These are the top stories:
Ottawa is clearing the way for a proposed LNG terminal on the B.C. coast
The federal government is agreeing with the group backing the LNG Canada project that the terminal shouldn’t be subject to steel tariffs which would add $1-billion in costs. Ottawa’s position is meant to help ensure the proposed $40-billion project goes ahead amid backlash in Western Canada over federal energy policies. LNG Canada had argued that there is no Canadian steel supplier it could use, and as a result imported steel modules shouldn’t fall under the list of parts subject to tariffs. The federal and B.C. governments are expected to help finance part of the construction needed for the terminal in Kitimat, which has significant First Nations backing.
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Nova Scotia is refusing to force its health authority to speed up access to abortion
The government says it’s up the health authority to make any recommendations for changes to abortion services. Right now, the province’s only abortion clinic is prohibited from providing ultrasounds for women seeking abortions – a recommended step before terminating a pregnancy. Women must instead wait for a hospital appointment, which can result in delays of days or weeks. This can result in unwanted symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and even affect the type of care available, since the abortion pill can only be prescribed in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy. The health authority hasn’t explained why the clinic can’t perform ultrasounds.
A loophole in B.C. campaign finance rules is giving independents an edge in local races
New rules limit individual donations to any party to $1,200 in total, but those without a party affiliation can each receive the maximum donation even if they are campaigning alongside other independents. (Unlike many other Canadian municipalities, Vancouver and surrounding cities don’t have a ward system and candidates have arranged themselves into parties.) Here’s how that is playing out in practice: New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté is promoting a team of candidates running with him, even though they’re not part of a party. Each of the seven candidates can legally accept contributions of $1,200 from the same donor. Political parties say they are being disadvantaged by the rules which had been put in place to address criticism over limitless campaign fundraising and spending.
The U.S. says Canada is ‘running out of time’ on NAFTA
Those were the words of Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who said “there’s still a fair amount of distance between” the two countries on reaching a revamped deal. Lighthizer, who was speaking at a forum held alongside the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism and access to the dairy market remain the two major sticking points.
Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump are both in New York, but they didn’t set aside time to talk about NAFTA. Trump, meanwhile, delivered a speech at the UN where he defended his “America First” approach. “America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” he said. But it was another remark that attracted bigger headlines: After saying “My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” Trump was cut short by bursts of laughter from the heads of state and government gathered in the General Assembly.
Here’s Doug Saunders’s take on the awkward moment: “The laughter was more than an incidental backdrop to more serious issues. It represented, in a way, an emerging global response to Trump’s angry unilateralism. While many countries remain threatened by Trump’s isolationist, unco-operative United States, at this point they have effectively priced Mr. Trump into his country’s share price – and the rest of the UN membership spent the remainder of the day trying to devise a world order that can function without the United States.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault
The 81-year-old comedian and TV star was led out of a Pennsylvania courthouse in handcuffs yesterday for drugging and sexually assaulting Toronto-born Andrea Constand at his gated estate in 2004. “It is time for justice. Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill said. Cosby’s lawyers asked for their client to remain free on bail while he appeals the conviction, but O’Neill denied the request, saying: “He could quite possibly be a danger to the community.” Roughly 60 women have accused Cosby of drugging and violating them over a five-decade span; Constand’s was the only one that led to criminal charges – largely due to the others being past the statute of limitations.
A Chinese equity bounce set a modestly positive tone for world stocks on Wednesday as bets that Beijing would expand stimulus to support its economy helped offset some of the worries about global trade tensions and $80-a-barrel oil. Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong 1.2 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.9 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.1 and 0.3 per cent by about 6:10 a.m. ET, while Germany’s DAX was down 0.1 per cent. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was above 77 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Ottawa’s use of AI in immigration system has profound implications for human rights
“Without proper oversight, automated decisions can rely on discriminatory and stereotypical markers, such as appearance, religion, or travel patterns, and thus entrench bias in the technology. The nuanced and complex nature of many refugee and immigration claims may be lost on these technologies. This could lead to serious breaches of internationally and domestically protected human rights, in the form of bias, discrimination, privacy breaches, due process and procedural fairness issues, such as the right to have a fair and impartial decision maker and being able to appeal your decision.” – Petra Molnar (researcher at the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program) and Ronald Deibert (director of the Citizen Lab at th Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)
The showdown between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford is the mother of all Supreme Court nomination battles
“The stakes are enormous not only for the Supreme Court, which may or may not come out of this with a right-tilted ideological bias for a long time to come. It also will surely have significant bearing on the November midterm elections. The country’s left-right schism is already stark. This case threatens to take it to a new level. If Justice Kavanaugh is not confirmed, U.S. President Donald Trump’s base will be at the point of taking to the streets. If confirmed, the other side will be outraged. To the judicial and political stakes, add cultural. The case is central to the #MeToo movement. It will be emphatically empowered with a defeat of Justice Kavanaugh, weakened with a confirmation.” – Lawrence Martin
The strange outcry over Canada’s drug deal with Donald Trump
“The outcry this week over Canada’s endorsement of a new U.S. statement on international drug policy is puzzling. Unveiled in New York during a session of the United Nations General Assembly, the ‘Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem’ is unconventional, it’s true. It appears to have been drafted unilaterally by the Trump White House and presented to other countries as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. That’s a departure from the usual consensus-based process for arriving at UN drug policy. Maybe that’s why 63 countries, including U.S. allies such as Germany and Spain, declined to sign on. Mr. Trump’s domestic emphasis on fighting the opioid crisis through law enforcement may have also been a turn-off. The content of the ‘call to action,’ though, does not justify the outrage directed at Canada for signing on – a decision one drug-policy expert called ‘pathetic and painful.’” – Globe editorial
The easy way to travel as a single-parent family
Tour operators are starting to cater directly to single parents, offering options that help ease financial and logistical burdens. For example, Sunwing, Transat and Air Canada Vacations now offer single-parent packages at all-inclusive resorts that wave the usual double-occupancy fee, in addition to deals on excursions. Other companies are offering special small-group tours that bring single-parent families together.
MOMENT IN TIME
Jeff Adams climbs CN Tower
Sept. 26, 2002: Canadian Paralympic athlete Jeff Adams once got thrown out of a bar for using his wheelchair to access the space, which was at the bottom of a set of stairs. “The manager told me I was a ‘fire hazard,’ " Adams, who became paralyzed at the age of 9 as a result of cancer treatment, said later. The experience sparked his idea to raise funds for outreach programs for youth by climbing all 1,776 steps to the top of Toronto’s CN Tower in a wheelchair. Thanks to a specially designed chair with wheels that only rolled in one direction, the Brampton, Ont.-native was able to make the six-hour backwards ascent on a late September day in 2002, becoming the first person in a wheelchair to complete the climb. He also raised $170,000 for kids across Canada. That wasn’t the first or last of his astounding physical feats. Between 1988 and 2008, he competed in wheelchair sports at six consecutive Paralympic Games, winning an impressive 13 medals. After retiring from full-time competition in 2008, Adams co-launched Icon Wheelchairs, which designs and manufactures custom wheelchairs. This year, Adams, who’s currently attending law school, was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. – Rasha Mourtada