Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Today marks a key date in the continuing energy dispute between Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Calgary’s Enbridge Inc. Earlier this month, Whitmer renewed calls for a May 12 shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 – a key petroleum pipeline for Central Canada that runs through the Great Lakes states – calling it a “ticking time bomb” for its risk of an oil spill.
But today Enbridge remains defiant, maintaining it will only cease operations on Line 5 if a judge orders it. The company has challenged the state of Michigan in U.S. federal court and both sides remain in court-ordered mediation. Michigan’s Attorney-General says the state is working to obtain a court order that would enforce Whitmer’s call for a shutdown, but for now the pipeline remains operational. Line 5 supplies nearly half of the fuel needs of Ontario and Quebec.
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Questions mount about AstraZeneca’s future in Canada
A day after Ontario pressed pause on the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca for first doses, many Canadians are left wondering what this means for their next vaccine appointment. Ontario – which has stopped administering AstraZeneca as a first dose over concerns about a rare clotting disorder – announced it will receive a quarter-million doses of the vaccine next week but is still reviewing when it will open up appointments for second doses. Alberta and Saskatchewan have also paused the AZ vaccine (the latter province is citing dwindling supply) and Manitoba said today that it plans to offer first doses of the vaccine only to those who might not be immunized at other sites. Canada’s health authorities stress that AstraZeneca’s benefits still outweigh the risks of blood clots. Health officials are now watching for results of a study that looks at the efficacy of mixing and matching vaccines.
In other COVID-19 news:
- Are COVID-19 vaccines messing with women’s menstrual cycles?
- Delayed response created a ‘lost month’ in Canada’s COVID-19 fight
- How a Toronto principal got 1,400 people in the surrounding neighbourhood their COVID-19 vaccine
Catch up with today’s key headlines on vaccines, restrictions and caseloads here.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Mideast toll rises At least 65 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave’s health ministry. On Wednesday, Israel killed a Hamas commander and vowed no let-up in its Gaza barrages as Palestinian militants rained rockets far across the border and Washington dispatched an envoy to try to calm the most intense hostilities in years. Here’s a standback look at what’s behind the latest clashes.
Liz Cheney ousted U.S. House of Representatives Republicans on Wednesday voted to remove Liz Cheney from their leadership, punishing her for criticizing former president Donald Trump’s false claims that last year’s election was stolen from him through election fraud. Cheney, the daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, voted in January to impeach Trump on a charge that he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
India marks grim COVID-19 milestone Deaths in India grew by a record 4,205, marking the deadliest 24 hours of the pandemic since it began. Experts still cannot say for sure when the figures will peak. On Wednesday, the country’s virus-related toll crossed 250,000.
The end of ‘Ellen’ Ellen DeGeneres, whose once-popular talk-show has seen a ratings hit after allegations of running a toxic workplace, has decided that the upcoming 19th season will be the last, ending in 2022. It coincides with the end of her contract.
North American stock markets closed lower for a third day this week as U.S. inflation numbers raised concerns about central banks increasing interest rates earlier than forecast. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 166.27 points to 19,107.77. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 681.50 points at 33,587.66. The S&P 500 index decreased by 89.06 points at 4,063.04, while the Nasdaq composite lost 357.75 points or 2.7 per cent at 13,031.68.
As the pandemic begins to ebb, Newfoundland’s fiscal fire roars again
Andrew Coyne: “It isn’t only that a bailout would discourage Newfoundland from coming to grips with its fiscal problems: the precedent would discourage other provinces as well, some of whom – Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick – are in nearly as rough shape.”
Is it possible that maybe Steven Guilbeault hasn’t actually read Bill C-10?
Robyn Urback: “Trying to regulate the internet in this way using the archaic CRTC is a fool’s errand, and will never make sense as long as the government tries to jam square-peg labels like ‘broadcaster’ and ‘program’ into a rapidly evolving ecosystem comprised of exotically shaped holes.”
The public has the right to access all COVID-19 data
Gary Mason: ”There is far more to be gained than lost by getting as much information as possible into the hands of the public.”
View art while taking a walk
When just about every pleasurable pastime has been put on hold, hiking has become a go-to for escaping the doldrums of our lockdown lives. Canada offers a number of sculpture gardens boasting innovative, eye-catching art that’s often free to view. Here are 11 suggestions of fanciful parks in which to take an artful walk.
TODAY’S LONG READ
The Fulford has been a refuge for elderly women since the 19th century. But after 131 years in the same location on Guy Street, the private, not-for-profit facility, battered by COVID-19, is scheduled to close in September. A group of residents and their families is fighting to save the home. Eric Andrew-Gee reports.
In the first episode of season three of Stress Test, The Globe’s pandemic personal finance podcast, we hear from three 20-somethings who have done everything right – good jobs, minimal debt, strong savings plans – and still can’t afford to buy the homes they had diligently planned for. Hosts Rob Carrick and Roma Luciw reflect on the past year and how rising house prices are making home ownership unaffordable.
And in today’s The Decibel, host Tamara Khandaker speaks to capital markets reporter Vanmala Subramaniam about The Globe’s latest investigation into how major companies that had a profitable 2020 qualified for millions of taxpayer dollars from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.