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Hello,

The Atlantic bubble has burst, at least temporarily.

Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced today they have withdrawn from the four-province compact because of rising case counts of COVID-19.

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The numbers in those provinces still pale in comparison to the rest of the country, however. (See the latest stats.)

New lockdown measures took effect today in Toronto and nearby Peel region. Independent stores are worrying for their future if they miss out on the annual holiday-shopping boom. The federal government’s new rent-relief program will finally start taking applications today, but advocates warn the design of the program still leaves many gaps.

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

A new vaccine has appeared: AstraZeneca and Oxford University say their COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 90 per cent effective (depending on the dosing) and can be manufactured at larger volumes more quickly than previously announced rivals.

The Canadian government has not yet made a decision about allowing Chinese telecom giant Huawei into the country’s 5G mobile network, but a third major teleco – Telus – says it will use other suppliers instead.

Canada and Britain have signed an interim trade deal to take effect Jan. 1, when Britain leaves the European Union. The agreement essentially continues provisions of the Canada-EU deal, and officials promised further negotiations in the future.

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Longtime Conservative MP Peter Kent won’t run in the next election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have had meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the last 48 hours.

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has named new appointees to his incoming cabinet, including long-time aide Antony Blinken as his Secretary of State.

And the World Meteorological Organization says it expects the quantity of greenhouse-gas emissions to drop slightly this year due to COVID-19′s effect on human activities, but that the dip is likely to remain within the normal yearly variation.

Lauren Dobson-Hughes (The Globe and Mail) on how political leaders have squandered the last few months: “Across the country, governments failed to invest enough resources in test, trace and isolate systems. In most provinces, they did not make timely investments in school ventilation or hire more teachers, or prepare the restaurant industry for prolonged winter closing, or shut down workplaces that exposed minimum-wage workers to infection, or hire more long-term care home workers.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the slow pace of providing safe water to First Nations: “Justin Trudeau was 24 when Neskantaga residents started having to boil their water. He was 43 in 2015 when he promised to eliminate all long-term boil-water advisories in First Nation communities by the end of March, 2021. He’s 48 now, and Neskantaga First Nation still has a boil-water advisory.”

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Rick Smith (The Globe and Mail) on why the Conservatives should support the Liberals’ climate bill: “All over the world, Conservative parties are now leading the climate change debate and, more specifically, creating impressive road maps to achieve measurable climate progress by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta’s place in meeting national net-zero emission targets: “A major part of the disconnect is Canada’s oil industry is so regional. Canada produces 5 per cent of global oil production, and crude is the country’s single biggest export. But these economic facts probably don’t feel real to many people in Montreal or Kingston or B.C.’s Lower Mainland – places where you’re not likely to feel the sting of a relative being laid off at an oilfield service company. Likewise, looking to hydro-produced electricity or an appreciation in residential real estate prices to aid in the generation of wealth are, right now, alien concepts to Albertans.”

Derek H. Burney (National Post) on whether the Biden administration should re-enter the Iran deal: “In reality, a bad deal is worse than no deal and the JCPOA was a bad deal. If you persist in pumping air into a tire full of holes, you are unlikely to generate traction. That is the real dilemma posed by Iran’s agreement to a temporary pause.”

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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