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

Scheer dismisses Conservative leadership challenges; NDP’s Singh names shadow cabinet

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has dismissed more calls for his resignation, shaking the criticisms off as an “unfortunate” feature of Conservative Party politics.

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His response comes a day after The Globe and Mail reported that a new group called Conservative Victory had formed to push Scheer to quit immediately and launch a leadership race. Earlier in the week, some social conservative groups and former Quebec candidates pressed for his resignation.

Scheer today announced that Liberal-turned-Conservative MP Leona Alleslev will be his new deputy leader, following the recent firing of two top aides.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has revealed his roster of critics, including naming himself responsible for Indigenous relations and services and intergovernmental affairs.

Opinion: “Scheer stumbled when he finally got his chance and for largely the same reason he’s getting attacked from all sides within his party now. He is having trouble finding people to stand in his corner for the simple reason that he’s never actually staked one out.” - Robyn Urback

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Elections Alberta now says it will disclose names of fine recipients

Elections Alberta says it will publicly identify anyone it fines for breaking election laws, after briefly reverting to an old policy that saw that information redacted.

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Yesterday, The Globe and Mail reported that the election agency, which took over enforcement duties after the province eliminated the independent office of the election commissioner, had stopped attaching names when it published details of fines. The agency said it was a longstanding policy in place before last year, based on legal advice, and that it would review its disclosure practices.

It followed the elimination of the independent commissioner, which transferred enforcement duties to Elections Alberta and also resulted in the removal of former commissioner Lorne Gibson. The change prompted allegations that the United Conservative Party government was attempting to interfere with an investigation into the party’s 2017 leadership race.

Trump says U.S. and Taliban have reopened peace talks as he makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, where he announced the U.S. and Taliban have been engaged in peace talks and said he believes the Taliban wants a ceasefire.

It’s Trump’s first trip to the site of his country’s longest war and comes after he abruptly broke off peace talks with the Taliban in September, cancelling a secret meeting at Camp David after a particularly deadly spate of violence.

Before leaving for the visit, the President signed into law congressional legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong despite angry objections from Beijing, with which he is seeking a deal to end a damaging trade war. Protesters, meanwhile, responded by staging a “Thanksgiving” rally, with thousands, some draped in U.S. flags, gathering in the heart of the city.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ontario high-school teachers to strike Dec. 4: Ontario’s public high school teachers say they will hold a one-day strike next week if a new with the province deal isn’t reached before then.

Vancouver to ban plastic straws, bags: Vancouver has voted to ban the use of plastic straws and bags from April next year. The move is part of a trend in many countries aimed at reducing plastic pollution.

Manitoba, Quebec premiers’ war of words escalates: Manitoba’s premier would be better off spending money on French-language services or retaining NHL players than trying to woo Quebec civil servants to the Prairies, Quebec Premier François Legault said today as he shot back at Brian Pallister’s latest criticism of his province’s secularism law.

Kingston plane crash investigated: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent a team of investigators to the site of a small plane crash that left seven people dead in Kingston. The plane was heading from the Toronto area to Kingston’s airport when it crashed yesterday.

Computer issues may delay van attack trial: The heavily encrypted digital devices owned by Alek Minassian, who is accused of carrying out the deadly Toronto van attack, are giving his own lawyer problems, the court heard today, which may delay the start of his first-degree murder trial.

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MARKET WATCH

Canada’s main stock index inched higher today, as marijuana stocks powered a rise in the health care sector. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 13.95 points at 17,114.52.

U.S. markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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TALKING POINTS

A $210-a-tonne carbon tax? Fat chance

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“It is a big number to swallow, without question. And a huge and easy target for those opposed to carbon taxes – which is exactly why it’s likely never to see the light of day. And that’s too bad, because it’s the policy that actually makes the most sense.” - Gary Mason

Bill Peters’ pretend apology is a reminder of where hockey’s brand of ‘toughness’ gets you

“If you are Gordie Howe tough, you don’t go around hitting people for no reason. You don’t slur your co-workers. You don’t take apparent pleasure in demeaning people and then claim you can’t understand how they could be offended. That is the definition of toughness Bill Peters apparently subscribes to.” - Cathal Kelly

Want to end congestion? Put a price on our roads

“Providing more and better choices is key to encouraging drivers to leave their cars at home, and the most effective way to do that is to invest in public transit. This, of course, requires money: This is where road pricing can and should enter the equation.” - Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief planner of Toronto

LIVING BETTER

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Some athletes have turned to “platelet-rich plasma” to speed recovery after injury. It’s often touted as a “natural” therapy, as the plasma is extracted from your own blood, then injected directly into the part of the body needing treatment, such as a sore joint. But is it something you should consider for your own health needs? A few things to consider:

  • It can provide pain relief to some patients, but it’s not a permanent fix.
  • Nor is it covered by public or private health insurance.
  • The cost of an injection varies from $300 to $600.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

Todd Haynes goes off into uncharted territory with the DuPont legal thriller Dark Waters

Being the acclaimed filmmaker of decidedly art-house films, Todd Haynes might appear an unusual directorial choice for a decades-spanning legal thriller like Dark Waters.

Adapted from a New York Times Magazine article, the film follows the true story of Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), a corporate environmental lawyer who uncovers how one of the world’s largest companies, DuPont, is poisoning a small West Virginia town. Having just been made partner by a prestigious Cincinnati law firm that represents chemical corporations, Bilott sees every aspect of his life and career tested as he goes deeper into what turns into a 15-year fight against DuPont.

Haynes – whose previous work includes Safe, Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine, I’m Not There and Carol – understands that Dark Waters seems like a huge artistic change of pace for him. “Sure, there are people who have created expectations about my work based on what I’ve done in the past who might not expect this particular kind of genre to be something that I would have found interesting,” Haynes says over the phone. But, with a laugh, he goes on to add that he found this latest project brought him back to his love of classic “whistle-blower” cinema: All the President’s Men, Klute, The Insider. Read the full story here. Read the Dark Waters review here.

Mark Ruffalo, left, and Todd Haynes on the set of Dark Waters. (Photo by Mary Cybulski/Focus Features)

Mary Cybulski/Focus Features

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