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Evening Update: Trudeau says Canada won’t rush into bad NAFTA deal as talks continue

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trudeau warns ‘No NAFTA deal is better than a bad NAFTA deal’ as talks continue

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Canada is making headway in frantic NAFTA talks with the United States, but is prepared to walk away if it can’t get a good deal, Adrian Morrow and Robert Fife write. Negotiators worked overnight and into this morning trying to hammer out a deal in Washington, and meet again this afternoon. U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters today that negotiations with Canada were going “really well.” (for subscribers)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that despite U.S. pressure to reach an agreement this week, Canada would not be pushed into accepting a bad one. “No NAFTA deal is better than a bad NAFTA deal,” he told reporters in Northern Ontario.

Neither Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is in Washington, nor Trudeau would discuss specific items on the table. But Canadian officials have told The Globe and Mail that Ottawa is offering the U.S. more access to Canada’s protected dairy market in exchange for saving NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute resolution provision, preserving protections for cultural industries and avoiding tougher pharmaceutical patent rules.

“The President seems to want not a treaty but a trophy,” former ambassador to the U.S. Frank McKenna says in an interview with Report on Business magazine. “And it’s very hard to get a trophy when your trading partners also have to face the consequences of their decisions.”

Separately, the U.S. International Trade Commission today overturned duties imposed on Canadian newsprint by the U.S. Commerce Department earlier this year. The five commissioners voted unanimously that imports from Canada of uncoated groundwood paper, used for newspapers, commercial printing and book publishing, do not injure U.S. industry.

Less than half of Ontario Grade 6 math students make the grade in standardized tests

Less than half of Ontario’s Grade 6 students met the provincial standard in math this year, according to the latest standardized test scores, Caroline Alphonso writes, continuing a steady decline that has ignited a national discussion about how the subject is being taught in schools. Results released today from Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office showed that 49 per cent of Grade 6 students met the standard in the 2017-18 school year, a one percentage point decline from the previous year and a five percentage point drop since 2014.

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Math has become a divisive issue. Teachers have said the curriculum, which emphasizes problem solving, keeps students engaged and standardized tests are not reflective of the way children learn in the classroom. But some parents and math educators have called on ministries of education to improve teacher training and return to a back-to-basics approach. They argue that the curriculum does not allow students to master the basics in early grades.

How well would you do on the standardized test? Take our Grade 6 math quiz to find out.

B.C. files lawsuit against opioid makers and distributors for deceptive marketing

British Columbia is suing dozens of opioid manufacturers and distributors for what the government alleges was “corporate corruption and negligence” that fueled the overdose crisis, killing thousands of Canadians, Andrea Woo and Karen Howlett write. It is the first lawsuit against opioid manufacturers filed by a government in Canada, and B.C. Attorney General David Eby said he would be asking other provinces to join.

The lawsuit alleges deceptive marketing and targets 40 manufactures and distributors, including Purdue Pharma, whose OxyContin has been implicated in triggering Canada’s opioid epidemic. The allegations have not been proven in court and the companies have not yet filed statements of defence.

Purdue has acknowledged in the United States that its marketing of OxyContin was misleading and paid US$634.5-million in 2007 to settle criminal and civil charges.

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Ontario judge restores defence of extreme intoxication in sexual assaults

The defence of extreme intoxication in sexual-assault cases is back in Ontario, after a judge ruled that a federal law removing it violates the constitutional rights of the accused, Sean Fine writes. The ruling comes in a case in which a man voluntarily took a substance commonly known as a date-rape drug, then said he didn’t know what he was doing when he had sexual intercourse with a woman awaking from a drunken sleep.

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MARKET WATCH

In New York, Wall Street extended its rally today, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hitting record highs for the fourth straight session as technology companies pushed indexes higher and promising trade negotiations stoked investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60.55 points to 26,124.57, the S&P 500 gained 16.52 points to end at 2,914.04 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 8,109.69, 79.65 higher.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 34.75 points to 16,390.29. Eight of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher led by a 4.5-per-cent rise in the healthcare sector, spurred by cannabis stocks.

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WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL

About 20,000 Air Canada customers woke up today to learn their personal information may have been compromised after a breach in the airline’s mobile app, which prompted a lock-down on all 1.7 million accounts until their passwords could be changed. Any credit card data is encrypted and would be protected from a breach, Air Canada said. But Aeroplan numbers, passport numbers, birth dates, nationalities and countries of residence could have been accessed if users saved them in their account profile, the company said.

TALKING POINTS

Shaun Majumder’s departure from This Hour has 22 Minutes is all about CBC arrogance

“There has been a bloodless coup at CBC and the nitwits have taken over again. That is this column’s take on the bizarre departure of Shaun Majumder from CBC’s This Hour has 22 Minutes. The situation also stands as a reminder that CBC TV has a longstanding problem with recognition of talent and that the faceless bosses matter more than those who create at the network. It’s an arrogance problem.” - John Doyle

Cryptocurrency promoters say they’re helping humanity - but they’re just helping themselves

“The bros don’t have any incentive to create a real sharing economy, either, because the market rewards them for keeping crypto wealth concentrated in a few hands. It’s an open secret that a relatively small group of investors, known as crypto whales, have huge holdings. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, about 1,000 users hold roughly 40% of all bitcoin. They often meet online in so-called whale clubs to co-ordinate their buying and selling to maximize profits. As a result, prices of digital currencies are easily manipulated, and sudden market swings often hurt small investors. Despite lofty talk about empowering the poor, cryptocurrencies have only exacerbated income inequality.”- Rita Trichur

The many travails of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

“He’s jumped from one self-inflicted controversy to the next. He’s been criticized for everything, from his badly botched handling of questions around Sikh terrorism to campaigning against the Kinder Morgan pipeline while simultaneously suggesting Canada import oil from countries other than Saudi Arabia as a way of penalizing the Kingdom for recent sanctions. To say his performance has been uneven would be kind.” - Gary Mason

LIVING BETTER

Back to school doesn’t mean it’s time to hit the panic button. The Globe has this handy guide written by and for kids. There are favourite recipes for lunch on the go, including an easy-to-assemble buddha bowl made from items that keep well in the fridge. Tips include how to get involved early in activism, spend less time on your phone, create a stylish refuge at home and even plan ahead for next summer.

LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE

After Dad died, I had to find laughter through my tears

Nobody really knows what to say to someone who is recently bereaved, Rebecca D’Silva writes. For the bereaved, it is a roller coaster of emotions as each new visitor confronts the reality of death and considers their own grief. Some people contemplate their own mortality; reflecting somberly on the age difference between themselves and the deceased. Most people offer their own mini-eulogy; saying something kind about the deceased and then sharing an anecdote to demonstrate their point. Somewhere in the midst of that process, beneath the shock, sadness and heartache, there is laughter.

Dad didn’t want his wake and funeral to be sombre. Whenever we went to a wake, he would say, “Let’s pay our respects quickly and leave before someone starts the Rosary.” It was hilariously inappropriate and it summed up the way most people feel about death: We know it exists, but we do not want to acknowledge it and we do not want to linger in its presence.

Habitat 67’s charm still bleeds through its aging concrete and rebar

The blemishes and signs of weathering add a certain character and charm to the raw, unadorned surfaces, Betrand Marotte writes. Habitat has, on the whole, aged well. Nonetheless, there is a certain windswept bleakness to some of the common areas that no amount of concrete planters filled with greenery can offset. Such observations are mere quibbles to those who love architect Moshe Safdie’s daring design aimed at reinventing the traditional, boxy apartment building – an elaboration of his master’s thesis at McGill University when he was still in his 20s, no less.

Habitat 67, Montreal.

Société en Commandite Complexe d'Habitation 67

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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