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Evening Update: Ontario tables new council-slashing bill amid protests; TD to revamp discount brokerage

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Ontario Tories table new council-slashing bill amid loud protests in legislature

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government has tabled legislation that uses the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to push through a bill slashing Toronto city council nearly in half just days after a judge found the legislation unconstitutional.

While Ford argued that he was protecting democracy, shouts erupted from the public gallery and some protesters were led out of the chamber in handcuffs. The tabling of the legislation had been delayed as most of the official opposition New Democrats protested loudly and were ejected by the speaker.

Ford’s move “forces us to reassess the pleasant notion that the clause is merely a harmless escape valve," Marcus Gee writes. "We have awakened to the disquieting realization that the Charter we cherish is not nearly as strong as we think.” (for subscribers)

Not everyone, however, thinks the Premier is flouting the law: “The problem is that people are getting mixed up about two distinct issues: the constitutional question of what governments can or cannot do as a matter of constitutional law, and what they should and should not do as a matter of democratic politics. Mr. Ford can likely do what he proposes as a constitutional matter, but he should not be doing so as a political matter.” - Allan Hutchinson, distinguished research professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

Keep up with the latest developments with our Toronto election 2018 guide.

TD to revamp discount brokerage firm

Toronto-Dominion Bank has tapped a U.S. fintech startup to help it revamp its online discount brokerage and launch a robo-advisory service that will house its own exchange-traded funds. The bank has signed a licensing agreement with New York-based Hydrogen Technology that will allow TD to use Hydrogen’s proprietary technology to enhance TD WebBroker for do-it-yourself investors, Clare O’Hara writes.

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The first phase is expected to launch early next year and will focus solely on TD WebBroker to provide desktop users the ability to build their own financial plans and portfolios, and track their progress. Later in the year, a second platform will be launched, focused on a robo-adviser offering that serves both mobile and desktop users.

Report calls for standardized math course for all student teachers in Ontario

A standard, basic math course should be a requirement for elementary student teachers at all university faculties of education in Ontario, according to a report that comes after the number of children meeting provincial standards in the subject dipped to a record low, Caroline Alphonso writes. The report, released today by the non-profit Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, said about 80 per cent of primary and junior teachers have not studied math since high school. The report also recommended that teacher colleges assess new students on their math knowledge up to Grade 8, and have a compulsory course to help them with fractions, percentages and other concepts.

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods dedicates emotional Vuelta stage win to stillborn son

Canada’s Michael Woods earned an emotional win on today’s stage of the Vuelta a Espana, one of professional cycling’s three Grand Tours. The 31-year-old rider outlasted the field in a stage that finished with a tough climb in Spain’s Basque region, and then dedicated the win to his stillborn son, Hunter, who died this year when his wife was 37 weeks pregnant. Woods said that his wife Elly also lost her father a month ago. “It’s been a very hard year.” (for subscribers)

No stranger to the race, having finished in the top 10 last year, Woods is the second Canadian in history to win a stage of the Vuelta. Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria won stages in 2009 and 2014.

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Hurricane Florence: What to expect from the ‘monster’ of a storm headed for the U.S. east coast

As of this morning, Hurricane Florence was making its way toward the Carolinas and Virginia, with forecasters predicting the storm might produce “catastrophic flooding” and travel farther inland than previously predicted. The storm is expected to make landfall on Friday morning as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. More than two million people have been evacuated from the three states and more than five million people are expected to be affected. Keep up with the latest news here.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main index slipped today, weighed down by the heavyweight financial and energy sectors. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 45.23 points to 16,049.02.

On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 ended slightly higher after news of a fresh round of U.S.-China trade talks, while the Nasdaq fell following a decline in Apple shares as the company unveiled larger iPhones but made just minor changes to its offerings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.86 points to 25,998.92, the S&P 500 gained 1.03 points to 2,888.92 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.24 points to 7,954.23.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

Ryan Gosling plays astronaut Neil Armstrong in his new film First Man, but he was pretty down to earth at the Toronto International Film Festival yesterday. Joelle Murray, owner of Grinder Coffee shop in east Toronto, said the movie star turned up mid-afternoon to say hello and greet patrons. She had been pursuing him with a social media campaign, posting photos of herself and a life-size cardboard cutout of Gosling and promising 15 per cent off if he showed up at the shop during TIFF. She said Gosling told her he had seen the posts, but that it was his mother who told him to visit.

TALKING POINTS

Whether or not to body-slam a groper is a split-second, personal decision

“The split-second decision of whether or not to stand up for yourself when a stranger touches your body is one that women make every day, everywhere. It happens at work, on the street, in bars, at school, any place you can think of. I have a friend who took an entire transit trip with a man’s hand on her leg, and another who grabbed the hand of a man that groped her on the subway, held it up and yelled ‘this is the hand that touched me!’ Going on instinct more than calculation, we decide in a moment how safe we are, or aren’t, and how much we do, or don’t, want to make a scene. Then we reconsider that decision for hours or days or years afterward.” - Denise Balkissoon

What the fall of CBS’s Leslie Moonves tells us about the television industry

“What this tells us, and what should make everyone involved in the industry rethink the pecking order, is that fear is the governing emotion. The way television works is an industrial-strength chain-of-command system. A handful of people have enormous power to make or break careers. There is a vast amount of vulnerability for those low in the pecking order. Criticism or complaint about a powerful man’s actions is undertaken at the severe risk of ostracism, marginalization or retribution. And because of that, abuse happens and goes unreported, even for decades.” - John Doyle

Constant cries about Trump’s instability simply aren’t enough

“The focus on how Mr. Trump operates, his obliterating of all behavioural norms, is overshadowing the more important issue of what he does. Beneath the hullabaloo of the past few weeks was a development of more consequence – the triumph he and his Republicans scored in getting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through confirmation hearings. Presidential neuroses had nothing to do with it. With the Kavanaugh confirmation now almost certain, the court will have a rightward tilt if not thrust for possibly a generation or more to come. Much of Mr. Trump’s work can be undone by succeeding presidents. But his appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Mr. Kavanaugh will leave a lasting stamp.” - Lawrence Martin

LIVING BETTER

What’s in your wallet? J.D. Power has released its first credit card customer satisfaction rankings, and Canada’s best-liked credit card is … President’s Choice Financial MasterCard. It’s linked to the PC Optimum program, where you earn points redeemable toward purchases at Loblaw supermarkets and Shoppers Drug Mart stores, Rob Carrick writes. American Express credit cards took second spot, followed by Canadian Tire. Credit cards from the major banks scored at average levels or worse. J.D. Power says customer satisfaction with a card is driven not just by the amount of points you can earn, but also on how well you understand the process for converting points to rewards.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Asylum-seeker surge at Quebec border choking Canada’s refugee system, data show

The wait time for a refugee claim hearing in Canada increased more than a third over the past two years, to 19 months, as more than 30,000 asylum seekers arriving via unauthorized border crossings placed significant pressure on the system, Michelle Zilio writes. Overwhelmed by the number of migrants, the Immigration and Refugee Board has only managed to finalize 15 per cent of the 27,674 asylum claims made by people who illegally entered Quebec – where the majority of the crossings took place – between February, 2017, and this June.

Asylum seekers who cross illegally at the U.S.-Canadian border eventually face the same questions as all other refugee claimants: Are they genuine refugees, fearing persecution in their home countries? IRB data show that less than half of the claimants in finalized cases – 1,885 – have been accepted as legitimate refugees in Quebec, significantly lower than the proportion for all refugee cases in Canada.

Humboldt Broncos coach prepares team for emotional return to the ice

Brayden Camrud says he’s looking forward to hitting the ice again when the Humboldt Broncos open their season tonight in front of a sold-out hometown crowd. But it’s the bus ride back to Nipawin on the team’s schedule Friday that he’s tried not to dwell on. “It’s a road trip that we never finished,” he says. “It’s hard to think about.”

Tonight’s opponent is the Nipawin Hawks, the Saskatchewan junior A hockey team the Broncos were on their way to play April 6 when their bus and tractor-trailer collided at a rural intersection. Sixteen people, including 10 players, were killed and 13 players were injured. Only two of the survivors – Camrud and Derek Patter – are back on the team this season. The team hits the road for a rematch in Nipawin Friday.

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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