Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The latest COVID-19 developments: Canada getting extra vaccine doses, European guidance on AstraZeneca and more
Canada and Mexico are set to receive a combined four million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the United States, where it has not yet been authorized for use. The Biden administration is finalizing efforts to distribute 1.5 million to Canada and 2.5 million doses to Mexico as a “loan,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki says. The details are still being worked out.
Separately, British and European medical regulators say they have found no evidence of a connection between blood clots and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and are urging countries to resume vaccinations with the jab. More than a dozen countries, mainly in Europe, had stopped using the vaccine amid reports that 37 people had developed blood clots after being vaccinated.
In Canada, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who oversees the complex logistics the country’s vaccination program, is signaling that there will be enough supply for every adult to get one dose of the jab by July 1 - barring any production issues. Four premiers have announced a return to the so-called Atlantic bubble, saying residents will be able to resume unrestricted travel between their provinces in mid-April. And pandemic restrictions will tighten in the nation’s capital tomorrow as Ottawa moves to the second-strictest “red” level of Ontario’s colour-coded framework.
- When COVID-19 strikes workplaces, what does real transparency look like? Why disclosure is rare, but revealing
- Outbreak at British Columbia long-term care home includes vaccinated residents
- Peel District School Board requires teachers to wear face shields or goggles due to COVID-19 concerns
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No information, no foreign observers: China will conduct secret trials to prosecute Spavor and Kovrig
The Chinese government is planning secret trials for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians detained in China, refusing to allow diplomats to attend court proceedings after barring visits to the two men for more than six weeks.
And 830 days after they were seized by state security agents, China has yet to disclose any evidence against the men, whose detainment is widely seen as reprisal for the arrest at Vancouver’s airport of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities.
The trials are slated for Spavor tomorrow and Kovrig on Monday. It is common for court hearings in China to last a single day.
Catch up on the story with our explainer here.
Erin O’Toole faces challenges as Tory convention begins
Ahead of a federal election that could come as soon as this spring, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is facing political opportunities and challenges at a party policy convention that started today.
The three-day virtual meeting will feature a speech by O’Toole tomorrow seen as key to making the case for support from party members as well as voters.
Pollster Nik Nanos said the convention is a vital moment for O’Toole because such events are among the rare occasions, beyond elections, that draw Canadians’ attention. He also said convention will also test O’Toole’s ability to manage diverse views within the party while keeping everyone focused on the fight against the Liberals.
Opinion: Conservatives, while still obsessed with cutting taxes and balancing budgets, must put a price on carbon - John Ibbitson
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
States sue over Keystone XL cancellation: Attorneys-general from 21 states have sued to overturn President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, contending that Congress should have the final word.
Yonge subway extension scaled back: Ontario is scaling back plan for an extension of Toronto’s subway system into Richmond Hill, reducing the number of stations and putting less of it underground in a bid to rein in soaring cost projections, according to a pair of transit planning reports obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Nygard appeal: Former fashion leader Peter Nygard, who is facing charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in the United States, is appealing a judge’s decision to keep him behind bars.
Van attack sentencing delayed: The judge presiding over the Toronto van attack case says the court can’t currently move forward on a sentencing hearing for the man found guilty in the rampage, but did not provide a reason.
Wall Street ended sharply lower today, hit by rising Treasury yields and fresh worries about the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Canada’s main market also slid, with the energy sector taking a tumble on the biggest one-day drop in crude oil since last summer.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 145.99 points or 0.44 per cent to 32,869.38, the S&P 500 lost 58.35 points or 1.47 per cent to 3,915.77 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 406.82 points or 3.01 per cent to 13,118.38.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 150.68 points or 0.79 per cent at 18,832.42.
Jason Kenney goes toe to toe with Bigfoot – but the real monster is his own unpopularity
“What political leader takes centre stage to attack a kids’ movie about a make-believe family of sasquatches fighting Big Oil? And what does that say about said leader’s current political standing?” - Gary Mason
The Kielburgers need to grow up
“The Kielburgers did themselves no favours by defying and berating MPs during their Monday testimony. They came off as petulant spoiled children.” - Konrad Yakabuski
On COVID-19, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis forces liberal elites to eat crow
“He has experience as a Congressman, he has [Donald] Trump in his corner, and unlike the former president, his natural habitat is not a knowledge-free zone.” - Lawrence Martin
Zack Snyder’s Justice League starts streaming today on Crave - should you invest the four hours to watch the latest superhero spectacle? Film editor Barry Hertz writes that it “feels both familiar and startlingly new. In almost every way, it is a far better film than the drippy slop that [Joss Whedon and Co.’s Justice League] served up four years ago. It is still by no means a great film ... But it is a wild, invigorating experiment to experience.” Read the full review here.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Mark Carney is a man for all crises
If Thomas More was the man for all seasons, Mark Carney might be the man for all crises – the financial ones, at least.
As governor of the Bank of Canada, he had an intimate view of the financial crisis of 2008-09. As governor of the Bank of England, he helped steer that country’s financial system through the 2016 Brexit referendum and its immediate fallout. And he was still there as the first tremors of the COVID-19 pandemic were being felt. At every stage, he helped mitigate the damage.
Now back in the corporate world, Carney has produced a book: At a dense 531 pages, Value(s): Building a Better World for All covers a vast range of issues, from the history of money and the foundations of the modern financial system to the banker’s experiences at the lip of the world’s economic abyss. With much to discuss, Carney spoke to us via Zoom from his home in Ottawa. Read the interview here.