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Canada Morning Update: Ford courts allies for carbon fight with Ottawa; PM’s cabinet shuffle adds new faces, puts focus on trade and border

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Doug Ford is courting allies for his carbon fight with Ottawa

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford is trying to assemble a national coalition of premiers to fight the federal government’s climate plan in court, setting up a direct challenge to Trudeau’s big environmental initiative. Less than three weeks after his swearing-in, Ford has pledged to scrap the cap-and-trade system his predecessor introduced, and now wants to stop Ottawa from imposing a carbon tax on Ontario and other provinces that fail to impose one.

Along with Saskatchewan, which has already promised a legal battle against any federal carbon tax, Ford will court other provincial leaders at their upcoming meeting in St. Andrews, N.B. The premiers are also set to discuss pipelines, federal equalization payments, a national pharmacare plan, cannabis legalization, immigration and reducing internal trade barriers. But a provincial response to new federal climate-change legislation will be among the most pressing items on the agenda (for subscribers).

Need to catch up on what’s happened so far in the new Ontario? Read our guide for the latest coverage on the Progressive Conservative government’s plans for spending cuts, hydro, education and more.

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Trudeau rejigs his cabinet to focus on global trade, migrants and provincial premiers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expanded his cabinet to put the spotlight on trade diversification, the flow of asylum seekers and confronting an increasingly strong challenge from the provincial premiers in the runup to next year’s general election.

The summer shakeup added five new faces from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia where the Liberals need to win more seats to offset potential losses elsewhere, shuffles six veteran ministers and creates new portfolios for intergovernmental affairs, border security and seniors. The Prime Minister tapped trusted confidant Dominic LeBlanc and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair to handle simmering disputes with the provinces over the contentious carbon tax, internal trade barriers and migrants.

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Konrad Yakabuski writes that Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle signals a deviation from his diversity script: “While Wednesday’s cabinet shuffle adheres to the gender-parity principle the Prime Minister implemented in 2015, it was hard not to notice the parade of men called on to clean up the messes others could not.”

John Ibbitson says the modest shuffle indicates the Liberals are confident they’ve done what they set out to do: “There are challenges ahead: saving the North American free-trade agreement; building the Trans Mountain pipeline; forcing Ontario and several other recalcitrant provinces to accept a federal carbon tax. But Mr. Trudeau’s team has gotten him this far, and the Prime Minister is counting on them to take it to the finish line.”

The White House played another round of defence on Russia, leaving the door open to the extradition of U.S. citizens

The White House is leaving the possibility open that U.S. President Donald Trump will hand over 10 citizens – including a former ambassador to Russia – to the Kremlin to face criminal charges as part of Vladimir Putin’s attempts to take down an anti-corruption campaigner.

Putin wants to charge 10 Americans as part of what Russia says was plot orchestrated to embarrass the Kremlin. Russia has also demanded the handover of two British nationals: former spy Christopher Steele and Bill Browder, a financier who has successfully lobbied the United States and other countries to impose sanctions on Russian officials as punishment for corruption and human-rights abuses.

U.S. President’s spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was thinking Putin’s request over and drew fire for not delivering a more standard answer – that the United States does not help autocratic regimes prosecute its citizens. Her statement came as the Trump administration continues to struggle to contain the fallout from the Helsinki summit, where he embraced the Russian President, refusing to condemn him for allegedly interfering in the U.S. election and seeming to believe Putin’s denials that he did anything wrong.

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Despite the continuing backlash, some argue Trump can’t be impeached for his words in Helsinki: “American voters will have to deal with Mr. Trump the old-fashioned way, by blocking his re-election in 2020. In the meantime, of course, they dispose of a powerful means of hampering him by awarding those same houses of Congress to the Democrats this fall.”

‘I was shocked': Boys recount the moment divers found them in the Thai cave

The Thai soccer team held its first news conference yesterday since the cave rescue that riveted the world.

The boys recounted the moment when two British divers found them. Trapped in the recesses of a flooded cave, the 12 boys and their soccer coach were trying to dig their way out when they heard voices in the darkness. Their coach quickly told everyone to be quiet. “We weren’t sure if it was for real,” 14-year-old Adul Samon said. “So we stopped and listened. And it turned out to be true. I was shocked.”

Psychologists had vetted the journalists’ questions in advance to avoid bringing up any aspects of the rescue that might disturb them. The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach had come from the hospital where they have been recuperating for more than a week.

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Nova Scotia unveiled Canada’s first combined liquor and marijuana retail store

Nova Scotia showed off one of its new Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. hybrid stores, giving Canadians a sneak peak at the dozen outlets set to open in October.

Each store will sell cannabis separately from alcohol in what is essentially a restricted-access boutique. Shoppers will enter the cannabis sales area through a discreet entrance lined with white subway tile and frosted glass. Once inside, customers will be greeted by a host, who will make a assessment to determine whether they know what they want and can step into the lineup at the sales counter – where a staff member will prepare their order and take their payment – or whether they need a consultation with a staff member first. Sales for the store, which sells $11.5-million in alcohol annually, are forecast to hit $22-million once cannabis is available.


Markets largely lower

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The U.S. dollar stayed strong but metal markets buckled badly on Thursday, as signs that China was resorting to credit-fuelled stimulus again and trade jitters helped drive its currency to a one-year low. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.4 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.5 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 per cent by about 5:15 a.m. ET, but Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.3 and 0.4 per cent. New York futures were down. The Canadian dollar was just above 75.5 US cents. Oil prices were also lower.


The DeMar DeRozan trade is a knife to the heart. And it had to be done

“In making this trade, Raptors president Masai Ujiri has charted two courses. Either the Raptors win it all right now, this year; or the effort ends in total failure. Whatever you think of the deal, that makes it the bravest move in memory.” – Cathal Kelly (for subscribers)

Ottawa is finally evolving into the dynamic city residents have longed for

“Last year, the website SmarterTravel ranked Canada’s “quiet and dull” national capital one of the nine most boring cities in the world. But Ottawa’s reputation for bland is out of date. Mostly by accident, but also partly by design, quiet and dull has given way to vibrant and diverse. It’s time to stand up and declare: Ottawa has arrived.” – John Ibbitson

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Taking on the culture file, Rodriguez is left to clean up Joly’s mess

“If Ms. Joly proved overly ambitious in her approach to the portfolio, Mr. Rodriguez, for all his impressive credentials, may prove to be insufficiently so. Canada desperately needs new cultural policy, but the new minister may be expected to keep the file quiet in the run-up to the election.” – Kate Taylor


When many Canadians think of canoeing, they think of serenity: paddling on a calm lake under the summer sun. But if a churning mess of whitewater rapids is how you’d rather spend your time, visit the mighty Madawaska River near Ottawa, Ont. For more than 35 years, volunteers with the Wilderness Adventurers have used Madawaska as a training river, passing along their knowledge and skills to new members and creating a community of skilled canoeists. The Madawaska makes for a great teaching river because most rapids dump into large pools, so when beginners tip they don’t bump over too many rocks before coming to a safe place. If not, they say cold water is invigorating right?


July 19, 1799: It was 219 years ago that French captain Pierre-François Bouchard discovered an oddly shaped black slab 3 feet and 9 inches in length, and 2 feet and 4.5 inches in width in Rashid, Egypt, near Alexandria. Dated to 196 BCE, the slab was inscribed with three translations of the same text, in Greek, hieroglyphics and Demotic (a form of Egyptian writing that came after hieroglyphics). Its text outlined rituals for the worship of Pharaoh Ptolemy V, and it is believed to have originally been displayed within a temple. Linguists would soon come to know this piece of granite as the Rosetta Stone. Its influence was great: While many scholars were fluent in Greek and Demotic at the time, they had so far been unable to translate hieroglyphics. The artifact became a tool for linguists such as Thomas Young of England and Jean-François Champollion of France to compare hieroglyphic symbols with a known text. The knowledge gained finally helped open the door to further study of the Ancient Egyptians. Since then, the stone has primarily been housed at the British Museum in London, except for a brief period during the First World War, when it was moved to an underground location along with other irreplaceable items. – Audrey Carleton

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