Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Bloc said in a statement this morning that Mr. Blanchet would continue to isolate at his home in Shawinigan, Que., until Sept. 26.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his family were tested yesterday after one of his staff contracted COVID-19. His test result has not yet been made public.
Parliament is scheduled to come back on Wednesday with a Speech from the Throne. MPs have not decided yet how much of the House of Commons activity will be in-person or virtual.
When asked today if Ottawa was already in its second wave of COVID-19 spread, the city’s medical officer of health, Vera Etches, had this to say: “Yes.”
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.
The Canadian government says it has abandoned its hopes of a free-trade deal with China. “The China of 2020 is not the China of 2016,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told The Globe.
A group of more than 100 former Canadian diplomats is urging the government to end the extradition hearings against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to try to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were imprisoned in China in retaliation.
The Liberal government has set Oct. 26 as the date for by-elections in two Toronto-area ridings. The party has recruited Marci Ien (on leave from her job as a CTV host) to run in Toronto Centre, the former riding of Bill Morneau.
Film and television producers say they need the government’s help to get COVID-19 insurance to allow filming to go ahead on $1-billion worth of projects.
Carolyn Wilkins, the highest-ranking woman in the Bank of Canada’s history, says she will leave her job as deputy governor at the end of her term next spring.
And the federal Liberal government once identified the debt-to-GDP ratio as their fiscal anchor when they made budgets, but that was cast off during the pandemic. Experts suggest the government find a new anchor to reassure markets, with options ranging from a balanced budget to debt-servicing costs.
Globe and Mail editorial board on the lack of COVID-19 testing capability: “Over and over this year, political leaders have claimed that testing is a priority. But while the daily number of tests shot up in the spring, when governments were under pressure, it has stagnated across the country since July, and politicians have been too complacent about building more capacity. And now their complacency has caught up with them – and with the Canadian people."
Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on the second wave: “The carefree days of summer allowed us to once more enjoy getting together with friends in parks, on patios or for backyard barbecues. We were able to do this without nudging the COVID-19 case count into the danger zone. But somewhere along the way we got a bit lax. Our social bubbles expanded. Caution gave way to revelry. And now we’re all paying the price.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole oil-and-gas policy: “Mr. O’Toole has long sold himself as a strong proponent of the sector. But there are early signs of how difficult it will be to balance the expectations in a massive country where energy and environmental policies often collide, where Conservative support is concentrated on the Prairies, but the most votes are to be found in Central Canada. Mr. O’Toole needs support in riding-rich Quebec, or a collapse of support for the federal Liberals there, to help him have a chance at forming the next government.”
Doug Saunders (The Globe and Mail) on O’Toole’s foreign policy: “There’s a sense, often well-justified, that Mr. Trudeau has been slow to reflect those views and impose countermeasures against China while providing more overt support for dissidents. That gives the Tories an opening, for the first time in a while. The last time they were in power, they were accused by China experts of being obsequious toward China’s communist regime. Mr. O’Toole clearly wanted a break from that image.”
Sean Speer (National Post) on O’Toole’s future policy: “O’Toole’s realignment strategy currently lacks such a picture of the future. That may be defensible in the immediacy of the COVID-19 crisis. But if he’s to galvanize working-class voters (including those who didn’t cast a ballot in 2019), he will eventually need to put forward a positive conservative futurism that speaks to the public’s elusive search for renewed optimism.”