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Liberals pledge in Throne Speech to create one million jobs during pandemic recovery

The Liberal government is pledging to do “whatever it takes” to support the economy through the health and economic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, releasing a Throne Speech this afternoon that also vows to create one million jobs through environmentally focused measures and incentives for companies to hire and train workers.

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The speech signals major new spending, including a “significant, long-term” commitment to a nationwide early learning and child-care system and work toward a universal pharmacare program.

Other highlights:

  • Recently announced enhancements to Employment Insurance will replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, set to expire this month, as the focus of the government’s income support plan.
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which flows through employers to help cover staffing costs, will be extended through to next summer.
  • Plans to raise tax revenue include limiting the stock-option deduction “for wealthy individuals at large, established corporations, and addressing corporate tax avoidance by digital giants.”

You can read the full Throne Speech here. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be addressing Canadians directly in televised comments scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by opposition parties.

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Breonna Taylor decision: Kentucky grand jury indicts one police officer, but not for her death

A Kentucky grand jury today indicted one police officer for shooting into neighbouring apartments but did not move forward with charges against any officers for their role in the death of Breonna Taylor.

The jury announced that fired officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid of Taylor’s home on the night of March 13. The Black emergency medical worker was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant.

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Protesters in Louisville and across the United States have demanded justice for Taylor and other Black people killed by police in recent months. Immediately after the announcement, people were expressing frustration that the grand jury did not do more.

Tax Court judge accused of pressuring U of T law school not to hire human-rights scholar identified

The Tax Court judge who allegedly contacted the University of Toronto’s law school over the appointment of a human-rights director – sparking complaints of judicial interference and a loss of academic freedom – is David Spiro, a 1987 graduate of the school with deep family connections to the university.

Spiro is alleged to have contacted a member of the University of Toronto law school’s fundraising team to object to the hiring of Valentina Azarova for the job of director of the International Human Rights Program. Azarova has published articles in legal journals about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Spiro is identified in a document prepared by a professor who chaired the law school’s hiring committee for the post as DS. The Globe and Mail has confirmed with a source it is Spiro.

The latest in coronavirus news: Number of daily new cases triples in past month

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A dramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month prompted warnings that Canada is staring at a major second wave of the pandemic and the federal government said short-term lockdowns might be needed. The country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.

While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness.

Separately, up to 60 Ontario pharmacies will offer COVID-19 tests starting Friday, Premier Doug Ford announced as the second part of a fall pandemic preparedness plan, saying it would be expanded in the coming weeks.

Read more: ‘A bit unnerving’: COVID-19 survivors worried about future consequences

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Lukashenko holds snap inauguration: Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko inaugurated himself for a sixth term today in a surprise ceremony held amid weeks of mass protests by those who believe he lost the Aug. 9 presidential election.

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Navalny out of hospital: Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been released from a Berlin hospital after more than a month’s treatment for poisoning, with doctors now believing that a “complete recovery” from the nerve agent is possible.

Cindy McCain supports Biden: Cindy McCain has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president in a rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump by the widow of the Republicans' 2008 nominee, John McCain.

NFL legend Gale Sayers dies: Gale Sayers, the dazzling and elusive running back who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite the briefest of careers, has died at 77. His fame extended far beyond the field thanks to a friendship with dying Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, recounted in the TV movie Brian’s Song.

Uncle Ben’s no more: The company Mars is changing the name and branding of its Uncle Ben’s rice products after they came under fire for promoting racial stereotypes. The image of an elderly Black man will be replaced with Ben’s Original written in blue.

MARKET WATCH

Wall Street’s main indexes fell sharply today after data showing a cooling of U.S. business activity and the stalemate in Congress over more fiscal stimulus heightened concerns about the economy while the coronavirus pandemic remains unchecked. The Toronto market also tumbled, with both oil and gold prices falling.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 525.05 points or 1.92 per cent to 26,763.13, the S&P 500 lost 78.65 points or 2.37 per cent to end at 3,236.92, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 330.65 points or 3.02 per cent to 10,632.99. The S&P/TSX composite slid 325.78 points or 2.02 per cent to 15,817.11.

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TALKING POINTS

As Trump plays dirty in packing the court, Joe Biden turns the other cheek at his peril

“What the Trump Republicans are essentially doing is court-packing, and many are advocating that Democrats should respond with a court-packing plan of their own by vowing if elected to increase the size of the court by adding four liberally inclined justices.” Lawrence Martin

The true vaccine race isn’t between nations or companies, but between humanity and the virus

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“It is in every country’s self-interest to support multilateral efforts to ensure global equity of access to safe and effective vaccines. For if the virus is anywhere, it’s everywhere.” Alan Bernstein, CEO of global research organization CIFAR and a member of Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force

LIVING BETTER

Join authors Margaret Atwood and Thomas King as they discuss King’s career, focusing on his just-published novel Indians on Vacation, his Taylor Prize-winning The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, and Obsidian, the latest in his Thumps DreadfulWater mystery series. You can catch the Globe Book Club livestream tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.

TODAY’S LONG READ

How McCain Foods CEO steered the French fry giant through the COVID-19 challenge

Shalan and Paul/The Globe and Mail

It’s easy to forget the immensity of McCain Foods. Being privately owned, it evades the spotlight that follows a public company’s every move. So it might be a surprise to learn that McCain produces at least one out of every four French fries sold in the world. It’s the biggest company of its kind, accounting for a quarter of the $19-billion global frozen fry industry. Every single McDonald’s fry sold in Canada comes from McCain. It supplies every major restaurant chain in North America, and the production system built to feed this demand stretches across six continents. Its potato fields cover 150,000 hectares, the equivalent of roughly 280,000 Canadian football fields. It is big.

In his first major interview since joining McCain Foods, CEO Max Koeune talks about the company’s pandemic preparations, how it made sure its farmers had a place to sell their spuds, and the future of agriculture.

What did you do with all those potatoes you couldn’t sell?

The problem starts with raw potatoes. You can store some of the potatoes harvested in the fall until, say, June. In Canada, when the crisis hit, there were about 300 million pounds of raw potatoes sitting in grower stores. The sales dropped; we had to stop our factories. Then we worked with our growers to find a solution. This is not a moment to let them feel the pain of this on their own. And we realized that with massive unemployment building on a scale never seen before, the food banks were going to be overwhelmed. The last thing we wanted was to see potatoes go to waste. That would have been catastrophic. In Canada, we donated 20 million pounds to the food banks. We’ve done the same in all the countries where we operate, at different scales. Read the full interview here.

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