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Alberta’s top health official says the fourth wave of COVID-19 that has swamped intensive-care units and forced the widespread cancellations of surgeries was set in motion when the province dropped all public-health restrictions over the summer.

Deena Hinshaw, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, also said she regretted her announcement in late July that the province would treat COVID-19 as an “endemic” respiratory illness like influenza. She said it wrongly gave some people the impression that the pandemic was over, which she added has made it more difficult to make the case for additional public-health measures.

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More:

Toronto public-school teachers, staff could lose job if not fully vaccinated

Ontario’s vaccine passport has loopholes, potential for fraud, critics say

British PM Boris Johnson ditches vaccine passports and face mask rules ahead of winter

Crowds of people gather near the food trucks at the Calgary Stampede on July 10, 2021. Leah Hennel / Globe and Mail

Leah Hennel/The Globe and Mail

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Trudeau warns progressives to vote Liberal to ward off Conservatives

Justin Trudeau appeared alongside the former leader of British Columbia’s Green Party on Tuesday to make a final attempt at appealing to progressive voters, arguing that the Liberals are the only party that can stop the Conservatives as election day draws near.

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Meanwhile, Erin O’Toole sent a letter to Quebec Premier François Legault in an effort to ease concerns about the Conservative Party’s child care plan, as the Tory Leader looks to court Quebec voters.

With six days to go before the Sept. 20 vote, the two front-runners are trying to solidify support.

More election coverage:

Konrad Yakabuski: NDP, Liberals and Tories are all peddling fiscal fantasies

John Ibbitson: The People’s Party is far outside the mainstream of Canadian politics, but it deserves representation

Gary Mason: Maxime Bernier’s disgraceful election campaign

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The Decibel podcast: What’s behind the recent protests at hospitals

In North American first, Vancouver clinic lets patients take heroin home

A Vancouver clinic that prescribes medical-grade heroin to treat opioid addiction is allowing some patients to take home doses – a small but significant step in a province that is cautiously opening the door to a safer drug supply.

During the pandemic, staff began delivering a day’s worth of syringes to some patients. By July, about a dozen patients were permitted to visit the clinic for their first dose of heroin and take the remaining one or two home.

The move comes as British Columbia prepares to implement a provincewide directive to provide pharmaceutical alternatives to toxic street drugs.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Trudeau says he played no role in Chinese memoir deal: The Conservative Party is asking Canada’s federal ethics watchdog to reveal whether he scrutinized a 2016 deal in which a Chinese state-owned publishing house republished Justin Trudeau’s memoir under the title The Legend Continues. On the campaign trail yesterday, Trudeau distanced himself from the book deal and declined to explicitly say whether the Ethics Commissioner approved it.

Western students to stage walkout after alleged assaults on campus: Students at the University of Western Ontario plan to walk out of class Friday to protest what they describe as a harmful campus culture, following allegations that young women were drugged and sexually assaulted at a campus residence last week.

Herron long-term care residents died of thirst, malnourishment: COVID-19 was repeatedly cited as a cause of death at the Herron nursing home to obscure the fact that dozens of elderly residents died from thirst, malnourishment and neglect, a Quebec coroner’s inquest heard yesterday.

British government struggles to deal with arriving migrants: John Tart has spent most of his 71 years fishing and managing a lighthouse along a windswept beach on England’s south coast. This summer he has seen something new on the water that has left him shaking his head: dinghies and rickety boats filled with people from war-ravaged countries making their way across the English Channel.

Comedian Norm Macdonald dies at 61: And just like that, the funniest man alive is dead. Quebec City-born comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member Norm Macdonald died yesterday after a long, private battle with cancer. He was 61 years old.


MORNING MARKETS

Recovery concerns weigh on world markets: Global stocks eased on Wednesday as weaker-than-expected Chinese data cast a pall over economic recovery. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.05 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were down 0.10 per cent and 0.30 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.52 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.84 per cent. New York futures were firmer. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.93 US cents.

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WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Rob Carrick: “A lot of personal finance is warning people about risk, and no risk has been talked about more in the past dozen or so years than rising interest rates. Also, no risk has been more overblown.”

Erna Paris: “It is for this reason that the sycophantic acceptance of discriminatory legislation in Quebec is dangerous for Canada as a whole. When our leaders trade foundational principles for electoral purposes, they undermine the country at large.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Six destinations for electric bike tours across Canada

A pandemic-fuelled sales boom is prompting new electric bike trails across Canada. These zero-emission rides are popular with travellers because they can cover greater distances than would be possible on foot or on conventional bikes, and a growing number of Canadian hotels and resorts are getting in on the trend. Here are six destinations for electric bike tours across the country.


MOMENT IN TIME: SEPTEMBER 15, 1835

Giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands which were observed by Charles Darwin in 1835. In foreground are two Finches, another group of Galapagos fauna of which Darwin made a particular study and contributed to his theory of evolution.

Universal History Archive/UIG / Bridgeman Images

Charles Darwin reaches the Galapagos Islands

Charles Darwin was 22 when he boarded the HMS Beagle and departed from Plymouth, England, on a surveying expedition of South America. He was 26 when the Beagle arrived at the Galapagos Islands on this day in 1835. Darwin had joined the expedition as a naturalist, and in a letter to a colleague prior to leaving had said how interested he was in “having a good look at an active volcano.” But upon arrival at the Galapagos, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, his interest quickly shifted to the islands’ flora and fauna. Over the course of 35 days, as Captain Robert FitzRoy charted the shorelines, the young naturalist jotted down observations and collected as many species as possible, including his famous finches. He also noticed that birds and giant tortoises of the same species on different islands had distinct characteristics, which set in motion Darwin’s thinking about natural selection and led to his On The Origin of Species, published in 1859. There was no great moment of intellectual insight during the expedition for the young Darwin, but without that trip he likely never would have come up with his theory of evolution and changed the world forever. Dave McGinn

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