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Justin Trudeau faced sharp criticism over his decision to call an election during the pandemic, while Erin O’Toole was repeatedly challenged on mandatory vaccinations and child care during the first French-language debate of the federal campaign.

The Liberal and Conservative leaders shared a stage with Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Montreal during the debate organized by the Quebec television network TVA. The French and English debates organized by the Leaders’ Debates Commission will take place on Sept. 8 and 9.

Other flashpoints included a heated exchange between Mr. Blanchet and Mr. Singh over a 2020 incident when the NDP Leader was kicked out of the House of Commons for accusing the Bloc of racism for not supporting a motion about systemic racism in the RCMP.

The first debate is a key moment in a federal election campaign that is already past the halfway mark toward voting day on Sept. 20.

Read more: Poll shows three quarters of Canadians don’t see the election as necessary

Opinion: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole walks out of first debate in one piece

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves Blanchet, New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole pose with TVA moderator PIerre Bruneau before their "Face-a-Face 2021" French language election debate at TVA studios in Montreal September 2, 2021.MARTIN CHEVALIER/POOL/Reuters

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Provinces plan legal push against Purdue Pharma in wake of U.S. opioid deal

The provincial governments are seeking a court order that would lift an injunction that had temporarily halted all legal proceedings against Purdue Pharma, and clear the way for them to pursue billions of dollars in opioid-related claims.

Under a wide-ranging settlement conditionally approved by a U.S. federal bankruptcy judge this week, Purdue Pharma will reorganize into a new company under different ownership. Lawyers representing the provinces will appear in an Ontario court on Sept. 21 seeking the go-ahead to proceed with their claims against the company in Canada.

Purdue had sought injunctions in the United States and Canada after it filed for bankruptcy protection in September, 2019, which paused all lawsuits against the company. A U.S. judge gave conditional approval to the bankruptcy settlement on Wednesday to resolve thousands of U.S. claims against the company, which has been blamed for fueling North America’s deadly opioid epidemic.

Read more:

Deal with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma leaves families angry, conflicted

Drug users group files decriminalization lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court

Vaccine protests threaten to disrupt essential services as crowds gather outside hospitals, police headquarters

Indy Sahota, a Toronto physician, was on his way to work at Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency department on Wednesday afternoon when he came upon a large protest outside the building.

As he got closer, he heard people chanting anti-vaccine slogans.

Hundreds of protesters were blocking the intersection in front of the hospital. “Cars weren’t able to go anywhere, which is a big problem for us because our ambulance bay is actually right at that intersection,” Dr. Sahota said.

Read more: Ontario vaccine bookings doubled after certificate announcement, Health Minister says

Opinion: Schools are reopening, but disabled children have been forgotten

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ontario optometrists withdraw services, affecting approximately 15,000 people: Ontario optometrists say they will continue to withhold services covered by provincial health insurance until the government agrees to nearly double the current level of funding to cover what they say is the true cost of service. The Ontario Association of Optometrists estimates that approximately 15,000 people will be affected by the job action each weekday and that it will delay 2,000 cataract referrals to ophthalmologists each week.

German leaders offer mixed messaging on Afghan refugees following Taliban takeover: Germany has committed to resettling up to 40,000 people desperate to be evacuated from Afghanistan, despite warnings about sparking another refugee crisis.

The latest The Decibel: Hong Kong democracy activists sentenced in a city ‘transformed’ by new law. We’re joined by James Griffiths who explains everything you need to know about China’s national security law and how life has changed in Hong Kong one year after it was introduced.

Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu talks diversity, and what his parents think of their superhero son: “So I could tell they were a bit nervous going in, because my parents don’t mince words when it comes to reviews. After every episode of Kim’s Convenience, I would get a call or a WeChat like, “Your face looks fat,” or, “I feel like you furrow your brow too much.””

Ex-prosecutor indicted for misconduct in Ahmaud Arbery’s death: A former Georgia prosecutor was indicted Thursday on misconduct charges alleging she used her position to shield the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery from being charged with crimes immediately after the shootings.


MORNING MARKETS

World stocks near record highs: Stock markets held near record highs on Friday and the U.S. dollar sank to a one-month low as investors prepared to recalculate their Fed tapering bets on the back of U.S. payrolls data later in the morning. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.14 per cent. Germany’s DAX added 0.05 per cent. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.32 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.05 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.72 per cent. New York futures were modestly higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.73 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Party platforms are hiding the fiscal truth from Canadians

“The pandemic freed the Liberals from having to pay so much as lip service to what was left of the fiscal responsibility their party once championed under former prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. The Conservative platform asks Canadian voters to suspend disbelief long enough to buy the party’s promise that it can balance the budget (during a third Tory mandate, mind you) by ‘getting back to robust economic growth of 3 per cent or more per year.’ ” - Konrad Yakabuski

Vaccine passports pose an equity problem

“COVID-19 cases are spiking in Canada, driven by the Delta variant, with most – but not all – occurring among the unvaccinated. But current initiatives to require vaccine passports ignore the reality of vaccine segregation, and how they could reinforce inequities in society – and how they might not actually encourage vaccination nor stop the spread of the disease.” - Zackary Berger, primary care physician and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Esperanza Center and Andray Domise, a Toronto-based writer.

Sirhan Sirhan crushed the spirit of a generation. Don’t set him free

“An investigator, Michael McCowan, once asked Robert Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, a question: Instead of shooting him from behind, why didn’t you do it face on? ‘Because that son of a bitch turned his head at the last second,’ Mr. Sirhan replied. Mr. Sirhan, who hated Mr. Kennedy for his support of Israel, was sentenced to death by gas chamber for the 1968 murder, but four years later a California Supreme Court ruling temporarily abolished capital punishment. Mr. Sirhan was spared.” - Lawrence Martin


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Three well-priced wines from Argentina, plus other bottles to enjoy as summer wanes

Most consumers’ knowledge about Argentina’s wine industry is tied exclusively to Mendoza. The region is home to 75 per cent of the country’s vineyards and the largest number of wineries in the country. It’s the region that appears on the labels of popular brands, such as Alamos, Catena and Pascual Toso, sold in Canada.

Operations such as Familia Schroeder, which produces a range of red, white and sparkling wines further south in Patagonia, are looking to expand the horizons of Canadian wine lovers.


MOMENT IN TIME: Sept. 3, 2008

Canadian-built lidar discovers that it snows on Mars

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander monitors the atmosphere overhead and reaches out to the soil below in this artist's depiction of the spacecraft fully deployed on the surface of Mars.NASA / JPL / UA / Lockheed Martin

From the start, scientists working with NASA’s Phoenix lander knew their mission was to be a time-limited affair. After touching down on the red planet’s north polar plains during the height of Martian summer, it set about exploring an alien landscape that was destined to be buried under frozen carbon dioxide come winter. In its initial weeks, Phoenix became the first spacecraft to touch water on Mars when it scraped away several centimeters of ruddy soil to reveal the icy permafrost beneath. On the 99th sol (Martian day), the Canadian-built lidar system aboard Phoenix recorded a discovery of its own. As laser light fired up into a Martian cloud, reflections revealed the presence of a fine, icy material drifting downward from the cloud’s base about three kilometres above the spacecraft. It was the first direct evidence of snowfall occurring on another world, and an important new detail for scientists working to understand the seasonal movement of water on Mars. Phoenix survived another two months before the sunlight falling on its solar collectors was insufficient to allow it to survive the lengthening polar nights. Ivan Semeniuk


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