WATCH: Morning CHEK with Andy Neal
Electoral reform referendum deadline Friday in B.C., November unemployment drops to a new low and Oscars host steps down from scrutiny over past anti-gay tweets. Those stories and more on Morning CHEK.
Deadline hours away to get referendum vote to Elections BC: After weeks of reminders, today is the deadline to have your completed ballot handed into Elections BC in the referendum on electoral reform. British Columbians have been asked to either stick with the current first-past-the-post in provincial elections or to a form of proportional representation. You have until 4:30 p.m to drop off your vote at a service BC or referendum service office. As of Thursday morning, Elections BC had a 40 per cent return of ballots.
Unemployment hits lowest figure since Stats Canada collected comparable data in 1976: The national unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent, the lowest since Stats Canada began collecting comparable data in 1976. A more-than-expected 91,400 jobs were added last month. The figure for Victoria dropped one point in November to 3.8 per cent.
Large tobacco company invests in Canadian cannabis producer: Altria Group, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies and the producers of Marlboro cigarettes, is making a $2.4 billion equity investment in Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group. It’s acquiring a 45 per cent ownership and could invest $1.4 billion more at a later date to own a 55 per cent share.
Speaker says he’ll resign if an audit doesn’t justify suspensions of legislative officials: B.C. House speaker Darryl Plecas says if a financial audit he is recommending does not outrage taxpayers, then he will resign. The promise was made during a meeting Thursday of an all-party financial management committee that is grappling with the fallout from a police investigation that saw the legislature’s top two officials suspended. Plecas told members of the committee he can’t discuss the reasons behind the investigation. Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and clerk Craig James have denied any wrongdoing.
Bail hearing Friday in Vancouver for Huawei executive facing extradition to the U.S.: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is due in a Vancouver court for a bail hearing Friday, but it’s still not clear what charges she is facing. Wanzhou faces extradition to the U-S. China’s Embassy in Ottawa calls Meng’s arrest a serious violation of human rights, and Huawei says it is not aware of any wrongdoing on her part.
Island sport fishing industry concerned over federal measures to protect orcas: Island communities that depend on tourism say a possible fisheries closure intended to help endangered orcas survive could kill local economies. The sport fishing industry concerns come as the federal government extended a 5,000-square kilometre critical habitat zone off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island that could result in fishing closures to protect the 74 remaining Southern resident killer whales.
Housing announcement Friday in Nanaimo for women and children leaving violence: As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, there will be an announcement related to new affordable housing for women and children leaving violence on Vancouver Island. There is another affordable housing announcement planned Friday in Campbell River. On Thursday, the Capital Regional District announced nearly 500 new units are slated to be built in Langford and Sooke.
Hart steps down from hosting role for the 91st Oscars: Comedian Kevin Hart tweet late Thursday night that he was stepping down as host for February’s Oscars Awards ceremony. The move follows complaints about homophobic tweets that mostly dated from 2009-2011. Hart initially refused to apologize, saying he had addressed the issue before. But he tweeted, “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”
Grammy nominations announced Friday: Chart-toppers Drake and Shawn Mendes led the Canadians picking up nominations at this year’s Grammy Awards. The Toronto rapper pulled in seven nominations, including album, record and song of the year. Mendes scored two nominations for song of the year and best pop vocal award. The Grammy Awards ceremony will be held February 10.
Canucks end losing skid against the West’s top team: The Vancouver Canucks topped the best in the west last night. Elias Pettersson scored on his first NHL penalty shot attempt which stood up as the winner in a 5-3 decision over Nashville, to end the Canucks’ 4-game slide. The Canucks are in Philadelphia Friday.
Royals take on Rockets in Kelowna: The Victoria Royals play the fourth game of a five-game road trip Friday in Kelowna in a battle with the Rockets. Victoria has lost their last two games and five of the past six outings.
All Island encounter on Friday’s BCHL slate: The Victoria Grizzlies welcome the Cowichan Valley Capitals to the Q-Centre Friday night. The Nanaimo Clippers are on the road in Prince George.
Record-tying touchdown in Titans win over Jags: Derrick Henry unleashed the second 99-yard touchdown run in NFL history, tying Tony Dorsett for the league’s longest ever in the Tennesse Titans rout over Jacksonville, 30-9 Thursday night.