Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The leaders of Canada’s major political parties joined other voters at polling stations across the country on Monday in the first pandemic federal election.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau brought his three children along as he cast his ballot in the Montreal riding of Papineau; Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his wife, Rebecca, marked their ballots in Bowmanville, Ont., in the riding of Durham; the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet voted in the advance poll; and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul cast her ballot by mail.
Elections Canada says almost 6.8 million people voted early, most of them at advance polls more than a week ago, and the rest through special ballots cast by mail or at Elections Canada offices.
Polling stations are open for 12 hours, but the opening times vary by region. Here are the local closing times in the various times zones: Newfoundland and Labrador, 8:30 p.m.; Atlantic, 8:30 p.m.; Eastern, 9:30 p.m.; Central, 8:30 p.m.; Mountain, 7:30 p.m.; Pacific, 7:00 p.m.
If you’re still on the fence with just a few hours to go before polls close, be sure to read our guide to where the parties stand on the top issues.
Whichever party forms the next government, here are the 12 key issues facing Canada in the years ahead.
TOMORROW: Join Globe political correspondent Laura Stone and political columnist Campbell Clark on Facebook at noon EDT for a live-streaming debrief of the federal election, and what comes next. Readers are invited to send questions in advance to Audience@globeandmail.com.
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Pfizer says children 5-to-11 can take its vaccine; Toronto approves some extracurricular activities
Monday’s news around the COVID-19 pandemic largely focused on children, with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE saying their vaccine induced a robust immune response in children 5-to-11, and Toronto Public Health telling educators that outdoor sports and low-risk indoor activities can return to the city’s schools.
Pfizer/BioNTech said Monday that its two-dose vaccine generated an immune response in 5-to-11-year-olds that matched what was seen in people 16-to-25 – and offered about the same safety profile. The companies say they plan to ask for regulatory authorization as soon as possible to use the shot in children in that age range in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.
It’s now possible that Canadian children could become eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations within weeks.
A spokeswoman for Pfizer Canada said the company can submit a rolling submission to Health Canada, which would allow the department to approve the vaccine as the company continues to collect and submit new safety and effectiveness data.
Toronto Public Health, meanwhile, has recommended that school boards allow a “gradual return of clubs, activities, sports teams, bands (without wind and brass instruments) and extracurricular[s],” beginning with students between the ages of 12 and 17, who are eligible for vaccines. It said that schools should prioritize lower-risk activities indoors, which could include chess clubs, and activities that occur outdoors.
- Eric Reguly: Italy’s COVID-19 vaccine bookings rise by a third after government implements passport for all employees
- Canada vaccine tracker: How many COVID-19 doses have been administered so far?
Restaurants across Canada face labour shortages as growing number of hospitality workers leave industry
Thousands of hospitality workers unable to work because of pandemic lockdowns are deciding to change careers or start their own businesses, leaving behind a restaurant life that, many say, has always been plagued with low pay, difficult working conditions and a lack of long-term stability.
Statistics Canada’s monthly review of employment in food services and accommodation climbed to a high this summer of more than one million people – but that’s still 150,000 fewer than before the pandemic, and 129,000 jobs went unfilled in June, the most recent month for which data is available.
Despite the demand, wages for hospitality workers have barely budged in the past 18 months. The average hourly wage for the sector is about $18, close to what it was before the pandemic, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada data by University of Waterloo labour economist Mikal Skuterud. Prof. Skuterud says continued economic uncertainty around the pandemic is likely the main reason restaurant owners have been slow to adjust wages.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canadian home prices climb in August, but pace of gains slows for third consecutive month: The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 1 per cent in August from July. That follows a 2-per-cent gain in July and a 2.7-per-cent gain in June.
U.S. easing foreign travel restrictions, will require visitors to be fully vaccinated beginning early November: The announcement is the first clear indication from the Biden administration that it is preparing to ease travel restrictions first imposed in March, 2020. Also on Monday, the U.S. said it will extend restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico that bar nonessential travel such as tourism.
Evergrande troubles punish Chinese property sector as contagion concern spreads: Growing fears of China Evergrande defaulting rattled global markets on Monday as investors dumped Chinese property stocks and sought refuge in safe-haven assets. Regulators have warned that its US$305-billion of liabilities could spark broader risks to China’s financial system if its debts are not stabilized.
Canada’s main stock index suffered its biggest daily decline in nearly eight months while U.S. markets also tanked amid heightened anxieties about emerging Chinese risks, a global economic slowdown and impending Federal Reserve action.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 335.82 points to 20,154.54. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 614.41 points at 33.970.47. The S&P 500 index was down 75.26 points at 4,357.73, while the Nasdaq composite was down 330.07 points at 14,713.90.
The Canadian dollar traded for 77.95 cents US compared with 78.61 on Friday.
Indigenous issues are, in fact, pivotal in this election
“In this election, Canadians may very well cast ballots on principle. They may be tired of being citizens of a country that prides itself on its reputation as a human-rights leader while Indigenous people’s rights are routinely breached. There has been a collective awakening and a call to consciousness happening in Canada. Indigenous people are no longer a small group fighting on their own. Others have joined us in numbers large enough to have an impact on the outcome of this election.” - Lynne Groulx
How will Canadians feel about today’s campaign promises when the bill comes due?
“The thing about serious issues is that, whether we discuss them during an election or not, they don’t go away. Even if borrowing stays cheap, the binge of deep-discount government spending is ending. Our discussions about fiscal policy will get serious when we are back to paying full price for federal programs.” - William Robson
Autocracy is on the rise again in Africa
“Every coup maker promises to end corruption and return power to the people through new elections – after a time of transition. But most often, military leaders enjoy their new perquisites too thoroughly to give them up easily.” - Robert Rotberg
Making the distinction between fitness tools and ‘gadgets’ can be a challenge
As a fitness columnist, Paul Landini spends a lot of time eyeing all the new “exercise equipment” landing on store shelves, many of which could be defined as gadgets.
As Landini writes, not all of these gadgets are useless, but the problem is, for the most part, they’re novelty items designed to attract the attention of beginners who are just starting their fitness journeys.
Landini divides this equipment into two categories: A tool is timeless and reliable, something that’s nearly essential, an item without which you’re sort of screwed should a specific need ever arise. A gadget is the exact opposite.
Whatever you purchase, Landini reminds us that fitness still comes down to hard work.
TODAY’S LONG READ
This photojournalist has shed light on Afghan women’s lives since before 9/11. Now, she’s helping to save them from the Taliban
In the spring of 2000, Lynsey Addario began photographing women living under the Taliban, which had almost complete control of the country.
Now, as American and allied troops have pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban has taken hold of the country once again. Not only are there concerns that the gains women have made in the past two decades will disappear, but there is fear of a bleaker fate for the women and men who aided Western troops and journalists.
Now, Addario is helping to save women them from the Taliban. Read her report and see her photographs here.