Five things you should know before starting your work day on Dec. 4

Workers trim marijuana on conveyor belt before being packaged at Aphria in Leamington, Ont.Dax Melmer / Postmedia News

Good morning! We have a couple of oil stories for you: The Alberta premier cut output here at home, and a country cut itself out of OPEC. There’s tension in the cannabis arena, with Aphria being called “worthless” by a short seller. A takeover of sport product company Amer is in the works, with a Canadian connection. And as a result of their response to #MeToo, men on Wall Street face a very sharp double-edged sword.


Back from the dead: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s oil cut of 325,000 barrels per day sent Canadian crude prices and energy stocks skyrocketing yesterday, after she last week vowed to buy rail space for oil. While a 10% increase in share prices is great for investors, it isn’t all that hot when those same stocks had fallen 50% earlier this year, one analyst said. Victor Ferreira reports on the day’s results for the sector, including Western Canada Select’s 44% rebound.


Qatar is quitting OPEC as the toxic politics of the Middle East finally fracture a group that had held together through 58 years, including war and sanctions. Qatar said it will focus instead on its liquefied natural gas production (which is not incompatible with OPEC membership), but neglected to mention the political backdrop for the decision, including the Saudi blockade against his country and Trump’s dissatisfaction with the cartel.


Aphria shares fell as much 29% yesterday after a short seller told delegates at a conference in New York that Aphria — the fourth largest cannabis company — had diverted funds into inflated investments held by insiders. Vanmala Subramaniam is looking into the claim that the company, despite its US$2B market cap, is “worthless.” For its part, Aphria said it is pursuing legal options against the short seller.


Lululemon founder Chip Wilson is in talks to take a 20% stake in Amer Sports Oyj, as part of a US$5.3B takeover bid by a consortium led by China-based Anta Sports Products. Amer has a portfolio of top brands, including Salomon ski equipment, Wilson racquets, Arc’teryx clothing and more, which could be an attractive prospect for Anta in Asia’s upcoming Olympic summer and winter games.


Men on Wall Street are so spooked by the #MeToo movement that they’re avoiding women at all costs. No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings. But this is a double-edged sword: It means both that Wall Street risks becoming more of a boy’s club, rather than less of one, but also that the men “walking backwards” into a massive sex discrimination case.