QUICK NEWS (updated regularly)

DID INDIAN PM NARENDRA MODI TRY TO ‘SCREW’ LIBERALS?: Just when Canadians seemed to be forgetting about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s controversial trip to India in early 2018, his longtime friend and adviser Gerald Butts – the guy who quit as Trudeau’s principal secretary thanks to the SNC-Lavalin controversy but who just recently joined the Liberals’ re-election campaign – is quoted in a new book as saying: “We walked into a buzzsaw – Modi and his government were out to screw us and were throwing tacks under our tires to help Canadian conservatives, who did a good job of embarrassing us.” That quote appears in a book by National Post columnist John Ivison that is going to be released next week. Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer tweeted: “There Trudeau goes again, blaming others for his own mistakes and poor judgment. This time it’s @NarendraModi. Trudeau’s failed leadership is no one’s fault but his own.” Yet another controversy, eh!

MILLENNIALS ARE TURNING TO PUBS AND RESTAURANTS: Millennials are turning away from nightclubs. The clubs on Granvbill Street in downtown Vancouver are slowly disappearing as young people appear to prefer pubs and restaurants, reports CBC. It notes that by 2020, there will only be seven licensed nightclubs and live music venues, compared to 13 back in 2009. Weekly DJ nights aren’t that popular any longer. CBC quoted Nate Sabine of Blueprint Entertainment as saying: “The reasons why people traditionally went out were to listen to new music, to hook up with somebody and to have a few drinks. You can do two of those things online now very easily.” It pointed out that clubs like the Caprice and Stone Temple are gone and Republic is expected to close next year.

BAD NEWS FOR FEDERAL LIBERALS IN QUEBEC?: In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll among 977 Québec voters, three in 10 (30%) say they would vote for the Liberals in a federal election, while a similar proportion (28%) say they would support the Conservatives.  One-sixth (15%) say they would support the Bloc Quebcois.  One in 10 say they would support the Green Party (10%) or the NDP (9%).  Few say they would support the People’s Party of Canada (4%) or another party (3%). Respondents most likely to support the Liberals include those supporting the provincial Liberals (72%), living in Montreal (41%), and English-speakers.  Respondents most likely to support the Conservatives include those supporting the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) (50%), and living in Québec City (48%).  “The gap between the Liberals and Conservatives is narrowing in Québec and that is bad news for the Liberals,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, President of Forum Research. “The Liberals need a strong showing in Québec and Ontario to win government, and a strong Conservative party, and a resurgent Bloc make that much, much more difficult.”

MASSIVE SECURITY BREACH AT CAPITAL ONE: A massive data hack at credit card giant Capital One Financial has exposed the personal data of some six million Canadians and compromised one million social insurance numbers, the Toronto Star reports. Capital One Financial announced the data hack late Monday after the alleged hacker, Paige A. Thompson, was charged with computer fraud and abuse in Seattle. The Star said that in Canada, Capital One provides Mastercard credit cards for Costco Wholesale’s Canadian retail network and the Hudson’s Bay Company. The data hack also exposed the data of roughly 100 million U.S. clients, including about 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers.

LIBERALS WON’T ALLOW PROBE INTO GOVERNMENT’S CALLS TO EX-AMBASSADORS: The Liberals used their majority power to disallow a motion by opposition parties for summer parliamentary hearings into why Canada’s foreign ministry called two former diplomats to caution them to avoid contradictory public messaging on China and why they were told this was at the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Globe and Mail reported. The opposition MPs wanted the committee to examine whether the government applied “undue pressure” on the former ambassadors. The motion was voted down five to four on Tuesday, thanks to the Liberals’ majority.  

ALLSTATE CANADA’S COUNTERLAWSUIT AGAINST FORMER EMPLOYEE DISMISSED: Ontario Superior Court Justice Jessica Kimmel last week dismissed Allstate Canada’s counterlawsuit for $700,000 and legal costs for defamation against former employee Medha Joshi who sued the company for wrongful dismissal for $600,000. Joshi was fired for allegedly telling CBC about the company’s unwritten rules at Allstate prevented employees from selling insurance to residences in Brampton, because Allstate alluded “minority groups within Brampton were more likely to commit fraud,” according to the lawsuit. The judge said in her decision that “qualified privilege” means that “Ms. Joshi had a legal, social or moral duty” and that Ms. Joshi “felt compelled to speak about what I have concluded is a matter of public interest. She would be one among a relatively small group of people who has knowledge, information, and belief about the particular Allstate policy or practice in question.” Allstate Canada’s stand remains that Joshi’s allegations are false. The company will decide whether to appeal in the next few weeks. Brampton Guardian reported that the court decision is one of the first under the new anti-SLAPP legislation (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, also known as a gag proceeding). Allegations against Allstate have yet to be proven in court.