showing their support today.They must pledge to respect the centre’s ways before being allowed to pass a high wooden gate studded with barbed wire.They then sit down to a lunch of fish caught in the Morice River just steps from the front door.They meet two male band members here to detox from substance abuse.“Once people are strong they want to reconnect to the land and protect the territory,” said Huson, who has lived here for 10 years.“You can’t stand up if you’re oppressed; people come here to get decolonized.”One of those men is on video posted to the group’s Facebook page turning back officials from TransCanada Corp.(Officials from TransCanada Corp. were turned away. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)It’s a peaceful rejection but the company will be back – TransCanada has to clear land for the pipeline it plans to begin constructing in the first quarter of 2019.And, sure enough, TransCanada filed an injunction Nov. 27 saying it would try to enter the camp again on Dec. 10.But the Wet’suwet’en believe fossil fuel will poison the land, kill the fish and sicken the wildlife.“The sound of stuff going through the pipe is going to disturb the moose and mountain goats,” said Ridsdale, who noted 23 per cent or about 190 kilometres of the pipeline would run through Wet’suwet’en territory.“That’s about 190 kilometres too much.”APTN Investigates was the first to be allowed access to the camp. Watch Rob Smith’s story here: DefianceRidsdale is proud of their opposition despite the rift it has caused within his community.But he doesn’t criticize other nations – only Wet’suwet’en members who have accepted “millions of dollars in mutual benefit agreements.”“They’ve dirtied their blankets,” he said of the ceremonial shoulder mantles chiefs wear. “That’s greed.”TransCanada said 20 bands along the pipeline route have given their blessing after six years of meetings.Only the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs refused to participate, the company said.(Chief Councillor Crystal Smith of Haisla Nation. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)The neighbouring Haisla Nation also wants to help its hurting people.And use pipeline money to do it.Chief Councillor Crystal Smith said they will build a healing centre with LNG funds.“We want opportunity for our people,” she said standing on the shore of the Douglas Channel.“An opportunity for programming to heal from that past trauma like residential school.”Haisla territory includes the coastal shoreline where TransCanada is dredging to deepen the port to accommodate big ships, which will carry the cargo after it has been liquefied at a new plant to be built here.LNG will set up shop next to Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat.“That was an opportunity we weren’t a part of,” said Smith, tilting her head towards the smelter’s exhaust plume rising above the thick forest.“It’s a meaningful partnership this time, with environmental standards. LNG treated us like the rightful landowners.”(Home on Haisla Nation. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Red-and-white lawn signs in support of LNG and its development in northern B.C. pepper Kitamaat Village, the band’s townsite.Along with jobs and funds, Smith said LNG has set a new standard for consultation.She said there were 86 meetings leading up to the project’s permit being awarded.Smith said other industries have come and gone – without remediating the pollution they left behind.She is confident that won’t happen this time.And, she said, hundreds of Haisla band members have left, too, in search of housing, employment and education elsewhere.Now Smith wants to give them something to come back for.Turning serious now, she reveals her common-law husband took his own life five years ago after struggling with mental illness.That has motivated her to put health and wellness at the top of her development list.“I want to change our quality of life,” she said gazing over the water.“I want to make an impact on this generation.”firstname.lastname@example.org@katmarte
TORONTO – Capital investment in the Canadian auto assembly sector since the financial crisis has been nearly cut in half compared with the period before the downturn, a new report says.DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said Wednesday that capital spending for Canada’s motor vehicle assembly industry has averaged $1.2 billion a year for 2010-17.That’s down from $2.3 billion annually on average from 2000 through 2009.Meanwhile, the average new capital expenditures for the parts and accessories industry dropped to $565.9 million from $887.7 million for the same time periods.“Despite small occasional increases in the period between 2008 and 2017 there has been no sustained indication of a return to the heights recorded in the mid to late 90s and late 2000’s,” DesRosiers said.“Canada’s loss of investment market share to Mexico and the southern U.S. over this period has been well documented.”However, DesRosiers noted that investments by truck body and trailer manufacturers have increased on average from $52.7 million for 2000 to 2009 to $82.7 million since 2010.Securing new investments in Canada was a key goal for Unifor during its negotiations with the big U.S. automakers last year.Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler all pledged to invest hundreds of millions in their Canadian operations as part of their agreements with the union.Meanwhile, Unifor members remain on strike at GM’s CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., where the union is seeking to have the location designated the lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox.Job security at the plant is a key issue, with Unifor seeking to prevent work from being moved to Mexico, where GM also produces the popular sport utility vehicle.The plant saw the loss of hundreds of jobs when GM shifted production of its GMC Terrain from Ingersoll to Mexico earlier this year.
Sears Canada has received court approval to proceed with a full liquidation of its remaining stores, signalling the end of an era for a 65-year-old chain that was once a staple at malls across the country.Ontario Superior Court heard Friday that after weeks of discussion and a bid from the company’s executive chairman, no viable buyer has been found. The move will put 12,000 of its employees out of a job.Justice Glenn Hainey approved Sears Canada’s motion to liquidate its remaining 130 stores, and said he was satisfied that there was no viable alternative following a months-long saga stemming from the embattled retailer’s decision to seek protection from its creditors in June.Liquidation could start as early as Oct. 19, and could continue for 10 to 14 week, stretching closing sales across the busy holiday shopping period.Orestes Pasparakis, a lawyer representing the court-appointed monitor FTI Consulting Canada, said it supported the liquidation because it did not think there was any other option.“We recognize that today the order will effectively bring Sears Canada’s 65 years as a national retailer to an end,” he told the court. “Many people have worked hard to understand whether there is a viable alternative. It appears that there is not.”A buyer group led by Sears Canada executive chairman Brandon Stranzl had been in discussions to purchase the retailer and continue to operate it. Stranzl, who stepped away from his role with the company in August to launch a bid, was in the Toronto courtroom on Friday.Jeremy Dacks, a lawyer for Sears Canada, told the court Friday the company had remained optimistic and many stakeholders worked “tirelessly around the clock,” but ultimately decided liquidation was the best way forward.Under the terms of the liquidation agreement, Sears Canada can terminate the agreement if another potential transaction emerges, but will need to pay a break fee and expense reimbursement totalling $4.55 million, the court heard.Susan Ursel, a lawyer representing current and former employees, told Justice Hainey Friday that they will continue to support discussions towards a potential transaction.“This company has touched the lives of generations of Canadians,” she told the court.“For employees and their families, it has been a source of livelihood, community, camaraderie and pride. That we’ve come to this juncture is a source of frustration, anger in some corners, and apprehension for many.”Sears Canada currently has 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores, and 49 Sears Hometown stores, facing closure. It currently has approximately 12,000 employees, three-quarters of which are part-time.That tally doesn’t include the 2,900 job cuts Sears Canada previously announced in June, when it announced the closure of 20 department store locations, 15 Sears Home stores, 10 Sears Outlet and 14 Sears Hometown locations.
Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,384.59, down 9.36 points)Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Aerospace, rail equipment. Down two cents, or 0.50 per cent, to $3.96 on 9.9 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 15 cents, or 1.39 per cent, to $10.63 on 6.3 million shares.Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX). Miner. Up 28 cents, or 1.92 per cent, to $14.88 on 5.8 million shares.Klondex Mines Ltd. (TSX:KDX). Miner. Up 17 cents, or 9.71 per cent, to $1.92 on 5.2 million shares.Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Health care. Down 97 cents, or 3.24 per cent, to $28.99 on 5.1 million shares.Husky Energy Inc. (TSX:HSE). Oil and gas. Up nine cents, or 0.53 per cent, to $17.03 on 4.9 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO). Bank. Up seven cents, or 0.07 per cent, to $96.51 on 1.1 million shares. The bank is taking over a four-storey space in the Toronto Eaton Centre in a bid to attract the high-tech talent it needs to bring ideas to the market quicker. BMO’s plans, unveiled on Thursday, include an “urban campus” that will take over a portion of Sears Canada’s former digs at the mall and house 3,500 employees when it opens in 2021.George Weston Ltd. (TSX:WN). Grocer. Up 37 cents, or 0.36 per cent, to $104.12 on 97,878 shares. The grocery chain launched a multi-year transformation plan in its most recent quarter as its profits fell by two-thirds in a difficult year for the company. The plan, which began in November, includes restructuring the organization and simplifying operations, said Luc Mongeau, president of the Weston Foods division. The company’s fourth-quarter profit fell as a result of special items including the cost of a $25 Loblaw gift card program offered as a goodwill gesture to customers for the company’s involvement in an alleged industry-wide price-fixing scheme. Net income attributable to common shareholders dropped to $28 million (22 cents per share), down from $82 million (64 cents per share) a year ago.
WASHINGTON – Unwilling to yield, President Donald Trump and China’s government escalated their trade clash Friday, with Beijing vowing to “counterattack with great strength” if Trump follows through on threats to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods.Trump made his out-of-the-blue move when China threatened to retaliate for the first round of tariffs planned by the United States. But for someone who has long fashioned himself as a master negotiator, Trump left it unclear whether he was bluffing or willing to enter a protracted trade war pitting the world’s two biggest economies against each other, with steep consequences for consumers, businesses and an already shaken stock market.“They aren’t going to bully him into backing down,” said Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser who is now a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He said the Chinese “are going to have to make concessions — period.”The White House sent mixed signals on Friday as financial markets slid from investor concern about a significant trade fight. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC he was “cautiously optimistic” that the U.S. and China could reach an agreement before any tariffs are implemented but added, “there is the potential of a trade war.”White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters the U.S. was “not in a trade war,” adding, “China is the problem. Blame China, not Trump.”Trump’s latest proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle for more than a half century. The U.S. bought more than $500 billion in goods from China last year and now is planning or considering penalties on some $150 billion of those imports. The U.S. sold about $130 billion in goods to China in 2017 and faces a potentially devastating hit to its market there if China responds in kind.Global financial markets have fallen sharply as the world’s two biggest economies squared off — the Dow Jones industrial average sank 572 points Friday.Trump told advisers Thursday he was unhappy with China’s decision to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move this week to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods.Rather than waiting weeks for the U.S. tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, and was encouraged by Peter Navarro, a top White House trade adviser, to seek the enhanced tariffs, upping the ante.White House chief of staff John Kelly and Mnuchin concurred with the move, as did Kudlow, who travelled with the president to West Virginia.China said negotiations were impossible under the circumstances but Trump officials said the president and his team remained in contact with President Xi Jinping and expressed hope to him of resolving the dispute through talks. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the two sides remained in “routine contact.”In Beijing, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said China doesn’t want a trade war — but isn’t afraid to fight one.“If the U.S. side announces the list of products for $100 billion in tariffs, the Chinese side has fully prepared and will without hesitation counterattack with great strength,” spokesman Gao Feng said. He gave no indication what measures Beijing might take.Trump has also pushed for a crackdown on China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property, and he criticized the World Trade Organization, an arbiter of trade disputes, in a tweet Friday for allegedly favouring China. Trump asserted the WTO gives the Asian superpower “tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the U.S.”U.S. officials have played down the threat of a broader trade dispute, saying a negotiated outcome is still possible. But economists warn that the tit-for-tat moves bear the hallmarks of a classic trade rift that could keep growing. Worry is intensifying among Republicans, who traditionally have favoured liberalized trade.“The administration needs to be thinking about the unintended consequences and what are those ripple effects, those domino effects, and what are the retaliatory actions that are likely to be taken,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s No. 3 Republican, in an interview with KDLT-TV in Sioux Falls.The standoff over the trade penalties began last month when the U.S. slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. China countered by announcing tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. products. The next day, the United States proposed the $50 billion in duties on Chinese imports, and Beijing lashed back within hours with a threat of further tariffs of its own.Further escalation could be in the offing. The U.S. Treasury is working on plans to restrict Chinese technology investments in the United States. And there’s talk that the U.S. could also put limits on visas for Chinese who want to visit or study in this country.Kudlow told reporters the U.S. may provide a list of suggestions to China “as to what we would like to have come out of this,” and those issues were under discussion.“Negotiations are better than tariffs,” Kudlow said. “A solution in the next three months would be better than anything. I think that’s eminently doable.” He added: “But Trump is not just using tariffs as a negotiating card. He said that to me.”For Trump, the dispute runs the risk of blunting the economic benefits of his tax overhaul, which is at the centre of congressional Republicans’ case for voters to keep them in power in the 2018 mid-term elections. China’s retaliation so far has targeted Midwest farmers, including growers of soybeans, corn and wheat. That could specifically harm core Trump supporters.“With respect to the Trump administration, its political success will rise and fall with the economy,” Kudlow said. “And the economy is doing rather well now and I expect it to do even better.”___Associated Press writers Gillian Wong and Henry Hou in Beijing, and Jill Colvin, Paul Wiseman and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report.__On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at https://twitter.com/KThomasDC
PHILADELPHIA – Starbucks wants to add training for store managers on “unconscious bias,” CEO Kevin Johnson said Monday, as activists held more protests at a Philadelphia store where two black men were arrested after employees said they were trespassing.Johnson, who has called the arrests “reprehensible,” arrived in Philadelphia this weekend after video of the incident gained traction online. He said he hopes to meet with the two men in the next couple of days and apologize face to face. A company spokesman said the men have agreed to a meeting with Johnson, but it was not immediately known when it would take place.“I’d like to have a dialogue with them and the opportunity to listen to them with compassion and empathy through the experience they went through,” said Johnson, who has been CEO for about a year. Stewart Cohen, the lawyer for the two men, said he hopes “something productive for the community” can come out of such a meeting.The incident is a major blow to Starbucks’ image, since the company has promoted its coffee shops as neighbourhood hangouts where anyone is welcome. After a video of the arrests spread online, the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks trended on Twitter.And on Monday morning, about two dozen protesters took over the Philadelphia shop, chanting slogans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black.” A Starbucks regional vice-president who attempted to talk to the protesters was shouted down.“We don’t want this Starbucks to make any money today. That’s our goal,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest’s organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday. Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment about the employment status of the manager who called police.Officials have said the officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything, and they refused to leave.Video shows several police talking quietly with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren’t doing anything wrong. A white man identified as real estate developer Andrew Yaffe arrives and tells the officers the two men were waiting for him. An officer says the men were not complying and were being arrested for trespassing.“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe says. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous? It’s absolute discrimination.”A woman can be heard in the video saying “they didn’t do anything, I saw the entire thing.”Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who met with Johnson on Monday, said the city will review its guidelines on how to respond to future requests for police assistance.Police haven’t announced the names of the men, who were released after the district attorney’s office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.Asked if the incident was a case of racism, Johnson responded: “Starbucks was built around the concept of a third place where we create a warm and welcoming environment for all customers. What I do know is that did not happen in this instance. And that is what we’re focused on.”Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart had taken to Twitter on Monday to vent about the arrests, saying the company failed to take advantage of an opportunity to call out racial profiling. He says the employee who called police should have been fired.On Sunday he tweeted, “Our city is shining bright like a diamond right now. Please make this situation right.”Seattle-based Starbucks had posted a statement on Twitter over the weekend about the arrests, followed by an apology from Johnson.“Every company makes mistakes, but great companies are the ones that learn from those mistakes and take appropriate action,” Johnson said Monday. “And that’s exactly what I intend to do. We’re reviewing all aspects of this.”_____Pisani reported from New York.
Air Canada and three financial firms made an unsolicited $2.25-billion offer to buy the Aeroplan loyalty business from Aimia Inc. to allow customers to transfer their points to its own platform in 2020, the Montreal-based airline told its clients.“We heard from many customers who were excited about our plans, and would prefer to transfer their Aeroplan Miles to the new Air Canada loyalty program,” Air Canada said in an email to customers on Wednesday. “This is what this proposed deal allows us to do.”Shares of Aimia Inc. soared after the Air Canada-led consortium — including Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada — proposed to buy Aeroplan in a deal valued at $2.25 billion, including points liabilities they would assume.The group said the offer would expire Aug. 2 but such deadlines are often amended.The consortium said the proposed transaction would provide continuity for Aeroplan members as well as customers of the four companies — which all have long-standing relationships with Aimia — behind the bid.“If completed, the proposed transaction would result in a positive outcome for Aimia shareholders and Aeroplan members, allowing for a smooth transition of Aeroplan members’ points to Air Canada’s new loyalty program launching in 2020, safeguarding their points and providing convenience and value for millions of Canadians,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.It wasn’t immediately clear whether Aimia’s board would recommend the offer, which the consortium said was worth the equivalent of $3.64 per share.Aimia stock rose as much 44 per cent to $3.60 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the consortium’s announcement. Shares had slipped to $3.50 by 2 p.m.Aimia confirmed Wednesday that it received the consortium’s conditional proposal, noting that it followed prior private engagement and discussions between the parties.The loyalty company’s board of directors formed a special committee of independent directors “some time ago in connection with such engagement and discussions and had engaged legal and financial advisors,” Aimia said in a statement.“The special committee will consider this proposal in consultation with its legal and financial advisors to assess whether the proposal is in the best interests of shareholders and the company as a whole and will make appropriate recommendations to the board,” Aimia said.Under the proposal, a corporation to be formed by the consortium would acquire Aimia’s loyalty business, including roughly $2 billion worth of Aeroplan points obligations as of March 31, 2018, for $250 million in cash. The total purchase price, in turn, is valued at approximately $2.25 billion.The future of Aeroplan, which has more than five million members, has been in doubt since Air Canada announced in May 2017 that it planned to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in 2020. Aimia’s 30-year-partnership with Air Canada is due to expire in July 2020.Over the past 14 months, Aimia’s stock had fallen to $2.50 as of the close on Tuesday, down from $8.84 prior to Air Canada’s departure announcement.Shares got a boost earlier this month, however, when Aimia announced plans to get into the airline business itself by offering charter flights to its most popular destinations. It said on July 19 that it was in discussions with potential airline partners to operate narrowbody aircraft ideally suited for flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean.The consortium’s proposed acquisition of Aimia on Wednesday surprised analysts, given Air Canada’s plans for its own platform.“Air Canada’s offer may be difficult to accept for Aimia’s management given that Air Canada had abruptly decided not to renew its contract with Aeroplan last year causing havoc in Aimia’s share price,” said Martin Landry, an analyst with GMP Securities.Given the magnitude of the transaction, it will likely require a vote from Aimia shareholders, he said in a note to clients.“We believe they will be tempted to accept Air Canada’s offer despite the sour taste it may leave with some shareholders,” Landry said.For Air Canada, the transaction “potentially removes the customer relations headache of orphaned Aeroplan members and potential negative goodwill,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Doug Taylor said in a note to clients.The “smooth transition” for Aeroplan members to the new program would also ensure significant initial uptake for Air Canada’s own program when it begins in mid-2020, Taylor adds.“While it is tough to handicap the financial impact of the values being discussed, having the much larger and well-funded financial services partners coming along with the deal certainly helps spread the assumed liability around,” Taylor said. “Additionally, Air Canada will likely have more control on how the liability is serviced vs. the prior agreement with Aimia.”Developing a loyalty program as sophisticated as Aeroplan is a challenge, and the consortium’s move to buy it instead is not surprising, said Louis Hebert, a professor at the department of management at HEC Montreal.“It seems that Air Canada came to the conclusion that it was simpler to buy it and enjoy a program that works well and has a good reputation,” he said.Air Canada created Aeroplan as in-house loyalty program but it was spun off as an independent business as part of a court-supervised restructuring of Canada’s largest airline. At the time, CIBC was Aeroplan’s main bank partner.Since 2014, TD has been Aeroplan’s main Visa card partner although CIBC continues to offer Aeroplan cards rewards points that can be redeemed for Air Canada flights and other merchandise.Visa Canada did not respond to a request for comment. TD and CIBC declined to comment.For the banks, the primary motivation behind this bid is “defensive in nature,” said Gabriel Dechaine, an analyst with National Bank.“Credit cards are one of the highest return businesses the banks have, and the Aeroplan portfolio is a high quality one,” he said in a note. “We estimate it generates combined profitability well in excess of $400 million for the two banks.”The banks likely wanted to avoid “annoying their customers” with another transition to a different loyalty program, which “could have made them vulnerable to being picked off by competitors,” he added.Companies in this story: (TSX:AIM, TSX:AC, TSX:CM, TSX:TD)— With a file from Julien Arsenault