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Alberta expects to eliminate the vast majority of public-health restrictions by the end of June, making its revised reopening schedule the most aggressive in the country.

Premier Jason Kenney introduced a phased plan yesterday that culminates in lifting all COVID-19 measures, including a provincewide mask mandate, limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings and constraints on businesses, two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans receive at least one dose of vaccine. This could happen as early as June 28 based on current bookings, he said.

Kenney’s strategy clears the way for the Calgary Stampede to proceed in July unencumbered; Alberta’s marquee event had become a central focus as the government developed its reopening measures. The plan will also pacify critics in the Premier’s own party who pushed back against restrictions, even as Alberta’s intensive-care units overflowed and new daily cases skyrocketed.

Read more:

Ontario students, teachers grapple with uncertainty about return to classrooms as end of school year nears

Ombudsmen from across Canada warn provinces of domestic vaccine passport pitfalls

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Calgary Stampede volunteer Lisa Douglas handed out food boxes during a drive-thru pancake breakfast in Calgary last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshJeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

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Health agency wasn’t ready for pandemic PPE demand: auditor-general report

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment was woefully inadequate to meet the needs of provinces and territories at the start of the pandemic because the agency ignored problems it was aware of for years, the federal Auditor-General found.

Karen Hogan’s report on Wednesday said the agency did not address issues raised in a series of its own internal audits. The result was that PHAC did not have reliable information about how much personal protective equipment, or PPE, was in its stockpile, relied on old policies with outdated information and did not have a benchmark for how much of the critical equipment it should have stocked.

Big Oil loses carbon-emissions showdown in landmark case

The simmering tension between Big Oil and the fight against climate change came to a boil yesterday.

Three of the industry’s biggest names, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., tried to face down shareholders and the courts, and were pushed by both to do more to limit carbon emissions. A fourth, Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc., announced a long-awaited target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 that put the oil-sands producer’s ambition in line with Canada’s commitment under the Paris Agreement.

Investors and the general public have demanded that the oil industry put its considerable weight behind the effort to limit the rise in global temperatures. Shareholders – including the world’s largest fund managers – are also forcing companies to account for, and deal with, the risks they face in the global transition to cleaner energy sources.

More: Canada’s biggest pension managers boost investments in high-carbon oil sands

The Decibel: The quest for police reform

In today’s The Decibel podcast, host Tamara Khandaker speaks to U.S. correspondent Adrian Morrow about what progress has been made on changes to reform standards of policing a year after George Floyd’s death and how movement on one specific issue – qualified immunity – has drawn both controversy and commendation.

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Roman Protasevich knows what life is like for those who oppose the Lukashenko regime: The first time Roman Protasevich was arrested, he was 17 years old. He had caught the attention of Belarusian secret police, who discovered he was the source of a social-media page simply titled: “We are sick of this Lukashenko.” As a minor, he was released after just a few hours. But not before he learned what life is like for those who oppose the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

Opinion: Belarus’s brazen interception of the Ryanair flight sets a terrible precedent

Canada plans to land a rover on the moon: The Canadian Space Agency says it plans to land an unmanned robotic vehicle that will aim to gather imagery and measurements on the moon’s cratered surface in the next five years.

Amazon snaps up MGM as streaming war heats up: Inc. will buy MGM, the fabled U.S. movie studio home to the James Bond franchise, for US$8.45-billion, giving it a huge library of films and TV shows and ramping up competition with streaming rivals led by Netflix and Disney+.

Ron MacLean apologizes for controversial comment: Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean apologized yesterday on Twitter after making a comment during an intermission of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens game Tuesday night that many said was homophobic.

Author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar dies at 91: Eric Carle, the beloved children’s author and illustrator whose classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other works gave millions of kids some of their earliest and most cherished literary memories, has died at age 91.


World stocks in check: World stocks were pinned down on Thursday as investors awaited U.S. data expected to offer clues on inflation, with further pressures widely seen as sparking a scaling back of central banks’ giant stimulus packages. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat. Germany’s DAX slid 0.40 per cent. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.33 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.33 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.18 per cent. New York futures were little changed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 82.58 US cents.


Konrad Yakabuski: “Mr. Trudeau, once an outspoken defender of his father’s federalist vision, now prefers to fudge his views on Quebec and the Constitution. It may come back to haunt him, and the country.”

David Parkinson: “Young women, already embracing education as their best economic option, were forced by the unequal nature of the pandemic to raise their bet. Young men need to follow their lead, or growing numbers of them risk being left on the margins.”

Robert McLister: “Know your limit and buy within it. Nothing haunts you like the house you didn’t get, some realtors like to say. But let me tell you, buyer’s remorse is pretty haunting in its own right.”


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Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Pandemic-stressed city dwellers find solace in hiking

For many Canadians who feel trapped in the city during the pandemic, hiking has become a source of stress relief. In 2020, Ontario Parks reported a record-breaking year of 11 million visits, which includes both camping and hiking stays – an increase of 100,000 visits compared with 2019. For those new to hiking, here are some tips to get started.


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Steamboat Maid of the Mist at dock near the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, on the Niagara River, near Niagara Falls, c. 1898/1899.Library of Congress

The first Maid of the Mist launches

In the early 19th century, a flood of commuters would cross the roaring Niagara River in rowboats. On this day in 1846, the Niagara Falls Ferry Association launched the Maid of the Mist as a safer alternative to carry passengers, baggage and mail between the Canadian and American sides of the river. The first of the Maids was a “clumsy steamship,” according to the Niagara Falls Museum, and was soon turned into a sightseeing vessel after a suspension bridge connecting Ontario to New York over the Whirlpool Rapids opened in 1848. The ship ambled from the Canadian dock up the dark-green river, close to Horseshoe Falls, noted a Globe and Mail article from August of that year. To accommodate tourists’ interest in the Falls, the second Maid of the Mist, a 22-metre-long paddle wheeler, was launched on July 14, 1854. Cloaked in coats and caps, passengers were taken to the base of Horseshoe Falls by Captain Joel Robinson, who would later become the first sailor to successfully cross the Great Gorge, Whirlpool and Lower Rapids, on June 6, 1861. The 11th Maid of the Mist, confusingly named Maid of the Mist VII, currently roams the waters of Niagara Falls. Nicole Brownlee

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