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Canada Evening Update: Trans Mountain expansion halted as appeals court quashes Ottawa’s approval; U.S., Canada still aiming for NAFTA deal by Friday amid impasse over Chapter 19

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Trans Mountain expansion halted as appeals court quashes Ottawa’s approval

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The Federal Court of Appeal has quashed Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project, sending it back to the National Energy Board for further environmental assessment. In a unanimous decision released today, the three-member court panel said the Liberal government failed to adequately consult First Nations whose rights are impacted by the pipeline expansion, while the National Energy Board failed to properly consider increased tanker traffic that would result.

The ruling means construction on the project must once again be halted while the matter returns to the regulator for further review, and then for additional consultations between the government and First Nations.

It represents a major setback for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who have committed to see the project completed in order to provide access to new Asia-Pacific markets and world prices for the Western Canadian oil industry. (Shawn McCarthy, Wendy Stueck and Jeff Lewis, for subscribers)

“Not long after Thursday’s ruling came down, shareholders of Kinder Morgan Canada held a vote in Calgary on the sale of the pipeline,” Gary Mason writes. “It took less than three minutes to approve. It likely took a lot longer for the applause and laughter to die down.” (for subscribers)

U.S., Canada still aiming for NAFTA deal by Friday amid impasse over Chapter 19

Canada and the U.S. are still targeting a high-level NAFTA deal by Friday, even as negotiations remain jammed over a key dispute settlement mechanism, said sources briefed on the closed-door talks.

Three insiders briefed on the negotiations said the Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels are the major roadblock to a deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wants Chapter 19 stripped out of the agreement – and got Mexico to agree to this – but Canada has insisted that it will not sign on to a revamped NAFTA without it. Canada has offered U.S. farmers more access to the protected Canadian dairy market in a bid for a deal.

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Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has already met twice with Mr. Lighthizer today and planned to meet him again later. She said talks are far enough advanced that she and Mr. Lighthizer are signing off on key decisions prepared by their negotiating teams. (Adrian Morrow, Robert Fife and Greg Keenan, for subscribers)

“Yet, we know enough about Mr. Trump to realize that operating out of personal spite or enmity is what he does best,” Konrad Yakabuski writes. “You only had to witness his graceless reaction to the death last week of Republican Senator John McCain – one of the President’s fiercest critics who voted against Mr. Trump’s failed attempt to overhaul Obamacare – to take the measure of his smallness.” (for subscribers)

But Canada may have an unlikely ally in Trump vice-president Mike Pence, Lawrence Martin writes. “If there is one man in Washington who has good reason to oppose Donald Trump’s protectionist passions, it is his veep.”

Health groups call on Ontario to reconsider freeze on overdose prevention sites

More than 100 health groups have sent an open letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the province’s health minister asking them to reconsider their position on overdose prevention sites. The Progressive Conservative government recently paused the planned openings of several overdose prevention sites as it conducts a review to determine whether such facilities will continue to operate. The letter calls the review unnecessary and says all available evidence demonstrates that these sites save lives.

Soulpepper hires Emma Stenning as new executive director

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The beleaguered Soulpepper theatre company has found a producer and arts administrator from England to become its new executive director, J. Kelly Nestruck writes. Emma Stenning will leave her job as chief executive of the Bristol Old Vic to take the position.

She comes to the position of executive director almost eight months after Soulpepper’s board “severed” its relationship with her predecessor, Leslie Lester. While the board never explained Lester’s seemingly forced departure, it came in the wake of civil lawsuits filed by four female actors against the theatre company and Albert Schultz, Soulpepper’s founding artistic director and Lester’s husband. The suits alleged that Schultz had sexually harassed and assaulted the women, on stage and off, in incidents that spanned two decades. The suits were settled out of court this summer.

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Canada’s main stock index fell lower today as energy stocks dipped after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion. The energy sector dropped 0.7 per cent and was the biggest drag on the S&P/TSX Composite Index, which closed down 18.74 points to 16,371.55. Shares of Toronto-based cannabis company Cronos Group plummeted nearly 28.1 per cent after a U.S. short-seller raised concerns about its disclosures.

The rally in U.S. stocks came to a halt on new concerns that the U.S.-Chinese trade dispute will intensify. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 137.51 points to 25,987.06, the S&P 500 lost 12.91 points to close at 2,901.13 and the Nasdaq Composite ended at 8,088.36, 21.33 points lower.

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The buzz is building for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off next week. The Globe’s TIFF team looks at some of the most anticipated films, including If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaption of the James Baldwin novel from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, and American Dharma, Errol Morris’s documentary on Steve Bannon.


In the ongoing ‘math wars,’ both sides have a point

“Unfortunately, the idea of balancing doesn’t work to resolve the math wars, and the reason might be a little surprising. It may appear that one side asserts that schools should focus on teaching technical skills in math while the other believes they should focus on teaching for deep understanding. However, the sides really aren’t that far apart on this issue. Few traditionalists would now say that learning math is just a matter of memorizing facts and rules, just as most reformists now recognize that mastery of basic facts and rules is necessary for higher-order thinking. On this count, for the most part, both sides have compatible intentions. However, challenges arise when discussions shift from what to teach to how to teach.” - Brent Davis, a Werklund Research Professor at the University of Calgary

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Don’t call it a comeback: What Louis C.K.’s attempted return tells us about #metoo

“After finally blowing the lid off of an epidemic of sexual abuse, are we really supposed to focus our energy on figuring out how to shelter abusers from consequence? Moreover, are we to take on this Sisyphean labour even if the abusive personality has thus far shown little significant remorse or understanding? If they assumed the next step was to stroll on stage and crack wise about waitresses’s tips? Why wouldn’t the urgent concern be with the victims and preventing further victimization? Wouldn’t the next, natural step be taking on the eternally delayed work of establishing a just and equitable society for everyone?” - Flannery Dean, a Hamilton-based writer and editor


Back to school means fall is right around the corner. And that’s the time you want to get a head start on next year’s garden. Organic matter can enrich your growing soil: Try drying out orange peels over the winter and work them into your garden in the spring. Egg shells, pulverized chicken bones and coffee grounds can all enhance the growing environment (some Starbucks locations give away free bags of used grounds). Bulbs aren’t just for spring flowers: Consider planting late-blooming perennials. Even as temperatures cool, your garden still needs water. Once leaves start falling but before deep frost, make sure you water deeply enough to percolate at least 30 centimetres below the surface.


Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada launches after two years of input from communities

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A learning resource on Indigenous lands, languages and culture in Canada was launched in Toronto yesterday after two years of input from the communities it covers. The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four-volume set of books, an online interactive atlas and other components.

The project, funded by the federal government, was developed by Indigenous groups working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Charlene Bearhead, the project’s education adviser who is also the education co-ordinator for the National Inquiry of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, said the way that the atlas was developed was important: “The First Nations made the decisions about what would be in their volume, the Metis made the decisions about their volume and so did the Inuits.”

When’s the worst time to find a rental in Toronto? Right now

The struggle to find an apartment in Toronto has become almost impossible as September creeps closer and students headed back to school set an already hot rental market on fire, Shane Dingman writes. The key driver, according to agents who work with renters, is university students who are often novice renters – and whose first experience with the rental market can be a wrenching one.

“Typical market rent is prohibitively expensive for many of our students,” said Katrina Persad, an Off-Campus Housing Facilitator with Ryerson University. “Units within their budget are often dirty, in need of essential repairs, or are located in neighbourhoods that feel unsafe to walk home in after an evening class. A hot market means that there is competition and rent-bidding on even average or mediocre units, which has pushed landlords to employ shady techniques like asking prospective tenants to submit a fully completed rental application before allowing them to view the unit.”

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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