Two announcements today from the Ontario and federal government are highlighting how difficult public-health measures to fight COVID-19 have been on small businesses.
The Ontario government says that as of Saturday tight restrictions on activities such as in-person dining will be back in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel regions because of rising COVID-19 case counts. Restaurants, bars, and gyms are all affected. Residents are also being asked to avoid travel except for essential reasons, such as going to work.
Meanwhile, the federal government announced new supports for those businesses that have seen revenue drop significantly due to COVID-19.
The roundly criticized rent-relief program will be replaced by a new fund that will send money to small businesses directly, rather than through their landlords. The new program is to run until next summer. The government also announced measures to expand the wage subsidy and the emergency business loans.
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Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne is off to Europe next week where, among other stops, he will meet with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Canada and Britain are increasingly working together on joint foreign-policy statements, a sign of how the countries are trying to align their voices on the world stage.
British MPs say they have evidence of “collusion” between the Chinese Communist Party and telecom giant Huawei, adding to the pressure to ban the company from telecommunications networks such as the next-generation 5G.
The federal government says it will convene a high-level meeting soon to address the systemic racism faced by Indigenous people in the healthcare system.
The NDP is calling for the government to tax excess corporate profits at a higher rate in order to raise funds for some of the pandemic relief efforts. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh proposed looking at big corporations like Amazon that may have earned higher revenue during the pandemic because of a shift to more online shopping. The NDP supported the Liberal Throne Speech earlier this week and has gotten the governing party to agree to some of their recent proposals.
Ben Harper, son of Stephen, is getting into politics.
And U.S. President Donald Trump, who may still be feeling the lingering effects of the coronavirus, is eager to get back on the campaign trail this weekend. But, “he won’t be out there if he can transmit the virus,” spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal bill to ban conversion therapy: “Conversion therapy is a grift. You can’t cure someone of being gay any more than you can cure someone of being straight. Telling a young person that their sexuality or gender identity is a sin or flaw from which they can be redeemed can cause great mental or physical harm. We need legislation to protect the vulnerable from those who would prey on those vulnerabilities.”
Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on racism against Indigenous people in health care and other institutions: “How many more times do we need to point out that Canada needs to stop treating Indigenous people as the ones who are deficient, the ones with ‘the problem’? Where are the circles of care that build people up, instead of tearing them down?”
Lorraine Whitman (Ottawa Citizen) on systemic racism in health care: “Indigenous women know there is systemic racism in health care. It is prevalent to the point that many of us are reluctant to seek treatment until we have no other option. And, as we have seen in this case, it is not always unintentional. Rather it is targeted, cruel and degrading. For that reason, Joyce Echaquan’s death must be understood as part of the greater tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how to raise tax revenue: “A serious effort to end these and other preferences, corporate and personal, would likely yield tens of billions of dollars a year, and improve economic efficiency in the bargain – since their effect is to distract investors from the real costs and benefits of different options, in favour of the tax goodies attached to each. And the other? Raise the GST.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how to survive COVID-19 like the U.S. President: “A couple of days of isolation is really no big deal if you happen to test positive for COVID-19. Just exercise your mental acuity by practicing signing your name to a blank piece of paper, and if you get really fussy and can’t find a way to settle, someone will take you for a ride in the car around the block until you calm down and fall asleep. Kudos to the Secret Service for getting Mr. Trump inside and to bed without waking him up.”