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Hello,

The Ontario government is expected to announce today a tightening of public-health guidelines to deal with a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the provinces.

Large social gatherings, such as house parties at Queen’s University, are being blamed in large part for the rise in cases.

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Limited access to testing also continues to be an issue in Ontario, particularly in the city of Ottawa. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement this morning that his family waited in line for hours on Wednesday before they were turned away without being tested. Mr. O’Toole said they eventually got tested across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., through a House of Commons program.

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

Huawei Canada, in a bid to reassure the federal government that it should be allowed to provide equipment for 5G networks, has drafted an agreement not to spy or provide “backdoors," according to documents obtained by The Globe.

Eric Hoskins, the former Ontario health minister who led a federal advisory panel on pharmacare, said he expects national pharmacare to get another mention in next week’s Throne Speech and he thinks the pandemic is underscoring the need for the program.

Fewer and fewer businesses are using the federal wage subsidy, data show. Experts say it could be evidence of businesses doing better and no longer needing the funds – or that some business are doing so poorly they have laid off the workers instead.

And a McMaster University professor is embroiled in a controversy about Trump administration officials trying to censor the release of public data about COVID-19.

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on interprovincial trade barriers: “Conservatives tend to be more open to free trade. Conservative governments of one stripe or another govern every province except British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Blair Higgs’s majority-government re-election in New Brunswick this week reinforces conservative provincial dominance.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on schools in the pandemic: “I hope I am wrong in thinking that the disastrous restart of school in Ontario will set the province on a path toward another extended ‘holiday’ break. March break 2020 lasted approximately six months. Based on how the province is stumbling over its return to school, the coming Thanksgiving holiday could stretch until Easter of next year.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on Canada, the United States and aluminum tariffs: “The brouhaha is another example of Mr. Trump being more bluster than bite, of his reversal of the old Teddy Roosevelt dictum of ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Mr. Trump threatened to do away with NAFTA altogether, but didn’t. He threatened to impose economy-destroying auto tariffs on Canada, but didn’t. He did go ahead with steel and aluminum tariffs in 2018, but lifted them the next year.”

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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