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Coronavirus information
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Hello,

In the very early days of the COVID-19 pandemic – as it began to spread worldwide but had not yet established a firm foothold in Canada – doctors around the country urged the government to take the looming public-health disaster more seriously. They did not. The Globe and Mail spoke to dozens of doctors, public-health officials and politicians to understand the early days of the COVID-19 crisis. The picture that is painted is one of governments that were slow to understand the problem, did not work together and did not learn the lessons of the SARS crisis years before.

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.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

The CEO of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights has resigned after a deluge of complaints about how human rights were handled among the museum’s staff.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a statement from the first ministers decrying racism didn’t mention “systemic racism” because not all premiers would agree to the phrase’s use.

The RCMP says it is investigating why it was not properly disclosed that the officer who violently arrested Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam earlier this year was already facing charges of assault and mischief from an earlier incident.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he stands by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who has been criticized for her comments about systemic racism in the force. Mr. Blair told senators yesterday that Commissioner Lucki is just “finding difficulty in using the right words.”

The government’s rent-relief program for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has had very little uptake so far. Commercial landlords say the application process is too onerous, and tenants are powerless to push for the applications themselves, even if they qualify.

And the Supreme Court has sided with an Uber driver who is seeking better benefits for himself and other gig workers in a class-action lawsuit.

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Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta taking lessons from Quebec on trying to get what it wants: " If there is a quality that Alberta’s nationalists share with their Quebec brethren – aside from the whiny self-absorption – it is hubris, to the point of delusion. The other provinces, most of them recipients of equalization, are not going to agree to redraw the program to Alberta’s designs just because Albertans voted they must, nor would the federal government, whose constitutional jurisdiction it is, do so in the face of such widespread opposition.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on mandatory mask wearing during the pandemic: “No doubt some Canadians will resist what they perceive to be an egregious affront to their individual freedoms. Yet over the past few months, we’ve given up our schools, our workplaces, our leisure activities, public gatherings and family celebrations. We’ve shut down our economy and, for a while, forfeited the freedom to even sit on a park bench. An order that people put a piece of cloth over their faces – which can be achieved with a cut-up T-shirt and an elastic band – is perhaps the most cost-effective and least intrusive measure, relative to potential benefit, in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can take advantage of problems in other countries: “At the moment, Canada enjoys the unique competitive advantage of being the only major developed, English-speaking country that hasn’t gone crazy.”

The Globe and Mail editorial board on Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearings and “hostage diplomacy”: “Beijing is behaving like a terrorist organization that kidnaps innocents in order to force a prisoner exchange. By doing so in relation to Ms. Meng, it is saying that Ottawa must break with its closest ally, the U.S., and abandon its international treaty obligations, if it ever wants to see Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor alive again.”

Hal Johnson (Maclean’s) on Body Break and racism: “For my entire life, I’ve had to conform to society in order to succeed. I’ve become a chameleon. Now, for the first time in my life, I feel white people want to learn, listen and be part of the much-needed change. I also feel that talking about my experiences gives us hope that we can get through this time stronger and more unified than ever. I am extremely hopeful.”

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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