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Morning Update newsletter: Trudeau sitting down with Trump; Bombardier employee found not guilty in bribery case

Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump.


Good morning,

These are the top stories:

Justin Trudeau is meeting with Donald Trump in Washington today

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The sit-down comes a day after the U.S. President reiterated his threat to terminate the North American free-trade agreement. Trudeau will also be speaking with the House of Representatives committee responsible for taxation, tariffs and the implementation of any NAFTA changes. That meeting may prove key, Campbell Clark writes: [The committee's] potential power is critical because Congress, not the President, has constitutional jurisdiction over trade – and, if it's willing, the power to contest a Trump order to withdraw from NAFTA."

The latest round of NAFTA talks are expected to focus heavily on rules of origin, which lay out how much of a vehicle's content needs to be North American- or U.S.-made in order to qualify for duty-free status. Next up for Trudeau is a trip to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto.

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Swedish court acquits Bombardier employee of "aggravated bribery" charge

A Swedish court has found Bombardier employee Evgeny Pavlov not guilty of "aggravated bribery" over his role in helping the Montreal-based transportation giant win a $340-million (U.S.) contract in Azerbaijan. The verdict will come as a relief to executives at Bombardier, a company besieged on several fronts, including new import tariffs that were slapped on its C Series airliner by the Trump Administration amid a legal battle with Boeing Co.

Ontario's prisons adviser is calling for a ban on 'dungeon'-style pens

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The makeshift pens used in provincial prisons should be removed, adviser Howard Sapers says. The cramped structures, one the size of a telephone booth, are being used to hold inmates in solitary in order to create space in recreational yards. They're similar to the notorious "dog kennels" that were recently removed from a federal prison. "A modern jail shouldn't be a resort, but it shouldn't be a dungeon either," Sapers said.

The Liberals are blaming the CRA for a plan to tax staff discounts

The Canada Revenue Agency acted without the government's consent in deciding to start taxing employee discounts, according to the Revenue Minister's office (for subscribers). "We are deeply disappointed that the Agency posted something that has been misinterpreted like this," a staff member of Minister Diane Lebouthillier said. Her office has ordered the CRA to put a halt to its plans for the staff tax after a wave of backlash from businesses and employees. Lebouthillier said her party, which is already under fire for its small-business tax plans, isn't going after retail workers.

Jagmeet Singh says the NDP would force Netflix to pay sales taxes

Jagmeet Singh is going where Tom Mulcair wouldn't with a promise to make Netflix collect and pay sales taxes. "All companies, whether they are Canadian or foreign, should be paying their fair share," the new leader of the NDP said.

The new Canadian cultural policy unveiled by the Liberals includes a $500-million deal with Netflix that will see the streaming giant invest in productions north of the border. But the government avoided imposing a sales tax, which would cost subscribers less than $2 a month in GST/HST. The Conservatives also oppose a tax. For its part, Netflix says it didn't make the funding commitment in exchange for tax breaks.

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Sears Canada is planning to liquidate and close all its stores

The Canadian retail giant is seeking approval to start liquidating its stores by Oct. 19 for 10 to 14 weeks in an effort to bring in revenue from the holiday shopping rush (for subscribers). More than 12,000 employees will be out of a job when 131 stores close. Sears has already shuttered 60 stores and let go 2,900 people. The announcement comes after executive chairman Brandon Stranzl's last-ditch effort to buy Sears out of bankruptcy was rejected by the company.

As Jeffrey Jones writes, the Sears business model worked, until it didn't: "The company stuck for too long to a strategy that produced solid results in the 1990s and 2000s, forgetting to check where cracks might be appearing in a widespread empire." (for subscribers)


Spanish stocks and bonds rallied and the euro hit a two-week high on Wednesday as European markets took relief from Catalonia stopping short of declaring immediate independence from Madrid. Tokyo's Nikkei gained 0.3 per cent to hit its highest level in about two decades, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai composite rose 0.2 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent by about 4:05 a.m. ET, with Germany's DAX up 0.1 per cent. New York futures were down, and the Canadian dollar was at just about 80 cents (U.S.). Markets will be watching this afternoon as the U.S. Fed releases the minutes of its last meeting. Oil prices rose on signs of tighter near-term supply.


Stop using mental illness to explain away violence. It's not that simple

"After every horrific mass shooting and disturbing terrorist attack, the reflex is the same: The attacker(s) must be mentally ill. The shocking randomness of these acts is destabilizing, so simplistic conclusions may provide comfort, but you can't explain away violence by saying the perpetrators are 'nuts.' Doing so does a grave disservice to those who do suffer from mental illness – the vast majority of whom are not violent – and it prevents us from discussing the complex personal, political and social drivers that create angry, young (for the most part) men." – André Picard

In North Korea, cult trumps compromise

"North Korean nationalism, with its cult of self-reliance known as Juche, is as religious as it is political. Defending the Kim dynasty, built up as a symbol of Korean resistance to foreign powers, is a sacred task. And when the sacred takes over politics, compromise becomes almost impossible. People can negotiate over conflicting interests, but not over matters that are considered holy." Ian Buruma, editor of The New York Review of Books


Why your Thanksgiving dinner weight gain isn't body fat

While you may have had much more to eat than usual over Thanksgiving, it takes many days of overeating for body fat to show up as weight gain. Instead, extra pounds can be attributed to water weight generated from all those carbohydrates and extra sodium. But on the downside, overeating can lead to a narrowing of your arteries. And a large, fatty meal is never a good idea if you have a heart disease or are at risk for one.


Kathryn Sullivan becomes first U.S. woman to spacewalk

Oct. 11, 1984: In Canada, the sixth flight of the space shuttle Challenger is best remembered as the one that carried Marc Garneau into orbit, but the same mission notched other milestones including Kathryn Sullivan's historic 3 1/2-hour excursion in the shuttle's cargo bay. A geologist and oceanographer with a PhD from Dalhousie University, Sullivan was among the first female astronauts selected by the U.S. space agency. She narrowly missed becoming the first woman to walk in space when the Soviet Union's Svetlana Savitskaya scooped that distinction a few months earlier. Sullivan would return to space two more times and was part of the 1990 mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. Under president Barack Obama, she became head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. federal agency that deals most directly with weather and climate. Donald Trump has yet to name her replacement. – Ivan Semeniuk

Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.

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