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

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reportedly told Friday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend the COP26 climate summit in person.

Britain, which is hosting the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow from Oct. 31-Nov 12, is seeking to get big-power support for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

“It is now pretty clear that Xi is not going to turn up and the PM has been told that,” The Times newspaper quoted an unidentified British source as saying. “What we don’t know is what stance the Chinese are going to take.”

Xi, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, has not left the People’s Republic since the beginning of the pandemic. He has joined video calls with global leaders. China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter so Xi’s absence from discussions – either in person or via video calls – would mark a setback for Johnson’s hopes of getting world leaders to agree a significant climate deal.

The Queen, meanwhile, said recently she’s not happy about the lack of firm commitments to attend COP26.

“Extraordinary isn’t it. I’ve been hearing all about COP,” the 95-year-old monarch told Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. “Still don’t know who is coming … It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do,” the Queen said in a conversation picked up by a microphone.

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British political establishment mourns murder of longtime Parliamentarian

Long-serving British lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting with constituents at a church in England, an attack that has rattled the country’s political establishment.

A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene but was not immediately identified. “The investigation is in its very early stages,” Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and his Cabinet were “deeply shocked and heart-stricken.”

The slaying came five years after another MP, Jo Cox, was murdered by a far-right extremist in her small-town constituency, and it renewed concern about the risks politicians run as they go about their work representing voters. British politicians generally are not given police protection when they meet with their constituents.

Trudeau to unveil new cabinet Oct. 26 with Parliament returning Nov. 22

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new cabinet on Oct. 26 as he focuses on finishing the fight against COVID-19 and the economy. The new ministers will have a little less than a month to get a feel for their jobs before Parliament is recalled on Nov. 22 – just over two months after the election that returned the Liberals with a second consecutive minority.

The Prime Minister’s Office says Trudeau will talk by phone with opposition leaders early next week to discuss Canadians’ priorities and how the House of Commons should resume operations as the fourth wave of the pandemic continues to rage.

Opposition MPs strongly criticized the government’s timeline for resuming House of Commons sittings in response to Friday’s announcement. The Conservatives, NDP and Bloc Québécois have long maintained that the September election was unnecessary and that Parliamentary work should have started up again as soon as possible.

“It’s wrong that in the middle of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Justin Trudeau is waiting 63 days to return to work. That’s 63 days that members of Parliament should be working in the House of Commons to address the pandemic, inflation, labour shortages, and a number of other issues important to Canadians,” Conservative House Leader Gérard Deltell said.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ontario launches digital passport app: The app will allow businesses to scan vaccine certificates and verify if their customers are immunized against COVID-19. The move was a reversal for Premier Doug Ford, who had previously charged that vaccine passports would create a “two-tier society.” Other provinces, including British Columbia and Quebec, launched vaccine certificate systems ahead of Ontario.

Canada heading for flu season in the middle of fourth wave of COVID-19: Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, warns the country could be heading for its first typical flu season since the pandemic began. Surveillance data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows higher rates of infection than expected for some of Canada’s most common seasonal viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Canadian home sales edge up on month-over-month basis for first time since March: Canadian Real Estate Association said home sales for the month amounted to 48,949, their second-highest ever for September and a 0.9 per cent increase from 48,498 in August. Fifteen of the 26 markets CREA tracks saw a rise in sales in September. However, sales were down 17.5 per cent from September 2020, when a record was reached for the month.

MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index reached record highs on a broad rally led by the strength of the financial and energy sectors as the price of oil climbed past US$82 per barrel.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 108.16 points to 20,928.10. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 382.20 points at 35,294.76. The S&P 500 index was up 33.11 points at 4,471.37, while the Nasdaq composite was up 73.91 points at 14,897.34.

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.78 cents US compared with 80.83 cents US on Thursday.

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TALKING POINTS

Will there ever be another NHL franchise in Canada? The economics suggest not

“It is also important to note that generating local economic benefits cannot be the key reason for a location to pursue an NHL franchise. Pro sports are all about mass entertainment driven by fan passion, not GDP.” - Glen Hodgson

Searching for the American Dream? Go to Canada

“Canada embodies the reality that immigration policy is economic policy. Its aging population requires caregivers; its eastern and Maritime provinces need to be rejuvenated with new industries, from IT to hydropower; its thawing frontiers require hearty workers to cultivate the bounty, and connecting its oilpatch and farmlands to global markets requires new pipelines and a vast freight rail network. There aren’t nearly enough Canadians to do it all.” - Parag Khanna

Ottawa may have emerged a loser after Meng Wanzhou’s release, but it can still challenge and co-exist with Beijing

“Justin Trudeau now faces a much tougher task than his father Pierre did in 1970, when relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China were first normalized. Trudeau the elder dealt with an isolated China that looked to Canada for diplomatic support; his son now reckons with a China that sees Canada as a weakling unduly influenced by the United States.” - Diana Fu and Emile Dirks

LIVING BETTER

How to transition your backyard, deck or balcony for colder weather

Handout

Extending the livability of outdoor spaces into the autumn – and even winter – has become an integral part of outdoor landscape and design.

And, there are many ways to warm up a home’s outside space via lighting, fire and water features, curtains, spas, decorative panels, fabrics and accessories.

Apartment and condo dwellers can extend the life of their outdoor area by hanging curtains that function as a backdrop to cozy up a balcony or patio, as well as provide protection from the wind.

TODAY’S LONG READ

How the pandemic changed – and shaped – this season’s literary festivals

For Canada’s literary festivals – many of which normally take place in the fall – this second pandemic fall has presented a conundrum. Last year things were clear: Online was the only option, other than cancelling. This year, things were murkier. What to do? Many are sticking with online only. But others, such as Winnipeg, are dipping their toes into the in-person waters once again.

The Globe’s Marsha Lederman spoke with three of the country’s largest literary festivals about their different approaches.

Today’s Evening Update is presented by Kristy Kirkup and Rob Gilroy. 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.