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A different look at the news

  • Hillary's being mean: Trump as crybaby
  • Imagining other world leaders acting like that
  • OPEC springs ‘back from the grave’
  • What to watch and read this weekend
  • What to watch for (and ponder) in the coming days

The past week

Trump vs. Clinton

My mom used to tell me that no one likes a crybaby.

She was talking about me, but I was five years old. Donald Trump is all grown up.

Childish behaviour is not something you want in someone who aspires to be a global leader – my mom didn’t particularly like it in me, either – but it was on full display this week as the Republican presidential candidate faced Hillary Clinton in a widely watched debate.

Some examples:

“And, you know, I also notice the very nasty commercials that you do on me in so many different ways, which I don’t do on you.”

“You know, Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials. Some of it’s said in entertainment. Some of it’s said – somebody who’s been very vicious to me, Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

“But she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue. They’re untrue. And they’re misrepresentations. And I will tell you this, Lester: It’s not nice. And I don’t deserve that.”

Not nice?

Here’s another, this in an interview after the debate.

“[Hillary Clinton] said some very bad things about me. I mean worse than what she said, she’s taking these phony ads, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on phony ads, and I think it’s a disgrace.”

My colleague Affan Chowdhry watched, and reported on the debate, and here’s what he says:

“There has never been a U.S. presidential debate like the Trump-Clinton drama on Monday night that entertained a record 84 million viewers. Sixteen years ago, Al Gore was pilloried for his heavy sighing when George W. Bush was answering questions. This year, Donald Trump has thrown the idea of ‘presidential’ out the window. He interrupted incessantly and aggressively, and appeared thoroughly unprepared. Un-presidential is his brand and appeal – and it was on full display. Hillary Clinton now has a checklist of Trump debate stage boasts about paying virtually no tax and rooting for the housing crash. If she doesn’t bring it up at the next debate on Oct. 9, one of the undecided voters in the town hall audience just may. Game-changing? Grab some popcorn.”

So just imagine if other famous people were as childish:

“If I can’t have Poland, I’m going home.”

“You’re not the boss of me.”

“I promise I’ll be good this time.”

“Everyone’s picking on me.”

“I was not sneaking around.”

“What a weenie!”

Photo illustration

Um, no words for this one. It happened just like this.

The OPEC deal

There's a key reason why OPEC sprang"back from the grave" this week: Saudia Arabia could resist no longer.

OPEC and LNG may not be as much fun as Donald Trump, but they are our lifeblood, and both were in the spotlight this week.

On the first, the Saudis had been holding out on production cuts amid the collapse in crude prices, leaving the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries powerless to support oil prices.

But OPEC surprised the markets Wednesday by announcing an agreement to hold production at between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels a day, with the details to come in late November.

That’s a turning point, observers say, because it signals OPEC’s intentions to manage the market, though some analysts are still skeptical until they get to see the fine print on how the deal affects member nations and how it will be enforced.

But they also believe that there's now meaningful support for oil prices, something crucial for Canada's economy.

So how did this week's deal come together in Algiers when so many observers expected that, as always of late, nothing would come from the latest OPEC meeting?

Much has to do with Saudi Arabia’s economic woes.

"On top of OPEC’s decision to collectively cap output at 32.5 million barrels a day this week, Saudi leadership announced plans to scale back public sector salaries and benefits, an especially controversial decision in a country where around two-thirds work for the state," noted Helima Croft, Royal Bank of Canada’s head of commodity strategy in New York, and her colleague, commodity strategist Michael Tran.

Saudi Arabia is already struggling with cuts to subsidies for water, electricity and other energy sources.

“In addition to imperilling the social contract that has underpinned stability, the low price environment is also suboptimal for the heavily publicized Aramco [initial public offering] and risks another sovereign credit downgrade as the country is poised for a $10-$15-billion debt issuance," said Ms Croft and Mr. Tran.

“Hence, we believe it was key domestic considerations that caused the Kingdom to put aside its regional rivalry with Iran and pursue pragmatism,” they said in a report on the OPEC deal.

Significant here is that OPEC, which many believed had lost its relevance, is “back from the grave,” the RBC strategists said

Your weekend

There’s so much to watch and read that it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s start with my colleague Erin Anderssen, given that we’re talking about kids.

We all know the stresses involved there, so Erin’s article is required reading this weekend. Here’s what she says about it:

“This story made me consider the way we so often complain about stress as if we are random victims of it, as if it is out of our control. How has that filtered down to our kids? Rather than seeing stress as a Big Bad that's only making us sick and tired, experts like Dalhousie psychiatrist Stanley Kutcher suggest seeing the body’s stress response as a signal we have a problem to solve. The research is pretty strong – and it is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy – that a mindset change can be a powerful tonic. It's not a panacea, of course. But it's a reminder that we should think carefully about how we talk about stress in our lives – even how we carelessly toss around clinical terms such as anxiety – and the message that is sending. Another interesting point, was the value of helping others to manage stress. How often do we make that suggestion to our kids?”


When you’re done reading Erin, consider reading Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography, Born to Run. First, read John Semley’s review of the book on The Boss and the places that made him.

Also, don’t miss my friend John Doyle on TV. He’s writing about HBO’s much-anticipated Westworld, which he calls “very much worth your time.”

(And if you decide to dine in in front of the TV, see what Beppi Crosariol has to say about mauzac blanc.)

Or go buy your significant other dinner and take in a movie.

Our Arts guy Barry Hertz reviews Deepwater Horizon and Operation Avalanche, while Denise Balkissoon looks at Bazodee. Take a peek, too, at our capsule reviews from the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Some other things I have to flag to help you enjoy the weekend:

You’ve got to read a new feature from my friend Dave McGinn, all about your 40s, which he calls a crucial decade, but one that hardly gets the study and attention as other periods of life.

To right that wrong, Dave McGinn is launching Halftime, a new project that aims to fully understand a person’s fifth decade. He’ll be talking to a wide range of experts, looking at everything from questions of existential dread to what your finances should look like. He'll also be interviewing people from across Canada who will reflect on their own lives to glean from them their guidance and wisdom. The series kicked off Friday with one such interview. Alia Hogben, a tireless champion of women’s rights, a member of the Order of Canada and the executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, offers the perfect note of grace with which to begin the project. If you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see covered, or want to share stories of your own 40s, please get in touch. Dave McGinn can be reached at

(Um, anyone else troubled by the fact that our 40s are considered “halftime.” Given that I’m well past that.)

Okay, if you’re through your 40s and past the kids stage, my colleague Zosia Bielski looks at third marriages, this in the ashes of Brangelina (it was her third and his second: you do the math). You won’t believe the number of third marriages that end in divorce, which may or may not set you up for a fourth.

The week ahead

Given that almost 1.4 million Canadians can’t find jobs, Friday’s report on the labour market is a key one.

The Statistics Canada jobs report is always a crap shoot, but Royal Bank of Canada economists expect to see that the economy churned out about 10,000 net new positions in September.

They also expect the unemployment rate to ease to 6.9 per cent, but keep in mind that economists believe it will hover near 7 per cent for some time yet.

“Bigger picture, the economy has only created 40,000 jobs in the first eight months of 2016, while full-time employment is actually down 12,000 year-to-date,” RBC said, noting, too, that wage growth for permanent workers has slipped to just 1.5 per cent from a year ago.

And you can bet this will get some buzz: The fall reports from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand, will be released Tuesday morning.

Among other things, they look at the safety of nuclear power plants, government plans to sustainably manage the fisheries, and overall sustainable development strategies.

Speaking of debates, vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine hold theirs on Tuesday.

Thursday brings a gala for Walk of Fame inductees Deepa Mehta, Darryl Sittler, Jeanne Beker, Corey Hart, Jason Priestley and the late Al Waxman. Check out the red carpet.

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