Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Canadian acting legend Christopher Plummer, the award-winning actor who rose to fame playing Captain von Trapp in the The Sound of Music and at 82 became the oldest actor to win an Academy Award died Friday at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side. He was 91.
For more than half a century in the industry, Plummer enjoyed varied roles ranging from the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to the voice of the villain in 2009′s Up and as a canny lawyer in Broadway’s Inherit the Wind. In 2019, he starred as murdered mystery novelist in Rian Johnson’s whodunnit Knives Out.
But it was opposite Julie Andrews as von Trapp that made him a star. He played an Austrian captain who must flee the country with his folk-singing family to escape service in the Nazi navy, a role he lamented was “humourless and one-dimensional.” Plummer spent the rest of his life referring to the film as “The Sound of Mucus” or “S&M.”
The role catapulted Plummer to stardom, but he never took to leading men parts, despite his silver hair, good looks and ever-so-slight English accent. He preferred character parts, considering them more meaty.
- Read Elizabeth Renzetti’s obituary: Christopher Plummer shone on stage and screen in the shadow of Sound of Music
- Barry Hertz: Remembering Christopher Plummer, a man for all seasons
- In photos: Oscar winner, ‘Sound of Music’ star Christopher Plummer dies at 91
December COVID-19 vaccine deliveries cost Canada about $16-million: StatsCan
Canada spent about $16-million on the hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines that the country received in December, according to an analysis from Statistics Canada.
The assessment is the first look at how much the federal government is spending on the critical shots. Despite the first vaccine contracts being signed six months ago, Ottawa has refused to release either the total cost for the seven vaccine contracts or the per-unit price. In the fall, the government said it had spent more than $1-billion to secure its vaccine contracts.
The minority Liberal government has said the secrecy is required because of the confidentiality clauses that the government agreed to in the contracts. However, based on an analysis of import transactions provided to Statistics Canada by the Canada Border Services Agency, economist Benoît Carrière said the statistics agency was able to calculate the cost of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in Canada.
- Read more: Caught off guard by early COVID-19 vaccine approvals, Ottawa tried and failed to secure more shots
- Andrew Coyne: If better is always possible, why are so many countries doing so much better than us on COVID-19 vaccines?
- Also: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine fares well in tests against B1.1.7 variant of coronavirus
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Canada’s economy sees sharp job losses, spiking unemployment rate: The country lost 212,800 jobs in January, following a drop of 52,700 in December, Statistics Canada said Friday. The January results were considerably worse than expected, with economists predicting a loss of 40,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent from the previous month’s 8.8 per cent. All told, the number of employed Canadians is down by roughly 860,000 from February of 2020, and the labour market has recovered about 70 per cent of its pandemic job losses.
WestJet to lay off 120 cabin crew: WestJet Airlines Ltd. will lay off 120 cabin crew members as of March 2, blaming the measure on the lack of flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. The layoffs come as Canadian airlines agree, at the request of the federal government, to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30.
B.C. man who helped stranded U.S. family rewarded with new car, lifetime supply of peanuts: Gary Bath, a Canadian ranger and military veteran in Fort St. John, B.C., who gained widespread attention for helping drive a stranded American family to the Alaska-Canada border will soon be able to do that trip in a new car. That good deed has been recognized by Planters, the American nut company, which is giving both Bath and the American family a new car and a lifetime supply of peanuts.
Canada’s main stock index rose for a fifth straight day to end its best week in 10 months as optimism continued to fuel gains despite disappointing jobs numbers. The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 93.93 points to 18,135.90. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 92.38 points at 31,148.24. The S&P 500 index was up 15.09 points at 3,886.83, while the Nasdaq composite was up 78.56 points at 13,856.30.
The Canadian dollar traded for 78.27 cents US compared with 77.95 cents US on Thursday.
The March crude oil contract was up 62 cents at US$56.85 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 7.2 cents at US$2.86 per mmBTU.
The April gold contract was up US$21.80 at US$1,813.00 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 7.3 cents at nearly US$3.63 a pound.
The reaction to AOC reveals our stale views on sexual assault
Elizabeth Renzetti: “No one is going to silence these storytellers, and no one is going to silence Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. Despite the backlash – or perhaps even strengthened by it – she’s using her platform to encourage fresh thinking.”
From ‘wellness’ to insurrection – the hidden threat of global woo
Doug Saunders: “Woo may often be harmless flakiness by itself, but it’s supported by a set of community-rejecting beliefs that endanger all of us. The solution begins at home. We need to make it clear that this stuff is socially unacceptable.”
Victory over the drug crisis will not come through decriminalization alone
Chuka Ejeckam: “Any policy change that better serves the health and agency of people who use drugs is to be applauded. But until we change how we think about drugs – and, consequently, how we think about their use – we’ll never arrive at the right policy.”
Seven books that might make you a winter person
As cold winter temperatures settle in across much of the country, Globe and Mail contributor Sarah Laing has put together a curated selection of books – some old, but mostly new – that celebrate the season.
Some exalt it outright, others make the most of the snow and cold in their narrative and setting, while others are merely temperamentally suited to winter.
Good times for vintage watches: Collectors track down the perfect timepiece during a pandemic
Scott Mackenzie hasn’t been doomscrolling during the pandemic, he’s been focused on finding the perfect vintage watch.
Among the Calgary resident’s regular online bookmarks are Chrono24, a massive online marketplace offering both new and vintage watches from sellers around the world; Yorktime, a Canadian online watch seller; and Hodinkee, an American site known for its deep-dive editorials and a tightly curated selection of new and vintage watches for sale.
The eagerness of enthusiasts such as Mackenzie to track down the perfect timepiece resulted in a banner year for interest in – and sales of – vintage watches in 2020. Chrono24 reported its best year ever, with US$2.4-billion in transactions, an increase of 25 per cent over 2019.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Super Bowl advertisers try to walk a tonal ‘tightrope’ at a fraught moment in time