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Ahead of his presidential inauguration, Joe Biden took time yesterday to mark the national tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed 400,000 American lives.

“To heal we must remember,” the incoming president told the country at a sunset ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Four hundred lights representing the pandemic’s victims were illuminated behind him around the monument’s Reflecting Pool.

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Beyond the pandemic, Biden will be forced to deal with other major problems when he takes over as president today. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to soaring unemployment and a struggling economy, there is deep political division and concerns about more violence from Trump supporters who refuse to accept that he lost the election.

Read more:

The people have spoken, again: How some Trump supporters changed their minds (or not) after four years of chaos

Editorial: Joe Biden, are you ever a sight for sore Canadian eyes

Explainer: Biden’s inauguration day: Here’s what we know about plans so far for security, public events and more

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden arrive for a COVID-19 memorial event at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

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Pfizer pushes for tax breaks in 2021 federal budget

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Pfizer Canada is urging the Liberal government to cut or freeze corporate taxes and approve targeted tax breaks in the 2021 federal budget, while also criticizing Canada’s efforts to reduce tax avoidance by global multinationals.

Economist Toby Sanger, executive director of the advocacy group Canadians for Tax Fairness, said the timing of the company’s requests is a concern.

“Their recommendations are pretty aggressive and they’re frankly a bit disturbing considering the context that we’re in,” he said. “What’s disturbing is that they’re pushing for these recommendations at a time when they basically hold the cure [to COVID-19].”

Read more:

Pfizer to stop all vaccine shipments to Canada for one week

Ontario vaccine task force member resigns after holiday travel

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How doctors in Quebec, Ontario will decide who gets care if coronavirus hospitalizations continue to surge

If the pandemic gets much worse in Canada’s hardest-hit provinces, grading systems developed by doctors and approved by provinces will help physicians decide who gets potential life-saving treatment and who does not.

Across the country, medical systems are already triaging tens of thousands of patients who need scheduled surgery but must wait as COVID-19 taxes resources. Intensive care triage is the next major step for hospital life-and-death decisions.

Read more:

Opinion: Rapid testing will help us turn the corner on COVID-19

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

Wattpad sold to South Korean internet giant Naver in US$660-million deal: South Korean internet giant Naver Corp. has struck a deal to buy Toronto’s Wattpad Corp., the latest in a string of international mergers and acquisitions involving Canadian technology companies.

High-wage jobs surge in recession ‘anomaly,’ report finds: The recovery of the Canadian labour market is playing out very differently from past recessions as high-wage jobs appear to be thriving in the pandemic, leading to worries of a growing income gap in the country.

Royal B.C. Museum seen by insiders as a ‘racist, anti-Indigenous’ space, according to survey: As a formal investigation continues into allegations of racism at the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives, a separate workplace culture survey conducted by a diversity and inclusion consultant has found that overall, “RBCM is a dysfunctional and ‘toxic’ workplace, characterized by a culture of fear and distrust.”


MORNING MARKETS

Global shares rise: World shares gained on Wednesday on expectations of hefty U.S. spending after U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to “act big” to save the economy and worry about debt later. Oil rose and the U.S. dollar slipped in response. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.14 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.68 per cent and 0.65 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.38 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.08 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.73 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Andrew Coyne: “Since the Capitol insurrection, the days when mainstream parties could flirt with these sentiments are over. If principle were not enough to persuade Conservatives of this, political calculation should: The public is in no mood for this sort of cynical gamesmanship. Defenestrating Mr. Sloan, then, is only the start. Conservatives need to make a firm break with extremism of any kind, together with the appeals to anger and resentment that inflame it.”

Gary Mason: “Where Mr. Kenney turns now is anyone’s guess. I would not be surprised to see him pivot toward more pipelines in Canada, perhaps putting pressure on the Prime Minister to revive the Energy East, even Northern Gateway, knowing full well Mr. Trudeau will champion neither. But at least it would allow Mr. Kenney to do what he’s done best since coming to office: blame Mr. Trudeau for any problem that has beset his province, while taking no responsibility at all for decisions he’s made contrary to Alberta’s vital interests.”

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TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

cartoon

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

The best new things to see and do in Canada in 2021

Postponed openings and tourism-revival efforts are combining to yield a bumper crop of new diversions across the country. Consider adding these to your travel calendar this year.


MOMENT IN TIME: JAN. 20, 1842

Charles Dickens, 1842 (graphite on paper heightened with chalk) by Count Alfred D'Orsay.

Charles Dickens Museum / Bridgeman Images

Charles Dickens attends Nova Scotia Legislature

Charles Dickens stepped off the steamer Britannia at Halifax with great expectations and saw “a curiosity of ugly dulness.” Nevertheless, the then-29-year-old English writer of Oliver Twist would add: “But I carried away with me a most pleasant impression of the town and its inhabitants.” The short visit, after an arduous transatlantic journey, kicked off a six-month tour of the United States and Canada that Dickens would chronicle in American Notes for General Circulation. He travelled with his wife, Catherine, leaving four children under the age of 5 with friends. He came away from the trip with unfavourable views of the American press, tobacco spitting and slavery. But such opinions were not formed in Halifax. On this date in 1842, Dickens attended the opening of the Nova Scotia Legislature, which he described as “looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a telescope.” He also took in the Speech from the Throne, which was “manfully” delivered. “The Government party said there never was such a good speech; the opposition declared there never was such a bad one.” Dickens noted the hilltop fortress, cheap provisions and mild weather. He found “the whole aspect of the town cheerful, thriving, and industrious.” Joy Yokoyama

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