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Hello,

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep through the world, it was hard to imagine that people would be able to stay home en masse from school, workplaces and other spots where we used to gather in the Before Times. And yet so many of us did: those of us who could worked from home, took care of our children for weeks at home, and ventured out of home only for essentials like food. These measures, and others like mask-wearing recommended by public-health officials, put a damper on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Six months on, as we begin a second wave, enthusiasm for self-isolation is beginning to wane ever so slightly.

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A new Nanos Research poll indicates that 79 per cent of Canadians say they are coping very or somewhat well with self-isolation, 11 per cent are not and 9 per cent are not self-isolating at all. That is high, but down slightly from April, when 89 per cent said they were coping well.

(The respondents were asked about self-isolation outside the context of going to work or travelling to buy essentials. Nanos polled 1,003 Canadian adults between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4 with a phone-online hybrid survey. There’s a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.)

In recent days, public-health officials and politicians say they recognize that people are getting tired of the measures necessary to slow the spread of the virus. But we are still in this fight for some time to come.

“People I think just have to start realizing it’s serious,” deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo said at a briefing yesterday. “We talked about young people but it’s people of all ages I think that everyone needs to reinforce what they do. Yeah, unfortunately, we’re all suffering from COVID fatigue and we’re now coming into winter.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Businesspeople from Canada and China at a Beijing dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries applauded when a senior Chinese official demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, but stayed silent when Canadian officials asked for an end to the arbitrary detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is the former Conservative government that is to blame for problems at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Doctors say the Liberals didn’t do anything to address the problems since they were elected in 2015, however.

Canadians want federally funded pharmacare and daycare, and are generally okay with the big pandemic spending, according to a new Nanos poll.

The federal government is reminding seniors to fill out their taxes so they can continue to receive benefits.

The Senate is paying out nearly half a million dollars to the staff of former senator Don Meredith because of allegations of workplace harassment.

Maxime Bernier, former Conservative cabinet minister and current leader of the right-wing People’s Party of Canada, says his longshot run in a Toronto by-election this month is about making sure people know his party exists. The People’s Party was formed in 2018 after Mr. Bernier left the Conservatives, and failed to win any seats in the last election. However, the party has pulled in enough in donations to pay the salaries of Mr. Bernier and six other staffers.

Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, said the recent death of an Indigenous woman in a Quebec hospital is just one example of a “consistent theme” of racism in Canada’s healthcare sector.

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A letter purportedly from the Nova Scotia government warning some residents of wolves on the loose was, it turns out, forged by a group of Canadian military personnel. The Department of National Defence said the letter was from a propaganda training mission and wasn’t meant to be publicly released. The department said it is investigating.

And B.C. party leaders had their debate last night. The biggest stumble of the evening was when moderator Shachi Kurl asked how the leaders (who are all white) had reckoned with their own privilege. B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan said he “didn’t see colour" growing up, but clarified after the debate that he misspoke and meant to highlight his experience growing up poor.

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S. election and the arguments for electoral reform: “Suppose we elected, not one member of Parliament for every riding, winner-take-all, but several, each party represented in rough proportion to its share of the vote in that riding. The effect would again be transformative. Imagine if the Liberals could no longer afford to ignore the West, as at present, both because there were seats to be won there and because they could no longer count on sewing up a majority by the time the votes were counted in Ontario and Quebec.”

Globe and Mail editorial board on why the federal government should ban handguns, not leave it up to cities: “Handguns, just like high-powered semi-automatic rifles, have no legitimate civilian use. You can’t hunt with a handgun; that’s forbidden. Except for very rare cases, you can’t carry one for protection. Their only legal use is target shooting at a licensed facility, a niche pastime. At the same time, they are the bane of major cities.”

Bharat Masrani (The Globe and Mail) on why charities need more support during the pandemic: “It is clear our communities need help today, but existing support systems are stretched thin as the non-profit sector tries to respond to overwhelming demand with diminished funding. Imagine Canada reports that charities are experiencing significant declines in revenue as well as challenges in engaging volunteers to support their activities. According to the sector, government programs have provided some critical relief, but the situation remains worrisome, and the need has never been greater.”

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston (Postmedia) on Canada-China relations: "The government’s new China Framework being developed under [Foreign Affairs Minister] Champagne’s direction should take into account the more aggressive China that Canada and other nations are now seeing. It should diversify away from China to other nations in the Indo-Pacific in trade, investment, population health, cultural exchange, education and security. We should pass foreign interference laws, revisit our Foreign Investment Protection Agreement with China, review Chinese collaborations in our universities, and ban Chinese companies from our telecommunications infrastructure. The softly-softly strategy clearly has not worked.

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