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Canada is reimposing its requirement that Canadians and permanent residents who travel abroad for less than 72 hours obtain a negative COVID-19 test before returning home.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement at a news conference in Ottawa Friday morning. Travellers will be required to take the test in a country other than Canada. The rule will take effect on Dec. 21. The requirement was just dropped in November after criticism from business, tourism and travel groups.

Mr. Duclos also said Canada is lifting its widely criticized travel ban on 10 African countries, effective Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 10-country ban was introduced when the Omicron variant was first detected but kept in place after community spread was under way in Canada.

Canada first imposed the restriction on travellers from seven African countries on Nov. 26 and then expanded it to 10 countries on Nov. 30: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt. Parliamentary reporter, Marieke Walsh, has more details on the announcements here.

At the provincial level, Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet is set to meet Friday afternoon to discuss potential new COVID-19 measures, followed by a news conference at 3:30 p.m. B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix will also provide an update at 1 p.m.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. 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

CALL FOR AFGHAN AID - The founder and managing partner of a Kabul law firm that spent years working for Canada’s embassy in Afghanistan says many of his colleagues were left behind and are in hiding, so he is urging the federal government to quickly bring them to Canada. Story here.

SENATE APPROVES PANDEMIC AID - The Senate gave quick approval Thursday to a new round of pandemic aid after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a pre-Christmas plea to rubber-stamp the help and promised that benefits would flow quickly to businesses and workers in need. Story here.

TRUDEAU ON MILITARY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wishes he “could have done more” when it came to the sexual misconduct crisis in the Canadian Armed Forces. In a year-end interview, Mr. Trudeau suggested the “top levels of the military” insisted there was no problem in the military. Story here from Global News.

QUEBEC MINISTER HAS COVID-19 - Quebec’s Education Minister has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a social-media post that he will “obviously” be in isolation until Dec. 25 based on recommendations from public health. Story here from CTV.

MANITOBA MINISTER DEFENDS VACCINATION PRIVACY - A Manitoba cabinet minister says his decision to keep his vaccination status private is a civil liberty that must be protected. Story here from CBC.

VANCOUVER MAYOR STARTING A PARTY - Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, a former NDP MP, has decided to form a new civic party after being elected as the city’s first independent mayor in a generation. Mr. Stewart is seeking a second term next year. Story here from The Vancouver Sun.

THIS AND THAT

DOMINIC BARTON IN RUNNING TO LEAD RIO TINTO - Canada’s departing Ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, is a front-runner to be the next chair of global mining company Rio Tinto, according to a story from the Financial Post. Mr. Barton was named Canada’s envoy to China in 2019 and helped secure the release of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese prison.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TABLED IN SENATE - Independent Senator Brent Cotter tabled a motion in the Senate Thursday proposing an end to 140-year-old tax exemptions for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The exemption was put in place as a subsidy to help the CPR build its mainline across Western Canada in the 1880s. However, Mr. Cotter says the continuation of the tax exemption 140 years later is unfair to Saskatchewan taxpayers. The Saskatchewan Legislature passed a similar motion in November.

PARENTAL BEREAVEMENT LEAVE LEGISLATION - Parliament passed legislation Thursday extending unpaid bereavement leave to eight weeks for parents who have experienced a stillbirth, the death of a child under the age of 18 or the death of a disabled child. The private member’s bill was tabled by Conservative MP Tom Kmiec, whose daughter, Lucy-Rose, died in August, 2018, just 39 days after birth. “This legislation is a positive change for these families and is a compassionate bill that supports parents during unexpected times when they need help the most,” Mr. Kmiec said in a statement.

PC PARTY CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR SLAPS LAWSUIT AGAINST FORD ALLY - Kory Teneycke, Ontario Progressive Conservative Party campaign director, has launched a lawsuit against Premier Doug Ford’s former ally Charles McVety. A report from Politics Today said Mr. ⁦Teneycke and his lobbying firm, Rubicon Strategy, are suing Mr. McVety for defamation, alleging the outspoken conservative activist has tried to impugn his integrity, embarrass him and lower his professional and personal reputation.

DURHAM PC CANDIDATE DECLARED - Whitby, Ont. lawyer Todd McCarthy will run as the Progressive Conservative candidate for Durham in next year’s Ontario election. He takes the spot of former MPP Lindsey Park, who quit the PC caucus over being unvaccinated. You can read the news release on his candidacy here.

BERNIER PRESS CONFERENCE - People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier will hold a year-end news conference today at party headquarters in Ottawa.

JOURNALIST LINA DIB LEAVING THE HILL - Veteran reporter Lina Dib of La Press Canadienne is leaving Parliament Hill after 25 years. In an e-mail to the Parliamentary Press Gallery members, Ms. Dib said it was a privilege and a “blast” to witness history being made every day on the Hill. “This French lady is going home,” she wrote.

COMMONS ON A BREAK - The House of Commons has adjourned until Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, at 11 am ET.

THE DECIBEL - In today’s edition of the Globe and Mail podcast, Arts editor Judith Pereira and Western Arts Correspondent Marsha Lederman discuss the book trends this year, the silver lining of the pandemic’s effect on independent booksellers, and what you should cozy up and read. You can turn the page, and find the Decibel here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings in Montreal.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

No schedule released for the Deputy Prime Minister.

LEADERS

No schedules released for the party leaders.

OPINION

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on how, as 2021 draws to a close, the work of truth and reconciliation has hardly begun: “After a nearly 15-year-long battle over the structural and discriminatory underfunding of services for Indigenous kids in care, the federal government announced that it was earmarking $40-billion for a settlement in the case. But this money – half of which would compensate First Nations children and families whose lives were destroyed by child welfare, and half of which would aim to repair the system – did not come about because bureaucrats studied the first five Calls to Action and suddenly decided to act. As Dr. Jewell says, this “isn’t a gift – it was an order,” compelled by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and upheld by the Federal Court. That order called for Ottawa to pay $40,000 to each First Nations child (along with their primary guardian) who had been in the on-reserve child welfare system since 2006.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) questioning the point of the fiscal and economic update: “Fiscal statements, like budgets, are supposed to be moments of transparency, when the government shares with the public the state of the country’s finances, together with its plans for taxing and spending. They have instead become occasions for the worst sort of opacity, if not outright deceit, leaving Canadians to guess, perhaps with the help of a forensic accountant, what the government is doing with their money.”

Murray Mandryk (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on Scott Moe’s possible pragmatic reasons for roaming with the Buffalo: Politicians’ tug-o-wars between their philosophical beliefs and their more pragmatic ones might be slightly more complex than some think. Consider Premier Scott Moe’s own battle, raging since the Oct. 26, 2020 election night when he appealed to voters drifting toward the independently minded Buffalo Party — the group formerly known as the Wexit separatist movement that has yet to pose a serious threat to any Saskatchewan Party MLAs. Moe told a province-wide audience that night that he heard the Buffalo Party supporters’ frustrations, shared some of their objectives and vowed to “represent everyone in Saskatchewan” when it came to “some challenges with some of the initiatives that have come from our federal government.”

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