WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Bank of Canada holds rates steady as it eyes NAFTA fallout
The Bank of Canada pressed the pause button on its efforts to push up interest rates as it watches the fallout from the country’s trade showdown with the United States. The central bank announced today that it opted to leave its key rate at 1.5 per cent in spite of unexpectedly good economic conditions this summer.
“The bank is ... monitoring closely the course of NAFTA negotiations and other trade policy developments, and the impact on the inflation outlook,” it said in a statement. The BoC added that “elevated trade tensions” remain a key risk to the global economy and are already depressing some commodity prices, Barrie McKenna writes.
Canada needs NAFTA’s Chapter 19 because Trump ‘doesn’t always follow the rules’: Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau characterized U.S. President Donald Trump as a rule breaker in arguing today for Canada’s fight to preserve the dispute settlement chapter that Trump wants removed from the North American free-trade agreement. Mr. Trudeau offered some of his sharpest criticism of the unpredictable president during an interview with an Edmonton radio station, just as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland resumed NAFTA talks in Washington with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer.
“We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed. And we know we have a President who doesn’t always follow the rules as they’re laid out,” Mr. Trudeau said.
As Ms. Freeland returns to talks, she need not feel rushed, writes Eddie Goldenberg, former senior policy adviser and then chief of staff to prime minister Jean Chrétien. "She can and should take all the time necessary to negotiate what is in Canada’s interests and not succumb to artificial U.S. timetables. The Canadian pundits are wrong. Ms. Freeland and Canada enter the next round of negotiations in a strong bargaining position."
PM says he won’t use ‘tricks’ to kick-start Trans Mountain pipeline construction
Also while in Edmonton today, Mr. Trudeau poured cold water on Alberta’s suggestion the federal government use legislation or a court appeal to get construction started quickly on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In a radio interview, he said using “tricks,” such as a new law or the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause, would create further legal fights down the road. The Federal Court of Appeal last week reversed a cabinet decision to allow Trans Mountain construction to go ahead.
Britain names two Russians in poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter
British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for tougher sanctions on Russia after accusing two Russian intelligence officers of carrying out a “barbaric” attack in Salisbury last March, Paul Waldie writes. Travelling under the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, two suspects from the Russian army’s intelligence directorate (known as the GRU) used a nerve agent called Novichok to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, at Mr. Skripal’s home in Salisbury. He’s a former Russian spy who worked at the GRU and also secretly served as a double agent for Britain’s MI5 in the 1990s. They both survived the poisoning but police say two other people later came in contact with a vial used in the attack and one died.
“This was not a rogue operation,” Ms. May told the House of Commons today. “It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.”
Colin Kaepernick’s Nike commercial also features Canadian soccer star Alphonso Davies
Canadian teen soccer star Alphonso Davies is among the athletes featured in a new Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick that’s drawing attention worldwide. A two-minute commercial released online today has the former NFL quarterback speaking about athletes overcoming adversity to achieve greatness.
The ad includes footage of Davies scoring a goal for Canada’s men’s soccer team as Kaepernick says, “if you’re born a refugee, don’t let it stop you from playing soccer for the national team at age 16.” The Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the Liberian civil war, and the family immigrated to Canada when he was five.
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Emerging market stocks lead declines in indexes across the globe today as investors looked to take risk off the table while a deadline in the U.S.-China trade conflict loomed and U.S.-Canada trade talks resumed.
In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index finished down 23.73 points at 16,137.57. Energy stocks led the decline as oil prices fell.
In New York, the Nasdaq fell more than 1 per cent, dented by technology stocks after Facebook and Twitter executives defended their companies before skeptical U.S. lawmakers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22.51 points to 25,974.99, the S&P 500 lost 8.12 points to close at 2,888.6 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 96.08 points to 7,995.17.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL
Steve Bannon, the controversial former strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, is set to debate Canadian-born conservative commentator David Frum on the issue of populism on Nov. 2 in Toronto. Today's announcement of the event – part of the Munk Debates – comes days after Mr. Bannon was dropped from the speakers list at next month’s New Yorker Festival after the magazine faced intense backlash and threats of a boycott by other guests.
"The world has 'debated' hateful ideologies time and again – choose your genocide, and the 'never again' declaration that came afterward – and letting them be revisited is, quite frankly, stupid," Denise Balkissoon writes. "It’s not an opportunity for intellectual discourse. It’s allowing violence to go unchecked, to sweep up vulnerable people, and to grow."
Despite a strong economy, debt-related stress is on the rise in Canada
"Plenty of polls and surveys in the past year or so have documented high levels of stress about money. That’s now, a time of economic growth. When the economy inevitably heads into the next down cycle at some future date, today’s money stresses will look mild by comparison. Reduce stress, fix your retirement savings deficit. That’s your motivation for paying down debt today, while the economy has your back." - Rob Carrick
The Trans Mountain ruling was a fiasco
"In their Trans Mountain ruling, the three Federal Court of Appeal judges laid out a road map to remedy their objections, which they optimistically claim are not too onerous. (Real life, however, may prove to be a different matter.) It’s even possible that the project could be back on track in time for the federal election a year and a bit from now. But what won’t be back on track is Justin Trudeau’s promise of a grand bargain – carbon tax for pipelines – and the optimism that he can get everyone in line on the climate file. In fact, he has the worst of both worlds – people are repudiating his carbon taxes, and we’re no closer to market access for our oil than we ever were." - Margaret Wente
What the upset wins in Democratic primaries mean for the establishment – and Trump
"A new generation of Democrats in Congress could alter the party’s approach to Mr. Trump, even if the Republicans retain control of Capitol Hill in the midterms – and especially if the Democrats grab control. In either case, the party is likely to be even more aggressive in its opposition to the President, and if the Democrats seize the House, the likelihood of an impeachment effort looms over even the most quotidian proceedings." - David Shribman
University of Calgary researcher Keith Yates says new concussion guidelines in the United States could change care for all children with mild traumatic brain injuries. The guidelines include recommendations on the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Some of the key recommendations include avoiding routine X-rays, CT scans and blood tests for diagnosis. They recommend that rest not last longer than one to three days after the injury. They also reassure parents that most children’s symptoms clear up within one to three months. The guidelines suggest signs of potentially more serious injuries that may warrant imaging scans include vomiting, unconsciousness and severe worsening headaches.
LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Nightmare on Wall Street: Gord Nixon and other insiders recall Lehman’s sudden collapse
Ten years ago, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, becoming a symbol of the excesses of the U.S. financial system and triggering a global crisis. Report on Business Magazine talked to three players who helped Canada avoid the worst of the fallout, and one who watched Lehman collapse from the inside.
Gord Nixon (then-CEO of Royal Bank of Canada): "We went into the Lehman weekend knowing there was a good chance they would declare bankruptcy on Monday. We had billions of dollars of exposure to Lehman, but virtually all of it was collateralized by equities and other liquid securities. Over that weekend, we went through drills figuring out what we were going to do at the opening on Monday. So when Monday morning came in London, we immediately started liquefying our collateral. I’m proud to say that by noon Toronto time, Chuck called to say our exposure to Lehman was in the hundreds of millions, down from multiple billions. I just remember breathing a sigh of relief—and then moving on to the next crisis." (for subscribers)
Festival of Trees shines celebrity spotlight on children’s authors
As kids get back to their schoolbooks, now is the perfect time to look back at a shining example of a program that encourages students to read, read widely and read Canadian, Becky Toyne writes. Run by the Ontario Library Association, the annual three-day Festival of Trees in Toronto welcomed a record-breaking 12,000 attendees this year, including volunteers, publishing-industry types and authors, as well as more than 10,000 book-loving kids.
For the kids enrolled in the Forest of Reading program, the Festival of Trees is the climax of many months spent reading and engaging with books. Young readers get to see their favourite writers up-close at workshops, activities and award ceremonies that cover reading levels from junior kindergarten to Grade 12. Most exciting for the readers – and a defining element that sets the Forest of Reading apart from other programs such as the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards or the Governor-General’s Literary Awards – is that they voted for the winners themselves.