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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

British MPs outraged, pound slides as Johnson prorogues Parliament ahead of Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced outrage today after he received the Queen’s approval for a five-week prorogation of Parliament, dramatically curtailing the amount of time the House of Commons could sit before an Oct. 31 deadline for the country’s exit from the European Union.

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In a letter to MPs, Johnson said the move was necessary to prepare a “bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit,” which he would unveil in the Queen’s Speech slated for Oct. 14.

Critics immediately accused Johnson of acting like an autocrat in limiting debate about Brexit, which he has vowed to deliver “do or die” on Oct. 31. The pound tumbled to its lowest in nearly a week.

Opinion: “There is a growing fear that Mr. Johnson’s use of the prorogation to circumvent the strong opposition to a no-deal Brexit by nationalists in Scotland and their representatives in the British Parliament could lead to an eventual successful referendum for independence and a break-up of Britain.” - Errol Mendes, professor of constitutional and international law, University of Ottawa

Background: Catch up on the issues and events concerning Brexit in our explainer here.

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Provincial math scores fall as Ontario looks to rewrite curriculum

Math scores continue to fall as more Ontario elementary school students struggle to meet provincial standards, according to the latest standardized test results released today.

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Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the province will work to overhaul curriculum and in the meantime invest $55-million in schools this year to train educators and expand online tutoring for students.

Results from the province’s Education Quality and Accountability Office showed that the proportion of Grade 3 students who meet provincial math standards has also dropped, to 58 per cent from 61 per cent in the 2018-19 academic year.

The number of Grade 6 children who met provincial standards dipped to a record low: fewer than half – 48 per cent – met the standard, which is equivalent to a B grade.

Hudson’s Bay selling Lord & Taylor banner amid privatization battle

Hudson’s Bay is selling its Lord & Taylor banner to San Francisco-based fashion rental service Le Tote in a deal worth $132.7-million that includes inventory, digital properties and 38 stores in the U.S.

The move comes as the Canadian retailer is in the middle of an effort to take Hudson’s Bay private. A group led by executive chairman Richard Baker has offered $1-billion for the department-store chain, but a group of minority shareholders have opposed the bid.

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Minority shareholder U.S. hedge-fund firm Land & Buildings Investment Management has called for Baker’s ouster should the bid fail, and accused him of being "unqualified and far too conflicted’ to remain on the board.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Kevin O’Leary involved in boat crash: Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary says he was involved in a boat collision late Saturday night in Ontario cottage country that killed two people.

Wynne aides received enhanced severance: The Ontario Liberal cabinet approved more than $450,000 in enhanced severance packages for Andrew Bevan and Mary Rowe, two top staffers in the premier’s office, days after the party lost the 2018 election.

Vancouver broadcaster resigns after outcry: Thomas Leung, an on-air columnist at Vancouver’s most-listened-to Chinese radio station, has resigned after making controversial remarks about the protests in Hong Kong, suggesting pro-democracy demonstrators were partly responsible for a violent incident last month.

Energy regulator to hear complaints about Enbridge: The Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) is looking into Enbridge’s new plan to solicit long-term contract bids to ship crude oil on its Mainline pipeline system after complaints from four of Canada’s prominent energy producers.

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Canadians at the U.S. Open: No Canadians are in singles action at the U.S. Open today. Yesterday, Denis Shapovalov advanced with a straight-sets victory over Félix Auger-Aliassime, as did Vasek Pospisil in five sets over No. 9 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia. Shapovalov, Pospisil and Bianca Andreescu all play second-round matches tomorrow.

Nick Kypreos leaving Sportsnet: Hockey analyst Nick Kypreos announced on Twitter today that he’s parting ways with Sportsnet after almost 21 years with the cable network.

MARKET WATCH

U.S. stocks climbed today, recovering from early session declines on gains in energy and financial shares, but investors remained leery about the potential for another flare-up in U.S.-China trade tensions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 258.20 points to 26,036.10, the S&P 500 gained 18.78 points to end at 2,887.94 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.93 points to close at 7,856.88.

The energy sector led Canada’s main stock index as it closed higher along with Wall Street in a day that saw a lull in trade-war news. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 88.06 points to 16,271.65.

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TALKING POINTS

We thought we elected leaders. We got man-children instead

“Old-school authoritarians, confident in their power and range, have been swept aside by a new crew of hypersensitive, defensive, passive-aggressive, apology-demanding nitwits who combine snivelling weakness with braggadocio – the oldest jerk-move in the sandlot.” - Mark Kingwell, author and professor of philosophy, University of Toronto

Ontario cannabis lottery was a disaster. It should be the last

“An uncapped retail licence system would significantly aid in consumer access, which would ultimately make the legal market more attractive than the black market.” - David Clement, North American affairs manager, Consumer Choice Center

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LIVING BETTER

Shaky stock markets and growing concern about recession may have investors wondering whether to take profits on stock market holdings and hold cash or ride out whatever’s ahead. Rob Carrick offers a quick guide on how to judge when to sell, including:

  • Consider your time frame: If you don’t need the money for decades, making adjustments for anticipated short-term market ups and downs can be a wealth destroyer.
  • Tough love: Be tough-minded in assessing speculative holdings – they may need to go.
  • Easy on the cash: There’s a risk you never invest it and deprive yourself of potentially better returns from stocks and bonds.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

As summer winds down, hit the twisting back roads of Muskoka for adventure

Spread across the Canadian Shield, two hours north of Toronto, is Muskoka cottage country. It’s a place rich with summer clichés: a loon-call land of saturated sunsets, gentle lake breezes and beautiful bronzed people in a Roots world of mahogany launches, Porsche SUVs and palatial summer homes. It’s a Near North wilderness where a rough day in the woods might involve spilling Chablis on your tasselled loafers.

But there’s another Muskoka that doesn’t include wake-boarding or dockside cocktails: one of twisting backroads and rock cuts, general stores and rolling farmland, the Muskoka that we rush through on our way to the dock (and the Chablis). This landscape is rich with the kind of undulating ribbons of asphalt that quicken the pulse of a motorcyclist and display nature’s grandeur as well as any lakefront, maybe better.

David Gillett went looking for a route that stitched together some of the best of them, a checklist of dryland Muskoka highlights, a Grand Tour of the heart of the region. These final days of summer – and even the early days of fall, as the leaves start to burn bright and the traffic dies down – is the perfect time for the adventure. Read his full story here.

(Illustration by David Gillett)

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