Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Andrew Scheer employed sister while he was speaker and deputy speaker of the House
Former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer used taxpayer money to employ his sister, Anne Marie Grabetz, when he was deputy speaker and speaker of the House of Commons, his office said today. When the House changed MP spending rules, she left his office and later worked for a Conservative Senator.
Yesterday, The Globe and Mail reported that Scheer employs his sister-in-law, Erica Honoway, in his Regina constituency office; his wife, Jill Scheer, is employed by her sister’s company, Erica Honoway Interiors.
Earlier today, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says his predecessor’s decision to hire his sister-in-law does not meet O’Toole’s ethical standards. The NDP and Bloc Québécois have also raised concerns that Scheer’s use of taxpayer money tests ethics rules that govern members of Parliament.
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Following its controversial exit, Kraft Heinz to bring ketchup production back to Canada
Six years after pulling its ketchup production out of Leamington, Ont. – a decision that would help to ignite the “ketchup wars” with the French’s brand – Heinz is coming back to Canada.
Kraft Heinz today announced that most of its ketchup sold in Canada will be manufactured at its facility in Montreal, starting next summer. The company will be investing US$17.6-million to build two new production lines, including a $2-million forgivable loan under a Quebec government program.
For the first couple of years, however, Heinz ketchup will continue to be made with U.S.-grown tomatoes. That will matter to some Canadian shoppers, who in recent years have begun to view it as an unlikely symbol of national pride.
From the archives: Watch Globe staffers resolve the great ketchup debate in blind taste tests
Ottawa to overhaul privacy rules to give Canadians more control over how companies use data
The federal government has introduced legislation to revamp its two-decade-old private-sector privacy rules to give Canadians greater control over how tech companies handle their data.
The bill tabled today would introduce the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and additional legislation that could align Canada’s approach to privacy with more progressive regimes such as California and the European Union.
It intends to give Canada’s privacy commissioner sweeping powers to force companies to comply with data-protection rules – something current commissioner Daniel Therrien has long pushed for.
For the worst offenders, fines for breaching the new legislation could cost them as much as $25-million or 5 per cent of a company’s global revenue – whichever is greater – which is a percentage point more than the EU’s maximum fines.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ontario public-health adviser pushes for clear lockdown criteria: With Ontario mulling what a lockdown might look like in the province, Charles Gardner, a member of the public-health group advising the government on the COVID-19 pandemic, says it is “essential” that citizens are shown clear criteria for when such a move would take place.
New name for McGill teams: McGill University has chosen Redbirds as the new name for its men’s varsity sports teams, replacing the Redmen name it dropped in April, 2019, saying it had caused pain and alienation for its Indigenous students.
Canadian Duvernay-Tardif’s HOF scrubs: Super Bowl champion and Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif says he is honoured to have his medical scrubs and lab coat on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The medical school graduate opted out of the 2020 NFL season to help on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. stocks retreated from record closing highs today, ending lower as surging COVID-19 cases, the growing threat of a fresh round of economic lockdowns and weak retail sales data dampened the euphoria caused by potential vaccine breakthroughs. But the TSX managed to end higher, helped along by the dividend-rich sectors of real estate, energy and financials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 167.09 points or 0.56 per cent to 29,783.35, the S&P 500 lost 17.38 points or 0.48 per cent to 3,609.53 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.79 points or 0.21% to 11,899.34.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 58.25 points or 0.34 per cent to 16,948.06.
If Canadians put their neighbours first, we can bend the curve
“In a free society, there is no way to police every person’s every move. The choice to take precautions to protect others, or to not, comes down to each one of us.” – Globe editorial
In a long line of presidential memoirs, Obama’s A Promised Land is masterpiece of introspection
“Though these volumes carry the caveat emptor that the presidents' descriptions of their crises, personal and political, are sanitized, they nonetheless offer intimate glimpses of the pressures and perspectives of power.” – David Shribman
If like many Canadians, you’ve been collecting travel reward points, you might be wondering what is the best strategy during pandemic times: save them up for when travel is more widely possible again, or cash them in for purchase now? It may come down to your financial situation. The good news is that even travel-focused loyalty programs have become more flexible in recent years, including Air Canada’s recently relaunched Aeroplan program.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Twenty minutes – and a lifetime – with Dolly Parton
She was exactly as you think she would be. Charming doesn’t begin to tell it.
Dolly Parton, who really does not need an introduction, is one of the few people actually worthy of the “iconic” descriptor. She is a country music star who became a mainstream superstar, having written some 3,000 songs – about 450 of which have been recorded. Amazingly, she thinks she may have written Jolene and I Will Always Love You – maybe two of the best songs known to woman – on the same day. In her new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, she focuses on that first love: songwriting.
It’s a talent that goes all the way back to when Parton, who turns 75 in January, was 5 or 6. Lately she’s been writing about – what else – the pandemic. She tells me about a song she composed early on during COVID-19, called When Life is Good Again. (“I’ll be a better friend, a better person, when life is good again.”) Read Marsha Lederman’s full story here.