Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Employment numbers in Canada rose to unexpected levels in November, but one economist calls it simply a case of the economy being “able to outrun COVID for another month.” The economy added 62,100 net jobs last month, lowering the unemployment rate to 8.5 per cent from October’s 8.9 per cent. Still, more strict COVID-19 lockdowns were applied in several regions in the middle of the month, raising concerns that December will see a jobs decline, according to Royce Mendes of CIBC Capital Markets.
The growth in Canada stands in contrast to U.S. employment, which saw its lowest rate of growth since May. Of the 22.2 million jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic, the United States has only recouped 12.4 million.
More work force headlines:
- Ontario, Quebec see COVID-19 outbreaks at workplaces climb
- Walmart Canada to pay ‘appreciation bonus’ of up to $250 to 85,000 employees amid COVID-19 surge
Analysis: The broad contours of the Biden presidency are beginning to take shape
U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has started to outline priorities for his administration and appoint staff, each decision a signal of his plan for leading the nation come January. His treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen, for example, is known to have a less favourable view of tariffs as a tool of international relations than Donald Trump does. Biden is also likely to treat Canada with less contempt than Trump.
But most urgently, Biden has signalled that his single biggest priority will be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. He intends to ensure that inoculation is free for everyone, and in his inaugural address will urge all Americans to wear a mask in public for the first 100 days of his presidency.
- Lawrence Martin: Joe Biden will find some of Trump’s policies are worth keeping
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
100,000 new cases in 18 days: Canada passed 400,000 COVID-19 cases today, a worrying milestone that has federal officials scrambling to double its vaccine order with U.S. biotech firm Moderna to 40 million doses. According to new federal guidance, residents and staff of long-term care centres for seniors should get the first doses, followed by seniors 80 and older.
Eliminating coal in Alberta: Utility companies are pressing ahead with plans to stop using coal to power Alberta by 2023, seven years ahead of the provincial government’s target. The latest to announce a switch from coal to gas is Edmonton’s Capital Power Corp., and the news was hailed by the Pembina Institute as “good policy-making.”
Officers cleared in fatal shooting: The body that investigates police-involved deaths in Ontario says two officers who shot a man dead in Exeter, Ont., last December acted in self defence, but that the victim was having a mental-health crisis and needed medical attention.
Whispers of a U.S. fiscal relief bill to prop up flagging employment was enough to send Wall Street’s main stock indexes to all-time highs today. In Canada, meanwhile, contrasting jobs numbers had a similar effect on Bay Street, lifting the TSX by triple digits.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 122.95 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 17,520.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 248.74 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 30,218.26, the S&P 500 gained 32.40 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 3,699.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 87.05 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 12,464.23.
Incarceration without hope is cruel and unusual
“It is only because our murder sentencing regime has become so extraordinarily punitive in recent years that the sanction meted out to Mr. Bissonnette by the Court of Appeal – a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years – could be considered anything other than a harsh and devastating sentence for a young man.” – Debra Parkes and Isabel Grant, law professors
Rant all you want. It won’t help you feel better
“There is no science to support the idea that releasing your bottled-up rage in a cathartic burst is a helpful strategy for emotional or physical well-being. The idea of purging anger may have intuitive appeal, but a raging e-mail, tweet, Facebook post or graphic Instagram picture isn’t a good way to deal with stress. On the contrary, it generally makes things worse.” – Timothy Caulfield, author and academic
Warner Bros., HBO Max deal leaves Canadian moviegoers out in the cold
“In other words, making movies for theatres is now a secondary concern next to pumping up its streaming base. And though Warner stresses that this is a decision only meant for 2021, who are they kidding? The gates are now open, and it is only a matter of time before other studios follow suit. COVID-19 provides a good cover, but in AT&T’s quest to conquer streaming, it will be the consumer, and theatre owners, who get the raw end of the deal.” – Barry Hertz, film critic
The Globe 100: Our favourite books of 2020
Settling in with a good book is a no-brainer as far as lockdown activities go, and our annual list of favourites from Canada and abroad is your willing guide. Whether you’re seeking fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books, thrillers, cookbooks, graphic novels or young adult stories, the Globe 100 has it.
- Related: Our series of Globe 100 Conversations includes an exchange between authors Eden Robinson and Cherie Dimaline
TODAY’S LONG READ
Seeking refuge from COVID-19′s crisis, Argentine squatters stake claim to the land – and face evictions and reprisals
In Argentina, an unexpected source of inspiration, community and comfort for many who were hit hard by the pandemic doesn’t even exist today. Guernica, a real-estate development plot not far from Buenos Aires, lasted less than four months as a land-occupation site. It drew thousands of people left behind by mainstream Argentine society after the economy went bust due to COVID-19. That was before police tore down makeshift shelters and violently evicted squatters in a dramatic raid ordered by the courts.
Now, those who fled to Guernica between July and October say they are resolute in their mission for affordable housing, even if the discourse in the country is dominated by property-rights advocates. Freelance journalist Natalie Alcoba reports from Guernica.
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