Burnaby U-brewer in business peril wants change to B.C. law banning samples

Business isn’t looking too good at a Burnaby-based U-brew where customers can pitch in to make their own beer.

According to Burnaby Brewing Company owner Jesse Shepherd, it’s because he’s not allowed to give out samples.

“Before you bought your car, you test drove it. Before you bought the pair of pants you’re wearing, you tried them on,” Shepherd said.

“How am I supposed to sell six flats of beer to somebody who’s never tried it? U-brews are closing down left, right and centre right now.”

Shepherd said his U-brew has been running successfully for 25 years. According to him, the “art” of making your own beer has always appealed to people.

But now, business is suffering, thanks to a B.C. liquor law that prevents him from letting customers try before buying.

At the U-brew, customers choose a beer they want to make and pitch the yeast — but they have to buy 144 cans at once at a cost of about $150. Shepherd said in the age of craft breweries and tasting rooms, people aren’t willing to do that.

“Every new customer we get in the door, first thing they ask is, ‘Can I get a sample of something?’” Shepherd said.

“So when they come here and we’re not able to offer any samples, pretty much 80 per cent of them walk right out the door.”

Shepherd can’t offer samples because the U-brew is classified as a grocery store rather than a brewery. 

He said the law stopping him from giving out samples is outdated, so he is trying to get local politicians to change it.

He says the people he has spoken to, including Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech, are all for it.

Global News has reached out to Beech and B.C.’s Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Office for comment.

 

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Manafort allegedly lied about giving polling data to Russian: court filing

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was accused by federal prosecutors of lying about sharing polling data related to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign with a business partner with alleged ties to Russian intelligence, according to portions of a court filing by Manafort’s defense team that were inadvertently made public on Tuesday.

Before sending the document to a public database for federal court filings, lawyers for Manafort had tried to black out the portion on polling data and other information about Manafort’s interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a former business partner of Manafort’s who Mueller has claimed in court filings has ties to Russian intelligence.

But some journalists, including at Vox and the Guardian, realized the redacted portions could be electronically reversed and posted uncensored versions on Twitter. Reuters did not independently review the filing, which was soon replaced in the public database with a properly redacted version.

Manafort’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment on the matter. A spokesman for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is prosecuting Manafort, declined to comment. Kilimnik could not be reached for comment.

According to the unredacted versions posted online, the blacked-out sections showed that Manafort has been accused by Mueller of lying about his sharing of polling data on the 2016 campaign with Kilimnik.

The sections posted online also stated that Mueller’s office believes that Manafort lied to prosecutors about his discussions with Kilimnik about a “Ukrainian peace plan” and a meeting that Manafort had with Kilimnik when they both were in Madrid.

The filing did not provide further details on the Madrid meeting or the peace plan, although Mueller has scrutinized a proposal by a Ukrainian lawmaker that involved, among other outcomes, the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

In the document Manafort’s lawyers referenced a December court filing in which Mueller alleged that Manafort had “conceded” to discussing the peace plan, which they argued was an indication that their client was forthcoming when his memory was refreshed of past events.

The inadvertent disclosures offered a rare glimpse into details that were meant to remain private while Manafort’s lawyers and Mueller’s office battle over whether Manafort has breached a plea agreement struck in September by lying.

In December Mueller accused Manafort in a court filing of telling “multiple discernible lies” related to five subjects, including his interactions with Kilimnik and his contacts with Trump administration officials in 2018.

At the time Manafort’s lawyers said their client never intentionally provided incorrect information to prosecutors, but asked the judge for time to consider whether they wanted to contest Mueller’s allegations or proceed to sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson had given Manafort’s lawyers until Monday to make a decision.

“The defense contests the Government’s conclusion and contends that any alleged misstatements, to the extent they occurred at all, were not intentional,” Manafort’s lawyers said in the filing, which was filed on Monday and released by the court on Tuesday.

In the filing Manafort’s lawyers said they would not seek an evidentiary hearing to contest Mueller’s allegations of lying, arguing that such factual matters could be addressed in a pre-sentencing report.

Following the filing by Manafort’s lawyers, Jackson ordered the government to submit evidence supporting their allegations by Jan. 14, and held out the option of holding a hearing on the matter on Jan. 25.

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Opinion | The Green New Deal Rises Again

Back in 2007, I wrote a column calling for a “Green New Deal,” and I later expanded on the idea in a book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” Barack Obama picked up the theme and made a Green New Deal part of his 2008 platform, but the idea just never took off. So I’m excited that the new Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others have put forward their own takes on a Green New Deal, and it’s now getting some real attention.

There is no agreed-upon policy road map for a Green New Deal. But as one of the leading climate bloggers, Joe Romm, recently pointed out, “Since the midterms, dozens of U.S. representatives and at least four Democratic senators have pledged support to create a Select Committee to create legislation for a Green New Deal. The goal is a ‘detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ to rapidly transition the country away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, such as a solar, wind, and electric cars.”

The Green New Deal that Ocasio-Cortez has laid out aspires to power the U.S. economy with 100 percent renewable energy within 12 years and calls for “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one,” “basic income programs” and “universal health care,” financed, at least in part, by higher taxes on the wealthy. Critics argue that this is technically unfeasible and that combining it with democratic socialist proposals will drive off conservatives needed to pass it.

Myself, I like the urgency and energy she and groups like the Sunrise Movement are bringing to this task. So for now I say: Let a hundred Green New Deal ideas bloom! Let’s see what sticks and what falls by the wayside.

My own definition of a Green New Deal, which has evolved since 2007 as the technology has gotten better and the climate problem has gotten worse, remains focused on how a green revolution in America can drive innovation, spur new industries and enhance our security. Originally I also thought it could help us get our groove back after the 2007-8 recession. Success required changes in attitude, scale and innovation.

Clean energy is a problem of scale. If you don’t have scale, you have a hobby. I like hobbies. I used to build model airplanes. But you can’t mitigate climate change as a hobby. The reason I called for a Green New Deal was first and foremost to convey that this undertaking required a massive, urgent response commensurate with the scale and time frame posed by accelerating disruptive climate.

For too long “green” was viewed as a synonym for a project that was boutique, uneconomical, liberal, sissy and vaguely French. I wanted to recast green as geostrategic, capitalistic, economical, innovative and patriotic. My motto was, “Green is the new red, white and blue.” I did not believe in being a “nice” green. I believed in being a mean green. I believed greens should be as brassy, bold, big sky and in-your-face as any oil and gas executive.

I liked the way environmental writer David Roberts put it in 2008: “Like so much of the American left, the environmental movement has become acclimated to the notion that it is operating outside the mainstream, knocking sheepishly on the door. Its rallying cry might as well be, ‘If it’s not too much trouble. …’” Forget that, Roberts argued, it is time for the green movement to think big and make big demands — something oil and gas executives do every day.

To achieve scale, though, my view was that a Green New Deal had to be embraced by more than liberals. You had to reach conservatives and even climate deniers. My way of doing that was to focus on something we can all agree on: math. There are about 7.6 billion people on the planet today and, according to the United Nations, there will be 8.6 billion in 2030. A billion more people driving, flying, eating protein, building homes and drinking water in just over a decade.

If they all adopt the per-capita consumption habits of today’s Americans, we’re going to burn up, heat up, eat up, plow up, choke up and smoke up the planet, whether the climate changes or not. That means that clean power, clean cars, clean manufacturing, clean water and energy efficiency have to be the next great global industries — otherwise, we humans are going to be a bad biological experiment, whether the climate changes or not.

Who believes that America can remain a great country and not lead the next great global industry? Not me. A Green New Deal, in other words, is a strategy for American national security, national resilience, natural security and economic leadership in the 21st century. Surely some conservatives can support that.

And to make sure that they have an incentive to, I would also guarantee that a portion of every dollar raised by a carbon tax in a Green New Deal would be invested in two new community college and high-speed broadband in rural areas of every state. Each state could decide where. Every American needs to feel a chance to gain from a Green New Deal.

But which Green New Deal? Mine is focused on innovation. I believe there is only one thing as big as Mother Nature, and that is Father Greed — a.k.a., the market. I am a green capitalist. I think we will only get the scale we need by shaping the market. If I were drafting a Green New Deal platform today, it would put in place steadily rising mileage, manufacturing and emissions standards; stronger building codes; and carbon market prices that would say to our industries and innovators: Here are the goals, here is the level of clean power or efficiency that you have to hit every year — and may the best company win.

As I wrote in my 2007 column: “To spark a Green New Deal today requires getting two things right: government regulations and prices. Look at California. By setting steadily higher standards for the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances — and creating incentives for utilities to work with consumers to use less power — California has held its per-capita electricity use constant for 30 years, while the rest of the nation has seen per-capita electricity use increase by nearly 50 percent, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That has saved California from building 24 giant power plants.”

To keep it simple, my goals would be what energy innovator Hal Harvey has dubbed “the four zeros.” 1. Zero-net energy buildings: buildings that can produce as much energy as they consume. 2. Zero-waste manufacturing: stimulating manufacturers to design and build products that use fewer raw materials and that are easily disassembled and recycled. 3. A zero-carbon grid: If we can combine renewable power generation at a utility scale with some consumers putting up their own solar panels and windmills that are integrated with the grid, and with large-scale storage batteries, we really could, one day, electrify everything carbon-free. 4. Zero-emissions transportation: a result of combining electric vehicles and electric public transportation with a zero-carbon grid.

That’s my Green New Deal circa 2019. It basically says: Forget the Space Race. We don’t need a man, or woman, on Mars. We need an Earth Race — a free-market competition to ensure that mankind can continue to thrive on Earth. A Green New Deal is the strategy for that. It can make America healthier, wealthier, more innovative, more energy secure, more respected — and weaken petro-dictators across the globe.

I am eager to see what other people propose, but we don’t have another decade to waste. This may well be our last chance to build the technologies we need at the scale of the challenge we face in the time we still have to — as scientists say — manage the unavoidable aspects of climate change and avoid the unmanageable ones.

As the environmentalist Dana Meadows once put it, “We have exactly enough time — starting now.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Op-Ed columnist. He joined the paper in 1981, and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @tomfriedman Facebook

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Trump’s Speech to the Nation: Live Updates and Fact Checks

Here’s what the president said, and how it stacks up against the facts.

“Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with other Democrats.”

This needs context.

Twenty-six Senate Democrats — including Mr. Schumer — voted for a 2006 law that authorized about 700 miles of fencing along the southwest border. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump characterized the 2006 legislation as inadequate, dismissing it as “such a little wall, it was such a nothing wall.”

As part of his campaign, Mr. Trump promised to build a 1,000-mile concrete border wall. He sometimes calls the wall a fence, though he has also rejected suggestions that it is a fence.

— Linda Qiu

“America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.”

This needs context.

Some economists argue that immigrants only drive down available jobs and wages for Americans if they are competing for the same jobs as the domestic workforce. In many cases, immigrants – legal or illegal – are seeking jobs that American citizens do not want to do.

Kevin Hassett, the White House’s top economist, argued before joining the Trump administration that immigration spurs economic growth and that the United States should double its intake of immigrants.

Alan Rappeport

“Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which flows across our southern border.”

This needs context.

Most heroin smuggled into the United States does come through the southwest border, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest National Drug Assessment report.

But most fentanyl enters the United States from packages mailed directly from China through traditional ports of entry, according to the report, and through Canada from China. A lower potency, lower-cost grade of fentanyl is also smuggled across the southwest border from Mexico. The fentanyl directly from China is far more lucrative for sellers because of its higher purity. The fentanyl sent through conventional mail packages has proven difficult for law enforcement to detect. Fentanyl coming from Mexico is often hidden in automobile compartments, much like conventional drug smuggling.

The president’s opioids commission reported last November that, “we are losing this fight predominately through China.”

—Michael Tackett

“In the last two years, I.C.E. officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records.”

This needs context.

In the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested over 210,876 people with previous criminal convictions, and another 55,233 people with pending criminal charges.

But it should be noted that these criminal convictions covered a range of offenses, including many that were nonviolent. The most common charges were for traffic violations, possessing or selling drugs and immigration offenses like illegal entry.

— Linda Qiu

“The wall will also be paid for, indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

False.

First, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, has yet to pass in Congress. Any economic benefits from the agreement, if it passes, will likely come in the form of lower tariffs for American companies or higher wages for American workers.

This is different than Mr. Trump’s campaign promise that Mexico would finance the wall.

—Alan Rappeport

“The border wall would very quickly pay for itself.”

This needs context.

The president has claimed that the annual cost of illegal drugs in the United States is $500 billion. But a 2015 report by the surgeon general estimated that the annual economic impact of illicit drug use is $193 billion.

Stopping the flow of drugs across the southwest border would not entirely stem the flow of drugs across the United States. Moreover, it is not clear how reducing the cost of drug addiction would finance the wall.

Alan Rappeport

Important background and updates

When is it a “crisis”?

Saying a situation is a crisis does not make it so, but Mr. Trump and other senior administration officials have been using the word repeatedly in recent days to describe the state of affairs along the border.

They point to a direct connection between the flow of drugs from Mexico and the opioid epidemic in the United States. They say that migrants, particularly women and children, are victims of crime as they travel to the United States. And Mr. Trump has also strongly suggested that terrorists may be slipping across the border.

These threats are greatly exaggerated, if not fabricated. Migrant border crossings have been declining for nearly two decades. The majority of heroin enters the United States through legal ports of entry, not through open areas of the border. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes in the United States than native-born Americans. The State Department said in a recent report that there is “no credible evidence” that terrorist groups had sent operatives to enter the United States through Mexico.

Despite all of this, Mr. Trump could repeat some of these statistics, which other administration officials have cited misleadingly.

— Michael Tackett

[Read more about what to watch for in the speech.]

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will deliver the Democratic response.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, will speak from the Capitol after Mr. Trump finishes his remarks from the Oval Office. The dueling speeches from opposite sides of Pennsylvania Avenue will unfold at the close of Day 18 of a government shutdown over Mr. Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall that Democrats have steadfastly opposed.

The Democratic leaders’ decision to select themselves as the message-bearers to counter the president underscores how a partisan power struggle in a new era of divided government is undergirding the discussions over resolving the shutdown, even as the paychecks of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and benefits for millions of Americans hang in the balance.

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, also plans to make a public response to Mr. Trump, which his office said would be streamed live on social media platforms after Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer conclude their remarks. The move was reminiscent of how a fractious Republican Party responded to State of the Union addresses when Barack Obama was president: Republican leaders designated a formal response and Tea Party-aligned conservatives chose their own messengers to deliver a different rebuttal.

— Julie Hirschfeld Davis

[Read more about the Democratic response.]

Senate Democrats have taken the floor in protest.

A dozen Senate Democrats are taking the floor this evening for a talkathon-style protest calling on Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans to end the government shutdown. Led by Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, it is yet another effort to raise the pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, to allow a vote on legislation that would reopen the government.


Earlier Tuesday, Senate Democrats voted against advancing a package of bipartisan Middle East policy bills slated for consideration this week to further press Republicans. Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that he would “not waste time on show votes.” But he is also being pushed by vulnerable members of his own party up for re-election in 2020 to intervene and end the shutdown.

— Catie Edmondson

The decision by major broadcast networks to carry Mr. Trump’s address live in prime time has set off a fierce debate.

What is normally an easy decision for network executives — granting airtime to a sitting president to address the nation — led to hours of hand-wringing by journalists and producers wary of giving a platform to a president whose public remarks, particularly on immigration, have been marked by untruths and misleading claims. Liberals wondered why news outlets would defer to a president who, hours earlier, had used Twitter to label journalists “the Enemy of the People,” “the real Opposition Party” and “crazed lunatics.”

Eventually, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox agreed to a request by Mr. Trump for the airtime, forgoing their 9 p.m. entertainment shows — and millions of dollars in associated ad revenue — for his Oval Office appearance, in which he plans to address the government shutdown. The networks said on Tuesday that they would also broadcast the Democratic response.

— Michael M. Grynbaum

[Read more about the media decision.]

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WATCH LIVE: Democrats respond to Trump’s speech on border wall funding

U.S. President Donald Trump is taking his case for U.S.-Mexico border wall funding to prime-time television, as he looks to convince Americans that border security — amid an influx of Central American migrants — must be strengthened before a partial government shutdown can be ended.

Global News will be streaming Trump’s Oval Office address live at 9 p.m. ET on our website and on YouTube. Scroll down for live blog coverage of his remarks and the reaction.

Trump’s speech is set to be followed by a rebuttal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who oppose the wall and have called on Trump to end the shutdown.

The situation at the border was dubbed a “humanitarian and national security crisis” by Trump in a Monday tweet announcing his speech. Two Guatemalan children have died in border custody, while images of border patrol officers firing tear gas at migrants have raised the ire of critics.

Sources familiar with drafts of Trump’s speech say he is unlikely to follow through on recent threats to declare a national emergency that would allow him to build the wall without Congressional approval.

— With files from the Associated Press

Follow @Kalvapalle

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A growing number of Americans blame Trump for shutdown

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – A growing proportion of Americans blame President Donald Trump for a partial government shutdown that will cut off paychecks to federal workers this week, though Republicans mostly support his refusal to approve a budget without taxpayer dollars for the US-Mexico border wall, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday (Jan 8).

The national opinion poll, which ran from Jan 1 to Jan 7, found that 51 per cent of adults believe Trump “deserves most of the blame” for the shutdown, which entered its 18th day on Tuesday. That is up 4 percentage points from a similar poll that ran from Dec 21 to 25.

Another 32 per cent blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown and 7 per cent blame congressional Republicans, according to the poll. Those percentages are mostly unchanged from the previous poll.

To see a graphic showing the results of the poll, click here https://tmsnrt.rs/2RGb7ko.

Trump has promised to keep the government partially closed until Congress approves funding for an expanded barrier along the border.

Illegal border crossings into the United States have declined dramatically in recent years, yet Trump insists a wall is still necessary to stem a “humanitarian and national security crisis” in the region.

The president has asked Congress for nearly US$6 billion for the wall and was expected to make his case directly to the public on Tuesday night in a nationally televised address.

Democratic leaders in Congress have refused to approve funding for additional border fencing, saying that it is an ineffective way to secure the border.

Public support for a border wall has shifted considerably over the past few years as it became a centerpiece of the Trump agenda. The poll found that 41 percent of the public supports building additional border fencing, down 12 points from a similar poll that ran in the first week of 2015, as opposition doubled among Democrats.

It also found that only 35 per cent of adults in the United States support a congressional spending bill that includes funding for the wall, and 25 per cent support Trump’s decision to keep the government closed until Congress approves funding for the wall.

Republicans, however, strongly support Trump’s pursuit of an expanded border wall. They have consistently ranked immigration as their top concern for the country. Seventy-seven per cent of Republicans said in the most recent poll that they want additional border fencing, and 54 per cent said they support Trump shutting down the government until Congress approves funding for the wall.

The government shutdown has affected a broad swatch of the federal government already, including national parks, airline security screening, housing and food aid, and the release of economic data. About 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are working without pay, and many will miss paychecks for the first time on Friday.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 2,203 adults, including 722 Republicans and 867 Democrats. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 2 percentage points.

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Facebook reviewing comments about killing Trudeau on Canadian ‘yellow vests’ page

Discussions about killing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been appearing on a Facebook page for Canadians who align themselves with the so-called yellow vest protests in France.

The Yellow Vests Canada group has gathered more than 100,000 members on Facebook since it launched a month ago as French anti-government demonstrations got underway.

But while the group’s own rules encourage civility and prohibit the advocacy of violence, the page is rife with comments that wish for — and sometimes encourage — the death of the prime minister.

“Trudeau needs to be shot,” read one comment, while another said that whoever did so would become “Canada’s greatest hero.”

“He needs to eat led [sic],” read another comment.

“Just shoot him,” read yet another.

Some said he should be hanged or posted images of a noose, guillotine, electric chair and gunman. Others referred to the assassination of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

“The RCMP is aware of the comments made on Facebook,” Staff Sgt. Tania Vaughan told Global News. “We take all threats made against the prime minister very seriously.”

Facebook said it was reviewing the posts and comments and would take action as warranted.

“We do not tolerate harassment on Facebook, and it’s our aim to prevent any potential real-world harm that may be related to content on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“That’s why we remove content, disable accounts and use a combination of technology, reports from our community and human review to enforce our policies.”

On Tuesday, a Facebook account used to organized ‘yellow vests’ protests in London were suspended for hate speech.

A Twitter account, Yellow Vests Canada Exposed, has been tracking the comments and tagging the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

One read: “Wish a sharpshooter would put a bullet in his head.”

“The comments about killing Trudeau are concerning because they are advocating murder and demonstrate the extent to which some members of YV Canada hold extremist views,” said terrorism analyst Jessica Davis.

“Whether or not they will act on those views remains to be seen.”

A post from the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook page that set off numerous comments cheering and advocating the death of the prime minister.

A post this week about Trudeau’s ski vacation in Whistler, B.C., elicited a flurry of harsh comments, some mentioning his brother Michel, who died in a 1998 avalanche.

“Hopefully he ends up like his brother,” one comment read.

Others referred to Sonny Bono, the U.S. singer and former California congressman who died in 1998 when he struck a tree while skiing.

“With any luck, he’ll do a Sonny Bono,” one comment read.

“Push him off a cliff,” one user wrote, while another asked how easy it would be to stab Trudeau.

A few commenters pushed back on the posts, saying Trudeau had a family and that opponents would use the remarks about wanting him dead to discredit the yellow vests.

The Facebook group describes itself as a protest against the carbon tax and politicians who it claims are selling “our country’s sovereignty over to the globalist UN and their tyrannical policies.”

Canada’s yellow vests are “a loose organization of individuals dissatisfied with the Trudeau government,” said Davis, a consultant and former CSIS analyst.

She said it was not a “coherent movement” in Canada and its events had attracted few protesters. Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric were common themes, she said.

“The YV movement in Canada is dominated by the extreme right and has the potential to spin off violent subgroups. Overall, the movement is not a threat to national security, but elements within may take violent action on their extremist ideas.”

[email protected]

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Prime Minister Trudeau to hold public town hall meeting at University of Regina

Regina residents will have a chance to speak with the Prime Minister of Canada Thursday night.

Justin Trudeau is holding a public town hall meeting at the University of Regina, offering people the chance to discuss ways to better strengthen the economy.

Trudeau has been hosting town halls across the country since 2017, hearing directly from Canadians on how jobs are created, strengthening the middle class and establishing more opportunities.

One topic expected to be at the forefront is the carbon tax, with Saskatchewan choosing to fight against it.

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe has a been advocating strongly against some of the policies being put forward by the federal government, which he sees as “harmful” to the Saskatchewan economy.

“An unstable regulatory environment is being created by bills like [Bill] C-69, the ‘no more pipeline bill,’ as we refer to it, as well as a clean fuel standard and layering on Bill C-48 which is the tanker ban that killed the Northern Gateway project,” Moe said.

“This unstable regulatory environment and the addition of a carbon tax is problematic for us.”

Moe confirmed he won’t be meeting with Trudeau, however, saying he is busy with previous personal commitments.

Doors open at 5 p.m. inside the Kinesiology Building. The official start is 7 p.m.

An RSVP can be made on Ralph Goodale’s website, but won’t guarantee access to the event.

Admission will be on a first come, first served basis.

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Trump to demand wall on Mexico 'crisis' border in TV address as govt shutdown enters 18th day

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump will tell Americans in a primetime speech Tuesday (Jan 8) that the US-Mexico border is in “crisis” and Congress must approve construction of a wall to end a government shutdown now in its 18th day.

After weeks of lashing out at Democratic opponents, mostly via Twitter and impromptu press conferences, Trump will deploy the presidency’s biggest PR gun: a formal address to the nation at 9pm (10am Wednesday Singapore time) on live television from the White House Oval Office.

Vice President Mike Pence told ABC television that Trump would lay out the “real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

But the White House remained coy about whether Trump will declare a national emergency allowing him to bypass Congress and order his controversial wall project to go ahead using military resources – a move that would send already heated political temperatures to boiling point.

“He’s not saying yes or no,” top advisor Kellyanne Conway told journalists at the White House a few hours before the speech was due. He’s “considering it,” she added.

Trump wants US$5.7 billion to build a wall or fence along the Mexican border. Democrats in Congress have refused, saying he is hyping up immigration issues to appeal to his right-wing base.

In retaliation, Trump has refused to sign off on a broader spending bill, leaving some 800,000 federal employees and many more contractors without pay.

That partial government shutdown has brought Washington’s partisan dysfunction into ordinary Americans’ homes across the country, raising the stakes for lawmakers who must face their voters as the chaos drags on.

Historic stage

The Oval Office has witnessed many historic announcements, ranging from George W. Bush’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks to John F. Kennedy’s televised appearance at the height of the Cuban missile crisis.

Trump’s gambit is that the solemn setting will allow him to regain the momentum on the Mexico wall issue that helped him get elected in 2016 and has become an obsessive goal for supporters.

He will follow up with a rare trip to the Mexico border itself on Thursday.

But with many Americans far from sold on Trump’s lurid claims about illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists overwhelming the border, the speech faces its own high barrier: credibility.

“I think the best thing the president can do for the Republican Party is to make a persuasive case of why he wants more money, of why it’s a crisis,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, told reporters.

“The better he does with that, the better it helps us to get to where we need to go.”

Democrats, who ended the Trump presidency’s dominance of domestic politics when they seized the House of Representatives from his Republicans in November, cried foul before a word was spoken.

“If his past statements are an indication, (the speech) will be full of malice and misinformation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the senior Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement.

The Democratic leaders were due to give on-air rebuttals immediately after Trump’s speech.

Presidential overreach?

The big question was whether Trump would use the occasion to declare a national emergency at the border, giving himself considerable new powers and sidestepping Congress’s control of the purse strings.

Some argue that this is a way out of the impasse, as it could free Trump to build the wall and therefore to lift his blocking of the wider government funding.

Democrats have said the move would at a minimum mean presidential overreach, sparking court challenges to block the powers. But even if blocked, Trump could claim to his base that he had done what he could, while ending the damaging government shutdown.

Some Republicans have voiced doubts about the tactic, with Senator John Boozman telling AFP there was “some controversy” over Trump’s authority to declare an emergency.

“I think it would probably end up in a lawsuit, so I’m not sure how productive it would be,” Senator John Cornyn said.

While political junkies were fixated on the policy issues in the standoff, others took a rather less decorous view of the proceedings.

Betting site bookmaker.eu was offering odds for wagers on whether Trump would lie during his speech, declare a national emergency or end the shutdown by January 18.

And Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film performer and stripper famous for claiming she was paid off to keep quiet about an affair with Trump, proposed another way to keep entertained.

“If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live.”

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Federal Deficit Climbs Again, Putting It on Track for $1 Trillion This Year

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit continued to rise in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 and is on pace to top $1 trillion for the year, as President Trump’s signature tax cuts continue to reduce corporate tax revenue, data released Tuesday shows.

The monthly numbers from the Congressional Budget Office also show an increase in spending on federal debt as rising interest rates drive up the cost of the government’s borrowing.

The widening deficit comes despite a booming economy and a low unemployment rate that would typically help fill the government’s coffers. Federal spending outpaced revenue by $317 billion over the first three months of the fiscal year, which began in October, the budget office reported. That was 41 percent higher than the same period a year ago, or 17 percent after factoring in payment shifts that made the fiscal 2018 first-quarter deficit appear smaller than it actually was.

The report did show one area of increasing revenue — from Mr. Trump’s sweeping tariffs. Revenue from levies on imported steel, aluminum and Chinese goods were up $8 billion from the same quarter a year ago, an 83 percent increase. That increase, however, is nowhere close to the levels needed to support Mr. Trump’s frequent claims that his tariffs will help pay down the national debt.

This fiscal year is the first to fully incorporate the reduced tax rates that Mr. Trump signed into law in late 2017, including cuts for individuals and closely held businesses and steep reductions for corporations. It continued a trend from the final three quarters of 2018, after the tax cuts took effect: falling tax receipts, at a time of relatively strong economic growth — a combination that shows the tax cuts are achieving nothing close to the administration’s promise that they would pay for themselves.

Corporate tax receipts fell by $9 billion for the quarter, or 15 percent. Individual receipts fell by $17 billion, or 4 percent. Interest costs on the debt rose by $16 billion for the quarter, or 19 percent. Interest costs for December were up 47 percent from the same month in 2017.

“It is entirely predictable and utterly depressing,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates deficit reduction. “At a time when we should be working to keep the strong economy going and bring our debt down, our lawmakers seem unwilling to pay for anything and they just keep adding to the debt. All signs point to that it will continue to get worse before it gets better.”

Karl Smith, a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington, welcomed the numbers as a sign that American fiscal policy is continuing to boost growth and encourage investment, as the economy encounters challenges including Mr. Trump’s trade war with China.

“The U.S. is facing headwinds from a global slowdown,” Mr. Smith said, “and needs both the stimulus of high deficits and an incentive to keep corporations expanding through what’s likely to be a rough patch of uncertainty, if not outright global recession.”

Some of that uncertainty stems from the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government, which show no signs of ending. Among other disruptions, the shutdown has slowed the release of the Treasury Department’s own monthly deficit estimates. They were scheduled to be released later this week. But a note on the department’s website says that release will now be determined when the shutdown ends.

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