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

The fallout from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to fly to the west coast for a family vacation on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation continued to reverberate on Friday, with the Native Women’s Association of Canada expressing shock and dismay.

The national organization representing Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people is questioning the sincerity of comments Trudeau has made in the past, including that there is no relationship more important to the Liberal government than that with Indigenous people.

“Those words ring incredibly hollow when Mr. Trudeau could not take the time that his own government set aside to reflect upon the tragedy of the Indian residential schools and instead chose to flit off to Tofino for a holiday,” said NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx.

On Thursday, Mr. Trudeau’s itinerary said he was in private meetings in Ottawa but his plane was picked up on a flight tracker heading to Tofino. The Prime Minister’s Office then confirmed his actual location.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, created by Trudeau’s government, was designed to commemorate Indigenous survivors of residential schools and to remember those who never came home. Events were held across the country to mark it on Thursday.

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Ontario to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory by Nov. 15 for long-term care staff

Ontario said Friday that all staff working in the province’s long-term care homes will have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Nov. 15. Those who refuse, the government says, will not be allowed to enter a LTC facility to work. It added that regular testing will not be offered as an alternative to vaccination.

It was not immediately clear if staff would be suspended or put on leave if they refused to get vaccinated.

Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips said the new measures also include random testing of fully vaccinated staff and residents, to help detect possible breakthrough infections of COVID-19, as well as “rigorous inspections” of homes’ infection, prevent and control measures.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Peter Nygard agrees to U.S. extradition as Toronto police announce sex assault charges: On the same day the former Canadian fashion mogul agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face a charge of sex trafficking, police in Toronto announced their own charges. Police say Nygard, 80, is to be charged with six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement.

Supreme Court upholds Ontario law that cut Toronto city council: The move by Premier Doug Ford in 2018 slashed the size of Toronto’s city council nearly in half during the last municipal election. In a split 5-4 decision, the top court found the change did not violate the free-expression rights of candidates or voters.

Quebec coroner urges province to recognize systemic racism in Echaquan report: While Gehane Kamel found that Joyce Echaquan’s death was accidental, the racism and prejudice the Atikamekw woman was subjected to contributed to her death. One of the key recommendations is for the province to acknowledge systemic racism, something Quebec Premier François Legault’s government has repeatedly refused to do.

British gasoline pumps continue to run dry: Ministers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government have insisted for days that the crisis is abating or even over, but retailers said more than 2,000 gas stations were dry. Shortages of workers in the wake of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have sown disarray through some sectors of the economy, disrupting deliveries of fuel and medicines.

MARKET WATCH

A positive start to October helped North American stock markets to mitigate deep losses for the week as a potential new COVID-19 drug renewed optimism about the recovery.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 80.62 points to 20,150.87. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 482.54 points at 34,326.46. The S&P 500 index was up 49.50 points at 4,357.04, while the Nasdaq composite was up 118.12 points at 14,566.70.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.03 cents US compared with 78.88 cents US on Thursday.

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TALKING POINTS

The fatal flaw in the Alberta sovereignty fantasy: people want to live in a law-based state

“At the heart of this fantasy, as much as the earlier indépendantiste fantasy that inspired it, is the supposition that the population of either province is prepared to embark upon these wild forays into a legal no-man’s-land, complete with shuttered courts, collapsing banks, currency and debt crises and the rest.” - Andrew Coyne

Kevin Vuong is ready to serve his most important constituent: himself

“Mr. Vuong now enjoys a technically permissible, if ethically illegitimate, victory. The people of Spadina-Fort York voted for him as a Liberal candidate; had he run as an independent from the outset, he’d almost certainly be toiling in obscurity with every other unaffiliated high-achiever with imperfect pasts.” - Robyn Urback

Montreal’s mayoral race is another epic duel between Valérie Plante and Dennis Coderre

“Four years later, the tables have been turned as Montrealers gear up for, if not exactly the rematch of the century, then another epic duel between Ms. Plante and Mr. Coderre. Except that this time, having undergone a stunning physical and philosophical transformation, Mr. Coderre is running as a hope-and-change candidate while Ms. Plante seeks to defend her record.” - Konrad Yakabuski

LIVING BETTER

More and more countries are welcoming Canadian travellers. So is it time to book a holiday?

With the fourth wave of COVID-19 still cresting, it may be difficult for many Canadians to contemplate a trip abroad. But despite the grim news, a growing number of vaccinated Canadians are feeling ready to travel outside the border.

“Until a couple of months ago, except for ‘staycations’ and forward 2022 planning, almost all of my pandemic international business has been U.S. travellers,” says Tom Bartholomew, a luxury travel adviser who divides his time between Vancouver and New York.

Bartholomew reports a sharp uptick in last-minute 2021 travel inquiries from Canadian clients. These travellers are mostly opting for locations relatively close – the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Bartholomew and others in the industry say the most important part of your planning should involve careful research about how your destination is responding to the pandemic.

TODAY’S LONG READ

What Canada’s abandoned embassy in Kabul looks like under Taliban rule

Taliban security guards stand outside the Canadian embassy in Kabul, September 26, 2021.Asmaa Waguih/The Globe and Mail

More than a month after Western countries left their embassies following the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, Globe and Mail senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon returned to Kabul to observe life in the capital city under the Taliban. First stop was the abandoned Canadian embassy, where access to the compound is tightly controlled by the Taliban, who say they’ll only open the gates when Canadian diplomats return.

Global Affairs Canada won’t discuss the future of the embassy, which was built in 2003 and received a $56-million expansion and upgrade several years later.

As MacKinnon writes, both the embassy and the ambassador’s residence “are hidden behind tall concrete blast walls, a testament to how diplomats never felt truly comfortable in this country, despite all the money and military might deployed here.”

Read his full story here.

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