WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Hong Kong government may be ready to negotiate with protesters
A top government adviser and close confidant of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has signaled the government may be ready to talk. “The dialogue has to start,” Bernard Chan told The Globe and Mail’s Asia correspondent, Nathan VanderKlippe. The government has for months refused requests to discuss protester demands. Now, though, it “needs to address the concerns raised over the last couple of months,” he said.
However, Mr. Chan also outlined several “non-starters” for such talks. Protesters are demanding the full cancellation of a proposed extradition bill, an independent investigation into police use of force and more democratic freedoms. Mr. Chan suggested that dialogue would still be possible if “orderly protest” continues. “We don’t discourage people to go out and protest. So long as it is not unauthorized.” But, he added, “you can’t start a dialogue when you’re in the middle of a war. So you kind of need to have a reasonably good state of mind for both sides to sit down.”
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully in the latest massive demonstration in the Chinese territory. While Sunday’s protest brought no further clashes, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned the violence in the territory in a joint statement with her European Union counterpart, Federica Mogherini. In response, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Canada called for Ms. Freeland to “immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” and said the Canadian government “should be cautious on its words and deeds” when it comes to Hong Kong.
Today, the government of Taiwan has extended an offer of political asylum to participants in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement, drawing the ire of China. A spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Taiwan’s offer would “cover up the crimes of a small group of violent militants” and encourage their “audacity in harming Hong Kong and turn Taiwan into a ”haven for ducking the law.“
Also today, Twitter and Facebook said today they had dismantled a state-backed information operation originating in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong. Twitter said it suspended 936 accounts and that a “larger, spammy network” of approximately 200,000 accounts had been suspended before they were substantially active. Facebook said it had removed accounts and pages from a small network after a tip from Twitter.
Opinion: “As the guardians of international covenants and the rules-based order, G7 leaders have a duty to Hong Kong. As the champions of democracy they have an obligation to tell Chinese leadership that we value not just economic liberties but political ones as well.” — Colin Robertson is a former Canadian diplomat and current vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute
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Ontario to cut municipal health, childcare funding in 2020
In an address to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in Ottawa this morning, Premier Doug Ford confirmed the province will cut municipal public health and childcare programs starting Jan. 1, 2020, when municipalities will have to cover 30 per cent of the cost of their public health programs. Mr. Ford said the changes are necessary as part of his government’s attempts to reduce the provincial deficit. Currently, the provincial government covers 100 per cent of the cost of many of the programs, and 25 per cent of some of them. The cuts will affect organizations such as those that track vaccinations and inspect restaurants for food safety.
The Premier’s office confirmed that plans to consolidate Ontario’s public health units into 10 larger ones are going ahead as well and the government is continuing with cuts to daycare expansion. The government’s daycare plan, announced in the budget, reneges on the previous government plan to fund 100 per cent of municipal costs for new daycare spaces, and now offers to cover 80 per cent.
Jamie McGarvey, the mayor of Parry Sound and president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, said he understood the challenges, but was not supportive of these cuts. “If the goal is saving money, improving services for people, and showing greater respect for taxpayers, we wouldn’t start with public health or paramedic services,” he said.
Experts challenge study suggesting children exposed to higher levels of fluoride in utero may have lower IQ scores
A new Canadian study suggesting children exposed to higher levels of fluoride in utero may have slightly lower intelligence scores is being challenged by a number of experts.
The findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics today, looked at more than 500 pregnant women in six Canadian cities and compared those living in areas with fluoridated water to those in areas with no public fluoridation program. As Carly Weeks reports, the researchers found that children born to women with higher concentrations of fluoride had slightly lower IQ scores.
However, several experts not involved with the study are questioning the findings. The study measured fluoride exposure in urine samples taken from the women during pregnancy and used a questionnaire the women had answered during their pregnancy and combined that with other calculations to estimate how much fluoride they may have been exposed to through drinking water during pregnancy.
Critics of the study say relying in part on questionnaires that ask people to recall what they ate or drank are notoriously unreliable. And critics questioned the urine test results, which found IQ score decrease in boys but not girls.
Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case
Elections Canada has elaborated on its warning to environmental groups that discussing the dangers of climate change during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity. Elections Canada says it will decide on a case-by-case basis whether discussing the legitimacy of climate change becomes a partisan issue for third parties during the federal campaign, and only if it receives complaints, reports The Canadian Press.
Yesterday, press reports that an Elections Canada official warned groups in a training session earlier this summer that because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as real or an emergency could be considered partisan. The revelation prompted widespread criticism of the warning today. “Suppose a politician decided smoking is good for you, would doctors have to register as third parties in an election to stress importance of kicking the habit?” tweeted Green Party leader Elizabeth May. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted: “One #climatechange denying Maxime Bernier isn’t equal to a worldwide scientific consensus that the climate change emergency is real & urgent.”
Opinion: “While I’m not so sure that Elections Canada is wrong in its interpretation of the current statute, it doesn’t make this situation no less absurd. Scientific fact should not be considered partisan, whether it aligns with a particular party’s views or not.” — Gary Mason
Trudeau declines to offer plan for ‘Jihadi Jack’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refusing to say if a Canadian man known as “Jihadi Jack” is welcome in Canada after the United Kingdom revoked his British citizenship over his alleged support for the Islamic State in Syria. The U.K. recently stripped Mr. Letts of his British citizenship, leaving the alleged terrorist imprisoned in Syria with solely Canadian citizenship he inherited from his father.
Speaking to reporters in Quebec City Monday, Mr. Trudeau was asked whether he would be open to repatriating Mr. Letts to Canada, but did not answer the question directly. “It is a crime to travel internationally with a goal of supporting terrorism or engaging in terrorism. And that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved,” Mr. Trudeau said.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up. Scheer says a government under his leadership would “not lift a finger” to bring Letts to Canada.
WHAT ELSE IS ON OUR RADAR
Laurence Vincent Lapointe an Olympic canoeist from Trois-Rivieres, Que., and one of Canada’s top medal contenders in next year’s Tokyo Olympics, has been provisionally suspended for a doping violation. Canoe Kayak Canada says the substance found in Vincent Lapointe’s sample has been the subject of recent established contaminated supplement cases. The organization says the preliminary information supports that the finding may have “been caused by inadvertent and unknowing use of a prohibited substance from such a source.” (The Canadian Press)
CannTrust Holdings Inc. says the Ontario government’s cannabis retailer is returning all of the company’s products it has because they do not conform with the terms of its master cannabis supply agreement. The company says the total value of the products is about $2.9-million. (The Canadian Press)
Laurentian University is offering to waive tuition for students who have been in the child welfare system, regardless of their age, the latest addition to a movement that aims to provide more educational opportunities to former kids in care. (The Globe and Mail)
Alphabet Inc’s Google has shut down a service it provided to wireless carriers globally that showed them weak spots in their network coverage because of Google’s concerns that sharing data from users of its Android phone system might attract the scrutiny of users and regulators. (Reuters)
The Alberta government has formed a panel to examine the social and economic impacts of supervised drug-use sites for drug users, but will not consider the health benefits of such sites or the social issues surrounding drug abuse. Instead, the panel will consider the impact the sites have on such things as real estate, business and social peace. (The Canadian Press)
Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday, led by energy companies, as sentiment was buoyed by signs of an interest rate reform in China that raised hopes that major economies would act to counter slowing economic growth. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 154.16 points, or 0.96 per cent, at 16,304.05.
As risk appetite in markets across the world improved, government bond yields in the euro zone, as well as the United States eased off record low levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 249.58 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 26,135.59, the S&P 500 gained 34.88 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 2,923.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 106.82 points, or 1.35 per cent, to 8,002.81.
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Why Donald Trump may dodge a recession
“... we should treat with skepticism those who confidently predict a U.S. recession next year. And, if there is one, we should treat with even more skepticism those who blame it on Trump.” — Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford.
Retired Supreme Court judges are free to work in private sector, but SNC-Lavalin shows that appearances matter
“Retired judges are no longer bound by the principles that apply to sitting judges, such as abstention from political activities. Indeed, a retired judge would be legally eligible to be appointed to the Canadian Senate or exercise their constitutional right to run for public office. Nonetheless, we tend to find it jarring when retired judges are actively involved in high-profile political issues such as the SNC-Lavalin affair.” — Wayne MacKay is professor Emeritus, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette has a dream of being ‘one of the best players who ever lived’
“I have yet to encounter a guy who has played 20 games at this level who is willing – however obliquely – to put himself in the conversation with Hank Aaron or Ty Cobb. “Who ever lived” is a line nobody steps over, even those who are among the best players who ever lived. Even Mike Trout doesn’t talk this way.” — Cathal Kelly
Modest calorie restriction may add healthy years to your life
Nutritionists Leslie Beck writes about a recent Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology study that suggests calorie restriction – consume fewer calories than your body burns – can have a significant impact on future health when started in young adulthood and middle age. What’s more, the benefits may be achieved with a relatively modest decrease in calorie intake.
Shaky at best: How I came to accept my Parkinson’s diagnosis
Former Globe reporter Allan Maki shares how he came to accept his Parkinson’s diagnosis after meeting a group of Calgarians who look to hope and humour to find relief from the illness. He writes about the conversations and wisdom shared between he and Brian Hein, a financial adviser; Michael Smith, a career stockbroker; Shannon Day, a 44-year-old father of two, when they meet over coffee every month or so.
“At our most recent meeting,” Maki writes, "I’m feeling more upbeat than I did when I left the hospital wondering, ‘What just happened?’ I attribute that to Day, who says the biggest challenge he’s facing is ‘the changing of my meds during last year after having two attempts at DBS’; to Hein, who takes our 90 minutes together and sums it up in 15 words: ‘Living in the moment – and what you do with it – makes you a better person.’ And to Smith, who adds the exclamation point, 'I think your best days are here. Get your bucket list out and start checking them off.’”
LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE
B.C. family devastated after teen’s death from apparent overdose unfolds on social media
This is a tragic story, though one well worth reading, especially if you have kids.
In early August, 14-year-old Carson Crimeni, suffered an apparent overdose and died. It happened at a skateboard park in Walnut Grove, B.C., just north of Langley, while a group of older teens recorded Carson overheating, losing the ability to speak and eventually descending into unconsciousness. Many of the videos were shared on social media.
The Globe’s Nancy Macdonald spent three days in the community, speaking to Carson’s family and six of his friends. Her story is disturbing on several fronts, not the least of which is the death of a child and the apparent taunting and callousness of those who witnessed and shared it. She speaks with Carson’s father, Aron, and the boy’s grandfather, Darrel, who was out looking for Carson and was drawn to the skate park because of flashing red and blue ambulance lights.
Some blame warped new cultural pressures kids experience today, where circulating funny or sarcastic videos showing outrageous behaviour is the norm. Others see it as an age-old story of a goofy and seemingly younger-than-his-years child prone to bullying. The RCMP is investigating the incident and one criminal lawyer interviewed for the story says the people who filmed Carson could be charged with criminal negligence causing death.
Regardless, the end result has devastated a family and a community grappling to understand why this happened.