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Hello,

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be a major priority right now.

The federal government has now awarded Deloitte a $16-million contract to help manage the tracking of vaccination in Canada, nearly a year after the pandemic hit the country and weeks after inoculations have already started.

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In its original request for proposals, the government said it hoped to have a digital tracking system up and running by the end of January.

So far most of the vaccine doses that have been administered were given to front-line health workers and vulnerable populations. One issue springing up in hospitals, where the doses are given, is what to do with doses that are on the verge of expiring, and there is no front-line worker or other priority recipient. In those cases, some hospitals have decided to not waste the dose by given them to other health-care workers, such as top administrators. But some health experts say being in that situation is just the result of poor planning.

The Globe has started publishing vaccination statistics as part of our look, updated daily, at the coronavirus situation across the country. As of this morning, 59 per cent of the 545,250 vaccine doses in Canada have been administered.

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

In an exit interview with The Globe and Mail, the outgoing chief of the defence staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, said the world has become a more dangerous place with “uncertainty” about the role the U.S. is playing in rallying allies against China and Russia. In particular, Gen. Vance said a grand strategy is needed to confront China’s expansionism.

Quebec businessman Pierre-Karl Péladeau is urging the government to block Air Canada’s takeover of Air Transat, as he says he would like to buy it.

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In Alberta, some United Conservative Party MLAs – including the Speaker, Nathan Cooper – are not happy with their colleagues who vacationed during the holidays and not happy with how party leader Jason Kenney handled the issue.

The federal government is examining whether to list the extremist group Proud Boys, who were involved in last week’s violence in Washington, as a terrorist group.

And in Washington, House Democrats are moving forward with plans to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for a second time because of his role denying the election results and encouraging a mob to stampede into the Capitol building. Given the short timeline before Joe Biden is inaugurated, Democrats may delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate until later in the year, so as not to delay cabinet confirmation hearings and other early-term priorities.

Lisa Kerr (The Globe and Mail) on crime, justice and politics: “When crime becomes a mode of governing, we see claims about championing ‘victims’ rights’ and opaque promises for things such as ‘truth in sentencing.’ Rather than offering crime victims the services that might directly address their needs, victims are given the right to testify in court about how crime has harmed them and are promised that offenders will receive long prison sentences.”

Debra Thompson (The Globe and Mail) on policing and the attack on Washington: “The fact is that the police have an incredible amount of discretion in deciding which groups are perceived and treated as threatening to democracy. In cities across North America, these groups are overwhelmingly the poor, the homeless, Black and Indigenous populations, those with mental health issues, and those in crisis. This past week on Capitol Hill, there was an actual, legitimate, visceral threat to democratic rule. And when all was said and done, the most consequential outcome was that Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was suspended.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and those who support him and Trump: “Mr. O’Toole condemns right-wing extremism, supports a robust immigration policy, defends the rights of LGBTQ Canadians and other minorities. But he also, at times, makes poor choices. Slogans such as ‘Take back Canada’ are a gift to those who seek to portray Conservatives as intolerant. Who would he take it from?”

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Andrew MacDougall (Maclean’s) on bringing down the temperature of politics: “Partisans of all stripes need to remember they can be partisans without demonizing the other side. Most people in public life are in it for the right reasons and portraying everyone as bent only corrodes people’s trust in the system. Even worse, it makes some want to take matters into their own hands. You might think, as I do, that Justin Trudeau is a terrible prime minister but calling him a ‘traitor’, as too many do online, is the first step in legitimizing violence against him. It has to stop and it has to be the leadership that calls for it to end.”

Danielle Smith (Edmonton Journal) on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s handling of the pandemic: “The bigger problem for the Premier is going to be how he convinces his party that this is not something that warrants a leadership review. I’m already hearing rumblings that all it would take is 30 per cent of constituency presidents to ask for one to make it happen. The Premier has to get out ahead of this.”

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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