These are the top stories:
Drug maker urges patients to speak out on cheaper medications
Ontario and Alberta are looking at following British Columbia’s lead in forcing patients to switch to cheaper drugs called biosimilars. This prompted the maker of Canada’s most lucrative drug to send letters directly to patients in both provinces asking them to voice concerns about the change “for no medical reason” to politicians. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott told The Globe and Mail that her government will launch consultations on a biosimilar switching policy before the end of the year, while a spokesman for Alberta’s Health Minister said that province would unveil a new policy later this year. Janssen Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, has been warning patients that their provincial governments are considering de-listing Remicade, a pricey biologic that treats rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, in favour of its biosimilar near-copies.
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Federal government memo on military exports to Saudi Arabia paves way to end moratorium: arms control advocate
The Global Affairs Department says it has found no credible evidence linking Canadian exports of military equipment or other controlled goods to Saudi Arabian human rights violations. It is also warning the Trudeau government that a moratorium on approving exports of this sort is further damaging already depressed trade relations with the kingdom.
A Sept. 17 memo published on the department’s website says that while Saudi Arabia’s human rights record “remains problematic,” with unlawful killings, forced disappearances and torture, Ottawa has no information or evidence linking Canadian military exports to unlawful conduct. The department is also advising Ottawa that 48 export permits are ready to be signed if the government lifts the moratorium. “Those permits have been deemed ready for approval by officials and await your further consideration.”
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says lack of interprovincial trade is ‘absurd’
“That was the reason Confederation happened – to create a free-trade area,” Mr. Poloz said during an armchair chat at an Ontario Securities Commission conference in Toronto on Thursday. “We spend all our energy renegotiating a free-trade agreement with the United States, but we can’t possibly sit down and figure out how to have free trade within Canada. This is yet another contentious issue for the new minority Liberal government to stickhandle with the provinces, amid heightened tensions over energy and climate policy.
CN strike has Quebec hospitals and farms on brink of propane shortage, Legault warns
Quebec is in danger of running out of propane within five days if a CN Rail strike drags on, Premier François Legault warns, putting heating supplies for health-care institutions, seniors homes and farmers at risk. The Premier called on the federal government to accelerate the labour talks and intervene if necessary with special legislation, adding that the province cannot afford a prolonged CN work stoppage. A disruption lasting to the end of the month could take a bite as big as $2.2-billion out of Canada’s gross domestic product, economists at Toronto-Dominion Bank said.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Disney grants dying wish for Canadian five-year-old with cancer. To see Frozen 2: Two days after Hamilton man Ian Clark turned to the internet for help, a representative arrived at McMaster Children’s Hospital early in the morning, a copy of the sequel in hand.
New survey shows dramatic increase in vaping among high-school students: Nearly one-third of high-school students in Alberta and Quebec and one in four in Ontario say they have vaped in the past month, according to new Canadian survey data.
Fiona Hill slams Republicans for promoting ‘fictional narrative’ of Ukrainian election meddling: She warned that such “falsehoods” about Ukraine, which Republican members of the House intelligence committee have repeated in hearings this week, only helped the Kremlin.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on corruption charges: The first-ever charges against a sitting Israeli prime minister capped a three-year investigation, prompting Netanyahu to reject calls to resign and accusing prosecutors of staging “an attempted coup.”
Former energy-regulator executives repeatedly ignored rules, Alberta’s A-G says in report: Top-level executives of the energy regulator took questionable flight upgrades, circumvented cash-bonus laws and avoided taxes on subsidized parking, Alberta’s Auditor-General said.
Global shares inch higher, but trade worries linger: Global stocks inched up on Friday, lifted by China’s renewed offer to work out a trade pact with Washington, but gains were limited by uncertainty over how the 16-month-old trade war plays out and how much it may undermine the world economy. Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 0.3 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 per cent, though the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.3 and 1.1 per cent by about 5 a.m. ET. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was below 75.5 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Ableist language is insidious. Let’s choose our words more carefully
“When we speak, we need to be mindful that mental illness can, and does, take lives. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can harm us all.” — K.J. Aiello
Why would Jason Kenney fire the man investigating his party? Because he can
“Albertans have their conservative dynasty back, and evidently Mr. Kenney believes they won’t let go.” — Robyn Urback
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
From fashion and beauty to food and drink, home and design to travel, we have green gift ideas for everyone on your list this season. The options for sustainable yet dazzling buys seem endless and the green benefits of these finds aren’t just marketing spin, either, thanks to shopper demand for transparency and genuine change. The Globe has a list of 100 stylish gifts you’ll feel good about giving – or receiving.
MOMENT IN TIME
Nov. 22, 2005
Angela Merkel’s name is associated with a number of titles. The factual: first female German chancellor, longest-serving incumbent head of state in the European Union. The widely agreed upon: de facto head of the European Union, most powerful woman in the world and stalwart leader in an increasingly unstable geopolitical climate. But on this day in 2005, Ms. Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s newest chancellor. After a roller-coaster campaign, Ms. Merkel led a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union parties against the Social Democratic Party, headed by incumbent chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. When election night had come and gone, the results were so tight that both Mr. Schroder and Ms. Merkel claimed victory. After weeks of negotiation, the two came to an agreement: Ms. Merkel’s coalition and Schroeder’s party would form a “grand coalition." The Social Democrats would get half of Germany’s cabinet positions and Ms. Merkel would become chancellor. A week later, she swore the oath of office and chose to include the optional “so help me God” addendum to it. Had negotiations steered another way, global politics may have been unrecognizable. — KC Hoard