Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Trudeau shuffles senior ministers, puts Champagne in Innovation and Garneau at Global Affairs
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a cabinet shuffle that changed the leadership of senior portfolios such as Global Affairs and Transport in a move triggered by Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains’ decision to leave cabinet and not seek re-election.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne is replacing Bains, and Marc Garneau moves to Global Affairs from Transport.
MP Omar Alghabra has been promoted into cabinet to replace Garneau at Transport, and Jim Carr returns to cabinet as a minister without portfolio. Carr left cabinet after the 2019 election because of a cancer diagnosis.
The shakeup adds fuel to speculation that the Liberal government is preparing for the next election campaign, even though the party was re-elected with a minority mandate just more than a year ago.
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Ontario issuing stay-at-home order after releasing dire COVID-19 projections
Ontario is issuing an order requiring residents to stay-at-home starting Thursday, except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries. Premier Doug Ford says he is also declaring another state of emergency effective immediately in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates.
Other new measures include:
- Hours of operation for non-essential shops such as hardware stores are restricted to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Schools in five hot spot regions – Toronto, Hamilton, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex – will stay closed for in-person learning until Feb. 10.
- Outdoor social gatherings will be capped at five people.
Ontario made the announcement shortly after releasing new projections showing that the province’s health care system risks being overwhelmed and that more people would die of COVID-19 than in the first wave of the pandemic if people don’t significantly reduce their contacts.
In other coronavirus-related developments: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa has reached an agreement with Pfizer to purchase an additional 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, set to arrive in April or May.
The latest in U.S. politics: House presses swiftly toward Trump removal and more
The U.S. House pressed swiftly forward today toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove President Donald Trump from office, as lawmakers reconvened at the Capitol for the first time since the deadly pro-Trump riot last week. The House was expected to approve a resolution calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unable to serve. As Pence is not expected to do so, the House would next move to impeach Trump.
The FBI has opened 160 case files in its investigation of the storming of the Capitol, the head of the agency’s Washington field office says, adding the agency had received 100,000 videos and pictures as tips.
Meanwhile, three Democratic House members who were forced into lockdown during the siege with Republican counterparts who refused to wear masks have tested positive for COVID-19.
Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his Europe trip at the last minute today after Luxembourg’s foreign minister and top European Union officials declined to meet him, European diplomats and other people familiar with the matter said.
And Bill Belichick, head coach of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has declined the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
Opinion: A fractured Republican party looks to an uncertain, post-Trump future – Gary Mason
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Former officer in Floyd case to be tried separately: Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to the neck of George Floyd for minutes, will be tried separately from the three other former officers accused in his death, according to an order filed Tuesday that cites limited courtroom space because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Maxwell appeals bail rejection: Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite awaiting trial on charges that she recruited girls in the 1990s for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, is appealing a judge’s order that she remain jailed.
Bruins to retire O’Ree’s number: Fredericton-born Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree, who in 1958 became the first Black player to feature in the National Hockey League, will have his No. 22 jersey retired by the Boston Bruins, the team says. Read more: ‘I’ve been blessed’: Willie O’Ree’s new book reflects on his time as the NHL’s first Black player
The benchmark S&P 500 closed barely higher today while shares in smaller companies soared as investors favored more economically sensitive market segments as they bet on a recovery in 2021. In Canada, energy stocks propelled the TSX higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points or 0.19 per cent to 31,068.69, the S&P 500 gained 1.58 points or 0.04 per cent to 3,801.19, and the Nasdaq Composite added 36 points or 0.28 per cent to end at 13,072.43.
The S&P/TSX Composite index closed up 51.34 points or 0.29 per cent at 17,985.80.
O’Toole’s Conservatives just can’t quit The Rebel
“It just reopens a can of worms that keeps the Conservatives squirming time and again because they are so slow to draw bright lines between their base and unacceptable extremes.” – Campbell Clark
Beat the winter blahs and learn a new hobby or two at the same time with the new Globe Craft Club. The new event series and membership group features writer Jana G. Pruden and special guests teaching you new craft skills live on Facebook. First up will be a class on homemade cheese – plus crackers – with Edmonton chef Cindy Lazarenko next Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. ET.
TODAY’S LONG READ
I am the custodian of an ancient Sri Lankan name (but it’s too long for most of you)
A typical Sri Lankan name is a thing of great length, unpronounceable sounds and bewildering origins; a living organism that grows with every generation collecting honours and scandals in equal measure. Centuries of conquest, colonization or even the mightiest winds of globalization have not been able to trim it. In this day and age, it flourishes in the same way as it did a thousand years before.
Any island nation is fated to have its own set of quirks, manners and customs owing to the simple fact that water acts as an indiscriminate customs enforcer. Sri Lanka fares no different in this aspect with a plethora of customs and manners that draws excitement from even our closest neighbour, India. Yet, among customs such as smashing coconuts for prosperity or cursing in equal ferocity, nightlong exorcisms and keeping doors open after funerals, it is our peculiar names that lead to the most excitement and even annoyance. Especially once a Sri Lankan wanders outside their safe haven for long names.
My name loosely translates as a “supervising military officer, below the rank of Arachchi, descendant of clean character who is of the victorious legions.” “Jasenthu Kankanamge” is from my ancestral clan, it’s followed by “Charith Akalanka,” which notes my character, and ends with the surname Samarasena, which implies a military victory. Read Jasenthu Kankanamge Charith Akalanka Samarasena’s full essay here.