Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
A COVID-19 wave driven by the Omicron variant has been closely followed by a wave of reactions from political leaders in Canada and abroad, with the scope widening Tuesday to include U.S. President Joe Biden.
Biden, in a video address, pledged to ship 500 million rapid coronavirus tests to Americans starting next month in an effort to limit viral transmission during the winter months. He also issued a stark warning to unvaccinated Americans: “Omicron is serious and potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people.”
In Canada, health authorities in several provinces took additional steps to protect their hospital systems from being overwhelmed by new Omicron-infected patients. New restrictions on gathering were announced in Manitoba and PEI, while Albertans 18 and older became immediately eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. In B.C., both measures will be used, health officials announced today.
And in sports, the NHL and its players confirmed the expected – the disruptions to the current hockey season and the threat of Omicron mean NHL players won’t participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The last time NHLers played for Olympic hardware was in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and the opportunity will remain elusive for the sport’s youngest superstars until at least 2026 in Italy.
- Quebec COVID-19 testing centres overwhelmed by fifth wave
- U.K. offers 1-billion pounds to businesses hit hardest by Omicron COVID-19 variant
- COVID-19 live updates for Dec. 21 from Canada and around the world
- The Omicron COVID-19 variant has sparked global concern and prompted new travel restrictions. Here’s everything you need to know
This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with a friend.
Tenuous state of Biden’s Build Back Better bill may give Canada opportunity to attract climate-friendly investment
If U.S. President Joe Biden fails in his efforts to pass his signature US$2.2-trillion spending bill, more than a half-trillion-dollars in climate measures will die with it – a crushing blow to emissions-reduction targets globally.
But as a matter of Canadian self-interest, Adam Radwanski writes, the demise of Build Back Better could open a window of opportunity to woo the kind of climate-friendly investment the U.S. bill was meant to help attract.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canada to challenge U.S. softwood lumber duties: In response to the U.S. government nearly doubling tariffs on Canadian imports of softwood lumber, Trade Minister Mary Ng says Canada will officially challenge the move under the terms of the new USMCA trade agreement.
Putin warns of military response to U.S., NATO: Blaming the West for rising tensions in Eastern Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Tuesday his regime was at a decision point that could result in military action.
Investors signalled a degree of comfort with the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic when both Bay Street and Wall Street rebounded from a dismal Monday and closed sharply higher on Tuesday.
The North American indexes were bolstered by gains in such sectors as banking, travel, technology and health care.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 560.54 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 35,492.7, the S&P 500 gained 81.21 points, or 1.78 per cent, to 4,649.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 360.14 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 15,341.09. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 386.65 points, or 1. per cent%, at 20,924.87, its biggest gain since February.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.23 per cent, to 77.41 US. cents.
The notwithstanding clause has destabilized Canada’s constitutional order. Here’s how it can be restored
Andrew Coyne: “If the Charter, thanks to the increasing use of the notwithstanding clause, has become something of a dead letter – a Charter that cannot protect people from being denied employment on the basis of their religion is not much use at all – then neither the original constitutional balance nor that of the 1982 constitution remain. Perhaps the instrument by which the first was achieved can be the means of restoring the second.”
Alberta’s new rules requiring ID at supervised injection sites will only exacerbate barriers to supports
Dr. Jennifer Jackson and Dr. Katrina Milaney: “Supervised consumption sites already have efficient documentation systems in place to support patient care and maintain comprehensive data collection, without using personal health numbers. ... Maintaining anonymity is a key part of building trust between clients and health care professionals. By taking away this element, it challenges a fundamental aspect of the program.”
How Prince Edward County’s new hotels are designed for locals and visitors
Last year, as tourist sites around the world stood empty, Ontario’s Prince Edward County faced the opposite dilemma. Too many people probably doesn’t sound like a bad problem to have in an economy that counts tourism as its biggest employer. But in addition to housing affordability issues, the influx of people has led to noise complaints, staffing shortages and environmental degradation.
Though it might seem counterintuitive, an influx of new hotels could play a big role in the solution. And when The Royal Hotel opens its doors this month, the rebuilt landmark hopes to bring the county one step closer to its goals.
TODAY’S LONG READ
The art of healing the rescue dogs nobody else wants
During the pandemic, the desire for canine companionship spiked over the long, lonely months, flooding rescue groups with adoption applications. In Canada, rescue groups are not regulated; the Canada Border service agency is unable to even give statistics on the number of rescue dogs entering the country. But many thousands of strays are imported each year from elsewhere, including shelters in the United States.
For many dogs and owners, that’s a happy ending. But more rescue dogs also means more dogs with abusive or neglectful back stories, with special needs, or challenging behavioural issues. “Sometimes these dogs end up in a worse fate, because they get a family that has no idea what to do with them,” says animal advocate Kathy Powelson.
This is where humans such as Leila Kullar step in.
Read Erin Anderssen’s full feature here.
Evening Update is compiled and written by an editor in The Globe’s live news department. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.