WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Trudeau sends NAFTA team to Washington with orders to seal deal quickly
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s trade team has been given instructions to wrap up NAFTA talks as quickly as possible, saying the U.S-Mexico auto deal is “very progressive” and opens the way to conclude often-contentious trilateral negotiations.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland returned to Washington today to try to save the three-way trade pact, a day after the U.S. and Mexico announced a deal of their own without Canada at the table.
“What happened was that Ottawa was deceived and double-crossed," Lawrence Martin writes. “While talks proceeded with Mexico, Canadian negotiators asked to be let in. The answer from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was ‘no.’ The talks, he said, were only on differences particular to Mexico around auto manufacturing. No need for Canada’s presence. That was a load of hokum. Key issues were on the table. And Mexico was hardly being candid about it either.”
“While Mr. Trump thinks negotiations can wrap up this week, we will likely see fall leaves and probably snow before the deal is done,” Colin Robertson writes. “It will likely be the next Congress, chosen in November and taking office in January, that will give ‘up or down’ approval to the new accord. It won’t be easy.”
Saudi Arabia allows medical trainees to stay in Canada
More than 1,000 Saudi Arabian medical graduates will be allowed to stay in Canada to complete their training, André Picard and Carly Weeks write. It’s a much-needed reprieve for teaching hospitals that were unsure how they would handle the sudden and significant loss of staff. But thousands of other Saudi students studying at Canadian universities still have to leave the country.
While the Saudi Ministry of Education sent an e-mail yesterday saying the medical graduates could stay in Canada only until they can find alternative arrangements in another country, in reality many of them will likely be able to complete their training here, said Paul-Émile Cloutier, president and CEO of HealthCareCAN, which represents hospitals across the country.
Nearly half of Canadian seafood improperly labelled, study finds
Read this first if you’re planning on seafood for dinner tonight: When Canadians buy butterfish or white tuna at a grocery store they may instead receive a fish dubbed “the laxative of the sea” because escolar can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and other stomach problems, according to an investigation into seafood fraud. Advocacy group Oceana Canada, which conducted the study, found nearly half of seafood samples it tested at Canadian grocery stores and restaurants was wrongly labelled.
It collected 382 samples of snapper, sea bass, sole and other fish that other studies indicate are often substituted. They chose samples from 177 retailers and restaurants in five Canadian cities. They found 44 per cent of the fish were not what the label claimed and the report claims such practices can harm consumer health and wallets, as well as hurt the environment.
China moves toward eliminating family planning
China is moving toward abandoning the policies of birth suppression that have been a defining feature of Communist rule for nearly four decades, Nathan VanderKlippe writes. China halted its longstanding one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child policy for many families. Earlier this year, officials eliminated “family planning” from the name of the National Health Commission. The draft of the new Marriage Law and Adoption received first legislative reading on Monday, and could become law by next March - although Chinese legal scholars have pointed to other laws that would have to be revoked in order to fully repeal the country’s birth policies.
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Yesterday’s news of the U.S.-Mexico agreement on trade pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes to record highs, and indexes across Europe and Asia followed Wall Street’s lead, inching to multi-month highs. Meanwhile Canada’s main stock index dipped today with the healthcare sector led by marijuana companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14.38 points to 26,064.02, the S&P 500 gained 0.78 points to 2,897.52 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 8,030.04, 12.14 points higher. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 88.85 points to 16,355.54.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON SOCIAL
Many Canadians will be forced to spend more to travel after Air Canada and WestJet Airlines said they are increasing fees for passengers to check their bags. The airlines are raising the fee for the first checked bag to $30 from $25, and for the second bag to $50 from $30. For Air Canada passengers, the new fees apply on Oct. 5 on flights across Canada, to and from the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico. WestJet’s changes apply on flights starting Oct. 1 for domestic bookings made as of last Friday, and as of today on flights to the U.S. and international destinations.
How Maxime Bernier could play the role of spoiler
“There are losers, and then there are sore losers. Maxime Bernier is the second kind. He’s always acted as if it was he who should have won the leadership race last year. He came so close! Andrew Scheer edged him out because Mr. Scheer was everybody’s second choice. Mr. Scheer is a colourless, diligent consensus-builder with no bold vision – a family man in off-the-rack suits who’s popular with social conservatives and dairy farmers. In other words, in temperament and character, Mr. Scheer is about as far as you can get from his swaggering opponent. Mr. Bernier never disguised his view that the better man lost.” - Margaret Wente
Why birthright citizenship matters - to all Canadians
“I was born stateless – that is, legally without a country. So I was shocked and disturbed to learn the Conservative Party of Canada passed a motion last week to end birthright citizenship in Canada. This move is reckless and dangerous – and risks making the world’s most vulnerable people even more so.” - Bashir Mohamed, Edmonton-based writer
Sports teams do almost nothing for cities - so why do we waste millions on stadiums?
“Regardless of where the funding originates, the economic reality rarely comes close to the reveries spun by the promoters. Economists, who as a group almost never agree on anything, have overwhelmingly concluded that major sports and their playpens don’t provide much of a boost to local economies. Only 2% of the economists surveyed by the University of Chicago last year thought the gains from sports subsidies were worth the cost.” - Brian Milner (for subscribers)
Photo-sharing app Instagram moved today to increase transparency and security for its more than one billion users, weeks after parent Facebook rolled out similar measures in a bid to weed out fake accounts on its social media platform. You will now be able to evaluate the authenticity of accounts using the new “About This Account” feature. It will allow users to see the ads an account is running, the country where the account is located, username changes in the past year as well as other details. Instagram also said it will allow the use of third-party apps such as DUO Mobile and Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication to help users securely log in to their accounts.
LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE
Under attack from Endy and Casper, Sleep Country Canada fights back
These days, purveyors of myriad mundane consumer products, from bottled water to razors, are trying to forge relationships with customers based on humanitarian goals or high-tech wizardry or online communities, Joanna Pachner writes. Casper, Purple, Endy and dozens of other cutely named e-tailers have been applying the same tactics to the utilitarian mattress, turning it into the latest digital-makeover star, while stealing sales away from bricks-and-mortar retailers.
Sleep Country is a different kind of innovator. The chain’s formula may seem old-school, but it works: It lures you in with an inescapable jingle, keeps you from leaving through a rigorously developed sales process, and ensures you’re happy enough with the experience to say, “Why buy a mattress anywhere else?” (for subscribers)
In New Brunswick’s blueberry country, a ‘nuisance’ bird earns respect and allies
For three weeks every summer, Miscou Island near New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula plays host to migrating shorebirds called whimbrels that fly in from the Arctic and feast on the region’s bounty of wild berries before undertaking an extraordinary non-stop journey across 6,000 kilometres of open ocean.
The Maritime sojourn is crucial for the whimbrel, a protected species thought to be in serious decline, Ivan Semeniuk writes. But it has also placed whimbrels in direct conflict with the island’s blueberry producers, a growing presence in the region who, until recently, viewed the brown, speckled birds as a threat to their bottom line.
Now, a concerted effort by scientists to engage with producers on behalf of the whimbrels appears to be paying off. Producers have not only become more tolerant of whimbrels in their fields, but, for the first time, they have participated in counting the birds to help track their fluctuating numbers.