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Although most of the country’s population lives in near-lockdown conditions, tighter restrictions are needed to get COVID-19 under control, Canada’s chief public health officer said today. The Canadian Public Health Agency released its latest modeling showing the country “remains on a rapid growth path.” 2,000 more people are expected to die in the next 10 days. Up to 100,000 more people could become infected with the virus over the next week and a half. With this in mind, Dr. Theresa Tam that Canadians must limit their daily interactions to those required for “essential activities”. Otherwise, the number of daily infections could double by February. In the past week alone, around 7,000 new cases have been reported daily across Canada. “Often the end of the race is the hardest part, but it won’t take forever,” said Tam. “Right now we have to redouble our efforts at this crucial moment and achieve this.”
Andrew Meade / iPolitics
When asked if she believed that closing the provincial borders, as UK Prime Minister John Horgan said yesterday, could prevent the spread of COVID, Tam said, “Anything that can reduce the number of contacts.”
To that end, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is open to tightening pandemic restrictions on international travel as concerns mount about Canadians traveling abroad. However, he insisted that Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for those entering Canada has been “extraordinarily effective”. In other countries, including Australia, this quarantine does not take place at home, as is allowed here – it must be carried out in designated facilities.
As we’ve seen with politicians and health care leaders heading to warmer climates on vacation, research by CBC News found that there is no shortage of people who don’t see a problem traveling internationally despite them they are told to stay home. It turns out that Canadian air carriers have operated more than 1,500 flights between Canada and 18 popular vacation destinations since October 1, despite the number of cases rising and the health crisis deepening.
Richard Lautens / Toronto Star
All of this happens when doctors in Ontario and Quebec conduct “dry runs” to determine who can access critical care when space needs exceed capacity in provincial hospitals. “Contrary to anything any doctor I imagine has ever been taught, it is certainly that I have ever been taught,” said Dr. Peter Goldberg from Montreal. “Our teaching has always been that our contract … is with the patient in front of us, regardless of how much his system will cost him.”
On the vaccine front today, there was news that Pfizer will temporarily reduce shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine to Canada. As the drug manufacturer expands its European production capacities, shipments to Canada and other countries that have received shipments from Pfizer’s European plant will be reduced by around 50 percent, according to Major General. Dany Fortin, head of COVID-19 vaccine logistics.
Still with Trudeau, he slapped Yves-Francois Blanchet today for playing “dangerous games against intolerance and hatred” after the leader of the Bloc Québécois commented on the new transport minister. Shortly after Omar Alghabra was sworn in earlier this week, Blanchet said, “Questions arise from the minister’s previous role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation, which he held until 2006.
“I was absolutely dead with a federal party leader using insinuations and carefully coded questions, especially this week as we lived through last week,” said Trudeau, adding that these people “naturally stand there innocently and say,” Oh, I just asked questions. ‘”This story from Global News.
Last night at CTV’s Power Play, NDP chief Jagmeet Singh said Ottawa should resume sessions of the House of Commons so members can pass laws to respond urgently to the effects of the new lockdowns. But as Rachel Emmanuel reports, the NDP’s attempt to call the house back early – as early as Monday – comes up against a poor response from the EU other major federal parties.
The now independent MPP Roman Baber is pictured on September 1, 2020. (Photo via Twitter)
In Ontario, Prime Minister Doug Ford today dismissed MPP Roman Baber of the York Center from the Progressive Conservative Caucus after Baber sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to lift public health restrictions and “return to normal.” To let life return ”. The letter was sent to Ford this morning, arguing that “the lockdown is more deadly than COVID”. Shortly thereafter, the Tory Caucus held an emergency meeting that ended when Baber was shown the door.
“Mr. Baber’s comments are irresponsible,” Ford said in a statement. “By spreading misinformation, he is undermining the relentless efforts of our frontline health workers and putting people at risk. I will not endanger the life of any individual Ontarian by reading the Ignore public health advice. “
In Newfoundland and Labrador, Prime Minister Andrew Furey is in search of a majority and seeks love from voters the day before Valentine’s Day. He just announced that the province will vote on February 13 – the fourth province to do so during the pandemic. It will be Furey’s first election as prime minister, and the first one will be held on a Saturday.
The winter session of the Supreme Court of Canada of Canada promises unusual and controversial debates on topics as diverse as self-defense in the shooting of an intruder, a comedian’s desire for freedom of expression to make fun of a disabled boy, and legal battle over medical misconduct, involving a surgeon and a woman whose colon has been removed. Other appeals include reducing the number of counties in Toronto during a local election and the plight of a woman who injured her leg while climbing a snowdrift. Leslie MacKinnon has this lookahead.
In The Rebel to Rabble Review: Tories challenge the rebel claim to “exclusive interview” with O’Toole
In The Sprout: Canada is considering trade talks with Indonesia
In The Drilldown: Freezing temperatures blamed for the rise in oil prices
In other headlines:
MLA booted from UCP caucus in Alberta shows no sign of leaving its seat (CP)
Massages and private shopping tours pillow tycoons incarceration (NYTimes)
PM urges Freeland to spend on temporary measures until the end of the crisis (CP)
Quebec’s attorney general tries to appeal the ruling of a mosque shooter in the Supreme Court (CBC).
A rehearsal for Joe Biden’s inauguration scheduled for Sunday has been postponed for security reasons, two people are aware of the decision. Politico reports that the rehearsal is now scheduled for Monday, but the president-elect’s team has also canceled an Amtrak trip from Wilmington to Washington scheduled for Monday due to heightened security concerns.
In a new bulletin on ABC News, the FBI warns that the danger to the public and law enforcement officers from explosive devices will be “significant” during Inauguration Day protests planned in all 50 states.
Though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t say when the House will send its impeachment decision of President Donald Trump to the Senate to get the process started, she suggested today that all lawmakers stand in the attack Helped January 6th Capitol, instigated by Trump, can be prosecuted. This is because some Democrats have raised suspicions that some Republicans may have provided logistical assistance to the rioters in the days leading up to the fatal event. Earlier this week, 30 of them sent a letter to the Capitol Police chief and the incumbent NCOs in both chambers calling for investigations into “suspicious behavior and access,” which some GOP lawmakers facilitated the day before the attack.
“We have to trust each other and respect the people who sent us here. We have to have the truth too, and that is being checked, ”she said. “If members of Congress do indeed turn out to be accomplices in this uprising – if they supported and aided the crime – action beyond Congress may need to be taken to prosecute it.” That story from The Hill.
As Trump rages and pouts in the White House over his election loss and impending inauguration, incumbent Defense Secretary Christopher Miller apparently “can’t wait to quit this job.”
The New York Times reported that Vice President Mike Pence spoke for the first time yesterday with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the highest point of contact between outbound and inbound administrations to date. Their conversation was described as cordial, with Pence offering his congratulations and assistance, according to a person familiar with the matter.
With Harris making history as the first woman elected Vice President of the United States, her husband Douglas Emhoff also sets a precedent with the title “Second Gentleman”. And now he has an official White House account. You can follow him at @SecondGentleman.
And because there isn’t enough cause for concern in the United States these days, North Korea has unveiled a new type of submarine missile that the state media has dubbed “the most powerful weapon in the world.” Several of the missiles were shown in a parade monitored by Leader Kim Jong-un, state media reported. The actual capabilities of the gun remain unclear as it is not known to have been tested. This story from the BBC.
Led by the US, the world has hit a terrifying Covid-19 threshold – 2 million deaths and no signs of stopping as cases rise. As reported by CNN, experts say the toll can actually be much higher.
In the presented opinion:
Marcus Kolga: Canada must work with Biden to defend our democracies against Russia
While we don’t usually end the week on a somber note, given the situation with COVID-19, we are going to leave you with this moving piece from National Geographic that captures the heartbreaking goodbyes of the victims of the virus through their text messages.
Stay safe and have a nice weekend.