For politicos, it was hard to tear our eyes away from the violence in Washington today. But we continue to face serious problems here at home.
Provincial governments are moving to make even further public-health restrictions in light of the ever-increasing rates of COVID-19. Canada is now seeing more than 8,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus per day, more than four times the height of the first wave. And, given the way these outbreaks go, it will not be easier to turn the rate of infections around once it’s gathered a head of steam.
Quebec has announced a sweeping new 8-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew to try to discourage residents from leaving their homes, a measure recommended by public-health authorities but questioned by civil-liberties experts.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be speaking with premiers tonight. The biggest topic of discussion is sure to be the supply and distribution of vaccines, which, many agree, are the only real way we will ever get through the pandemic without far more people dying.
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.
Washington is still trying to come to grips with what happened yesterday. An angry mob, who were egged on by outgoing President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol building in a futile bid to try to overturn the results of a democratic election. After all that, some Republicans changed their minds about contesting the results of the election, but more than 100 members of Congress still pressed ahead. Democrats and a few Republicans are calling for Mr. Trump’s immediate removal – either through impeachment or through the 25th Amendment of the Constitution – but it is not yet clear if those efforts will go anywhere. Mr. Trump is still the U.S. President for another 13 days.
Canadian federal and provincial governments are trying to get the U.S. to reverse a planned shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in Michigan.
Federal inmates who are elderly or who have pre-existing health conditions will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines on Friday.
New travel rules go into effect today for those arriving in Canada on planes from abroad. Passengers will have to prove they received a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed into the country. The federal government rebuffed concern from airlines about the new policy.
And a senior bureaucrat at the Public Health Agency of Canada who works in the border and travel office got an all-expenses-paid trip from Air Canada to promote a vacation spot in Jamaica, despite the longstanding government advice to avoid non-essential travel. “One of our two butlers is bringing us our pina coladas right now. No, we are not kidding – we have two butlers,” the public servant said in one video about the trip shared on social media.
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the insurrection in Washington: “No longer could Republican lawmakers chide athletes for taking a knee during the national anthem now that Mr. Trump’s mindless militia had removed an American flag from outside the Capitol and replaced it with one bearing his name. A violent rebellion against the state cuts to the core of the idea of American exceptionalism, and a President who tells its actors “we love you, you’re very special” during the peak of the riot is unmistakably an agitator, governed by his own delusions.”
David Moscrop (The Globe and Mail) on an American history low points: “And yet, after nearly 250 years as a republic, the country has witnessed just such things, time and time again: slavery, violence, revolt, civil war, foreign war, extreme inequality, toxic polarization, constitutional paralysis and on goes the list to include a strongman president and an attempted coup.”
Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed (Montreal Gazette) on the latest COVID-19 restrictions: “The start of a new year ordinarily is when we’d set personal and professional goals and resolutions for the months and weeks ahead. Instead, I feel as if we’re staring down the barrel of a shotgun, with an imminent curfew, something I have never known in my lifetime, and a virus that feels very much out of control.”
J. Michael Cole (The Globe and Mail) on China’s latest crackdown in Hong Kong: “All this serves as a wake-up call to anyone who still believes we can treat China as a normal and indispensable partner. Arguably, there are areas, such as global warming, where we should seek collaboration with China. But we should be clear-eyed about who we are dealing with.”
Terry Glavin (Ottawa Citizen) on the damage done to democracy in Hong Kong: “While 600,000 Hongkongers turned out to vote in last summer’s primary, the democracy movement has been eviscerated. Practically nothing remains of the parliamentary opposition to the pro-Beijing cronies in Hong Kong’s legislature.”
Rahim Rezaie (The Globe and Mail) on the anniversary of the Iranian plane crash: “As for flight PS752, work is still continuing to seek justice for the victims and their families. Affected families continue to need moral, financial and emotional support. Many are unable to work as they grapple with emotional and psychological trauma. They have formed an association to seek support and engage others in advocating for justice. Victims’ families and many others want Canada to stay the course to ensure that a credible international investigation is completed and that those responsible are brought to justice.”