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Hello,

The Canada-U.S. border is staying closed, for now.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning that the Canadian and U.S. governments had come to an agreement to keep the border closed for all non-essential travel through until at least June 21. The measures could still be extended again beyond that in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The news today follows a report in The Globe last week that this was the plan.

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One point of tension here is some uncertainty about what exactly essential travel is. Political leaders have stressed that commercial travel must continue so as not to disrupt supply chains and further stress businesses that operate on both sides of the border.

But while the closure might be necessary for public health, it’s taking a human toll on many families who live on either side of the border. A Canadian woman who is pregnant said her American partner is not being allowed to enter Canada to witness the birth of his son. And a reader shared a similar story in a letter to the editor in today’s paper.

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

Ontario schools are officially not coming back in June. The provincial government said it is looking at boosting learning opportunities in the summer and will make day camps available.

Newfoundland and Labrador was already in dire economic trouble before the pandemic hit – and now things are looking even worse.

The World Health Organization has passed a resolution to review its own handling of the early days of the novel coronavirus and how it spread to humans. The United States, which has been pushing for the review, did object to two items, however: one on allowing poor countries to circumvent drug patents in an emergency and another that could be seen as supportive of abortion access.

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During the election last fall, The Globe revealed that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had dual citizenship with the United States – a status that Mr. Scheer had criticized other political leaders for having. Mr. Scheer in turn promised to renounce his U.S. citizenship. Now it turns out he has renounced the renunciation and says he will keep the citizenship after all, since he’s not going to be prime minister.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank is getting closer to hiring a new CEO.

And Donald Trump is not just a spokesman for the hydroxychloroquine club, he’s also a client. The U.S. President said he is taking the malaria drug – which he has promoted in past public addresses – as a precaution against the coronavirus. Doctors say there is no scientific proof that the drug does anything against the virus, and may lead to other serious side effects, including heart problems. When asked about the potential side effects, Mr. Trump said: “All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on rumours of oil’s death being greatly exaggerated: “If anything, the coronavirus crisis made it clearer that people campaigning to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions should focus their attention on demand. A lot of activism in Canada has focused on supply – on bottling up the supply of oil by blocking pipelines and projects. But crisis has shown us demand is king.”

Leonard Waverman (The Globe and Mail) on keeping the recession from becoming a depression: “In addition, workers will return to vastly different job prospects. The programs established after the Great Depression gave people picks and shovels to build long-overdue infrastructure such as roads, bridges and hydroelectric dams. This time, there will be some additional infrastructure spending, but not of that scale. The picks and shovels of the pandemic era will be virtual and knowledge-based.”

The Globe and Mail editorial board on pursuing education during a pandemic: “With physical campuses closed, and many expecting to remain that way this fall, education will not be the same. It is one of the many costs of this pandemic. Some students are wondering whether an education offered on a small screen is worth as much as the full university experience (and full tuition). Some are wondering whether, rather than enrolling now, they should stay out of school until it is possible to go back to traditional campus learning – which for many could mean being simultaneously out of school and out of work.”

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Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on the other benefits of keeping MPs away from Parliament Hill: “In past times, it has not been unusual to see our elected officials enveloped by what I call Hogwarts Syndrome, in which the rhythms, intrigues and mystical atmosphere of the institution overtake what they’re supposed to be doing there. Replace party names Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats with Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, and it isn’t hard to see how some MPs sent by voters from far-flung places become so preoccupied with scoring points for their House teams that they sometimes forget us mere muggles beyond the Hill.”

Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on wearing a mask: “I look over at my daughter, her eyes calm above the white stars of her mask, and I panic. Not because I’m worried about the virus – although yes, of course, I’m worried about the virus – but because seeing my child in a mask means recognizing that the future is quite possibly a dark and terrifying place.”

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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