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Canada Evening Update: Canada one step closer to creating federal securities regulator after Supreme Court ruling

Good evening, here’s your Friday Evening Update newsletter:

WHAT HAPPENED TODAY

The Supreme Court endorsed legislation for a national securities regulator

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The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously this morning in favour of legislation that aims to create a federal securities regulator, something experts say will make rules more consistent across the country, help regulators manage systemic risks and improve enforcement.​

Canada is the only G20 country that does not have a national securities regulator. Under the 1867 Constitution, the federal government is responsible for trade and commerce and the provinces have authority over property and civil rights. Various governments have tried to create a national regulator, but successive courts have deemed previous proposals unconstitutional. In 2013, the federal government rewrote its plan for a regulator, the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority. Five provinces and one territory – Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Yukon – have agreed to participate. Quebec and Alberta oppose the plan. Overseen by a council of ministers from each participating jurisdiction, it was crafted to ensure that the provinces do not cede power to Ottawa.

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Exclusive: Accused businessman says fraud case built with confessions obtained by coercion

A Canadian businessman charged with securities fraud is accusing Canadian law enforcement of building its case on dubious evidence obtained by coercion in a Chinese detention centre. The exclusive story about fallen tycoon Edward Gong offers insight into the depths and risks of transnational policing and raises important questions about due process, international law and China’s notorious criminal justice system.

As Craig Offman, Steven Chase and Xiao Xu report, Mr. Gong’s arrest last December came after an investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the RCMP in collaboration with China’s Ministry of Public Security and authorities in New Zealand. He is accused of securities fraud after allegedly masterminding the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of worthless stock of his health-supplements company, O24, to Chinese citizens, then funnelling much of the money to bank accounts in Canada and New Zealand.

The charges depend to a significant extent on police investigations in China, including interrogations of detained associates of Mr. Gong and testimony from O24′s alleged investors. Mr. Gong and his lawyers say the evidence gathered by Chinese authorities was the result of coercion and should be thrown out.

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Freeland orders internal review of aid to Afghanistan

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is ordering a review of Canadian development aid to Afghanistan to ensure there is proper oversight and that taxpayer dollars aren’t being wasted or ending up in the pockets of corrupt officials. As Robert Fife, Michelle Zilio and Victoria Gibson report from Ottawa and Toronto, Ms. Freeland announced the review after The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that a U.S. watchdog agency found that billions of dollars of Western foreign aid, including from Canada, had been lost to widespread corruption, waste and mismanagement. “I think obviously we want to be sure we’re spending our money in the ways that we intended it to be spent, that it has a maximum positive impact," Ms. Freeland told reporters yesterday at an event in Hamilton. "So I will be looking into the reports that came out today, and I think it’s something that we definitely need to study, need to be thoughtful about.”

Deaths reported as California wildfire almost quadruples in size

A wildfire tore through the town of Paradise, Calif., today, moving so quickly that firefighters gave up battling the flames to focus on helping thousands of people flee. Just a day old, the fire has grown to more than 285 square kilometres. Authorities said it had claimed lives, although they offered no specific number or any details. The Associated Press reports the fire has destroyed several thousand buildings and has levelled the town of almost 30,000 people. The entire community was ordered evacuated, setting off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot. People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement centre.

MARKET WATCH

The close: TSX drops with energy stocks

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Stocks around the globe were closing in on their biggest drop in two weeks as soft Chinese data hit demand for risky assets while oil prices weakened again on Friday. Canada’s main stock index fell as energy shares were pressured by a plunge in oil prices. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was down 83.03 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 15,274.44. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.59 points, or 0.77 percent, to 25,989.63, the S&P 500 lost 25.7 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,781.13 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 123.98 points, or 1.65 percent, to 7,406.90. European shares dipped as mining and oil stocks sold off, but they managed to end the week with a small gain.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

TALKING POINTS

Next up, Trump and Pelosi do the tango

“Plenty of progressive Democrats don’t think Ms. Pelosi is progressive enough to lead the resistance to Mr. Trump. But she knows better than they do that the biggest threat facing their party is not the President but the rambunctious new Democrats who look to senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for leadership. Ms. Pelosi also knows that any attempt by House Democrats to try to impeach Mr. Trump – as justified as it as may be – would likely backfire on them. She should know, having been in the House long enough to remember Republicans' impeachment of Bill Clinton.” — Konrad Yakabuski

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Trump’s acts of distraction: Don’t take the bait

You could be forgiven, if you watched Donald Trump’s combative post-election news conference Wednesday morning – in which he called CNN’s Jim Acosta a “rude, terrible person” as a White House press aide tried to yank a microphone away from the reporter – and thought you had tuned into a rerun. After all, the last time Trump held a solo news conference was a similarly combative affair, in which he yelled at Acosta and called CNN and BuzzFeed “fake news.” ... You could be forgiven for thinking this was all a canny put-on, staged by a master of distraction who would love nothing more than for the so-called media elite to get huffy and focus on how his tin-pot despot act affects them rather than on the significant troubles swirling around him, especially after his Republicans had just lost the U.S. House of Representatives. — Simon Houpt

The culture war has been won, so now we fight about words

Are you a social justice warrior? Not if you can help it, I bet. You are unlikely to find anyone who will self-identify as an “SJW,” an annoyingly popular internet putdown aimed by angry trolls at the earnest slogans of left-leaning people. In response to such scorn, people have dropped the words “social justice.” Liberal-minded politicians now studiously avoid the phrase. This despite the fact that a large and growing majority of people believe in, well, social justice. — Doug Saunders

REMEMBRANCE DAY READING

This Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Great War, and the weekend Globe is replete with features, opinion and reflections about the First World War. Here’s a selection of the coverage:

Black on the battlefield: Canada’s forgotten First World War black battalion

Told they could enlist if they could muster enough men to form their own, segregated battalion, soldiers in the No. 2 Construction Battalion suffered some of the most oppressive conditions during the war but received little recognition for their sacrifice and service. The battalion’s soldiers would not be given guns. Instead, they would be outfitted with shovels and forestry tools. Instead of fighting alongside Allied forces on the front lines, the Black Battalion would ship out as a non-combat force trained to dig trenches, carry the dead, build prisons and fell trees in the Joux forest. Globe Atlantic bureau chief Jessica Leeder shares the story of the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada’s first and only black, segregated unit.

On Remembrance Day, remember the families

“Even if we don’t always agree with our government’s decisions when it comes to defence and foreign policy, most of us are proud of the individuals who make up our military, and awed by the sacrifices they make in support of their country. We care just as deeply for our veterans, too many of whom still struggle upon their release. But I’ve also learned that when we say, “thank you for your service” to a veteran, an officer or a non-commissioned member, we aren’t quite getting it right. Because when members of the Canadian Armed Forces deploy, they aren’t the only ones putting service before self. Their families are, too.” - Adam Chapnick, deputy director of education at the Canadian Forces College.

‘Canada Plays Part In Great Victory’: Relive the final months of the First World War through the pages of The Globe

What was it like to live through the First World War? How did Canadians get news about the happenings overseas? As a way of offering a unique perspective on what was happening in the final 100 days before the armistice, The Globe put together a compilation of news found on the newspaper’s front pages in 1918. Here, we offer a look at the headlines and stories that informed Canadians of the happenings on the front line as the Allied forces pushed for Germany’s eventual surrender, and the months following the armistice before the peace treaty was signed.

New brew, students honour those who fought in the often-forgotten Battle of Hill 70

The Battle of Hill 70 was fought in in Lens, France, during the First World War between the Canadian Corps and five divisions of the German 6th Army. Canada lost 10,000 casualties and repelled nearly two dozen german counterattacks during the 10-day battle. History students at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute begin with those simple facts, but that’s about as close to traditional history class as this this group of students gets. Their assignment? Create their own story of Hill 70. As Roy MacGregor reports, the students use computers to try and track down original evidence, studying period maps and examining military records. All in order to better understand what happened more than a century ago near a small town in northern France.

LIVING BETTER

Why do women travel solo more than men? And: Hitting the road alone? Try one of these tours

Travelling alone is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry (for subscribers). But women are not just looking for a holiday; they’re looking for empowerment. These experiences – sometimes challenging, often exhilarating – have become defining moments in women’s lives. Women feel more comfortable travelling alone in a way they didn’t when they were really only two things: wives and mothers. If you’re planning on travelling by yourself, more cruise lines, tour operators and hotels have begun crafting amenities and programs for all kinds of people who want to explore alone. Check out these opportunities that are no catering to the solo traveller.

LISTEN AND LEARN

Mai Mavinkurve knows all about how artificial intelligence can make businesses more efficient. In the latest episode of The Globe’s I’ll Go First podcast, the founder and COO of Sightline Innovation talks about the misconceptions of AI, robots taking our jobs and how she juggles motherhood with entrepreneurship.

Evening Update is written by Michael Snider and Shelby Blackley. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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