NJ is ‘ground zero’ for sea level rise, Rutgers report sounds alarm


NEPTUNE, N.J. — Human-made gas emissions are speeding up sea level rise around New Jersey and, in tandem with coastal storms, will cause more frequent flooding for decades to come, according to a new report by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Rutgers University.

“Climate change is the single-biggest environmental challenge that we face, not only in New Jersey, but around the nation and the globe,” said state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe. 

Rutgers scientists behind the report, released Thursday, said their work aims to help New Jersey communities prepare for changing coastal conditions and more precipitation.

Sea level has risen around New Jersey by about 1.5 feet between 1911 and 2019, while global sea level rose about half that, according to the report.

Tidal flooding in Waretown (Ocean Township) in October

“Sea level is rising more in New Jersey and the mid-Atlantic than in other parts of the globe,” said Jeanne Herb, executive director of environmental analysis at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers. “New Jersey’s sort of ground zero.”

As sea level is rising due to warming global temperature and melting polar ice sheets, the tectonic plate that supports the Mid-Atlantic region is also sinking, Herb said. 

New Jersey will experience “a tremendous impact from climate change on our economy, on our residents, on our communities,” she said.

Environment:Flood at famed Grand Canyon waterfalls sends tourists scrambling

According to projections by Rutgers available on NJFloodMapper.org, a 1-foot increase in sea level would submerge portions of Cattus Island County Park in Toms River, affect some low lying bayfront sections of Brick and Toms River, and begin to drown protective marshland on the mainland side of Ocean County.

A 2-foot increase in sea level would submerge streets and some properties in Ocean Gate, flood blocks of Point Pleasant Beach and leave portions of Highlands and Keansburg under water.

Rutgers’ report predicts sea level will rise between 1.4 and 3.1 feet from 2000 levels by 2070, if current greenhouse gas emissions remain about the same in coming decades.

Matt Campo, a researcher in environmental analysis at the Bloustein School, said the new report provides three different sea level rise scenarios, each one tailored to whether greenhouse gas emissions stay consistent, are placed under strict limits, or increase in the future. If emissions increase, researchers predict New Jersey could experience a sea level rise of 3.5 feet by 2070.

The report also says the speed at which the water is rising is increasing over time.

McCabe, the DEP commissioner, said the report’s findings showed “pretty sobering realities and challenges,” but said the science would help shape future state permitting rules governing development in coastal areas.

Follow Amanda Oglesby on Twitter: @OglesbyAPP



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Christmas photo of dog suffering ‘existential crisis’ goes viral on Twitter


The holiday season can be overwhelming for both humans and pets, as evidenced by a small dog who was recently pictured suffering an “existential crisis” during a wintery photo shoot.

Last week, dog-mom Lauren Carter tweeted a hilarious image of her two pets from a professional portrait session, and the post has since gone wildly viral with over 757,000 likes and more than 175,000 shares.

In the photo, her pups are flanked by evergreens as faux snow falls around them. Her more chipper dog, Opiee, seemingly smiles at the camera while wearing a string of lights. But her other dog, Mika, is desperately staring into the distance with an empty-looking gaze, apparently unimpressed by her jaunty hat and jingle bell collar.

CAT MEOWING WITH ‘THICK SOUTHERN ACCENT’ GOES VIRAL ON INSTAGRAM

“Took my dogs to take their yearly Christmas photos. It’s really hard when you have one super photogenic dog and one dog having an existential crisis,” Carter wrote.

In reply, jokesters seized the opportunity to speculate about what Mika could be thinking behind her grave gaze.

“What does it even mean to be ‘good’?” one user imagined the pooch pondering.

“How I look on the outside vs. how I feel on the inside,” another offered, in a post juxtaposing the two dogs.

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Carter later admitted that her pets frequently mirror each other’s moods.

“Sometimes she rubs off on him,” she explained, sharing a somber-looking image of the pups in reindeer hoods.

“Sometimes he rubs off on her,” she added, posting a sweet photo of Opiee nuzzling Mika’s face, as they sported Santa Claus and elf outfits, respectively.

As for Mika’s one-of-a-kind personality, Carter said that she doesn’t take Mika’s somewhat dimmer disposition too seriously.

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“I’m telling y’all she has a very classic ‘Oh god… did I leave the stove on?’ type of face 24/7,” she joked.



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Here’s How Many Points Your Credit Score Drops When You Miss A Payment



Whether you’re trying to improve your credit or maintain a great credit score, you probably wonder how different actions like missing a payment (hypothetically, of course) or paying down your balance will actually impact that three-digit number.

As you might have noticed, it’s tough to find specific details about how many points your score can gain or lose with certain credit actions. That’s because, according to a FICO representative, the credit scoring company steers clear of providing this sort of specific guidance for individuals, since scores are based on a plethora of factors that are rarely the same across a broad swath of consumers.

Even so, FICO created a few personas based on its analysis of select consumer credit profiles to model how credit scores could fluctuate based on certain events.

Your starting score matters

We took a look at the two models on each end of the spectrum ― someone with a very good credit score of 793 and another with a fair credit score of 607 ― to see how things like missing payments, maxing out credit cards and taking out new loans could affect those scores.

It turns out, the score you start with makes a big difference. Here’s a look at how your credit score can move up or down based on certain actions.

Miss a payment by 30 days

Very good credit: -63 to -83 points

Fair credit: -17 to -37 points

There are five main factors that are used to calculate your FICO credit score, and payment history is the most heavily weighted, at 35% of your total score. That means missing just one payment can have a pretty drastic impact.

But you’ll notice that the higher your score is to start with, the farther you have to fall. Someone with a lower credit score isn’t as affected by a missed payment because they’ve already mishandled credit in the past, so their score reflects the higher risk they present.

Either way, it’s clear that missing a payment is no good.

Miss a payment by 90 days

Very good credit: -113 to -133 points

Fair credit: -27 to -47 points

What happens if your payment is late by 90 days instead of 30 days? Though your score will take an even bigger hit, the good news is that the effects won’t be three times as bad.

But again, the better your credit, the worse the consequences. In this case, someone with good credit score of 793 could easily drop into the “fair” category by being this late on a bill.

Take out a $5,000 personal loan

Very good credit: -3 to -23 points

Fair credit: -17 to +3 points

Opening a new credit account affects several areas of your score: length of credit history (15% of score), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%). Whether the impact is positive or negative, and by how much, depends on factors like the borrower’s existing credit history and debt.

As you can see, someone with very good credit can expect a fairly minimal drop in their score, likely due to a new hard inquiry on their report. However, by consistently paying down the loan with on-time payments, that borrower should expect their credit score to grow over time.

For someone with a lower score and thinner credit profile, the impact could go either way. Again, a hard inquiry and the addition of outstanding debt could cause a small drop, but a new loan could also help diversify their credit mix and give it a boost.

Max out your credit cards

Very good credit: -108 to -128 points

Fair credit: -27 to -47 points

After payment history, amounts owed is the second most heavily weighted credit score factor, at 30%. Revolving credit (namely, credit cards) are also weighted more heavily than installment loans. Experts generally recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30%, and the lower, the better. High utilization is considered a red flag that you’re too reliant on credit to cover your expenses.

So, a person with good credit and low credit utilization who suddenly maxes out their cards can expect to see a 100-plus point drop in their score. A person with a lower score and higher utilization won’t see as big of a drop.

Pay down revolving credit by 25%

Very good credit: +2 to +22 points

Fair credit: +8 to +28 points

How about some good news? An example of a positive credit action that has an immediate impact is paying down existing debt, especially on revolving credit accounts. In FICO’s example, someone with fair credit who reduces their outstanding balance can see a slightly larger score increase than someone who has very good credit.

It’s important to remember that these numbers aren’t guarantees, but estimates based on FICO’s wealth of data. These examples can give you an idea of how your credit score might be affected by different actions, but the actual results will depend on your personal credit profile.

No matter your score, though, they should serve as encouragement to pay your bills on time and keep your debt to a minimum.





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Montreal weather: High of plus 1



Don’t forget to submit your photos of Montreal via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by tagging them with #ThisMtl. We’ll feature one per day right here in the morning file. Today’s photo was posted on Instagram by @jmscheidler4.


Environment Canada is calling for a mix of sun and cloud. Wind southeast 20 km/h. High of plus 1. Wind chill of minus 9 in the morning. UV index 1 or low.

Tonight: Mainly cloudy. Rain or freezing rain beginning late in the evening. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming northeast 20 near midnight. Temperature will remain near zero.

Don’t forget to submit your photos of Montreal via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by tagging them with #ThisMtl. We’ll feature one per day right here in the morning file. Today’s photo was posted on Instagram by @jmscheidler4.

Quote of the day:

How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.  — Alexandre Dumas

Here is what traffic looks like right now





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Surrey’s new top cop looking forward to the challenge, even if it is short-lived


He could be the last Mountie in charge of policing in Surrey.

But Chief Supt. Brian Edwards, Surrey’s new top cop, says he is ready for the challenge no matter what the future holds.

Edwards, who will be promoted to assistant commissioner when he assumes the post in January, told reporters Thursday that he jumped at the opportunity to become Surrey’s officer in charge.

“It is a feather in one’s forage cap to lead the biggest, most innovative detachment in the country. So when the opportunity came up — especially as I have been a municipal officer — to work in a big large municipality, there was no hesitation on my part,” said Edwards, a former Calgary police officer with a law degree. “On what may or may not happen in relation to the transition I will deal with accordingly as time moves on.”

The man he is replacing, Asst. Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, pointed out Thursday that the B.C. government hasn’t made a final decision on Surrey’s proposed switch to a municipal force.

“I think it is important to recognize first and foremost that the police transition has not been formally approved yet by the province,” McDonald said after introducing Edwards. “The province has struck a committee to study this issue.”

And McDonald defended his recent statement that a police hiring freeze in the city’s budget for a second year in a row would have a “detrimental effect” on the force.

McDonald also praised Edwards as “a dedicated, intelligent and approachable individual who I strongly believe will serve the residents and the business owners of Surrey very well.”

Edwards said he spoke briefly to Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum Wednesday night and looks forward to meeting him, the city manager and other community members to work on policing priorities already identified in a four-year strategic plan.

“You can be sure that crime reduction and pressure on violent crime and gangs is going to continue in the immediate future,” Edwards said. “We are going to continue with those programs and services that are reaching out to the community and the crime-suppression activities that have been successful to this point.”

But he agreed with McDonald that more officers are needed to deal with the increasing population.

“There is no doubt that when a community is growing by 800 to 1,000 people a month and there is no increase in resources, over time that is going to put pressure and strains on things,” he said.

Edwards, who has more than 24 years of policing experience, said the Surrey RCMP “is known to push the envelope, try new things, and establish best practices.”

“I know they have had visits from police forces across the country and around the world who are interested in learning how this detachment deals with significant issues such as homeless camps, the opioid crisis, mental health outreach, gang conflict and recruitment and more,” he said.

Despite the uncertain future of the force in Surrey, he said he wants to “assure Surrey citizens that we remain focused on your public safety concerns and engaging with you at the community level.”

“To the members and staff here, your well-being both on and off the job is extremely important to me. I will do my best to lead you through this challenge and any others that may arise, with the support you deserve,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City of Surrey announced Thursday that the Municipal Pension Plan’s board of trustees had approved the city’s application to allow new municipal officers a more beneficial pension package regardless of whether they are former RCMP officers or recruited from another municipal force.

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blog: vancouversun.com/tag/real-scoop

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Catalyst questions independence of HBC special committee at OSC hearing


Catalyst Capital Group Inc. spent part of Thursday’s hearing at the Ontario Securities Commission grilling a Hudson’s Bay Co. director about why the department store chain turned down Catalyst’s recent takeover offer.

David Leith, head of the special committee tasked by HBC’s board to review take-private offers, appeared at the OSC Thursday as HBC’s witness in the case. In the two-day hearing, Catalyst is seeking an order to block or stall a takeover deal led by HBC Chairman Richard Baker and his group of shareholders.

In his cross-examination Thursday, Catalyst lawyer Brett Harrison asked Leith to describe the special committee’s refusal to support Catalyst’s bid last month, despite the fact that the private equity firm’s offer of $11 per share was better than the $10.30 currently on offer from the Baker group.

The special committee has maintained that, since the Baker group shareholders refuse to sell their 57 per cent stake, any competing offer is a non-starter.

“So it was out of your hands as to whether Catalyst could prepare a superior proposal?” Harrison asked, suggesting that it was actually the Baker group’s decision to deny Catalyst, not that of the special committee.

“I think I disagree with the comment, ‘Out of your hands,’” Leith said. “Being bound by the terms of a legal agreement (with the Baker group) … should (not) be referred to as, ‘Out of your hands.’”

Harrison interjected: “You’re hands are bound.”

“It’s a matter of nomenclature, I would say,” Leith replied.

“Fair enough,” Harrison said.

In its closing arguments on Thursday, Catalyst argued that HBC didn’t apprise shareholders of crucial details about the deal until a late-night press release last Friday. In that release, HBC updated its official account of how the deal came together with new information about how the special committee waived a standstill provision to allow shareholder Fabric Luxembourg Holdings S.a.r.l. to join the Baker group’s bid.

In closing remarks Thursday, Catalyst lawyer Adam Chisholm said HBC released the extra information late Friday after the proxy advisory Institutional Shareholder Services revealed it first, in a report hours earlier recommending that minority shareholders vote against the Baker offer in a vote next week.

“The form of special committee used in this case is actually in some ways worse than no special committee,” Chisholm said, “because shareholders can be misled into thinking there’s a layer of independence to the process.”

Chisholm also noted that as chairman, Baker was involved in a deal earlier this year to sell its remaining stake in its European real estate joint venture to Signa Holding for $1.5 billion. Two news releases, announcing the Signa sale and Baker’s initial take-private proposal, were released within minutes of each other on June 10.

“There is the old story and there is the new story,” Chisholm said, adding that the so-called old story, laid out in last month’s management circular, didn’t deal with the “comingling” between the Signa sale and the take-private.

“The old story, in the circular, does not mention negotiations with Mr. Baker until June 10,” Chisholm said. “In the new story, the special committee discusses the initial proposal with Mr. Baker from April to June.”

In cross-examination Thursday, Leith confirmed that Baker informed the special committee he was considering a take-private in the spring, but a concrete proposal didn’t emerge until June.

He described the Signa sale and the take-private offer as two separate, but attractive opportunities as the stock price plummeted for HBC.

“We were desperately trying to find ways to find a value-enhancing opportunity for shareholders,” Leith said.

HBC wanted out of its European operations, Leith said. There were also issues with the joint venture arrangement, which involved HBC working with the Signa-owned German department store chain, Karstadt.

“There were tensions. It wasn’t working quite as well as we would have liked,” he said.

The special committee would have preferred to stagger the news releases, to give the market time to understand the Signa deal before the take-private proposal came out, Leith said. “But the decision ultimately resided with those who were making the proposal.”

Catalyst said Baker was working on the Signa sale while simultaneously considering a take-private offer using the proceeds of that sale.

“They’re able to complete the initial proposal without putting a single penny up towards their offer,” he said. “It’s based on the Signa sale and debt financing. And they’re able to do that by receiving information from the company about a transaction that Mr. Baker was working on.”

But vice-chairman Grant Vingoe, part of the OSC’s three-person panel, questioned Chisholm on the Signa deal.

“Is it really a valid complaint to say that the two press releases came out within minutes on the same day? What harm flows from that?” Vingoe asked.

“The interrelationship may not be a problem because the privatization was in flux and Signa was going forward regardless.”

The hearing is expected to conclude Friday.



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Resounding win by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in U.K. election brings end to Brexit deadlock


LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory on Friday that will allow him to take Britain out of the European Union in matter of weeks.

For Johnson, whose 20-week tenure in power has been marked by chaotic scenes in parliament and stark division on the streets over Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union, victory in Thursday’s contest was vindication.

Educated at the country’s most elite school and recognizable by his bombastic style, the 55-year-old must not only deliver Brexit but also convince Britons that the contentious divorce, which would lead to lengthy trade talks, is worth it.

A landslide Conservative win marks the ultimate failure of opponents of Britain’s departure from the European Union who plotted to thwart a 2016 referendum vote through legislative combat in parliament and prompted some of the biggest protests in recent British history.


Conservative party leader Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks after winning his seat in Britain’s general election, Dec. 13, 2019.

Toby Melville/Reuters

Johnson won an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament after an exit poll showed the Conservatives on course to win a landslide 368 seats, the biggest Conservative national election win since Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 triumph.

“I think this will turn out to be a historic election that gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people,” Johnson said after winning his seat of Uxbridge.

He said the Conservatives appeared to have won “a powerful new mandate to get Brexit done.”

U.S President Donald Trump said it was “looking like a big win for Boris.”

Labour were forecast to win 203 seats, the worst result for the party since 1935, after offering voters a second referendum and the most radical socialist government in generations. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would step down.

With results from across Britain indicating the exit poll was accurate, Johnson’s bet on a snap election has paid off, meaning he will swiftly ratify the Brexit deal he struck with the EU so that the United Kingdom can leave on Jan. 31 – 10 months later than initially planned.


Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the party’s headquarters following the general election on Dec. 13, 2019.

Henry Nicholls/Reuters

But nearly half a century after joining what has become the world’s largest trading bloc, Johnson faces the daunting challenge of striking new international trade deals, preserving London’s position as a top global financial capital and keeping the United Kingdom together.

Sterling soared and was on course for one of its biggest one-day gains in the past two decades. The pound hit a 19-month high of $1.3516 versus the dollar and its strongest levels against the euro since shortly after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

As of 0510 GMT, Johnson’s Conservatives had made a net gain of 41 seats.

After nearly four years of Brexit debate that has riven the United Kingdom, deadlocked parliament and shocked allies, a majority will allow Johnson to lead the United Kingdom out of the club it first joined in 1973.

But Brexit is far from over.

He faces the daunting task of negotiating a trade agreement with the EU, possibly in just 11 months, while also negotiating another trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.

The outcome of the negotiations will shape the future of Britain’s economy. After Jan. 31, Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the remaining 27 EU states.

This can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.

A big majority may give him the political security to extend the trade talks beyond 2020 because he could overrule the Brexit hardliner European Research Group (ERG) faction in the party.

“The bigger the Tory majority of course the less influence over this the ERG and Eurosceptics will have,” said Brexit party leader Nigel Farage. “It will be called Brexit but it won’t really be.”

Johnson called the first Christmas election since 1923 to break what he said was the paralysis of Britain’s political system after more than three years of crisis over Brexit.

I think this will turn out to be a historic election

The face of the victorious “Leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum, Johnson fought the election under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” promising to end the deadlock and spend more on health, education and the police.

He was helped early in the election by Farage’s Brexit Party which stood down hundreds of candidates to prevent the pro-Brexit vote from being split. Early results showed the Brexit Party had poached a significant number of voters from Labour.

While Brexit framed the election, the slow-motion exit from the EU has variously fatigued, enthused and enraged voters while eroding loyalties to the two major parties.

Results showed Johnson’s strategy had successfully breached Labour’s so-called “Red Wall” of seats across the Brexit-supporting areas of the Midlands and northern England where he cast his political foes as the out-of-touch enemies of Brexit.

The Conservatives took Sedgefield, once held by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Labour’s most successful leader.


Conservative leader Boris Johnson stands with Independent candidates Bobby “Elmo” Smith, Independent candidate Count Binface, Green Party candidate Mark Keir and Independent candidate William Tobin after winning his seat for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in Britain’s general election, Dec. 13, 2019.

Toby Melville/Reuters

A defeated Labour now faces a civil war between the socialists who control it and more moderate factions which will demand power.

“This is obviously a very disappointing night for the Labour Party with the result that we’ve got,” Corbyn said after being re-elected in his own north London electoral seat. He said he would not lead the party in any future elections.

Weary Labour candidates said his leadership had played a major role in the defeat.

Ruth Smeeth, who said she also expected to lose her seat in Stoke-on-Trent, laid the blame firmly at Corbyn’s door.

“He should have gone many, many, many months ago,” she said.

The Liberal Democrats were forecast to win 13 seats, the exit poll said. Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat party leader, lost her seat to the Scottish National Party.

The Brexit Party were not predicted to win any.

The Scottish National Party, which strongly opposes Brexit, would win 55 of the 59 seats in Scotland, the poll said, setting the scene for it to demand a second independence vote, after secession was rejected by 55% to 45% in 2014.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said Johnson did not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the EU.

“We don’t want Brexit,” Sturgeon said. “Boris Johnson may have a mandate to take England out of the European Union, he emphatically does not have a mandate to take Scotland out of the European Union.”

Here is what to expect from a majority Conservative government:

BREXIT BY JAN. 31

Johnson has promised to bring back to parliament before Christmas the legislation required to ratify his exit deal with Brussels and ensure it is passed by the end of January.

All Conservative candidates have signed up to the deal, so it is expected to have a relatively smooth journey through parliament as opposition parties will not have the numbers to defeat it or make changes to it.

NO EXTENSION OF TRANSITION

After Jan. 31 Britain will enter a transition period during which it will negotiate a new relationship with the EU27.

This can run until the end of December 2022 under the current rules, but the Conservatives made an election promise not to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020.

If they fail to hammer out a new trade deal by the end of 2020, a deadline trade experts say is unrealistic, Britain could effectively be facing a disorderly no-deal Brexit again.

BUDGET IN FEBRUARY

The party has promised to hold a post-Brexit budget in February, boosting spending on domestic issues such as the health service, education and police.

IMMIGRATION

The Conservatives plan to introduce an “Australian-style” points-based immigration system. They have promised to reduce overall immigration numbers. In particular there will be fewer low-skilled migrants.

Under the new system, which will treat EU and non-EU citizens the same, most immigrants will need a job offer to come to Britain. There will be special visa schemes for migrants who will fill shortages in public services, or who are leaders in fields such as science and technology.

GOVERNMENT BORROWING

Finance minister Sajid Javid has said he will rewrite the country’s fiscal rules so he can spend an extra 20 billion pounds per year over the next five years, raising borrowing for infrastructure to 3% of economic output from its current 1.8%.

TRADE

Johnson’s party has said it wants to have 80 percent of UK trade covered by free trade agreements within three years. It plans to prioritize agreeing deals with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

— Kylie MacLellan. Reuters





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Rona Ambrose, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole cited as possible contenders to replace Andrew Scheer as Conservative Leader


OTTAWA—Andrew Scheer’s announcement that he intends to step down as leader of the Conservatives sets in motion a critical leadership contest.

Here’s a look at some names being discussed as contenders:

Peter MacKay: Former leader of the Progressive Conservative party, MacKay co-founded the modern united party when he led with Stephen Harper a move to merge the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives, to form the Conservative Party of Canada. It put the conservative movement on the path back to power.

The former Nova Scotia MP held the foreign affairs, justice and defence portfolios in the previous Conservative government. He left politics in 2015 for private law practice, but has kept up a high profile in political circles and helped campaign in the most recent election. MacKay tried to quell talk of his leadership ambitions after that vote, saying on social media, “Reports of me organizing are false.” MacKay supporters believe he would appeal to red Tories and be seen to put a moderate face on the party, key to its election success in Ontario and Quebec. Chances he’s in are high.

Erin O’Toole: The MP for Durham told reporters just last week, while voicing support for Scheer, that he was not organizing his own leadership campaign. Does that change now that Scheer has formally announced plans to step down?

O’Toole has taken on greater profile in the party and now serves as its foreign affairs critic. He represents a riding in the GTA where the party needs to make gains. His background as a navigator in the air force, and former minister of veterans affairs, makes him popular among Conservatives. He came third in the 2017 Conservative leadership race that saw him lose to Scheer and second-place finisher Maxime Bernier. Chances he’s in are high.

Rona Ambrose: Ambrose, a veteran cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s government, has been out of politics for more than two years, but can’t escape speculation of her return to Ottawa. Even before Scheer’s Thursday announcement, there were questions whether Ambrose, who served as the party’s interim leader after Stephen Harper stepped down, would be open to lead it again.

When two Conservatives went public last month with criticisms of Scheer’s position on LGBTQ issues, Ambrose voiced her support. “It’s time to move forward together and show ALL families we have their backs,” she said on Twitter.

She now serves as a corporate director on several boards and is a fellow with the Wilson Centre Canada Institute in Washington. She has told friends privately she is not keen to return to politics, and, through a spokesperson Thursday, Ambrose declined to comment. However she may not be able to resist efforts to persuade her to step into the race. Chances are fair she will run.

Michelle Rempel Garner: The Calgary Nosehill MP has kept her head low since the Scheer-led party suffered a defeat in the election, but won her own riding handily. A former minister of state for Western Economic Diversification in the Harper government, Rempel is a policy wonk, a fiscal conservative, and has long urged her party to embrace LGBTQ communities. She supports a women’s right to choose and has often championed the cause of women in politics. However life has shifted for her. She got married last spring to a now-retired U.S. army veteran, with Harper presiding at her wedding. Chances she’s in are medium to high.

Pierre Poilievre: The Ottawa-area MP is the party’s finance critic, quick on his feet with a scathing wit and a fierce partisan streak. A longtime Conservative staffer, Poilievre once worked for Stockwell Day, and later ran and was elected in 2004. In Harper’s government he held two portfolios: minister of state for democratic reform and minister of employment and social development. In opposition, Poilievre is the party’s point man on financial issues as he presses the Liberal government to balance the books. The bilingual MP would find support among fiscal conservatives. Chances he’s in are high.

Jason Kenney: Kenney is another veteran from the cabinet benches of the Harper government. He left federal politics in 2016, months after Trudeau won a majority government, opting to go to Alberta to unite the divided conservative movement which was then split between the Progressive Conservative and Wild Rose parties. He then mounted a challenge for provincial government. His United Conservative Party won the April election and Kenney became premier. Though Kenney would have his fans in the Conservative party, he’s made clear that he’s not moving, telling the Calgary Herald he has “absolutely no intention” of running for the leadership. Chances he’s in are slim.

Brad Wall: The former Saskatchewan premier was long believed to be a possible contender for the federal leadership job, but he does not speak French. He is seen as a long-shot, but his credentials would appeal to Conservatives in Western Canada, who see him as an articulate champion of western issues and of the oil and gas sector. However he has also been increasingly supportive of western separatist sentiment, especially since the federal election saw the Liberals shut out of the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Chances he’s in are slim.

Gerard Deltell: The fluently bilingual Quebec City area MP is a former broadcast journalist and past leader of the Action Democratique in Quebec, and later House leader for the Coalition Avenir Quebec caucus at the national assembly. Deltell ran federally in 2015 under the Stephen Harper banner, and has been an effective communicator for the party since Harper quit. He supported O’Toole in the last leadership race, and has fielded questions about his own leadership ambitions, but denies he has any interest in the role. Chances he’s in are slim.

Michael Fortier: The investment banker raised eyebrows when Harper appointed him to the Senate and put him in cabinet in 2006. Harper said the unusual move ensured a cabinet minister to represent Montreal. He held the Public Works and International Trade portfolios.

Fortier was no stranger to politics at that point, having chaired Harper’s leadership campaign, organized the party’s election and run himself unsuccessfully for leadership of the Progressive Conservative party and as MP in previous elections. He resigned from the Senate in 2008 to run in that year’s election but lost.

Currently vice-chair of RBC Capital Markets in Montreal, Fortier is a father of six, fluently bilingual, a fiscal conservative, but socially progressive. He is seen by many conservatives as someone who could potentially win in Quebec and Ontario and bring the party to power. Chances he is in are medium to high.

Rod Phillips: A self-made multi-millionaire, who was chief of staff to former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and went to run the Postmedia newspaper chain, he is the centrist former head of Civic Action. He has Ontario credentials, vital for a Conservative party that needs to win big in the province, but low name recognition in other parts of the country would be an impediment to a leadership bid. A spokesperson for Phillips denied talk he was interested in running. Chances are slim he’s in.

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Mark Mulroney: Mulroney is the eldest son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, and brother to Ontario cabinet minister Caroline Mulroney, who took herself out of the running on Thursday. Mark Mulroney is an investment banker and vice chairman of Scotiabank in Toronto in the capital markets division. Fluently bilingual, he is a father of four with a fifth child due soon. A political junkie, he has no history inside the party however, and may be a dark horse, but Mulroney has been fielding calls from senior figures inside and outside the party urging him to consider running. Chances he’s in are slim to medium.

Bernard Lord: Lord was premier of New Brunswick between 1999 and 2006. He’s now CEO of Medavie, the health company, past president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association of Canada and past chair of Ontario Power Generation. Lord resisted efforts to get him to run in past leadership contests, most recently taking a pass on the race won by Scheer, so chances seem slim he will run this time.

Lisa Raitt: A high-profile Ontario Conservative, Raitt is seen as a moderate. But Raitt, who served as Scheer’s deputy leader, lost her Milton seat in the election. She says she has embarked on a new life in the private sector and is not interested in returning to run in the leadership race. “It’s just not the right time.” But Raitt is excited about the prospects the leadership contest is a chance for the party to shape itself. Chances are zero that she will run.

Tonda MacCharles
Bruce Campion-Smith

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OT hero Pettersson lifts Canucks to 1-0 win over Hurricanes


VANCOUVER – Elias Pettersson scored 40 seconds into overtime to collect his 100th NHL point and give the Vancouver Canucks a 1-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night.

Brock Boeser had tried to centre a pass but the puck hit a broken stick on the ice. Pettersson picked up the puck and scored on a backhand.

The teams were tied 0-0 after 60 minutes despite Carolina outshooting Vancouver 42-24.

The Canucks (16-12-4) improve to 4-4-0 in their last eight games.

The Hurricanes (19-11-2) saw a three-game win streak snapped. Carolina is 10-4-1 in the last 15 games.

Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves for first shutout of the season and fourth of his career.

Hurricane goalie Petr Mrazek stopped 25 shots.

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The Hurricanes looked poised to score the game’s first goal when defenceman Brett Pesce had a breakaway at 8:40 of the third but Markstrom made a blocker stop. Just a few minutes later Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had a breakaway. Mrazek made the stop but looked behind him to make sure the puck hadn’t squeezed through his pads.

The Hurricanes outshot Vancouver 22-7 in the second period.

Besides making several big saves, Markstrom provided some excitement in the second period when he dashed from his net in a bid to beat Carolina’s Warren Foegele to a loose puck. Foegele attempted to chip the puck over a sprawling Markstrom, but the Canuck netminder got a piece of it. The puck rolled into the corner and Markstrom managed to scramble back into his net.



There was a comical moment later in the period when, after making another stop, Markstrom lost the puck in his equipment. Tim Schaller finally retrieved it by reaching down the goaltender’s back.

Carolina had three second-period power plays. Sebastian Aho looked to have scored on a delayed penalty at 7:53 but the whistle had blown a fraction of a second earlier when the referee believed the Canucks had gained control of the puck.

In the third period, Aho had good scoring chance from the slot but Markstrom denied him with a glove save.

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Despite being on the power play three times, the Canucks were outshot 8-5 in a scoreless first period.

Both goaltenders came up big in the opening 20 minutes.

Early on, Canucks captain Bo Horvat had a breakaway from the hashmarks but Mrazek made a blocker save. A few minutes later Carolina’s Julien Gauthier stole the puck from defenceman Tyler Myers at the blue line. Gauthier skated into the Canucks zone, fought of a check by Myers, and fired a low, hard shot that Markstrom gloved.

NOTES: The Canucks called up goaltender Michael DiPietro from Utica of the AHL after Thatcher Demko suffered a concussion in practice Wednesday. … Vancouver forward Micheal Ferland (upper body) was injured Tuesday night in his second game back after missing 17 games with a concussion. Head coach Travis Green said he is not in concussion protocol. … Carolina forward Ryan Dzingel played in his 300th NHL game. …The Hurricanes have never beaten the Canucks in overtime, having lost nine times and tied six times.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.




© 2019 The Canadian Press







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