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Trudeau’s hot-mic comments – and Trump’s reaction – overshadowed the NATO summit

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There was good news at NATO, but you might have missed it. The 29-member alliance managed to persuade Turkey to drop its threat to veto a defence plan for Eastern Europe. But the group’s declaration of “solidarity, unity and cohesion” failed to garner much attention after U.S. President Donald Trump’s description of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “two-faced.”

The comments came after a video emerged of Trudeau chatting with other world leaders at Buckingham Palace, joking about Trump’s erratic behaviour and penchant for long press conferences.

Trudeau tried to play down the remarks, saying he had a “great meeting” with Trump, adding: “I think every different leader has teams who every now and then their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example.”

Campbell Clark writes that Trudeau must keep up the two-faced act with Trump to make things better: “The obvious tactic for any leader is to pump [Trump’s] ego face to face and roll your eyes when he leaves the room.”

Robyn Urback offers this take: “Most world leaders have recognized by now that they need to be the adults in the room when it comes to Trump. Trudeau was caught on video acting like a teenage boy, and unfortunately Canada might have to bear the consequences.”

And here’s Lawrence Martin’s view: “Even though the President added that the Prime Minister is ‘a very nice guy,’ his slam cuts deeply with Trudeau as it aligns with the depiction of him by many critics as a phony.”

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Ottawa is looking at increasing its 2030 targets for reducing emissions

Recently appointed Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the Prime Minister has given him the task of finding ways to address the rise in global temperatures. The government’s own numbers show that existing policies would leave Canada short of its pledge to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Wilkinson said Ottawa will look to implement measures that are affordable “without significant economic cost to Canadians.” The Liberals will have to do that without further inflaming regional divisions while also appeasing the Greens, NDP and Bloc, who are calling for more drastic action to combat warming.

Ontario’s climate plan is ‘not yet supported by sound evidence,’ the province’s Auditor-General is warning. Bonnie Lysyk also found that Ontario will fall well below 2030 targets unless major changes are made and said the Ford government’s plan relies on “overestimates” and “double counting.”

A B.C. watchdog is questioning Ottawa’s monitoring of staffing levels at care homes

The province’s advocate for seniors’ issues says an obscure paper trail makes it impossible to determine if Anbang has maintained staffing levels at care homes since Ottawa approved the Chinese company’s takeover of Retirement Concepts in 2017.

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Health authorities in B.C. recently imposed outside management at three Anbang-owned facilities after investigations found neglect of residents. That comes despite Ottawa’s promise to ensure patient care would be protected. “The federal government, I don’t understand how they’re able to make that assurance,” watchdog Isobel Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie is calling for an “open and transparent process” to ensure “the care hours that are being funded … are actually being delivered.”

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Malta case over journalist’s murder: A wealthy businessman was the “mastermind” in the killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the self-confessed middleman told a court. But the testimony also implicated people tied to Malta’s government, raising questions about Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s inner circle.

Quebec, Newfoundland won’t allow sale of cannabis vapes: The products won’t be available for sale at stores in either province amid growing health concerns. Newfoundland and Labrador said the ban would be in place “until there is more evidence about the connection between cannabis vaping products and severe lung disease.”

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Experts say Trump committed impeachable offences: Three constitutional experts told a congressional hearing that the U.S. President’s actions in the Ukraine scandal are grounds for impeachment. Democrats are now suggesting they may also try to impeach Trump over his attempts to shut down the Mueller probe.

MORNING MARKETS

World stocks keep the faith, sterling moves higher: Stocks gained amid trade war headlines on Thursday, while sterling rose to its highest in more than two years against the euro on hopes next week’s UK election will lead to a smooth Brexit. Tokyo’s Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite each gained 0.7 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down slightly by about 5 a.m. ET, with Germany’s DAX up marginally and the Paris CAC 40 up 0.5 per cent. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was just below 76 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Good job, Brian Pallister. You’ve only made Bill 21 even more popular in Quebec

Konrad Yakabuski: “Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister [has] kept up his province’s tradition of playing an unhelpful role in national affairs by taking out ads in Quebec newspapers inviting those offended by a law that prohibits some public employees from wearing religious symbols to move to his province.”

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There are lessons to be learned from Kamala Harris’s Democratic campaign

Johanna Schneller: “The bright rise and swift end – on Tuesday afternoon – of Kamala Harris’s campaign to become the Democratic candidate for U.S. president is bound to become a primer for women seeking high office. Was she done in by dated, sexist perceptions? Did she bring it on herself? The answer, of course, is both. (Full disclosure: I’m a U.S. citizen and I contributed to her campaign.)”

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

New technology is helping some patients with neck and tongue cancer relearn how to swallow food

(Jason Franson/The Globe and Mail)

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

Researchers say that about a quarter of 20 trial participants indicated improvements in swallowing food after using a matchbox-sized device developed after studies at the University of Alberta.

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How does it work? The device is placed under the chin to detect muscle activity, and then transmits the information to a smartphone app. Users are provided with feedback on how hard they are swallowing, which is often something those individuals have difficulty sensing on their own.

MOMENT IN TIME

Prohibition is repealed in the U.S.

(SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images)

SZ Photo / Scherl / Bridgeman Images

Dec. 5, 1933: “I think I’ll have a drink,” says Treasury officer Eliot Ness in the film The Untouchables, when asked what he will do with himself with the end of Prohibition. The joke, of course, is that America had been drinking all along, at home and in the not-so-secret speakeasies of the 1920s, since the 18th Amendment officially prohibited the “manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes” on Jan. 29, 1920. The push to ban alcohol was originally a women’s movement, an attempt to curb the excessive drinking of abusive husbands who regularly left the rent and grocery money at the bar. Unfortunately, but entirely foreseeably, driving the alcohol industry underground led to the rise of criminal kingpins such as Al Capone, whom Ness was assigned to dethrone, as well as the forfeiture of billions in tax revenues. Finally, with the country exhausted by the charade and deep in the grip of the Great Depression, the 21st Amendment was ratified – the only amendment to repeal a previous one. Some states maintained temperance laws – Mississippi remained dry until 1966 – but for the most part drinking returned, slightly more responsibly, to public life. – Massimo Commanducci

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