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Municipal elections: Toronto votes today, Vancouver’s weekend results

Torontonians are heading to the polls today, following a controversial move by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government to slash the number of councillors to 25 from 47. The two main rivals in the mayoral race are incumbent John Tory and former city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, with affordable housing and transit among the issues. With the redrawn election map, here are some key wards to watch. For all the latest developments and results, go to

Vancouver voters on Saturday chose former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart as mayor by a razor thin margin of fewer than 1,000 ballots. Mr. Stewart was in a back-and-forth battle with his closest competitor, Ken Sim of the right-leaning Non-Partisan Association. Mr. Sim hasn’t yet conceded and has raised the possibility of a recount. But there are no legal provisions that allow for recounts in close races.

The latest development on the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

A man appearing to wear Jamal Khashoggi’s clothing left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul following his killing there, according to a surveillance video, while a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office around the same time, CNN and Turkish media reported today.

Separately, the crown prince called to offer condolences to Mr. Khashoggi’s son Salah, the Saudi government said today, three days after claiming on state television that Mr. Khashoggi died in a fist fight.

International condemnation has been mounting: Germany has frozen arms exports to Saudi Arabia. The Qatari government hopes his death and Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic battle with Canada will be wake-up calls for countries to rethink their relations with the desert kingdom, Paul Waldie writes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that Canada is prepared to freeze a big arms deal with Saudi Arabia if it concludes the weapons have been misused.

Today’s developments come just a day before Prince Mohammed’s high-profile investment summit is to begin in Riyadh. While several top executives and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have withdrawn, French oil company Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanné says he will attend. (for subscribers)

Ontario to continue funding overdose-prevention sites

A review of Ontario’s overdose-prevention sites has found that they help reduce drug-related deaths and lower the rate of public drug use, Health Minister Christine Elliott said today as she announced plans to enhance the program previously criticized by Premier Doug Ford. She said the Progressive Conservative government will spend just over $31-million a year to fund up to 21 sites that will also offer drug users treatment and rehabilitation services.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur could go to trial earlier than expected after the alleged serial killer agreed today to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, Tu Thanh Ha writes. Charged with the murders of eight men with ties to Toronto’s Gay Village, Mr. McArthur is scheduled to appear before Superior Court Justice John McMahon on Nov. 5 to set a trial date.

A preliminary hearing is a court proceeding where the prosecution’s case is tested to see if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Toronto police Detective David Dickinson told reporters the families of the eight men are relieved that they won’t have to sit twice through the testimony.

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Canada’s main stock index closed lower today as marijuana stocks fell sharply amid concerns about the sector’s high valuation. The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 57.40 points to 15,412.70. Aurora Cannabis fell 12.2 per cent, while Canopy Growth was off 11.2 per cent and Aphria was off 13.8 per cent.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Dow slipped in choppy trading following losses in energy and financial stocks, and as caution grew ahead of a slew of earnings this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 126.93 points to 25,317.41, the S&P 500 lost 11.90 points to 2,755.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.60 points to end at 7,468.63.

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The married couple ousted from the leadership of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company in the wake of a sexual-harassment scandal earlier this year have resurfaced at a theatre company in Port Hope, Ont. – one that is about to announce the resignation of its current artistic director and general manager amid restructuring. The Cameco Capitol Arts Centre hired Soulpepper’s former executive director Leslie Lester this summer to do a third-party assessment of its five-year strategic plan, the company’s president and board chair Olga Cwiek told The Globe and Mail. And Albert Schultz, Ms. Lester’s husband and artistic director of Soulpepper until he was asked to resign by its board in January, has also been providing informal counsel to Ms. Cwiek on running the theatre company, she said. Ms. Cwiek said she hopes Ms. Lester will apply for a new full-time position as managing director, a position that was created following her consultations.


Hatred of Big Pharma won’t get us better drug prices

“The fact that Remicade has captured more than 95 per cent of the market, despite the availability of a lower-priced alternative, and that Canada pays more for both the brand-name and biosimilar version of the drug than most countries, speaks not so much to the evils of capitalism as it does to the wide-ranging policy-making failure. When it comes to prescription drugs, we regulate poorly, we negotiate badly, and we provide abysmal access and even worse support to consumers.” - André Picard

Read Kelly Grant’s Remicade investigation here and follow-up here. (for subscribers)

The crisis of truth shakes American life to its core

Like political figures everywhere, the leaders of the United States often had a casual relationship with the truth, so much so that Lyndon Johnson’s comments about the Vietnam War prompted the phrase “credibility gap” and Richard Nixon’s lies about his involvement in Watergate led to his resignation. This is all without detailing the misleading or false claims Mr. Trump has repeatedly made as President – more than 5,000 by the count of The Washington Post, including 125 in a 120-minute period on Sept. 7, almost certainly a North American record. - David Shribman


If you’re looking to save money on gas and want to take it easier on the planet, you may be considering a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). If you want to drive electric as much as you can, make sure you’re comfortable with the range, Jason Tchir writes. Vehicles that also have a gas motor have smaller batteries than electric-only cars. A PHEV with lower range might be fine if you do a lot of shorter trips during the week. Right now, there are 25 plug-in hybrids on the market – and their features vary.


Why Hebron has a leg up on Alberta’s oil sands

It’s been one year since ExxonMobil’s long-awaited Hebron platform off the southeastern coast of Newfoundland started pumping crude from its first well, Judith Pereira writes in Report on Business Magazine. It took four years, $14-billion, 132,000 cubic metres of concrete and a few thousand workers to bring it online, and so far, it’s churning out about 40,000 barrels a day, with the crude bound for markets in the U.S. Gulf states, Europe and much of eastern North America. Eventually, Hebron will drill 20 to 30 wells, and is expected to produce around 150,000 barrels a day.

That doesn’t sound like much when compared to production in Alberta’s oil sands, which sits at about 2.4 million barrels daily. But despite offshore drilling posing its own dangers, Hebron has a big advantage over Alberta: Tankers are able to easily access it. With pipelines in the West over capacity and potential new ones mired in a political no-man’s land, offshore projects like Hebron are seen as an exciting new play for foreign investors, who last year sold off almost $23-billion in assets in the oil sands. Indeed, Exxon invested in Hebron as a hedge against Alberta’s oil sands woes, and it seems to have paid off. With an expected reserve of 700 million barrels of recoverable crude, the Hebron project is expected to operate for 30 years. As Newfoundland’s fourth offshore platform, it will play a key role in the province’s plan to double overall production to more than 650,000 barrels a day by 2030.

A mysterious skull becomes an Ontario homeowner’s headache

The spring of 2017 is not going to feature as Pat Baker’s favourite, Ian Brown writes. On March 8, her third husband, Duff Scott, died of a heart attack. Two weeks later, still in the grip of burying and missing him, Ms. Baker received an e-mail from Jeremiah Sommer. The couple had hired him the previous January to add a new patio to the back of their summer house in Goderich, Ont. The contractor explained that he’d “run into a bit of a situation”: A human skull, or part of one, had turned up in the backfill around the patio. As the law requires, he immediately called the Ontario Provincial Police.

Within two days, the OPP’s forensic anthropologist had cleared Ms. Baker as a suspect and concluded the skull was vintage – probably from the 1880s – and therefore not worthy of criminal investigation. Ms. Baker thought the story might die there.

But she had overlooked Ontario’s seldom-mentioned but extremely fussy Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act (2002), which has been law since 2012 and insists that human remains found on private property be examined for anthropological potential. As of this month, a year and a half and many tons of dirt later, Ms. Baker was still trying to bury the damn skull.

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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