Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Surprise strike by Alberta front-line hospital workers prompts cancellation of non-urgent surgeries
A surprise strike by hundreds of health care and support workers has prompted the Alberta government to cancel all non-urgent surgeries, less than a week after scaling back procedures because of an increase in COVID-19 infections.
The strike represents a major escalation in tensions between the government and workers across the health sector, from doctors and nurses to cleaning and laundry staff. The United Conservative Party government earlier this month announced plans to replace up to 11,000 health care jobs with private contractors in an effort to save $600-million a year.
Alberta Health Services called the walk-off “illegal” and said it asked the Labour Relations Board to direct employees back to work. The board scheduled a hearing for late this afternoon.
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Elections across Canada: Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario
Voting in Saskatchewan is under way today after a campaign in which the leading candidates – incumbent and Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe and provincial NDP Leader Ryan Meili – cast themselves as opposites in terms of how they’ll handle the COVID-19 health and economic crises. Here are five constituencies to watch.
Meanwhile in British Columbia, Premier John Horgan returns to Victoria today with a majority government following that province’s snap election, but with challenges still ahead. While the final count of the ballots is weeks away, the preliminary results have the NDP elected in 55 seats, a healthy majority in a legislature of 87.
Opinion: In British Columbia, the Green Party has wilted – Adam Pankratz, lecturer, University of British Columbia
And two by-elections are taking place in Ontario today, including in the Toronto Centre riding. Among the candidates vying for the seat vacated by former finance minister Bill Morneau in the wake of the WE Charity controversy is new federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.
The latest in coronavirus developments: Liberals lose vote launching COVID-19 study after warning of risks to vaccine negotiations, plus more
Opposition MPs outvoted the Liberals to approve a House of Commons motion calling for the release of documents related to the government’s handling of COVID-19, even though senior ministers warned the move will jeopardize Canada’s ability to secure a pandemic vaccine.
The Conservative motion passed 176 to 152 this afternoon with the support of the Bloc Québécois, NDP, Green Party and independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould over the objections of the Liberals. The government defeat did not trigger a federal election because it was not declared a matter of confidence.
In Europe, governments are losing the battle against the COVID-19 resurgence that began two months ago and are seeing their hospitals fill up once again. To try to slow the admission rate into intensive care units, many have implemented semi-lockdowns that are restricting mobility and putting enormous pressure on already struggling businesses.
In Ontario, the government says recent Thanksgiving festivities have affected its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in a handful of hot spots. Health Minister Christine Elliott made the comments a day after the province recorded its first day of 1,000-plus new daily cases. Separately, Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff is apologizing for not wearing a mask in a group photo over the weekend.
Opinion: It’s time to take aim at superspreader events - André Picard
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING
Ottawa’s budget update won’t have fiscal anchor: Ottawa’s promised budget update won’t have a specific anchor to guide decisions and keep spending from spiralling out of control, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.
Ontario budget to be tabled Nov. 5: Finance Minister Rod Phillips says the spending package will focus on pandemic-response measures in a three-year action plan that lays out three scenarios in its financial outlook.
Meng Wanzhou hearing under way: Testimony has begun in an evidentiary hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive arrested at Vancouver’s main airport in 2018, at the request of U.S. authorities for extradition. Her legal team hopes to gather evidence this week to support its claims her arrest was unlawful.
RM Vaughan appreciations: “He wrote exquisitely in every genre, with panache and precision, and with impeccable professionalism,” Alana Wilcox says of RM Vaughan, the writer who was found dead last week after going missing earlier in the month. Here is her full appreciation, along with links to three others.
Read RM Vaughan’s essays for The Globe:
- How do we ‘get back to work’ when the trauma of COVID-19 still lingers?
- In small-town Atlantic Canada, isolation is the norm and socializing is part of our survival
U.S. stocks tumbled today in thin trade, with the S&P 500 posting its biggest daily decline in four weeks, as soaring coronavirus cases and uncertainty about a fiscal relief bill in Washington dimmed the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery. Canada’s main stock index was also under pressure, though its losses were less harsh.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 650.19 points or 2.29 per cent to 27,685.38, the S&P 500 lost 64.42 points or 1.86 per cent to end at 3,400.97 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 189.35 points or 1.64 per cent to 11,358.94.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 224.53 points or 1.38 per cent to 16,079.55
Looking for investing ideas? Here’s your weekly digest of the Globe’s latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies plus what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes five dividend stock picks, a REIT to consider and sliding railway shares.
Even if Joe Biden wins, there’s no going back to a pre-Trump world
“He played capricious games with trade deals, threatened to pull the rug out of security alliances, and mucked up the gears of institutions such as the World Trade Organization – he weakened the things American allies had counted on.” – Campbell Clark
Forgotten no longer: Wisconsin has emerged as a bitter battleground state
“Indeed, a small swing could have big consequences. Margins of victory in Wisconsin have been less than one percentage point in three of the past five elections.” – David Shribman
Being stuck in a food rut can lead to more than boring meals – it could also be jeopardizing your health. By limiting your menu to the same go-to foods, you could be missing some vital nutrients. Here are some ways to add more variety, including:
- Reach beyond bread: Cook a batch of farro or freekeh, nutrient-rich whole grains high in fibre and protein, to add to grain bowls, green salads, roasted vegetables, chili and soups.
- Shake up veg prep: Try sautéing chopped Swiss chard, spinach or kale, for example, with garlic and chili flakes.
- Rotate proteins: If your usual snack is a handful of almonds, vary it up with walnuts for omega-3s, pistachios for extra vitamin B6, or pumpkin seeds for extra magnesium.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Disappearing towns: Alberta municipalities struggling with crumbling infrastructure, meagre finances
Manning, a small town in northwestern Alberta, has an infrastructure problem. It needs to upgrade its arena. The lagoon sludge needs to be dredged and drained. Parts of the town’s storm drainage system are rusted out, causing erosion and uneven sidewalks. The backlog of roadway maintenance is, at best, double what is considered healthy.
All told, a recent engineering study put 209 infrastructure projects with a collective price tag of $20,479,831.05 on Manning’s to-do list. But with a population of just 1,183 and an annual budget of about $4.5-million, Manning is short on cash, its tax base is shrinking and its long-term municipal debt per capita is more than double the median.
Manning is among the handful of municipalities in Alberta going through the province’s viability review process, which culminates in votes that can reshape local political landscapes. Read Carrie Tait’s full story here.