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Saudi Arabia reassures Canada on oil supplies in row over jailed activists

A row over human rights in Saudi Arabia will not have any impact on Saudi oil supplies to Canada, its energy minister said today, reassuring customers after Riyadh froze new trade with Canada and ruled out mediation efforts. The kingdom has a “firm and long-standing policy” that petroleum supplies are not influenced by political considerations, Khalid al-Falih said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, angered by Canada’s demand last week that activists jailed there be freed immediately, expelled the Canadian ambassador and ended state-backed educational and medical programs in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t backing down, saying Ottawa will not shirk from raising concerns about human-rights violations in other countries.

The kingdom’s efforts to make Canada pay for its criticism, however, have sent only a mild ripple through this country’s markets and business community, as the thin economic ties between the two are expected to limit the damage from the diplomatic spat. (for subscribers)

But for the Liberal government, the Saudi moves are a political gift, Doug Saunders argues: “The Saudi attack, despite being a time-consuming annoyance at an inconvenient moment, allows them to do something that no Canadian government could have done on its own: distance this country from an overly friendly relationship with a regime whose conduct, interests and regional influence are contradictory to democratic values.”

Ontario to spend $25-million to help fight guns and gangs in Toronto

Police and courts in Toronto will receive $25-million from the Ontario government to help fight guns and gangs, Premier Doug Ford announced today. He called on both the federal government and the City of Toronto to match the province’s investment. That money is set to roll out over four years: $18-million for police to provide digital, investigative and other resources, Ford said, and $7.6-million to establish teams at courthouses that will be dedicated to prosecuting gun crime cases. Opposition parties said the funding did little to deal with what caused people to turn to guns and gangs in the first place.

Thirty people have been killed and many more injured by gun violence in Toronto this year. The federal government is giving serious consideration to a proposal to ban handguns in the wake of the mass shooting on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue on July 22 that left two victims dead and 13 more injured.

Many Canadians are driving high on cannabis, new Statscan data show

About 1.4 million Canadians say they have been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had consumed cannabis in the previous two hours, a new Statistics Canada survey has found. One in seven cannabis users with a driver’s licence say they had got behind the wheel at least once within two hours of using it in the past three months. Men were nearly two times more likely than women to report this behaviour. With the Cannabis Act set to become law on Oct. 17, Statscan has begun measuring the social and economic impacts of legalized cannabis through a quarterly national cannabis survey. Here are the facts on driving high.

Victoria to remove statue of Sir John A. Macdonald

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald is set to be removed from the steps of Victoria’s City Hall this weekend, as communities across the country struggle to reconcile the legacy of the country’s founding prime minister with his treatment of Indigenous people, Andrea Woo writes. The plan to remove the statue, which easily passed a city council vote today, follows year-long discussions with two local First Nations who argued the statue has become a painful reminder of colonialism. But it has also inflamed a debate about whether historical figures should be judged through a modern lens, and how to weigh abuses against Macdonald’s role in shaping the country.

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The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX rose 101.90 points to 16,416.98, helped by financials. In New York, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average ended down slightly as gains in Apple and Amazon were offset by losses in energy shares. The Dow fell 74.52 points to 25,509.23 and the S&P 500 lost 4.12 points to close at 2,853.58. The Nasdaq Composite rose 3.45 points to 7,891.78.

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Here’s a wakeup call you wouldn’t want to miss: Tourists staying at a lodge on Vancouver Island were treated to a spectacular show when a group of humpback whales visited for breakfast. Marg Leehane, co-owner of Great Bear Lodge in Port Hardy, decided it was worth waking up the guests at 6 a.m. Saturday when the whales approached the docks. She shot a video that has been viewed more than 2.3 million times on Instagram and shows the whales leaping from the water just metres from the tourists.


Take heart Canadians, Donald Trump is losing

“U.S. Democrats wanting extra help in the upcoming midterm elections might consider reaching north of their border. They would find a lot of takers. The animosity of Canadians – some have gone so far as to boycott purchasing American goods – runs that deep. They would gladly collude with adversaries of this President. They view Mr. Trump, you might say, as an enemy of the people. From some preliminary American electoral tests Tuesday, Canadians can take some encouragement. It wasn’t an ideal night for the Dems. But it was swell enough to make them the favourites to win the House of Representatives in the midterms.” - Lawrence Martin

Should we consider delaying full-time work until 40?

“At the moment, many people feel that their jobs are at risk by the time that they hit their 50s and that their career prospects are on the decline thereafter. How then to construct a world where a worker of that age is barely getting started? The idea of a world where work begins at 40 may remain a non-starter, but the reality is that people are working longer (whether by choice or not) and new models of work may make it possible to avoid the traditional corporate trajectory. A freelance worker could decide to work intensively over some parts of their life and then ease up over others, and perhaps keep working beyond 65 if they please. That might get people thinking about other work arrangements as well.” - Linda Nazareth, economist and author

Keep your wallet – and your sanity – intact and avoid Tesla stock

“[Tesla CEO Elon] Musk is, by all accounts, a brilliant innovator, and I gather his automobiles are excellent. He is, however, the perfect public-company CEO of the Donald Trump era, where attitude and aura, amplified by Twitter, are the hallmarks of leadership. Prior to Tuesday’s escapades, Mr. Musk had used Twitter to attack business journalists who had written articles critical of Tesla and gotten into a bizarre spat over his strange offer to build a miniature submarine to rescue the Thai soccer players who were stranded in a cave. When I say he’s the ‘perfect’ CEO for this era, I mean he is most decidedly not suitable to be the CEO of a company whose shares trade on a public exchange.” - David Milstead (for subscribers)


Buying and grilling fish doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here’s what to look before you buy: First, it has to pass the sniff test: It should smell fresh and not have a fishy odour. If you press the fish with your finger, the flesh should jump back. If it feels spongy, toss it back. To store, remove any plastic packaging and place it in a dish covered with a paper towel, Lucy Waverman recommends. Put it at the back of your fridge, which is colder, and keep for no more than two days. An oiled grilling basket is the way to go because it allows you to easily turn the fish. If you don’t have one, fill a spray bottle with oil and spray both the grill and the fish.


Beyond the bars: Former inmates at the Kingston Prison for Women return in fight for recognition

This, for 66 years, was the place where hundreds of Canadians were incarcerated, and where some died: the Prison for Women, more commonly known as P4W, Elizabeth Renzetti writes. Despite its once-fearsome reputation – a 1977 government report called it “unfit for bears, much less women” – P4W has fallen out of the public imagination since it was closed in 2000. Now, the site is on the verge of redevelopment and a small group of former inmates and academics is fighting to keep alive the memory of the women who lived and died there.

What the women of the P4W Memorial Collective would like is some physical remembrance that the site, recently bought by a local developer from Queen’s University, has a unique history. “It should be a place where people can come and respect our fallen sisters, and pray and be at one with them, or whatever they need to do,” says Fran Chaisson, a member of the collective, who served two terms in P4W. “The healing is very important, because if you don’t heal from an institution, you’ll end up back in it.”

Just inches of air left for two men rescued from flooded elevator in Toronto

Standing at the top of the cement stairwell on Tuesday night, the police officers quickly realized how fast the water was rising; only a couple of inches of a green door frame remained visible in the basement above the murky brown water, Molly Hayes writes. Constable Ryan Barnett and Constable Josh McSweeney had little time to get through that door to the two men trapped in the elevator on the other side, with the floodwaters rushing in and only a few inches of air left. The shouts of the two men trapped inside were loud and clear.

As they awaited rescue, Klever Freire, 34, and Gabriel Otrin, 27, teetered on the railings, shouting for help as they struggled to keep their heads above the rising water. Mr. Freire thought about his daughter. He had cancelled a movie outing with her for that evening because he had too much work to do. He realized he might pay for that decision with his life. Mr. Otrin said he focused on his faith.

On the other side of the metal door, Constable McSweeney waded toward the stairwell with a crowbar. The water was so deep he could no longer touch bottom. Treading water, he leaned into the crowbar until the door finally slid open. As the water gushed in from the basement, filling the last bit of the elevator, the officers grabbed the two men and hauled them to the stairwell.

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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