Where just two weeks earlier a violent mob tried to stop the certification of his election victory, Joe Biden took the oath of office yesterday at the U.S. Capitol and urged Americans to put aside their differences to confront the challenges of COVID-19, climate change and racism.
“We face an attack on our democracy and on truth. A raging virus, growing inequality, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world,” Biden said in his inauguration speech. “We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.”
Determined to slam the door shut on the era of Donald Trump, the new president swiftly moved to roll back his predecessor’s legacy. At the White House later, Biden signed 15 executive actions, which included bringing the country back into the Paris climate accord, ending construction on the wall along the Mexican border and restoring legal protections for some undocumented immigrants, and cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline.
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Biden revokes Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in White House
Within hours of taking office yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, ending a controversial project that had been on and off for more than 12 years.
The decision was met with disappointment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who will speak to Biden on Friday about Keystone and other issues.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the move by the U.S. President “a gut-punch for the Canadian and Alberta economies,” and urged Ottawa to impose significant trade and economic sanctions on the United States.
Unidentified COVID-19 variant found in severe Ontario long-term care outbreak
An unidentified variant of COVID-19 is the cause of a devastating outbreak that has torn through an Ontario long-term care home in a matter of days, killing 19 and infecting nearly every single resident, health authorities say.
It would be the first time a highly contagious variant has found its way into a long-term care home in Canada – a sector that has been hard hit by the coronavirus.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Tory MPs oust Derek Sloan from caucus: Conservative MPs voted yesterday to remove Derek Sloan from caucus after it was revealed that he accepted a donation from a known white supremacist during his leadership campaign.
CFIB raises forecast of how many small businesses may vanish: The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that new restrictions and lockdowns will force many entrepreneurs to simply give up and warns that more than 239,000 small businesses could disappear because of the pandemic.
CRA now says grant money for artists counts as income to qualify for emergency benefits: The Canada Revenue Agency is backtracking on its message to artists that grants cannot be used as income in the calculation of eligibility for emergency coronavirus benefits.
Global shares gain on U.S. stimulus hopes: World stocks racked up record highs on Thursday and the U.S. dollar fell, as investors bet major stimulus from new U.S. President Joe Biden and unswerving global central bank support would cushion the coronavirus’s economic damage. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.10 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.39 per cent. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.19 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.82 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.12 per cent. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.21 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Konrad Yakabuski: “Securing the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines fast enough to make a difference is not a partisan issue. It is a life-or-death imperative. Mr. Trudeau should be on the phone day and night to [Pfizer chief executive officer Albert] Bourla and anyone else in a position to fix this problem. That is his job.”
David Parkinson: “The Bank of Canada’s update of its economic and policy outlook is a remarkably upbeat document. Everywhere except on the bank’s policy bottom line.”
André Pratte: “The effects of the positive press that U.S. corporations have gotten after their distancing from Donald Trump will soon dissipate, and the wind could turn if the lofty assertions are not followed by new, principled policies regarding political donations. The best way to design such policies is to let the companies’ purpose serve as a guide. But to achieve that, of course, you need to know what your purpose is.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Bob Blumer’s creamy carbonara recipe is influenced by the tricks he’s learned from chefs around the world
Cookbook author and TV food personality Bob Blumer is a culinary boundary-pusher. He’s pouring all his knowledge into his seventh cookbook, Flavorbomb: A Rogue Guide to Making Everything Taste Better. It’s a how-to guide that is heavy on the chutzpah, fun to read and full of the helpful hints he’s picked up over the past 25 years.
MOMENT IN TIME: JAN. 21, 1983
Canadian Opera Company introduces world’s first supertitles
Opera was once a popular entertainment, but by the late 20th century it had drifted almost to the fringe – truly loved by a relative few, patronized by those who could afford a ticket and who liked to see and be seen, surviving on philanthropy and taxpayer subsidies. Part of the problem in Britain and North America was that most operas are in Italian or German, so few in the audience really knew what was going on. And then, on this day in 1983, for Richard Strauss’s Elektra, the Canadian Opera Company offered a world first: English translation in the form of supertitles, as they’re now called, projected over the stage. Soon opera companies around the world were copying the COC. The bad news was that audiences got to see just how foolish most opera plots truly are: filled with jealous gods and consumptive heroines and ridiculous mistaken identities. But people didn’t seem to mind. Lately, opera has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance, as the Metropolitan Opera and others beam performances (pandemic permitting) into movie theatres around the world, where people can watch the highest-quality productions of operas old and new at a reasonable cost – with translations, of course. John Ibbitson