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Hello,

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have taken office as the President and Vice-President of the United States.

The two were sworn in at an unusual ceremony that saw a large security presence, pandemic precautions and performances from Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.

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Mr. Biden vowed to end the “uncivil war” of partisanship and said that, despite the difficult weeks between election night and now, “democracy has prevailed.”

Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were in attendance, as well as outgoing vice-president Mike Pence.

Not in attendance: Donald Trump. In his final address as president this morning before flying to his new Florida home, Mr. Trump praised his own record and promised to return in “some form.” According to the Wall Street Journal, one idea he is exploring is the creation of a new political party.

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

Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline expansion is still expected to be one of Mr. Biden’s first acts of office this afternoon.

One of Mr. Trump’s last acts was pardoning dozens of people, including former adviser Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne.

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Pfizer, the maker of one of Canada’s two approved COVID-19 vaccines, is pressing the government to cut corporate taxes and discard plans for a crackdown on international tax avoidance.

The Bank of Canada held its interest rate steady, and its economic forecast improved slightly based on faster-than-expected vaccine approvals. (Current shipment delays notwithstanding.)

The Parliamentary Budget Office expects the cost of the fiscal stabilization program to climb to $4.5-billion this year.

And WestJet is urging the federal government to block or put conditions on Air Canada’s proposed takeover of Air Transat.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Derek Sloan: “On the charge of knowingly accepting a donation from a neo-Nazi, Conservative MP Derek Sloan has offered a reasonable case that he’s not culpable. On the charge of being a stinking albatross around the neck of his party, he is about to be found guilty, guilty, guilty.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on what Sloan means for the Conservative Party: “Since the Capitol insurrection, the days when mainstream parties could flirt with these sentiments are over. If principle were not enough to persuade Conservatives of this, political calculation should: The public is in no mood for this sort of cynical gamesmanship. Defenestrating Mr. Sloan, then, is only the start. Conservatives need to make a firm break with extremism of any kind, together with the appeals to anger and resentment that inflame it.”

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David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on vaccines as the ultimate economic stimulus: “This is about as straightforward an economic scenario as policy-makers will ever face. The vaccine is an economic silver bullet.”

Tasha Kheiriddin (National Post) on negotiations between the government and pharmaceuticals: “Whether Ottawa’s hostility to the pharma industry affected Canada’s access to vaccines in recent days, no one can say. But one thing is certain: Under the new regulations, Canada will only become a lower priority for pharmaceutical firms and will slip to the back of the line for all innovative medicines.”

Lisa Ravary (Montreal Gazette) on whether we’re in a “post-truth” era: “In the years to come, the world might be divided between lying countries and truthful countries. Liars could include China, Russia, Brazil, Hungary. All fascist or prefascist countries. We don’t know yet what side the United States will embrace in the long run but its opponents will lie.”

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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