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When armies from the West invaded Afghanistan in 2001, they and their governments promised to build a secure, equitable and modern country.

But all the vows made by Canada and its allies vanished like a mirage this past summer as Taliban retook the country, returning to rule and threatening retribution.

The promises have been broken, but the bonds built on the battlefield abide. Canadian military veterans have fought on behalf of the Afghan interpreters they worked with long ago. For years, the ex-soldiers pressed the federal government to revive an immigration program that brought hundreds of interpreters and their families to Canada between 2009 and 2012.

In July, the government announced it would resume and expand the special immigration measures. So some former soldiers are helping with applications. Other veterans have set up safe houses abroad. Still others are working from afar to help entire Afghan families navigate around checkpoints and chokepoints in their bid to flee Taliban rule.

Robin Rickards, left, and Abdul Jamy Khohistani, aka Jamy, were reunited in Thunder Bay last week. Khohistani worked as interpreter for the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan where Rickards was posted. The two built a friendship and Rickards was able to get Jamy and his family out of Kabul in August after the city's fall. The Globe and Mail / David JacksonDavid Jackson/The Globe and Mail

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Murray Sinclair to facilitate talks with Ottawa on compensation for Indigenous children

The former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will facilitate high-stakes compensation talks on Indigenous child welfare in hopes of reaching a settlement with the federal government by the end of the year.

Murray Sinclair is slated to meet the parties, including the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and is also taking part in group discussions. His presence, which was agreed to by all involved, is expected to help instill trust in the confidential process.

COP26 draft deal calls for stronger carbon cutting targets by end of 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that the COP26 climate summit may not result in an agreement that will limit global warming to 1.5 C above preindustrial levels, a target scientists have said is crucial to avoiding the devastating effect of climate change.

A deal proposed by Britain that will be discussed today would commit countries to “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C above preindustrial levels” and strengthen their long-term climate action plans by next year.

The summit got a boost late yesterday when the United States and China issued a joint statement that commits the countries to develop long-term strategies to reach net-zero. Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate negotiator, said the countries have recommitted to the Paris Agreement goal of holding global warming to 2 C, and they will “pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 C.”

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O’Toole sends message to vaccination critics with shadow cabinet snubs, MP says: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to largely exclude critics of mandatory vaccination from his shadow cabinet this week is prompting strong reaction from both sides of his divided caucus ahead of Parliament’s opening later this month.

U.S. inflation rate hits highest since 1990: U.S. consumer prices accelerated in October as Americans paid more for gasoline and food, leading to the biggest annual gain in 31 years, suggesting inflation could stay uncomfortably high well into 2022 amid snarled global supply chains.

Senior Bombardier executives vetted partners in bribery probe: Top management at Bombardier Inc.’s Canadian headquarters vetted and approved Russian partners now enmeshed in bribery allegations against one of the transportation company’s former employees, Swedish prosecutors say.

Quebec public-health institute wrestled with major challenges during pandemic: As the pandemic began, the public-health body advising the Quebec government had to wrestle with a flood of scientific papers, outdated software, delays in creating a testing program and a misguided expectation that hospitals would be hit before elder-care homes, a coroner’s inquest heard yesterday.

Toronto outlines vaccination plan for children: Toronto’s COVID-19 vaccination plan for children 5 to 11 will include clinics at schools, doctors’ offices and in the community, with some locations offering “superhero selfie stations.”

Tim Hortons partners with Justin Bieber: Tim Hortons has teamed up with pop superstar Justin Bieber to launch three new Timbit flavours – called Timbiebs – along with co-branded merchandise. The celebrity endorsement deal marks a departure from the coffee and doughnut chain’s usual lineup of professional hockey players, a marketing strategy that could attract new customers.


Greenback jumps on inflation report: The U.S. dollar hit a 16-month high on Thursday after the strongest U.S. inflation reading in over three decades fuelled expectations of Fed interest rate hikes next year. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.33 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.18 per cent and 0.21 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.59 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.01 per cent. New York futures were modestly higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.70 US cents.


David Parkinson: “There’s no question that immigration is a critical part of the solution to Canada’s skilled-labour shortages. But for the moment, immigration shortfalls are a big – if sometimes overlooked – part of the problem.”

John Ibbitson: “Of course, Saskatchewan is not a nation within Canada. But Premier Scott Moe is doing more than simply grandstanding. Central Canadian politicians are once again treating the Prairies as a colonial possession, not fully equal within Confederation. The whole country pays a price when that happens.”


Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Bargain hunting? Try some opportunities in ugly stocks

The stock market’s relentless rise in recent months has boosted the stock of any company with a pretty story to tell. Many equities are now unusually expensive. So where can bargain hunters turn for relief? Try ugly stocks.


Victory parade marking the end of the First World War in Calgary, Nov. 11, 1918. Participants and spectators are wearing face masks to protect themselves against the influenza epidemic known as the Spanish Flu.Glenbow Archives

Victory celebrations in a pandemic

Alberta declared a public holiday on this day in 1918, to celebrate victory in the war, but there was also a warning. “The mask order will be enforced tonight on the streets, celebration or no celebration, by the police,” said a notice in that evening’s Calgary Daily Herald. The Spanish flu had arrived in Alberta a month earlier, carried by soldiers returning home, and by early November there were already 15,000 reported cases in the province. Businesses were shut down and masks were required in public places. Entire communities such as Lethbridge and Taber had recently been under quarantine, with no one allowed in or out. By the time the pandemic subsided, after several waves of infections, more than 4,000 people in Alberta had died of the flu – 50,000 in all of Canada. Despite the health restrictions, large victory celebrations went ahead. In Calgary, where events included a parade, concerts and the burning of effigies of German leaders, the stern directives had little effect. A report in the Herald the next day said festivities continued past dawn and “influenza masks were forgotten in the excitement.” James Keller

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