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  1. Toronto's gun buy back program seems to be a success. Over 2700 guns turned in with more than 800 being handguns.
  2. Further to above... MONTREAL, May 16, 2019 MONTREAL, May 16, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Transat AT Inc. ("Transat") announces that it has agreed to a 30-day period of exclusive negotiations with Air Canada pursuant to a letter of intent contemplating a transaction by which Air Canada would acquire all of the shares of Transat at a price of $13.00 per share. During such exclusivity period, it is contemplated that Air Canada will complete its due diligence review and the parties will finalize the negotiation of a definitive agreement regarding this transaction, the material terms of which are announced today. "This announcement is good news for Transat", said Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. "This is an opportunity to team up with a great company that knows and understands our industry and has had undisputable success in the travel business. This represents the best prospect for not only maintaining, but growing over the long term the business and jobs that Transat has been developing in Quebec and elsewhere for more than 30 years." Transat would like to point out that its operations continue in the normal course and that there will be no change for its clients, suppliers and employees. In particular, travellers and clients of Transat can continue to travel and book their vacation packages with Transat like before. Context of the Announcement The Board of Directors of Transat has agreed to the exclusivity agreement based on a unanimous recommendation from a special committee of independent directors that was charged with examining any proposals for the acquisition of the shares of Transat, with the assistance of financial and legal advisors, and with considering all strategic options, as was announced on April 30, 2019. After being solicited by several parties and having considered available alternatives, the Board of Directors has determined that it is now in the interests of Transat and its stakeholders to finalize negotiations on an exclusive basis with Air Canada with a view to completing the transaction. In its recommendation, the special committee considered many factors, including the interests of the Corporation and its stakeholders, the economic and regulatory environment in which Transat operates, the proposed price of $13.00 per share, which represents a premium of 148.5% over the 20-day weighted average trading price prior to the announcement of April 30, 2019, a premium of 47.8% over the 20-day weighted average trading price for the period ended May 15, 2019, the terms of Air Canada's proposal, which it deemed reasonable and acceptable taken as a whole, including the duration of the exclusivity period, the disclosure of the main terms of the letter of intent, the covenants of Air Canada and the contemplated terms of the definitive agreements. Additional Terms of the Letter of Intent The letter of intent sets forth certain terms that will be required in the definitive agreement. These terms include a break fee of $15 million payable by Transat in case of termination of the transaction, including upon acceptance of an unsolicited superior proposal, and a reverse break fee of a maximum of $40 million payable by Air Canada in the event that the agreement is terminated because regulatory or governmental approvals are not obtained. In addition, the non-solicitation provision will be subject to the usual withdrawal right based on fiduciary duties if an unsolicited proposal is made at a firm price per share that is at least $1.00 higher than the price offered by Air Canada, in the event such proposal is not matched by Air Canada. Moreover, the execution of a definitive agreement by Air Canada will be subject to the execution of support and voting agreements by certain large shareholders of Transat. Finally, Transat has agreed to limit its undertakings and expenses relating to the implementation of its hotel strategy during the exclusivity period. Any agreement will also contain numerous conditions customary for this type of transaction, including applicable regulatory approvals and the approval of the shareholders of Transat. There is no assurance that a definitive agreement will be reached in relation to any transaction following the exclusivity period and the ongoing discussions. No assurance may be given that a transaction will occur in relation to the proposed transaction or otherwise, or regarding the definitive terms of such transaction, if any.
  3. Hot off the press this morning... Air Canada is in exclusive talks to buy Transat AT Inc. in a deal that would value the travel company at about $520 million, Transat said Thursday. Canada’s largest air carrier is proposing to acquire Transat for $13 per share. "This announcement is good news for Transat," said Transat President and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache, in a release. "This represents the best prospect for not only maintaining, but growing over the long term the business and jobs that Transat has been developing in Quebec and elsewhere for more than 30 years." Transat said its operations will continue as normal, and that there will be no change for travellers. The news comes two weeks after Transat said it was in talks with multiple parties about a possible takeover.
  4. First it was Ontario getting the shaft, now it's Alberta's turn! But hey, you got what you voted for... Alberta will lose 12% of the annual revenues it depends on to pay for public services thanks to a Donald Trump-inspired corporate tax giveaway announced this week by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Flanked by Finance Minister Travis Toews and Lafarge Canada CEO Brad Kohl, Kenney confirmed Monday Alberta will roll back taxes on corporate profits from 12% to 10% on January 1, 2020. It will be lowered further to 8% in 2022. A recent report commissioned by the Alberta Federation of Labour noted that Kenney’s corporate tax giveaway will remove 12% of public revenues the province currently invests in public services. Kenney’s economic policies, including the corporate tax giveaway, are estimated to eliminate 58,000 Alberta jobs that pay living wages — that’s more jobs than were lost during the 2015 oil crash. Hugh Mackenzie (AFL) Kenney still has not explained which services he intends to cut to meet his balanced budget targets. Economist Hugh Mackenzie, who authored the AFL report, says public services are in for tough times. “Think of it this way,” Mackenzie told PressProgress: “If you think of eight things currently being done by the public sector, when this is done it will be seven.” Mackenzie noted that even with a spending freeze, public education, postsecondary and health care services would deteriorate as they are all facing increasing needs due to Alberta’s growing population and shifting demographics. During the announcement, Kenney falsely asserted that the corporate tax giveaway would create jobs despite decades of research that shows corporate tax cuts are a terrible job creation tool that only lead to corporate cash hoarding. Instead of creating jobs, Mackenzie says the money is more likely to be returned to shareholders. “What we know is that what happens to that additional cash is highly debatable,” Mackenzeie said. “For example in the US there’s evidence that the substantial portion of Trump’s cuts just became increased cash for corporations to deploy in other ways.”
  5. In the course of writing a book on modern conspiracy culture, I, a journalist by profession, briefly became many other things: a CIA agent, a paid shill for Big Pharma and, of course, a Satan-worshipping participant in evil, pedophilia-based rites of power. People I spoke to believed in a range of conspiracy theories, and the accusations they sometimes lobbed at me – about my true motives, my actual bosses, who I really was – were in line with their views of the world. But mostly, of course, I was fake news. And everywhere, I met the people who’d like to replace me. The belief that the mainstream media is full of fake news and misinformation is an exceedingly common one around the world: A 2017 Harvard-Harris poll in the United States found that 65 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that there is “a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.” The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer – a yearly survey of 28 countries, which aims to uncover which institutions people are willing to put their faith in – found that only about 47 per cent of people in those countries trusted the news media. (In most surveys, interestingly, Canadians show a higher rate of trust in the news media, but still remain concerned about the prevalence of fake news.) By now, of course, the fact that a lot of people think “fake news” and mainstream media are indistinguishable is well-known. But that false equation is also crucial to the way that conspiracy peddlers work, the people aiming to sell conspiratorial narratives – and, quite often, attendant products – to a suspicious public. The more extreme ends of conspiracy culture rely on the demonetization and vilification of the press, and the people promoting those theories do it to replace trustworthy news sources with their own, more profitable variety. Alex Jones is the best-known example: He’s worked to stir up anger and hatred against the mainstream media, which he predictably thunders about nearly every time he’s in front of a microphone, and then uses his ad space to sell the often-questionable vitamin supplements he argues we won’t tell you about. In Mr. Jones’s telling – and that of plenty of other conspiracy peddlers – journalists don’t act as a check on the government and other power structures; we’re simply an extension of them. People who were deeply invested in various conspiracy communities – Pizzagate true believers, the UFO faithful, people who thought the government was hiding the deadly truth about vaccines – often told me that the news media wasn’t just untrustworthy, but actively controlled from above by sinister forces, working my hands like a marionette to tell me what to type. It’s a belief that conspiracy peddlers work very hard to promote, because it’s beneficial for them. It’s a phenomenon that’s only gaining speed. Conspiracy culture, especially on the far right, has increasingly sought to replace real hard news outlets with their own versions – take the rise of sites such as Breitbart, founded in 2007, or the even more questionable Big League Politics, created in 2017 and specifically marketed as an investigative outlet – and calls itself the only reporting that’s trustworthy. Charlie Warzel memorably wrote about the rise of these outlets in Buzzfeed at the dawn of Donald Trump’s presidency, calling the “media upside-down.” Since his piece, they’ve only grown more ambitious. Some would argue that this is nothing new. “Hyper-partisan news is a great American tradition,” Joseph Farah told me two years ago. He would know: Mr. Farah is the founder of World Net Daily, one of the oldest conspiracy news outlets to make the leap online. Mr. Farah argued to me, correctly, that hyper-partisan news sources began “when America had competing newspapers in most markets,” and then he made the leap: that fake news in the United States is peddled by every news outlet alike. “I deplore fake news,” he told me, “which is a real phenomenon in what you would call ‘mainstream’ sources like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as in the new media. It’s sad because it detracts from media that diligently stick to the old rules of journalism on sourcing, seeking out countervailing viewpoints, et cetera.” The fact that Mr. Farah would make the argument that World Net Daily diligently sticks to “the old rules of journalism” is astonishing. (Among other things, the site promoted the so-called “death panel” conspiracy theory for years, claiming that under Obamacare, a panel of bureaucrats would decide which elder citizens merited the medical care necessary to live. At one point in 2010, to ratchet things up, the site even claimed to have evidence of so-called “super death panels.”) But it’s also part of a concerted effort on the part of conspiratorial news sources and media personalities to create confusion about what real journalism looks like: Take Mike Cernovich, a one-time men’s rights activist who dabbled in white nationalism before taking on a fairly major role on the far right. Mr. Cernovich increasingly describes himself as a journalist, and even created a purported documentary and book, both called Hoaxed, which claim to expose the fake-news media and show “how misinformation spreads online.” By design, in other words, Mr. Cernovich trying to look like he’s engaged in the kind of fact-finding and truth-telling that real journalists are. And if he’s successful, he’ll find an audience in the vast number of people who are seriously invested in conspiracy theories (people who are, I have found, more likely to describe themselves as being part of the “truth community” or the “research community.”) It’s been my experience that many, many people in the so-called truth community are earnestly concerned with the injustice and corruption they see around them, and are desperate to find news sources they can trust. As conspiracy peddlers – and President Trump – busily promote the idea that the fake news is the lying enemy of the people, that large audience is much more likely to seek out alternative news sources, falling right into the waiting arms of faux journalists such as Mike Cernovich, pushing a self-interested agenda. (Alongside his supposed journalism, Mr. Cernovich peddles his own branded supplements, too.) And fomenting doubt and hatred against journalists doesn’t just help conspiracy peddlers promote products or achieve greater celebrity. Destabilizing trust in the media creates doubt about the nature of reality itself: It makes it more difficult for people to tell what is true, who is trustworthy and what’s knowable at all. That’s an end in itself: to make people so uncertain of the truth that they accept your version unquestioningly, or else give up looking altogether. Intriguingly, even the conspiracy peddlers themselves will sometimes tell you that they don’t believe any media source in particular. I asked Mr. Farah of World Net Daily what media outlets he did trust, and his answer was shaded in contradictions: “My own,” he wrote back. “Although, occasionally, even it disappoints me. I don’t put trust in media, only in God.”
  6. nex Corp. has signed a friendly deal to buy WestJet Airlines Ltd. in a transaction it valued at $5 billion, including assumed debt. Under the agreement announced Monday, Onex will pay $31 per share for WestJet, which will continue to operate as a privately held company. Shares in the airline closed at $18.52 on Friday. WestJet founder and chairman Clive Beddoe said Onex is an ideal partner for the airline. “I am particularly pleased that WestJet will remain headquartered in Calgary and will continue to build on the success that our 14,000 WestJetters have created,” Beddoe said in a statement. The deal comes after Onex approached the airline in March. “WestJet is one of Canada’s strongest brands and we have tremendous respect for the business that Clive Beddoe and all WestJetters have built over the years,” said Tawfiq Popatia, a managing director at Onex. Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including court, regulatory and shareholder approvals. WestJet’s board of directors has unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the deal at meeting expected to be held in July. The deal is expected to close in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020. Key Points • Onex, Canada’s largest private equity firm, with about $31 billion in assets under management, in 1999 tried unsuccessfully to acquire Air Canada and merge it with Canadian Airlines in a $2.4 billion hostile bid. • The WestJet acquisition ranks among the biggest for Onex over the past decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Among the firm’s recent large deals were Swiss juice-box maker SIG Combibloc Group AG for about US$4.4 billion in 2014 and a Thomson Reuters Corp. unit for US$3.5 billion in 2016. • WestJet said May 7 that the Calgary-based carrier was on track to reach its margin expansion target of US$120 million this year. It’s also working toward an annualized savings target of US$200 million by the end of 2020. The airline suspended all financial guidance for the year following the grounding of the Boeing Co. 737 Max, yet Chief Executive Officer Edward Sims has said there are no planned changes to any Boeing orders or deliveries.
  7. Things happen for a reason, so be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, again. Not quite four years ago, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and the entire Atlantic region kicked Stephen Harper to the curb. Yet, if the polls are accurate, many Atlantic Canadians are considering giving Harper 2.0 a chance. Our memories can’t be that short. In 2015, all 32 federal Atlantic seats went red in resounding fashion, sweeping over experienced, smart, principled and well-liked New Democrats like Jack Harris and Megan Leslie. We could have benefited from them in the 42nd Parliament. So badly did Atlantic Canada want to send a message to the Harper Conservatives, they voted strategically and without question. The Liberals won between 51.6 per cent of the vote in New Brunswick to 64.5 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Election night, as I watched Jack Harris go down by a handful of votes, I remember thinking this kind of majority would not be good for democracy in the region. But Harper had to go. A message needed to be sent. Let’s not forget why we sent it. The kinder, gentler Canada many of us had grown to love had been changed before our eyes. Workers were told to work longer or take a reduced pension. Veterans were treated abysmally. Women’s equality was set back. Child-care agreements were cancelled. Workers’ rights were under attack. Wealthy Canadians continued to take home more and more of the economic pie. Corporations banked billions in tax cuts. And Canadians had had enough of the Harper abrasive style of divisive politics. Indeed, if progressive-minded Liberals were being frank, they likely learned that they would have benefited from a few left voices in opposition across the Atlantic region as they pushed for advances internally in their own caucus and party. The political landscape has changed dramatically in four years. Canada no longer has a single female premier. We went from six to none between 2013 and 2019. There are currently seven provincial Conservative governments across the country. Although the P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives, who currently lead a minority government, are not in the same category as the harder-right Conservatives in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Recent polls have the Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck federally. Some polls have the Conservatives in the lead and in safe majority territory. A poll last week by Abacus Data had the Liberals and Conservatives tied federally in Newfoundland and Labrador, with the NDP sitting at 14 per cent. For those who resoundingly threw the Harper’s government out, and did so for a multitude of good reasons, it’s time to take stock. Do you think the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer are going to be better than what we experienced under the Harper government? He and many of his bench colleagues were part of that government. Lisa Raitt. Michele Rempel. Pierre Poilievre. Scheer’s provincial friends are dismantling public services at a rapid pace. Look no further than Ontario where the Ford government has attacked everything from services for children with autism to public health care to education, firing 3,000 teachers. In the past two weeks, libraries got the boot and the government cancelled a program to plant 50 million trees. Every day another program or service is cut or gutted, while political friends are rewarded with plum jobs and the rich get a tax cut. In Alberta, Jason Kenney is just getting started. The majority of Canadians do not vote Conservative and yet Conservatives benefiting from the first-past-the-post electoral system are running the vast majority of the country and in many cases with a minority of the popular vote. In other words, more people voted against the Conservatives or for something else, and yet the Conservatives have the majority of the power. In the Newfoundland and Labrador election, the polls also say it is too close to call. We could be headed for a minority government, but interest in the election is low. As voters, though, we can’t allow the political parties to sleepwalk through the election. We still need to do our due diligence and see where they stand on the things that matter to us, whether it is health care, education or workers’ rights. If the country ends up being run by conservative politicians both federally and provincially, how is that a fair outcome when the majority of Canadians have voted for something else? What will it mean for important challenges like climate change? What will it mean for workers’ rights or equality? Or health care or public pensions or the things that we haven’t even considered. Such is the case for many Ontarians and their experience with the Ford government, many of whom are suffering from a bad case of buyers’ remorse. This isn’t fear-mongering. Do you think the parents of autistic children who voted for Doug Ford thought for one second he would slash services for their kids? Who we vote for does matter to the kind of Canada we get. A gentler, kinder one or a harsh, divisive, angry one. It’s up to us.
  8. Not a fan of his, but what makes him any different than those who did it before him? And let's not forget Hef and the Bunny Plane...