Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Freeland, Bains and seven senior officials barred from dealings with ex-envoy
Canada’s ethics commissioner has barred Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and seven senior officials from any official dealings with David MacNaughton for one year after ruling the former Canadian ambassador to the United States broke the Conflict of Interest Act.
MacNaughton left the envoy’s post in the summer of 2019 to join Palantir, a U.S. technology company, and serves as president of its Canadian unit.
In his order, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said MacNaughton communicated or arranged multiple meetings with several public office holders for the purpose of offering unpaid assistance on behalf of Palantir to help the government respond to COVID-19.
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Huawei’s influence campaign, its supply shortages in China and the company at the centre of the U.S. criminal case
Huawei Canada maintains a dossier of people it calls “key opinion leaders” in this country who it believes could help the Chinese telecom equipment maker in its campaign to stop extradition proceedings against top executive Meng Wanzhou and avoid being banned from 5G mobile networks in Canada.
The list of the key influencers, obtained by The Globe and Mail, has been sent to the headquarters of parent company Huawei Technologies in Shenzhen, which has shared it with the Chinese government, according to a source. Among the high-profile opinion leaders identified are former Quebec premier Jean Charest, former Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day, and Eddie Goldenberg, who was a top aide to former prime minister Jean Chrétien.
In China: Anxiety about supply shortages plagued the shops that sell Huawei smartphones on the day following the imposition of a new U.S. ban on provision of technology to the company. Huawei says it is, for now, unaffected by the ban. But retailers in Beijing today reported signs of shortfalls.
In the United States: An obscure Hong Kong-registered company stands at the centre of the U.S. criminal case against Huawei and executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada on a U.S. extradition request. Authorities allege Huawei used the firm to skirt U.S. economic sanctions on Iran between 2007 and 2014. Huawei has said it sold the business in 2007 and denies any wrongdoing.
Reuters has uncovered previously unreported links in Brazil between Huawei and the company, Skycom Tech Co Ltd. Corporate records filed with the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil show that Huawei and Skycom were closely intertwined there for five years after Huawei disposed of its shares in Skycom.
The latest in coronavirus news: O’Toole and family in self-isolation and more
Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he, his family and some party workers are in self-isolation after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. The O’Tooles are getting tested, a statement from the party says. Meanwhile Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is still in self-isolation, awaiting the results of his own COVID-19 test after both his spouse and an aide tested positive.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is discussing with his cabinet new measures aimed at lowering the number of people allowed at social gatherings, and pledged the province will have the highest fines in the country for people who violate public-health guidelines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released details today of how provinces and territories will spend the $19-billion Ottawa is giving them to safely restart the economy. Among other things, the funding will help increase testing and contact tracing.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Denver Nuggets make history with Canadian Murray: The Denver Nugget’s Jamal Murray of Kitchener, Ont., scored 40 points in a stunning turnaround to defeat the Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers and advance to the NBA’s Western Conference finals. The Nuggets overcame a double-digit deficit to become the first team in league history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason.
Bombardier clinches rail sale: French train giant Alstom has secured better terms for its multibillion-dollar takeover of Bombardier’s train business, and the deal is moving forward. The price, however, is US$350-million lower than the original terms of the deal, Bombardier said.
Canada’s inflation at virtual standstill: Canada’s inflation rate remained stalled in August, evidence that the economy is still severely weakened by the COVID-19 crisis despite its rapid rebound since the lifting of lockdowns.
Fed adjusts U.S. inflation target: The Federal Reserve expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pegged near zero at least through 2023 as it strives to accelerate economic growth and drive down the unemployment rate. The U.S. central bank also says it will seek to push inflation above 2 per cent annually.
New powers for B.C. nurses fighting overdose crisis: Amid record number of monthly overdose deaths, British Columbia has issued a new public-health order allowing registered and psychiatric nurses to prescribe safer drugs for people at risk of overdose under a new public-health order.
The S&P 500 ended a choppy session slightly lower today as losses in technology shares weighed down the index even after the U.S. Federal Reserve issued a statement that cemented expectations interest rates would stay near zero for a prolonged period. The TSX largely followed the same pattern, ending lower after a mixed session that saw a big jump in crude oil prices.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36.78 points or 0.13 per cent to 28,032.38, the S&P 500 slipped 15.71 points or 0.46 per cent to 3,385.49 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 139.85 points or 1.25 per cent to 11,050.47.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 135.61 points or 0.83 per cent at 16,295.66.
At this rate, Ontario schools won’t make it to Thanksgiving
“March break 2020 lasted approximately six months. Based on how the province is stumbling over its return to school, the coming Thanksgiving holiday could stretch until Easter of next year.” – Robyn Urback
Erin O’Toole wants to replicate Brian Mulroney’s success in Quebec. He might just do it
“To all those Conservatives who think their party should stop bending over backwards to win more seats in Quebec, Erin O’Toole has responded with the proverbial middle finger.” - Konrad Yakabuski
Score one for Canada: On aluminum tariffs, the U.S. bully blinks
“On the tariff issue and others, a lot of old-fashioned Canadian calm and good sense has come to the fore – and it has paid off.” – Lawrence Martin
Manulife Financial will restore some coverage for coronavirus-related trip interruptions in a new travel insurance policy launching next month that also includes COVID-19 in its emergency medical coverage. Manulife joins smaller rivals, including Medipac Travel Insurance and the Ontario and Quebec plans of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross, which began offering medical travel insurance including COVID-19 coverage in July. Neither offers pandemic-related trip interruption coverage.
TODAY’S LONG READ
How students at Canadian business schools are using Instagram to call out racism
On Himanshu Dev’s first day of class at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, a professor insisted he either shorten or change his name so his classmates would have an easier time remembering and pronouncing it. Dev served in the Canadian Armed Forces for four years, including in Afghanistan, and said the culture of the business school was notably more racist than his experience in the military.
His feeling of being an outsider didn’t end on the first day of school. Dev, who graduated in 2015, was often present when his fellow students mocked the accent of their finance professor. “He was a really strong professor, a Harvard grad who was really knowledgeable, but students used to imitate him in the most horrible Indian accent in front of me,” he later wrote. “I should have said something, especially coming from the military with our honour code … but I just wanted my degree and to get out of there.”
He retold his experience on @iveyatthemargins, one of the numerous Instagram accounts created in recent months to enable students and alumni at some of Canada’s top business schools to share their experiences with discrimination, ranging from experiencing microaggressions to being subjected to racial slurs. Read Claire Porter Robbins' full story here.