Trump deflects blame for U.S. Capitol riot as U.S. House races to impeach
The U.S. House pressed forward toward impeaching Donald Trump for the deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to try to persuade his Vice-President to push him out first. Trump showed no remorse, blaming impeachment itself for the “tremendous anger” in America.
Three Republicans, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump.
The FBI has opened 160 case files in its investigation of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by rioters supporting Trump last week, the head of the agency’s Washington field office said yesterday. The assistant director in charge of the field office, Steven D’Antuono, told a media briefing that the FBI had received 100,000 videos and pictures as tips.
- Gary Mason: “Any potential Republican leader hoping to receive Mr. Trump’s blessing would have to mount their own campaign around the same brand of divisive, nativist, white-grievance politics for which the President became famous.”
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Ontario issues stay-at-home order
Ontario declared a second provincewide state of emergency yesterday and is issuing a new stay-at-home order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Doug Ford’s government introduced new measures to slow the progression of COVID-19 and a more contagious British variant, as well as increasing testing in manufacturing, schools and long-term care facilities.
The stay-at-home order, which takes effect tomorrow at 12:01 a.m., would require everyone to stay home except for essential reasons such as groceries, health care or exercise.
Among the new measures:
- Shopping hours would be restricted to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at non-essential businesses offering curbside pickup, including hardware stores and the LCBO.
- Grocery stores, big-box stores selling groceries, gas stations, pharmacies, and restaurants offering takeout and delivery can stay open later.
- All businesses must ensure that employees who can work from home do so.
In addition, the government is keeping schools in hotspot regions closed for an additional 2½ weeks, but leaving non-essential manufacturing untouched.
Meanwhile, the Ontario government is planning an “inspection blitz” over concerns of crowding at big-box stores that have been allowed to remain open to sell groceries. But industry groups say the province needs to overhaul its approach to retail stores to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government has reached a deal with Pfizer to receive an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this spring while provinces look at whether to stretch out the timeline between shots to give as many people a first injection as possible. With the arrival of additional doses in the spring, public health experts are looking at the case for vaccinating as many people as possible now.
Prime Minister Trudeau said yesterday the 20 million doses will arrive in April or May, meaning the country will now have 80 million doses of vaccines arriving this year. He reiterated that the government is on track to ensure every Canadian who wishes to receive a vaccine will be able to do so by September.
The cabinet shuffle
In a shuffle triggered by Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains’s decision to leave cabinet and not seek re-election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday changed the leadership of several senior portfolios including Global Affairs and Transport.
The cabinet shuffle sees Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne replace Bains, with Marc Garneau moving from Transport to Global Affairs.
Mississauga Centre MP Omar Alghabra has been promoted into cabinet to replace Garneau, and Jim Carr returns to cabinet as a minister without portfolio while continuing in his role as special representative for the Prairies. Carr left cabinet after the 2019 election because of a cancer diagnosis.
The Tuesday moves add fuel to speculation that the government is preparing for the next election campaign, even though the Liberals were re-elected with a minority mandate just over a year ago. Trudeau told reporters he is not seeking an election and would prefer to continue governing.
- Eric Atkins reports on the new Transport Minister Omar Alghabra who takes on portfolio at a time of crisis. He faces a daunting list of issues demanding his attention: negotiating with airlines and other aviation companies seeking financial aid, bringing order to the patchwork of COVID-19 testing at Canada’s major airports, and shepherding an imminent decision from cabinet on Air Canada’s takeover of Transat.
- Campbell Clark: “This wasn’t the big shuffle that might have been. Revamping the whole cabinet would have screamed that the Liberals are preparing for an election, and that would smack of political cynicism.”
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ireland publishes grim report on abuse, deaths at mother and baby homes
A new report has shed light on one of the most disturbing periods in Ireland’s relationship to the Catholic Church with revelations about how thousands of unwed mothers were mistreated by nuns and priests at more than a dozen “mother and baby homes” from 1922 to 1998.
Donald Trump’s biggest lender, Deutsche Bank, will reportedly no longer do business with him
The bank’s decision comes in the wake of Trump’s supporters’ assault on the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times reports. Deutsche Bank has about US$340-million in loans outstanding to the Trump Organization, the President’s umbrella group that is currently overseen by his two sons, according to Mr. Trump’s disclosures with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics dated July 31 last year, plus banking sources.
BlackBerry sells 90 patents to Huawei, covering key smartphone technology advances
While the sale is the latest step in BlackBerry chief executive officer John Chen’s multiyear efforts to refocus the company, it raises questions about the Canadian government’s commitment to protect key assets from falling into the hands of foreign companies, particularly those whose motives have raised alarms among Canada’s national security allies.
Air Canada cuts more routes amid lack of demand
Air Canada is set to suspend flights to more cities amid a lack of demand for air travel in the pandemic. By Jan. 23, Air Canada will cease flying to Prince Rupert, Kamloops, Fredericton, Yellowknife, and Gander and Goose Bay in Newfoundland.
Meng Wanzhou asks court to end requirement for security guards
Lawyers for the Huawei executive say her bail conditions should be eased and she should not have to be accompanied by guards when she goes out during the day to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus from the changing roster of personnel.
European markets waver: European shares sought direction and the U.S. dollar edged up on Wednesday, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell from 10-month highs, helped by policymakers pushing back against talk of the Fed tapering its support. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.29 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.34 per cent and 0.07 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.04 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished down 0.15 per cent. New York futures were treading water. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.53 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Doug Ford’s new pandemic plan has strong words – but weaker measures
Editorial: “Stemming the spread is being left largely in the hands of the province’s nearly 15 million residents. They have been given what is being presented as a stay-at-home order, but which is really more of a please-stay-at-home-if-and-when-you-can request.”
Science gave us excellent vaccines. Why bend the rules?
Alan Bernstein, André Veillette and Bartha Knoppers: “Strong ethical arguments can be made to vaccinate as many people as possible straight away, rather than leaving second doses in the freezer for the approved three or four weeks. But there are also strong ethical, political and scientific reasons why that would be a serious mistake.” Dr. Alan Bernstein, Dr. André Veillette and Prof. Bartha Knoppers are all members of Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
What Canadian theatre companies need to survive until reopening night in 2021 – and beyond
J. Kelly Nestruck reveals his findings after contacting leaders of more than a dozen theatre companies across the country to ask about their hopes for 2021. Responses show that the financial hit of the pandemic has been cruelly uneven – depending on how much of an annual budget comes from grants versus box office, or how much of last season had to be cancelled.
MOMENT IN TIME: JAN. 13, 1984
The Canadian Senate was 117 years old before a single Black member took a seat inside. On this day in 1984, Liberal prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau recommended Anne Cools, a Barbados-born social worker, take one of those coveted seats in the Red Chamber. Cools came from progressive, activist roots: She served four months in prison for her role in a 1969 protest against racism at what later became Concordia University and in 1974 she helped open one of Canada’s first shelters for women who were victims of domestic violence. More than her race, her controversial positions came to define her term, including her opposition to same-sex marriage and suggesting sexual misconduct was not an issue on Parliament Hill. A few months after her 1984 appointment, in a speech at an awards ceremony for Black Canadians, she described her new job as an honour for all Black Canadians, not just herself. In an interview in 2018, at the time of her retirement, she said of being the first Black senator (at which point there were two others), “There’s no value in being first. It’s just a historical fact. It happened.” – Dakshana Bascaramurty