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Now on to today’s top stories:
The latest COVID-19 developments: Pfizer vaccine approved for kids 12 and up, two more blood-clot deaths reported and more
Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in children as young as 12, reducing the minimum age from 16. Alberta and Manitoba say they will offer anyone 12 or older COVID-19 vaccines soon.
Alberta’s rapid rise in infections that has turned the province into a North American hot spot prompted Premier Jason Kenney yesterday to unveil tighter restrictions, including grade-school online learning and closing or limiting a wide array of businesses.
Nationally, the Liberal government’s 2021 budget underestimates the likely size of federal deficits by about $5.6-billion a year and puts Ottawa on a long-term path of higher debt, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says. The PBO said the government appears to be underestimating the cost of pandemic emergency programs and overestimating the economic stimulus impact of new spending.
And in more pandemic pauses, the Pacific National Exhibition says continuing pandemic restrictions have forced the cancellation of Vancouver’s annual fair for a second year in a row.
- Canada’s vaccine recommendations are a mess. We need a single voice to cut through the noise - Robyn Urback
- The lack of consequences for COVID-19 rulebreakers is infuriating - Gary Mason
- Long-term care home operators paid 2020 bonuses to top executives amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Toronto Public Health reports COVID-19 outbreak at Scotiabank Arena
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Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline a ‘ticking time bomb’ and must be shut down by next week, Michigan says
The Michigan governor’s office says a key petroleum pipeline for Central Canada that runs through the Great Lakes state is a “ticking time bomb” and that Calgary-based operator Enbridge would be breaking the law if it doesn’t shut it down next week as ordered.
Bobby Leddy, press secretary to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, said the governor’s position is that Enbridge must stop operating Line 5 by May 12.
Michigan and Enbridge have been in court-ordered mediation since mid-April. Enbridge has said it would not shut down the pipeline without a court order.
Melinda Gates becomes CN Rail’s sixth biggest shareholder after stock transfer following divorce announcement
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’s investment fund has transferred 14 million shares of Canadian National Railway worth about $1.8-billion to Melinda Gates, shortly after the couple announced their divorce.
The move makes Melinda Gates the sixth-biggest shareholder in CN, Canada’s largest railway, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data.
Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment remains CN’s largest shareholder, with more than 101 million shares worth $13.5-billion. The couple’s charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, owns 13.9 million shares of CN.
TDSB sues Ontario, Toronto and police over six-alarm school fire and alleges cover-up
The Toronto District School Board is suing the province, city and police, saying emergency workers neglected to manage and contain a massive fire that tore through one of its schools two years ago and has alleged they covered up wrongdoing.
In a statement of claim filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice today, the school board said that had the fire at York Memorial Collegiate Institute in May, 2019, been properly handled, damages anticipated to be about $90-million could have been avoided. The six-alarm blaze burned for more than 24 hours, and was ruled accidental.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Trump’s Facebook suspension upheld: Facebook’s oversight board has upheld the company’s suspension of former U.S. president Donald Trump, but gave the company six months to determine a “proportionate response” going forward, a decision that may chart how social media will treat rule-breaking world leaders in the future.
Peloton recalls treadmills: Peloton is recalling its Tread and Tread+ treadmills, reversing course after CEO John Foley earlier urged owners of its machines only to check safety warnings following the death of a child in an accident.
GM’s Oshawa plant restart moved up: General Motors Canada says it will restart production at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., ahead of schedule, with truck production expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year rather than its previous target of January, 2022.
N.S. gunman’s spouse pleads not guilty: The common-law spouse of the man responsible for killing 22 people in April, 2020, in Nova Scotia is pleading not guilty to charges she illegally provided him with ammunition.
The Dow ended at a record high today, while Nasdaq gave up its earlier gains and closed in red. Canada’s main stock indext posted a gain for the day, but remains off its record high of last month.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 97.31 points or 0.29 per cent to 34,230.34, the S&P 500 gained 2.96 points or 0.07 per cent to 4,164.66 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 51.08 points or 0.37 per cent to 13,582.42.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed 122.71 points or 0.64 per cent to 19,310.74.
Red-hot lumber prices ease pressure on Trudeau to reach softwood deal with U.S.
“You know these are strange times in the Canadian forest industry when lumber futures are hotter than bitcoin.” - Konrad Yakabuski
Tesla and SpaceX leader – and soon to be Saturday Night Live host – Elon Musk tossed some skit ideas out into the Twitterverse last week and asked for input. SNL viewers can judge for themselves this Saturday whether that was a good idea. In the meantime, Brad Wheeler looks back at five controversial choices to host the late-night show, including then presidential candidate Donald Trump, vulgar comedian Andrew Dice Clay and even Uncle Miltie (aka TV pioneer Milton Berle).
TODAY’S LONG READ
Photographer Faye Schulman lived in the forest with resistance fighters during the Holocaust
In her golden years, as a grandmother in Toronto, Faye Schulman still held on to a vintage camera, a folding Zeiss Ikon with accordion-like bellows and a cable shutter release.
Her mastery of old cameras like that kept her alive during the Second World War. It spared her from a Nazi death squad that executed nearly all the other Jews in her hometown. It also helped her during the two years she spent with Russian partisans fighting the German occupation.
Ms. Schulman, whose wartime photos documented the resistance to the Nazi rule in Eastern Europe, died in Toronto on April 24. She was 101.
Read Tu Thanh Ha’s full obituary here.