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Good morning,

The U.S. will be holding one-on-one talks with Mexico this week on free trade in North America, as the White House pushes for a deal. Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, who is the country’s lead official on the NAFTA file, will be in Washington to talk with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The two also met last week. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is flying to Singapore this week to meet with Southeast Asian leaders and has told the U.S. that she is prepared to go to Washington, but the U.S. has said it needs to focus on Mexico at the moment. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that “Mexico is intellectually the more complicated of the two” relationships, adding that “if we can solve that, we should be able to fill in with Canada.” Mexico’s government is undergoing a lengthy transition period from sitting President Enrique Peña Nieto to president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1. An official in Mr. Guajardo’s ministry says that Mr. Peña Nieto has the authority to sign an agreement on the trilateral trade deal until Nov. 30.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Mayaz Alam and James Keller. If you're reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

There continue to be significant gaps in the financial security promised to service members who retire from the Canadian Armed Forces, according to a report card set to be released today by Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent. Mr. Parent, who has been in his role for nearly eight years, says that both the the Harper and Trudeau governments have made improvements to veteran compensation but several key recommendations have yet to be implemented by Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will study approaches to gun violence, including enacting a handgun ban, while speaking at a memorial for a victim of the Toronto shooting on Danforth Avenue. Two people, 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, died and 13 others were injured in the shooting on July 22.

Canada has pledged $50-million in support for vulnerable Palestinians. The funding was announced by International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau after her trip to Israel and the West Bank. She said the aid will help Palestinians “build the social and economic conditions necessary for a two-state solution.” The funding will be targeted at boosting economic prosperity for women and youth.

Bombardier was a Russian government partner on the project to build a controversial railway along the country’s border with Ukraine. Critics say that Bombardier’s involvement shouldn’t have happened because the transportation giant is a major recipient of Canadian tax dollars and Canada has supported Ukraine in its conflict against Russia. A spokesman for Bombardier said there was nothing controversial in its involvement in the Ukraine Bypass project.

Aecon, the construction company whose takeover by a corporation with ties to the Chinese government was blocked by the federal government, saw its financial results beat most expectations. Ottawa cited concerns over infringement on Canadian sovereignty to stymie the $1.5-billion deal in May.

Several Ontario municipalities have offered their support to Toronto, as the city struggles to accommodate asylum seekers.

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The City of Toronto is looking into a legal challenge against the province after Premier Doug Ford introduced his plan to cut the city’s council in half just months before a municipal election. Council’s motion asks the city’s lawyers to examine the province’s “potential violation of the rights of the citizens of Toronto to fair and effective representation,” before advising councillors of the city’s legal options.

Despite calls from major Canadian cities, the federal government says it will not consider decriminalizing drug use beyond cannabis.

“Cheque week” in British Columbia brought a one-day spike in suspected overdose calls. There were no fatalities among the 130 calls that first responders received, according to B.C. health officials. The figure matched a single-day record that has been reached only once before.

Alberta’s government is threatening to end the construction contract for the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, which would provide treatment to patients for everything from cancer to obstetrics in the province’s northwest. The $763-million hospital has been plagued by problems since its contract with Graham Construction began in 2011.

New Brunswick Speaker Chris Collins publicly apologized after a third-party investigation found that harassment allegations against him were “founded in part.”

With an eye on China’s rising sphere of influence in Asia, the U.S. announced US$113-million in technology, energy and infrastructure initiatives in emerging markets. China has poured billions into investments through its Belt and Road Initiative in recent years. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a policy speech in which he attempted to define the administration’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy. The Trump administration pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a comprehensive trade deal that attempts to counter China’s economic weight in the region.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday that he was willing to meet his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, without preconditions. Economic worries continued to grow in Iran as the country prepares for the U.S. to restore sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear deal. Iran responded to Mr. Trump’s comments by saying that it wanted to see the U.S. return to the nuclear deal, which denied the Islamic Republic the ability to build nuclear weapons.

U.S. spy satellites have spotted new activity at a North Korean factory that built intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Syrian government forces have retaken the frontier with Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in seven years.

And Eritrea and Somalia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations after nearly 15 years of standoff.

Globe and Mail Editorial Board on scientists: “Full credit is due to the federal government, its chief science adviser, Mona Nemer, and the unions representing public-sector scientists. They have collaborated on a model policy that enshrines the freedom of government scientists to speak publicly, and helps protect them from political interference.”

Daniel Schwanen (The Globe and Mail) on FDI: “Canada needs to take a fresh look at how it can make itself more welcoming to foreign investment.”

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Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on Toronto City Council: “Cutting city council will not, on its own, fix what ails Toronto’s government. But it is an encouraging sign of things to come.”

David Butt (The Globe and Mail) on local democracy: “Democracy is the guiding principle animating our constitution, and the government of Ontario’s proposal to truncate democracy for three million souls without prior consultation is a dangerous blow to that guiding principle. Toronto should launch a court challenge against the proposal.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on drug use: “The war on drugs has always been about trade and politics, trying to control and contain a lucrative market, and an excuse for political interference. We need to stop treating drug users like commodities to be controlled and contained, and start treating them like people who need to be supported and informed.”

Frank Ching (The Globe and Mail) on China’s influence: “China’s improvement of relations with India and Japan is to be applauded. However, it doesn’t mean that those two countries will remain quiet if China should overstep its bounds, say, in the South China Sea, the East China Sea or the Indian Ocean.”

Gillian Smith (The Walrus) on running as a candidate in the Ontario election: “Public scrutiny is part of the political process, but harassment and online abuse should not be. If we cannot stop that harassment, then we must work harder to help people who want to enter public life learn to manage this seemingly permanent part of the political environment.”

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