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I say NAFTA, you say USMCA

Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump put a positive spin on the tentative new trade deal struck late Sunday night to replace the North American free-trade agreement. At a news conference today, Mr. Trudeau said it was a good deal for Canada, despite some tough concessions. Mr. Trump told reporters it was “truly historic” and earlier tweeted the renamed United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) was “a great deal for all three countries.” (for subscribers)

So who could benefit most from the new pact, and who has more to lose? Canada’s economy, markets and currency stand to gain from the lifting of trade uncertainty. The auto sector saw stocks rise today as the threat of tariffs eased. Dairy farmers may pay the price for increased U.S. access to the Canadian market, though Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said today they would be “fully and fairly" compensated for any losses. Of the three countries, Mexico may have gained the least – or lost the most.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, Justin Trudeau often said. But when a mediocre deal comes along, you try to grab it and run. That’s what happened as NAFTA talks went down to the wire this weekend.” - Campbell Clark

“All trading nations now live in a climate of fear. As Mr. Trump openly acknowledged Monday, the United States is using tariffs, or the threat of them, to force other countries to make concessions to American interests. That is what the United States did to Canada and Mexico. That is what the United States plans for the rest of the world." - John Ibbitson

“The tentative agreement reached late Sunday night is remarkably similar to the deal Canada was prepared to accept nearly one year ago. But in obedience to the Trump negotiating playbook, we first had to endure the escalation of increasingly unhinged rhetoric and the imposition of mutually destructive tariffs before the Great Negotiator agreed to declare victory.” - Gordon Ritchie, former Canadian diplomat

Polls open for the Quebec election

For decades, the Liberals or the Parti Québécois have run Quebec, and every election came down to whether the province was ready to pursue independence, Les Perreaux writes. But not in this close-fought campaign, which does not centre on sovereignty. Quebeckers are poised tonight to choose between the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Liberal Party, with the PQ fighting for survival as an official party. Here’s the latest on today’s election.

Jeff Flake stokes presidential speculation as debate over Kavanaugh rages

Jeff Flake, the Republican senator at the centre of the debate over Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court pick, is set to address New Hampshire voters this evening ahead of a possible run for president. It will be his second appearance this year in the state that hosts the first presidential primary election.

Three days earlier, Mr. Flake single-handedly delayed Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings by insisting on an FBI investigation as a condition for his support. Mr. Flake told CBS’s 60 Minutes Sunday that he believed the woman accusing Justice Kavanaugh of sexual assault and said the conservative judge’s nomination would be “over” if federal investigators determine he lied to the committee.

Mr. Trump Monday said he supports a “comprehensive” FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, but stands by his nominee, adding: “We don’t want to go on a witch hunt, do we?”

The ‘Super Canada’ option emerges as hot Brexit topic for U.K. Tories

Canada has emerged as a hot topic at the annual gathering of Britain’s Conservative Party, with members talking about “Super Canada,” “Canada plus, plus, plus” and even “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canada,” Paul Waldie writes. It’s not that British Tories have suddenly become enamoured with moose, Mounties and maple syrup. What they’ve been debating are the merits of Canada’s trade agreement with the European Union and whether the U.K. could follow the same model when it leaves the EU in March.

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Stocks pushed higher today after Canada joined the United States and Mexico in a tentative new trade agreement, averting an all-out trade war as railways stocks and auto parts manufacturers rallied.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 31.29 points, closing at 16,104.43. The loonie also moved higher, rising to a four-month high above 78 cents against the U.S. dollar.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 192.90 points to 26,651.21, the S&P 500 gained 10.61 points to end at 2,924.59 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.05 points to 8,037.30.

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Charles Aznavour, the dapper crooner and actor who got his start as a songwriter and protégé of Edith Piaf, died today at 94. Known as France’s Frank Sinatra, his performing career endured eight decades. He wrote more than 1,000 songs, for himself, Ms. Piaf and other popular French singers. The love ballad She topped British charts for four weeks in 1974 and was covered by Elvis Costello for the film Notting Hill.


Trump’s showdown: At last, a coherent view of the turmoil

“Much of what the program presents as a thematic narrative thread is captured early on, in the assertion that Trump has been waging a war on the very idea that there is such a thing as independent justice. His tactic is to sow discord and negate any and all accusations against him by claiming everyone scrutinizing him is tainted by bias.” - John Doyle

What Vancouver’s departing mayor learned from a decade of the opioid crisis

“In the final days of his mandate, Vancouver’s mayor said he is spending a lot of time counselling other cities as the opioid crisis heads eastward to places such as Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto. His message to them is to pull out all the stops, to do what is necessary, not just what is politically expedient.” - André Picard

The downside of legalization: More potheads

“Anyone who says we can escape the downsides of legalization must be working for Big Pot – or the government. Justin Trudeau assures us that a controlled and regulated market will reduce access among youth. But I think anybody who thinks marijuana use among teenagers will magically decline must be smoking something.” - Margaret Wente


Setting up a new business can be as challenging as it is exciting. Entrepreneurs will want to take advantage of any tax breaks, but they also need to stay on the right side of the CRA. To do that, keep and organize your receipts and paperwork. You probably don’t have an in-house accountant, so make sure you know your filling deadlines, and read up on tax breaks, grants and deferrals. Here’s the full list of seven things every small business owner needs to know about taxes.


Toronto raised my friend. Then it failed him

“For months, my grief was weather: strange spells of sunny normality, but mostly gloom, and bursts of sobbing at inconvenient times – at work, or when I was driving, or right before a dinner party,” Eric Andrew-Gee writes. “I wasn’t angry, not at first. The city’s role in what happened, or Uber’s, felt secondary. My sorrow was intensely, achingly private. Turning it into a political crusade would have felt crass.

“Nick’s family knew differently. They were angry, and rightly so. They realized what happened to him could happen to someone else’s child. They realized Nick’s death was not just a personal nightmare, but a terrible failure of policy.”

Why the rich, too, are living paycheque to paycheque

A six-figure income doesn’t necessarily mean the earner has money in the bank. Surprisingly, many high-income people don’t, because they’re spending it all. According to a recent survey from GoBankingRates in the United States, 23 per cent of respondents with incomes of US$150,000 or more had less than US$1,000 set aside for emergencies, and one in three had nothing saved for retirement. In Canada, a 2017 study from the Canadian Payroll Association found 41 per cent of working Canadians spend all or more of their net pay, often going into debt.

People bringing home big paycheques do not by default become wealthy, says Moira Somers, an executive coach with a financial psychology practice in Winnipeg. While generally these high earners have not come from wealth, she says, most wealthy people don’t come from wealth, either. But they have learned what they need to do to become truly wealthy.

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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