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Canada Evening Update: Liberals vote down motion seeking clarity on Trans Mountain future; Ontario teachers union goes to court to fight sex-ed curriculum repeal

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Liberals vote down motion seeking clarity on future of Trans Mountain pipeline

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Conservative and New Democratic Party MPs forced an emergency sitting of the House of Commons committee on natural resources today to demand answers from the Liberals on next steps for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which was halted last week when the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the federal approval. But a motion to study the issue and have cabinet members appear before the committee was voted down by the Liberal majority, Shawn McCarthy writes. (for subscribers)

Here's a guide to the political saga surrounding the pipeline project so far.

Ontario teachers union goes to court to fight repeal of sex-ed curriculum

Ontario’s largest teachers’ union took legal action today against Doug Ford’s government, saying that repealing an updated sex-education curriculum and creating a website for parents to anonymously report concerns was “unprecedented and unnecessary,” Caroline Alphonso writes. Speaking at a news conference on the first day of school for many Ontario students, Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said his union filed an application for judicial review of the so-called parent “snitch line” and the sex-ed curriculum.

Last month, the Progressive Conservative government announced that elementary school students would learn from a “revised, interim curriculum,” based on a 1998 document on sexual health, while it consults on a new one. The curriculum it is replacing, implemented in 2015 by the previous Liberal government, was more detailed and included issues such as consent, same-sex relationships, gender identity and the dangers of sexting.

Woodward book says Trump aide privately called him ‘idiot’

An upcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward U.S. says President Donald Trump’s chief of staff privately called Trump an “idiot” and aides plucked sensitive documents off the President’s desk to keep him from taking rash actions. The book is the latest tell-all to roil the Trump administration with explosive anecdotes and concerns about the commander in chief. The Washington Post on Tuesday published details from Fear: Trump in the White House.

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Chief of Staff John Kelly is quoted as having doubted Trump’s mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, “We’re in Crazytown.” Woodward also claims that Gary Cohn, the former director of the National Economic Council, boasted of removing papers off Trump’s desk to prevent their signing, including efforts by the President to withdraw from the North American free-trade agreement.

Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing opens with protests and confusion

Quarreling and confusion disrupted the start of the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh today, with Democrats trying to block the proceedings over documents withheld by the White House while protesters repeatedly shouted at senators for more than an hour. Chairman Chuck Grassley said the chaotic scene was something he’d “never gone through” in 15 past confirmation hearings.

With majority Republicans appearing united, it’s doubtful the hearings will affect the eventual confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee. But they will likely become a rallying cry for both parties just two months before the midterm elections.

Mark Carney’s Bank of England tenure in the spotlight as Brexit approaches

Mark Carney has indicated he’s prepared to stay on as governor of the Bank of England to help manage Britain's departure from the European Union, Paul Waldie writes, a process that’s looking ever more difficult as the government’s Brexit strategy unravels.

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Carney’s tenure as governor has been an issue ever since he left the Bank of Canada in 2013 to take up the post. Today, the governor confirmed that he’d been approached and that he was open to the idea.

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MARKET WATCH

Stocks fell in major markets around the world today and emerging markets currencies lost ground while the U.S. dollar rose as investors looked for safety as they braced for an escalation in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

On Wall Street, declines in Facebook and Nike shares weighed on the S&P 500 and the Dow, although data showing U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in August kept losses in check. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42.34 points to 25,922.48, the S&P 500 lost 8.5 points to end at 2,893.02 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 8,084.14, 25.4 points lower.

Canada’s main stock index slipped in a broad decline due to weak sentiment after the country failed on Friday to reach a deal with the United States to revamp the North American free-trade agreement. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index finished down 101.58 points at 16,161.30.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

Protesters on social media called for people to burn their Nike sneakers and boycott the sporting goods maker after it chose former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during U.S. the national anthem as a protest against racism, to participate in a new ad campaign. Kaepernick will be one of several faces for a campaign marking the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan. He has been sponsored by Nike since 2011 but has reportedly negotiated a new deal with the U.S. brand that will include a signature shoe and apparel.

"Then, just as Nike needed him, Colin Kaepernick wandered into the frame," Cathal Kelly writes. "Since being put on the National Football League’s blacklist in 2017 for taking a knee during the national anthem, Kaepernick has become the most famous unwillingly retired retired athlete since Muhammad Ali. The cross-generational symbolism has not been lost on anyone, including, apparently, Nike."

TALKING POINTS

Delving into the health data shows that Canadian kids aren’t all right

"According to the new report, one in three adults have suffered from physical or sexual abuse before the age of 16. Two-thirds of them never told anyone. Abuse remains a risk for children and youth today, as we are reminded by the all-too-common stories of abuse by clergy, sports coaches, teachers and family members. Children and youth need to be armed with tools to protect themselves, which means education about consent and reporting mechanisms where they are taken seriously." - André Picard

The radical change needed for the Catholic Church to survive

"The way we select, train, and semi-cloister priests-in-the-making indisputably nurtures that sense of separateness, exceptional calling, all-male ethos and gender exclusivity that fuels the clerical culture. By demolishing the seminary, we can put in place new structures that foster mature growth and genuine inclusivity. The seminary was once an instrument of reform, addressing widespread problems like clerical concubinage and illiteracy, but now it is long past its best use date." - Michael W. Higgins, professor of Catholic thought at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

What has driven Trump to be so anti-Canada?

Now we have a president who has turned the tables. Canadians are the villains. We’re so dastardly on trade that he’ll have to drive us into submission. We’re also, if it can be imagined, a geopolitical threat, and so he’s hammered us with steel tariffs and warnings of worse to come if we don’t buckle under. Add to this his insults, his distortions and his attacks at the G7 summit, and it can be said that no president has ever treated Canada so badly. If he keeps at it, despite his protestations about loving Canada, Donald Trump will go down as the first anti-Canadian president. - Lawrence Martin

Proposed new NAFTA auto rules in U.S.-Mexico deal are as clear as mud

Until the legal text of the U.S.-Mexico deal is released – it is expected by the end of the month, according to the notice Mr. Trump sent to the U.S. Congress on Friday – nothing is set in stone. And even then, much will depend on how the new rules are applied and whether the Trump administration imposes higher tariffs on auto imports not covered under a new NAFTA. - Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)

LIVING BETTER

Are you considering living abroad? Canadians looking for high-end foreign destinations – as well as international bargains – can learn a lot from the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The report, published annually for the past 30 years, compares the prices of more than 150 items in 133 cities around the world. This year, Singapore ranks No. 1 in cost of living, and Damascus and Caracas are among the cheapest. Here is a sampling of cities at both ends of the spectrum.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

The lessons that really matter in school aren’t found in the curriculum

"He’s laughing and tears are coming. 'Maybe this was the class that held the door against me?' Was it? You might know. 'They had the largest boy in the class hold the door so I couldn’t get in. I could see through the window all of them laughing at it.' His shoulders are shaking now. 'I got there early the next day and bribed the big kid with candy to hold the door against them.' Tears roll down his face. 'That was such fun,' he says. 'I actually had that group banging on the door to get educated.' Now I’m laughing.

"Do you remember that? Were you the kid? Maybe you weren’t that kid but you were in, are in, classrooms just like that. You’ve been taught, have taught or will teach, lessons that will be remembered forever and lessons that will be forgotten by lunch. Sixty years on, he remembers lessons of loyalty and kindness and laughter and determination. Interesting that he has no time to remember expectations and grades and lesson objectives. We would do well, on the eve of another school year, to think about the lessons that will be remembered." - Dan de Souza

Tackling tech: How some Ontario teachers are attempting to limit students' cellphone use

When students arrive in Matthew Acheson’s high-school classroom this week, they’ll be allowed to take their phones to their desks, but only once they’ve tucked them inside a specialized pouch that then locks, blocking any access to WiFi and social media apps. Similar to an ink tag to prevent shoplifting, Nadine Yousif writes, the cases can only be opened at an unlocking device controlled by their teacher. It’s just another attempt at the seemingly impossible: separating teens from their smartphones.

While teachers have embraced handheld devices as a powerful teaching tool in the classroom, they have nonetheless struggled to offset the negative distractions they come with. For Mr. Acheson, the effectiveness of the pouches he’s used in his classrooms, called Yondr cases, can be measured by the success of his students. In the semesters he’s utilized the cases, he said the class average was eight percentage points higher than normal, and the students “got more done."

Evening Update is written by S.R. Slobodian. 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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