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Hello,

The impact of the pandemic is dominating the headlines again today, with Quebec and Ontario each reporting more than 1,400 new COVID-19 infections.

Ontario, which is to present new virus projections today, recorded 1,478 new cases and 21 deaths. Quebec reported 1,464 new cases and 32 more deaths.

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Meanwhile, the federal government is promising $19-million for Nunavut to help address the impact of the pandemic in the territory. There are now 150 active infections in Nunavut – a stark contrast from when the territory had no cases in early November. Nunavut reported no new cases today.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, usually written by Chris Hannay. Kristy Kirkup is filling in today. 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

The federal government’s fall economic update is expected to focus on immediate pandemic challenges, including new aid for hard-hit sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism. It is also expected to reveal a projected deficit that exceeds the record $343.2-billion announced in July.

A plaintiff in a now settled legal battle against the RCMP, Janet Merlo, says she’s glad she came forward about the harassment she faced as an officer with Canada’s national police force. The Merlo-Davidson suit ultimately paid out more than $125-million to more than 2,300 women who faced discrimination, harassment, bullying and even sexual assault during their time as officers.

And the spring shutdown of in-class learning left students up to eight months behind in reading, according to early research findings that suggest children could lose more ground without focused lessons this school year.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on why Freeland has the power to impose her own economic vision as Finance Minister: “Right now, there’s no visible daylight between Prime Minister and Finance Minister. But if Ms. Freeland chooses, she has the power to impose some of her own vision. There arguably hasn’t been a finance minister with that kind of sway since Paul Martin, whose second budget dramatically revamped Canada’s public finances.”

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Editorial Board (The Globe and Mail) asks where is Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination plan?: “Given the poor job Ottawa and the provinces have done on testing and tracing, which have the same logistical challenges, there’s reason to be concerned that when vaccines arrive, their distribution will be haphazard.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on why under Biden, brains replace bluster: “Change will come swiftly. While Mr. Trump fumes on the sidelines, the Biden Democrats will sign back on to the Paris climate accord, to the Iran nuclear deal, to the World Health Organization. Multilateralism will be back in vogue. Allies and institutions and people will be treated with respect, dictators with disdain.”

Terry Glavin (The National Post) on why he sees Trudeau’s Liberals offering vague platitudes on China instead of action: “So we’re all left to hope that U.S. president-elect Joe Biden can lead the liberal-democratic world into some sort of consensus about how to deal with the increasingly belligerent Chinese Communist party, and that Canada will at least quietly go along. In the meantime, don’t expect any leadership from Ottawa, where nothing is being done, there’s nothing new and nothing is in the offing — at least nothing the Trudeau government wants anybody to know about.”

Colby Cosh (The National Post) on how the West was lost to COVID-19: “Western independence, stubbornness and suspicion of authority are all real phenomena, and perhaps we are paying the price for them now. What I really notice, however, is that winter simply set in early out here this 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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