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With no domestic manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines for some months, Canada is relying on doses made in other countries to inoculate Canadians.

One country that could supply vaccines is India. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today about that possibility.

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According to an official readout from Mr. Modi’s office, the Indian PM said he would “do his best” to help Canada, as it had other countries. The readout also said Mr. Trudeau was effusive in his praise for India’s handling of the pandemic.

“Expressing his appreciation, Prime Minister Trudeau said that if the world managed to conquer COVID-19, it would be significantly because of India’s tremendous pharmaceutical capacity, and Prime Minister Modi’s leadership in sharing this capacity with the world. Prime Minister thanked PM Trudeau for his sentiments,” the readout said.

Relations have been a bit tense between Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Modi in recent years, after an awkward trip to India in 2018 and Mr. Trudeau’s support for Indian protesters last year.

The vaccine produced in India is the AstraZeneca/Oxford drug, which is expected to be approved by Canadian regulators soon.

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

An outbreak of a COVID-19 variant in an Ontario apartment building is raising concerns about just how contagious these new strains can be.

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The federal government has launched a vaccine-tracking system from Deloitte, though it won’t publicly explain what exactly the system does.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is being urged to send a clear directive against the dangerous use of a knee to the neck as a restraint technique. The RCMP says it does not endorse the practice, but recent high-profile incidents involving Indigenous people include allegations they were restrained that way.

The House of Commons’ defence committee is looking into allegations of sexual misconduct by former top soldier Jonathan Vance.

The head of Canada’s spy agency warned in a speech that China’s government continues to pose cybersecurity threats to Canadian companies and systems.

The federal government announced a permanent $3-billion-a-year transfer to municipalities for transit needs. The funds kick in in 2026, as the Liberals’ 12-year main infrastructure plan is set to wind down.

The Ontario government released a third-quarter financial update that showed it had spent the $13.3-billion it budgeted for COVID-19 relief. The Progressive Conservative government said the numbers countered opposition claims that COVID-19 money was going unspent.

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has shuffled some of his critics, with B.C. MP Ed Fast taking over finance and Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre moving to industry.

And the World Health Organization is about to urge governments to have better pandemic early-warning systems, of the sort that Canada used to have until recently.

Murray Sinclair (The Globe and Mail) on reconciliation and the federal government’s court actions: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has taken important steps to advance reconciliation. Examples include laws to revitalize Indigenous languages and restore jurisdictions over child and family services, and the introduction of Bill C-15 to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, his government’s continuing actions in court are counterproductive. A change of course is overdue.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s history of procurement: “Another reason that Ottawa is not good at buying stuff and delivering services is that it doesn’t do it much. Provincial governments are responsible for delivering education, health care, plowed highways. The feds collect revenue and disburse it. They do this well, as we saw with the CERB and CEWS programs for workers and businesses affected by the pandemic.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why there should be more election debates: “More debates would also leave room to experiment with different formats. Rather than putting all the emphasis on the leaders, for example, perhaps there could be debates between the front-benchers responsible for finance, or foreign affairs, or justice. More debates could even help solve the riddle of who should be eligible to participate. Maybe in the first couple, all of the parties are represented. As the campaign wears on, you set a threshold: 5 per cent in the polls, rising to 10.”

Lori Lee Oates (The Globe and Mail) on Newfoundland and Labrador’s election, its debt and its future: “By the Premier’s own admission, the situation is ‘dire.’ So why waste time on a closed-door process when he will need to pursue a more open process later? Why hire a change manager to do research? How can voters even trust the party platform?”

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Alain Babineau (CBC) on systemic racism and policing: “As a Black police officer, I personally practised racial profiling and was also a victim of it out of uniform. In both instances, I honestly thought it was a justified practice. But I later discovered you can make statistics say pretty much anything you want them to. I am now a reformed racial profiler.”

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