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Democrats took the House. Republicans held onto the Senate. Here’s what happened in the midterms – and what comes next

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The House: Democrats took control, surpassing the 23 they needed to win control of the House of Representatives. While not a landslide result, the Democrats’ success will nevertheless place a significant check on Donald Trump’s power. Control of the House will put the Democrats in charge of committees that could ramp up investigations into the President. The party will also have the ability to block GOP plans that include building a wall, repeal Obamacare and passing the proposed USMCA trade deal.

The Senate: Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate, picking up additional seats. GOP candidates beat Democratic incumbents in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. And Ted Cruz held off strong Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in Texas.

A win for diversity: Women played a key role in flipping a number of GOP-hed districts in House races. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, meanwhile, became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, in Michigan and Minnesota respectively. Democrat Ayanna Pressley will be the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. And in Colorado, Jared Polis became the first openly gay person to be elected governor in the United States.

Odds and ends: Florida voted in favour of restoring voting rights for convicted felons who have completed their sentences, a change that will give another million-plus citizens the right to vote. In Indiana, Greg Pence won the House seat once held by his brother, Vice-President Mike Pence. And Mitt Romney is finally headed to Washington to serve as a first-time senator for Utah. In California, Gavin Newsom won the California governorship in a sign that the state’s leadership will continue to vocally oppose Trump’s agenda.

Opinion and analysis

John Ibbitson says despite the Democrats winning the House, “Trump will nonetheless claim a moral victory, likely making the next two years even more tumultuous than the last. … the President, whose ability to translate reality into a narrative he controls, will point to the modest improvement in the Democrats’ fortunes — the party of the president usually does worse than this in midterm elections – as good reason to continue attacking immigrants, sexual minorities, the rights of women and others in his sights.” (for subscribers)

Sarah Kendzior writes that if the midterms were a test of the country’s character, Americans failed: “Conspiracy or clarity, corruption or compassion, integrity or impunity – these were the choices voters were asked to make in Tuesday’s 2018 midterm elections. The character of the country was on the ballot, and we emerged a Cubist portrait of contradictions and embarrassments. We did not repudiate racism and hate en masse. We did not restore dignity and decency to the electoral process by ensuring the integrity of the vote.”

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Ottawa rejected a call from senators to give human rights more weight in arms-export decisions

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said instituting new export controls unilaterally would be out of step with Western allies, in turn placing Canadian exporters at a disadvantage. Freeland’s letter to the Senate human-rights committee comes as the Trudeau government continues to weigh whether to suspend its arms deal with Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s role in killing dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition has redoubled its attacks on Houthi rebels. Half of Yemen’s population is on the brink of famine as the situation continues to deteriorate more than three years into a brutal war. The U.S., Canada and Britain have called on the Saudis to initiate peace talks.

And in the Khashoggi case, Turkey’s Foreign Minister said the Saudi team sent to Istanbul before the killing must have been acting on orders. “Without due orders and permissions, 15 people cannot come from Saudi Arabia to kill their own citizen,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Tory MP Tony Clement resigns from caucus duties after sharing sexually explicit images

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“Over the last three weeks, I have shared sexually explicit images and a video of myself to someone who I believed was a consenting female recipient. The recipient was, in fact, an individual or party who targeted me for the purpose of financial extortion,” Clement said in a statement, adding that the RCMP is investigating. Clement said he was resigning from committees and his post as the Conservative justice critic after exercising “very poor judgement.” Clement, the MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka in Ontario, previously ran for the Conservative Party leadership. He said he would be seeking treatment, a move Tory Leader Andrew Scheer applauded while expressing disappointment in Clement’s actions.

Justin Trudeau is apologizing to Canadian Jews today for the 1939 St. Louis decision

In 1939, the government of prime minister Mackenzie King rejected pleas to give safe haven to 907 German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution aboard the St. Louis. Hundreds later died in concentration camps. Almost 80 years later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing to draw attention to Canada’s past failings.

Canada’s anti-Semitic history is now known thanks to discoveries in public archives in the 1970s. King’s diary records his fear of “too great an intermixture of foreign strains of blood,” while the man behind Canada’s restrictive immigration policies at the time wrote “the line must be drawn somewhere.” Discrimination could also be seen across Canadian society in the 1930s: There were no Jewish judges, university professors or doctors in hospitals.

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Canada condemned China at the UN for repressing Muslims

China must “end prosecution and persecution on the basis of religion or belief,” said Tamara Mawhinney, Canada’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. Mawhinney called on Beijing to release Uyghurs and other Muslims amid a “deterioration of human rights.” The U.S. also urged China to shutter its network of incarceration centres in Xinjiang where it has detained Muslims to clamp down on what it calls extremism, but what many describe as an effort to eradicate Islam within its borders. The rebuke from a smattering of democratic countries, though, was countered by flattery from scores of others. Even Muslim countries shied away from criticizing Beijing, a sign of China’s growing economic influence.


Markets rise

Wall Street was set for a firmer open on Wednesday and global stocks rose after significant U.S. election gains for the opposition Democrats, but the outcome may rule out further tax cuts, sending the greenback and Treasury yields sharply lower. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.3 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 0.7 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 1 and 1.4 per cent by about 6:05 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up.


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I asked, you answered: Most readers said they prefer multiple shorter opinion snippets over one longer excerpt, so we’ll be returning to that format.

How many more elephants can the Ottawa Senators fit in their (dressing) room?

“There being so many elephants in the room now, the Ottawa Senators could only fit four players in Tuesday morning when it came time to face the media. And none of the four, tellingly, had been part of the infamous Uber ride. Everyone with the slightest interest in the game knows the story by now: A bunch of young Senators grabbed an Uber in Phoenix while on their most recent trip and the dashboard security camera caught them slagging their own team and ridiculing one of the assistant coaches. … The Uber driver, or someone, clearly notified the Senators of the existence of the video prior to its being posted online on Monday. It was later taken down – but by then, of course, it was too late. On a day on which the real world was talking about the possibility of alien spacecraft and America’s midterm elections, the hockey world was talking about little more than the continuing sorry saga of the Ottawa Senators.” – Roy MacGregor

Why Statscan should have access to our banking data

“Certainly, with the continuing news of huge privacy breaches at private firms such as Facebook, it is understandable that Canadians can become concerned about Statscan seeking very detailed and sensitive financial data. But given the dramatic changes with ever more transactions being online, it is also clear that Statscan needs to keep up with the times by increasing its use of these electronic data. Canadians should be proud that we have such a professional, rigorous and high-quality statistical office.” – Michael Wolfson, former assistant chief statistician at Statistics Canada

How proportional representation would erode B.C. democracy

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“Nothing would more quickly erode public confidence in our political institutions than a run of elections where a deadlock in the composition of the House had to be resolved by the appointment of a premier by the lieutenant governor. And yet under PR, this is much more likely to happen because the main objective of a PR system is to create a political landscape where legislative seats are more evenly divided among a number of parties, in which is it much less likely that any one party will have a majority. How will governments be formed in such circumstances? By coalitions and alliances among parties; horse trading for position and power in search of the magic number that represents a majority of seats in the House.” – Geoff Plant, British Columbia’s attorney-general from 2001 to 2005


Four nutrients you probably need more of

Roughly a third of Canadians don’t consume enough of four essential nutrients. Vitamin A is necessary for normal vision and immune function; Vitamin B12 is needed to make red blood cells, repair DNA and keep our nerves working properly; Vitamin C helps the immune system and enhances iron absorption; and magnesium assists with regulating blood pressure, blood sugar and muscle and nerve function.


Portia White makes national debut in Toronto

(Yousuf Karsh/Library and Archives Canada)

Yousuf Karsh

Nov. 7, 1941: In November, 1941, young Portia White of Halifax, the first black Canadian concert singer to win international praise, ​​made her triumphant major recital debut at Eaton Hall in Toronto. But it was a different time, and not just because Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B Flat by Freddy Martin and His Orchestra resided at the top of the Billboard singles chart. Despite her remarkable voice, she’d had difficulty getting bookings, and reviews of the Toronto concert focused mainly on her race. In a glowing review of the concert in The Globe and Mail, for example, writer Hector Charlesworth praised White’s poise, confidence and radiant voice, but said there was a “natural tendency" to classify her with other singers of her race. Indeed, White was often compared to the celebrated Marian Anderson, who, in 1939, because of her African-American heritage, was prevented from singing at Constitution Hall in Washington. Still, the success of the concert (which included a rendition of Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory) launched a touring career that saw White perform to acclaim at New York’s The Town Hall in 1944. She later developed problems with her voice and performed infrequently, but White still gave a concert for the Queen in 1964. – Brad Wheeler

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