All eyes are on vaccines.
Ottawa’s plans for a mass-vaccination campaign to start in April were thrown off when Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines sooner than expected, leaving the government scrambling to secure vaccines with little success.
At issue are the delivery schedules established before it was clear when an effective vaccine would be ready, a senior government official told The Globe.
Also, every vaccine maker Canada signed a contract with last summer was asked if they could make the doses in Canada, and they all said no.
- The union representing front-line RCMP officers asks for Mounties to get priority access to vaccination.
- On Bay Street, the sluggish vaccine rollout has done little to dampen the financial outlook, but further setbacks could delay the start of Canada’s recovery.
- Vaccine shortages have heightened tensions over B.C’s vaccine rollout plan overall, but especially for remote and isolated Indigenous communities that were promised priority access because they face higher health risks, and have greater barriers to health care. On top of that, a data report on the impact of systemic racism in health care was also released to show the disparity that has widened in the pandemic.
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Air Canada says no refunds until it receives bailout
An executive from Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, said it needs government aid before it can give refunds to customers whose flights were cancelled because of the pandemic. The airline has already refunded about $1.2-billion in fares, where required, but was unable to say how many tickets the non-refunded fares amount to.
As of Sept. 30, Air Canada had $2.3-billion in advance ticket sales. The company has collected almost $500-million in wage subsidies from the taxpayer-funded emergency program. Meanwhile, in response to new travel restrictions, the International Air Transport Association said global airlines are bracing for a slower recovery.
- Opinion: Ottawa wants airlines to give us refunds. Ten months after Air Canada cancelled my flight, I can’t even get my voucher
U.S. politics: vaccines, impeachment and more
A Pfizer plant in Michigan was supposed to help supply vaccines to Canada. But an exclusivity deal with the U.S. government guarantees that all of its American-made doses will stay in the country until Washington’s orders are filled, and it’s a policy President Joe Biden plans to uphold.
The White House’s continuing vaccine protectionism is just one cross-border frustration that has been indicative of the rockier-than-expected start to Canada’s relationship with the new U.S. President.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is refusing to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, which starts Feb. 9 after he was charged with inciting an insurrection.
And a voting-technology company is suing Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell over election-fraud claims.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Work-from-home tax-credit claims expected to cost Ottawa $260-million: The estimate by the PBO used a mix of labour-force data and historical tax records, and is $50-million higher than the federal government’s projection.
Myanmar’s junta blocks Facebook for opposition to coup: Military ruler General Min Aung Hlaing has moved quickly to consolidate his hold after overthrowing leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining her and allied politicians on Monday.
Quebec bets on wind, citing shift in cost of power: The provincial government announced that it is moving forward with a new $600-million wind-power development called Apuiat, a private project located near Port-Cartier owned 50-50 by Boralex Inc. and the Innu community.
Legislation could force Google, Facebook to pay for news content: Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says his department is studying options for a made-in-Canada formula for ensuring publishers are fairly compensated for the news they produce.
Global shares gain: Global shares approached record highs on Friday and the U.S. dollar headed for its best weekly gain in three months, as progress in vaccine distribution and U.S. stimulus hopes prompted bets on further normalization in the global economy. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.12 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.25 per cent and 0.99 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 1.54 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.60 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.20 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Canada’s tax-return system jeopardizes the privacy of millions of Canadians
Michael J.S. Beauvais: “We need solutions that go to the heart of the issue. All taxpayers are entitled to interact directly with the CRA as bona fide citizens.” Beauvais is a researcher at McGill University’s Centre of Genomics and Policy, where he specializes in data governance and privacy law.
The coup turns Myanmar’s fallen angel back into a freedom fighter
James Trottier: “It is now time for the world to demonstrate support for democracy in Myanmar once again, this time with the realization that its leaders are only human after all.” Trottier is a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a former career Canadian diplomat who served in Myanmar
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Why is it so hard to find plus-size vintage and second-hand clothes?
For all its benefits, second-hand clothing isn’t a one-size-fits-all sustainability solution – literally.
The usual rationale for this dearth of larger vintage pieces is that they’re simply harder for sellers to find, but sustainable fashion’s size issue isn’t limited to the vintage market. While there were relatively few companies that were manufacturing extended sizes prior to the 1980s, there also exists a “very big mentality of fatphobia in sustainability,” says Vancouver model and writer Lydia Okello.
MOMENT IN TIME: Feb. 5, 1857
Britain investigates what to do with HBC land
In 1857, the Hudson’s Bay Company sought a renewal of its exclusive trading licence in Rupert’s Land (all the land that drained into Hudson Bay). On this day in February, 1857, the British government used the opportunity to establish a House of Commons Select Committee “to consider the state of those British Possessions in North America … under the Administration of the Hudson’s Bay Company.” The committee deliberations – and the questions put to witnesses – largely revolved around the future of the region. The inquiry also prompted the Canadian Legislature to hold its own parallel investigation in the late spring of 1857. Two scientific expeditions – one British, the other Canadian – would also be dispatched to the Western interior in the late 1850s to determine the region’s agricultural potential. In the end, the committee renewed the HBC licence, but also recommended that it was “essential to meet the just and reasonable wishes of Canada” to provide for the annexation of territory one day. That time would come in 1869, when the young Dominion of Canada acquired a western empire that increased the country seven times in size. None of these decisions, however, involved the region’s Indigenous people. – Bill Waiser