Good evening, Let’s start with the most important news of the day:
COVID-19 Update: Canada Reimposes International Travel Guidelines, Plus More
The federal government is reimposing its guidelines against all non-essential international flights as it attempts to stem the growth of the Omicron variant, but it stopped short of imposing more significant restrictions that were also under consideration. This was announced by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos today.
The government will also expand the rule of testing and isolation on arrival, which has so far been applied haphazardly to air travelers. She has said that it will become universal for all air travelers outside the United States, but has not yet said when that will happen.
As of Tuesday, sources said the government is considering implementing a travel ban on all foreign nationals, reviving its warning against non-essential travel including vaccinated people and imposing a two-week quarantine or isolation requirement.
Across the provinces: Ontario is accelerating COVID-19 booster shots for all adults starting Friday and allowing people to book them three months after the second shot, while halving capacity limits at large indoor events and sporting venues, as part of new measures to curb the spread of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. The changes announced today also include expanding the county’s rapid testing range, including home testing at LCBO stores starting this week.
Premier Jason Kenney said Alberta will distribute rapid tests to the public through government sites and pharmacies, while also easing restrictions on private gatherings before the holidays. Quebec Premier Francois Legault also said he may reconsider his plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings. Keep up with all the latest developments here.
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Canadian inflation hits 30-year high as Omicron threat looms
Canadian inflation hit a three-decade high in November as the economy now deals with rapidly increasing infections linked to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, threatening to exacerbate supply disruptions that have driven up prices and become a major concern for households.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.7 percent in November from a year earlier, matching the October rate, which was the highest in 18 years, according to Statistics Canada. However, in the second decile, inflation of 4.72 percent was the highest since September 1991.
Excluding gasoline, inflation held steady at 3.6 percent. Prices rose across all eight major components of the CPI, driven by transportation costs. Inflation has exceeded the Bank of Canada’s target range of 1 to 3 percent since April.
The engineer was accused of trying to leak Canadian government secrets to China and is no longer being sued
Citing unreasonable delays in a national security case, a judge has halted the eight-year criminal trial of a man accused by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of trying to leak state secrets to China.
Judge Michael Dambrot of the Ontario Superior Court ruled this morning: “I can inform the parties that I have decided to grant my application for residence based on unreasonable delay.” He said he will announce his thinking in the coming days.
Pending appeal, the decision ends the marathon trial in Canada against Ching Quentin Huang, an Ontario architect. He was indicted in 2013, after authorities alleged he was caught on tape attempting to “communicate to a foreign entity information that the Government of Canada was taking measures to protect”.
Also on our radar
There is no excuse for Cineworld to walk away from the Cineplex deal, says Judge: In its deal to acquire Canada’s largest movie theater chain, British conglomerate Cineworld Group PLC has assumed the risk of an “outbreak” like a global pandemic. And the company was not justified in walking away from that deal amid the fallout from COVID-19, an Ontario Supreme Court judge wrote in a decision awarding Cineplex nearly $1.24 billion.
Chauvin pleads guilty: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, admitting for the first time that he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck – even after he became unresponsive – resulting in death. The second federal census on Floyd’s death was rejected.
RIP, bell hook: Black feminist writer and thinker Bill Hawkes has died aged 69, and her groundbreaking work has taken on new prominence amid the racial justice protests that have swept the United States in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Wall Street closed sharply higher today after the US Federal Reserve said it would end its pandemic-era bond purchases in March, breaking out of policies enacted at the start of the health crisis. Canada’s main stock index followed suit.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 383.25 points, or 1.08 percent, to 35927.43 points, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 75.76 points, or 1.63 percent, to close at 4709.85 points, and the Nasdaq Composite 327.94 points, or 2.15 percent, to 15,565.58.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 120.59 points, or 0.58 percent, to 20,769.16.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.2 percent to 77,887 US cents.
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Years later, politicians have acknowledged the great disgrace of the Bill 21 project in Quebec
“It took a sympathetic story about a teacher who lost her job to pull politicians out of their self-stalemate, years after the law went into effect. Until then, attention will likely be swift as Project Bill 21 returns to its hard work of quietly discriminating against applicants, away from the public eye. – Robin Orbach
Revelations of text messages from Capitol riots undermine Trump and his ilk
The latest developments will boost the Democrats’ chances of survival [Donald] Trump was brought under fire for his involvement in the attempted coup. They may help focus more media attention on it, and that is as it should be.” – Lawrence Martin
Long reading today
Chinook salmon hardly has a chance to counteract the climatic instability on the Nooksack
Inside trays stacked 16 feet deep in the Skookum Creek Fish Hatchery, 740,000 eggs are incubated in springtime Chinook salmon. It is almost certainly the only fish of its kind this year in the South Fork of the Nooksack River, the Washington state waterway that has been home to one of the most successful fish recovery programs in the United States.
Months of severe weather caused a major setback for the programme. First, the summer heat killed thousands of fish in the river. Then, the November floods roamed the gravel ponds where the survivors laid their eggs. The confluence of disasters, in a vivid way, has shed light on the toll of rising temperatures in the natural world, and shown how climate instability can lead to a cascade of deadly hazards.
For Lummi Nation, which has worked to bring these fish back, the double whammy of Chinook Spring will likely reduce the possibility of the fish harvest, which has only recently resumed, continuing in the coming years. It also raises new questions about the river’s ability to support natural populations of salmon, and is a concern for Canadian waterways as well, as the Nooksack flows just 20 kilometers from the Fraser River, which goes through similar climatic conditions. Read Nathan VanderKlippe’s The full story is here.
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