These are the top stories:
Canada, Mexico vow to remain at NAFTA negotiating table
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Mexican counterpart said they won't abandon NAFTA negotiations because of hardline bargaining positions taken by the United States, but behind the scenes Canadian officials said they are growing increasingly doubtful that a deal can be struck. Mr. Trudeau and President Enrique Pena Nieto were asked Thursday at a press conference about the Trump administration's proposal that a sunset clause be included in a renegotiated NAFTA – a provision that would automatically terminate the deal in five years unless the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to keep it in place. That demand comes amid escalating protectionist rhetoric from U.S. President Donald Trump, who threatened Wednesday to scrap the agreement and pursue bilateral talks with Mexico or Canada. (for subscribers)
Here's Campbell Clark's take on Mr. Trudeau's meeting with Mr. Pena Nieto: "What the Mexicans really want is Canada to commit to sticking with them through trade-talk travails. Mexico has warned that if Mr. Trump triggers the six-month notice for withdrawal from NAFTA, it'll walk away from negotiations. It has said if Mr. Trump pulls out of NAFTA, it won't do a bilateral trade deal. It would like Canada to take the same unequivocal stands." (for subscribers)
Meanwhile, two major auto-industry groups in Canada are urging the federal government to hold off negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal while the country is in the midst of trying to renegotiate the NAFTA with the U.S. and Mexico. (for subscribers)
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Canadian man, family freed after five years of captivity by terrorist network
After five years, Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman – and their three children born in captivity – have been freed from the grasp of Taliban-affiliated militants. The Canadian man, 34, and his American wife, 31, were newlyweds when they disappeared while travelling into Afghanistan in 2012, triggering a long-running effort by Canada and the United States to free the family from the Haqqani network. That effort came to a sudden and successful conclusion on Thursday, although there are conflicting accounts as to whether their freedom was secured by a negotiated handover or by a shootout at the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Naheed Nenshi feeling the heat as Calgary mayoral race tightens
Naheed Nenshi – who rocketed to Canadian political stardom with his surprise victory in 2010 and who used his profile as a brash, intellectual, Harvard-educated son of Tanzanian immigrants to modernize his city's Cowtown image – is in serious danger of losing his job in Monday's municipal vote. A weak oil price, the city's still-fragile economy, and a list of grievances against all three levels of government are making for an agitated electorate, and are weighing on Mr. Nenshi's re-election chances. A low-tax, pro-business, anti-Nenshi campaign from congenial Calgary lawyer Bill Smith – with close ties to conservative circles – is making for a serious contest.
RCMP accused of racial profiling over 'interview guide' targeting Muslim border crossers
The federal government is under fire for an RCMP screening questionnaire that asks asylum seekers how they feel about Muslim headscarves, the Islamic State, and whether they would mind having a female boss. The "interview guide" had been used by federal officers in Quebec, where more than 10,000 refugee claimants have surged into the province from a U.S. land crossing this year. The guide came to light after one asylum seeker, who appeared to have been given a copy of the questions inadvertently, showed them to his lawyer in Toronto.
Opioid death toll hits record in B.C. despite push on prevention
Fatal overdoses in British Columbia have surpassed 1,000 a year for the first time on record, a grim milestone in a province that has already gone further than others in its response to a worsening opioid crisis. From January through August, at least 1,013 people died of illicit drug overdoses – more than 2016's year-end total of 982 – with four months still to count. The projected year-end total of 1,500 for 2017 is about seven times what the average was in the 2000s.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
DNA deepens mystery of Newfoundland's lost Beothuk people
For the first time, researchers have managed to sequence DNA retrieved from the remains of several Beothuk individuals, the now-vanished Indigenous people of Newfoundland, along with those from a prehistoric culture that existed in the province thousands of years earlier. The results suggest the two groups aren't closely related and the last common ancestor of the Beothuk probably lived 10,000 years ago, when humans were first spreading across the Americas.
Global stocks rose for a fourth consecutive day on Friday on expectations of broad-based global growth, while the U.S. dollar headed for its worst week in five as investors awaited U.S. inflation data. Tokyo's Nikkei gained 1 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the Shanghai composite each rose about 0.1 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.4 per cent by about 5:30 a.m. ET, with the Paris CAC 40 down marginally and Germany's DAX up 0.1 per cent. New York futures were little changed, and the Canadian dollar was above 80 cents (U.S.). Major U.S. banks continue to roll out third-quarter results, with Bank of America and Wells Fargo reporting today. Oil prices firmed as strong Chinese oil import data and turmoil in the Middle East boosted bulls.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
Ottawa's blame game hits new low with CRA tax move
"In practice, ministers now do everything in their power to avoid accepting blame for every matter. Wise observers reluctantly accept the erosion of ministerial responsibility as a fact of contemporary public life." – John Ibbitson (for subscribers)
Today, women are boycotting Twitter. Here's why
"Most days, I still check it multiple times, but not today: I'm taking part in #WomenBoycottTwitter, spurred by the suspension of the actor Rose McGowan earlier this week. McGowan has been very vocal about the Harvey Weinstein scandal on the platform, and the reasons given for her suspension don't hold water. That Twitter finds it easy to silence a sexual assault victim while letting countless misogynist trolls run amok is unacceptable." – Denise Balkissoon
Don't be fooled – Trump is a serious threat to free speech
"Assuming all will be well is a mistake. Mr. Trump represents a dangerous evolution in U.S. political culture. Other presidents have tried to suppress information or acted in bad faith behind closed doors. But no modern president before this one publicly threatened mass government restrictions on the press, or characterized the entire media, in a phrase borrowed from totalitarian regimes, as 'the enemy of the people.' " – Globe editorial
Can marijuana help make us better athletes?
The idea of marijuana as a performance enhancer is no longer a joke. Superstars such as MMA's Nick and Nate Diaz, NFL legend Randy Moss and two-time Cy Young-winner and World Series champion Tim Lincecum are but a few of the athletes who've reached the pinnacle of their respective sports while indulging in marijuana, according to media reports on ESPN and elsewhere. Did smoking weed give them an edge on their competition?
MOMENT IN TIME
No charges in JonBenét Ramsey's murder
Oct. 13, 1999: A chorus of protest and outrage greeted the news that, after a 13-month grand jury investigation, no charges would be filed in the death of JonBenét Ramsey, the six-year-old beauty-pageant star whose murder made headlines around the world. Suspicion had fallen on the girl's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, after her bludgeoned and strangled body was discovered in the basement of the family home in Boulder, Co., on Boxing Day in 1996. The aftermath of the high-profile killing was marked by police in-fighting, lawsuits and inflammatory accusations. "Mistakes were made" during the investigation, Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter said while announcing that the grand jury had not turned up enough evidence to proceed with a prosecution. More than 20 years after her death, JonBenét's killer still has not been identified, although more than a dozen books, television movies and documentaries have attempted to solve the mystery. – Elizabeth Renzetti
Morning Update is written by Kristene Quan.