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Good evening to you.
Things were pretty calm on the Hill today after MPs voted yesterday to call it a year ahead of schedule. The House of Commons will be on vacation until January 31.
You’re not taking a vacation? The Omicron variant, which continues to cause an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. The daily number of COVID cases in Canada is now 45% higher than it was just a week ago.
Recently, Ontario announced new restrictions that will reduce the limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as the capacity of restaurants, malls, gyms and more. In British Columbia, the province also reduced meeting limits and canceled New Years Eve events. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador also announced new restrictions, while ‘in Nova Scotia, which saw another record-breaking single-day increase in cases with 394 new infections, the province’s senior doc has warned that the variant is “pushing us to our limits.”
While we’re all probably tired of the restrictions at this point, â€œOmicron doesn’t care. This was the word of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a year-end interview broadcast on Rosemary Barton Live on Sunday. â€œWe have a choice, because we’ve seen it so many times. If we act early and cautiously to hold back, to starve Omicron, if over the next couple of weeks we don’t feed it, don’t give it a chance to spread more than it should, we’ll have a much better winter. and a much better spring.
If you plan to go abroad to try to escape, despite being asked to do so, you will now need to get tested before you are allowed to re-enter. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said today that all travelers will need to get a PCR test outside of Canada before returning home. This requirement comes into effect on December 21.
How many of you would like more affordable cell service for Christmas? Well, don’t hold your breath. An affordable Internet advocacy group accuses the Liberal government of abandoning its promise to cut Canadians’ cell phone bills because we pay some of the highest in the world. In the 2019 election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to cut cell phone bills by 25%, but that pledge was not on his party’s campaign platform in 2021. And while Trudeau yesterday released the mandate letters from federal ministers, reducing cell phone bills was also missing in his letter to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, FranÃ§ois-Philippe Champagne. Yet it was in the letters of 2019.
“I think it’s incredibly frustrating,” Matt Hatfield, director of campaigns for OpenMedia, told iPolitics on Friday. â€œIt is as if the Liberals had tried nothing and they were all out of ideas. Affordability is a huge issue right now for many people in Canada. Many of us are seeing prices go up. The Internet has never been more important. Jeff Labine has this story.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s mandate letter will likely keep her busy for the foreseeable future. One of his jobs could come to the fore depending on how a proposal to apply pollution-related tariffs – also known as carbon border adjustments (BCA) – unfolds in the European Union. More on this from Aidan Chamandy.
Still with cross-border dances: Whether or not to pass a US bill damaging the Canadian auto industry is as clear as the tailpipe smoke, as US senators prepare to make a final decision on legislation which also aims to satisfy a large number of Presidents Joe Biden’s commitments. If passed, the Build Back Better bill currently before the US Senate would deliver on many of Biden’s promises to mitigate climate change and spend on social programs. One of his goals is to create a new “Buy in America” â€‹â€‹tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs), which the governments of Canada and Ontario are pushing at the 11th hour to prevent adoption. As Charlie Pinkerton reports, time is running out to cancel the credit.
And always with Ontario: Mad Max Bernier says three right-wing parties in Ontario should join forces to fight the “tyrannical” government of Doug Ford. The Ontario New Blue Party and the Ontario Party are expected to join the Ontario First Party – which was started by independent MP Randy Hillier and already has Bernier’s backing. â€œI hope all these other little parties will report to Randy – and that would be more effective in fighting the tyrannical government of Ontario,â€ Bernier said today. Report Rachel Emmanuel.
The Rebel to Rabble Review: illegal dumping, mandatory minimum sentences
The Sprout: Bibeau receives new marching orders
Net Zero: British Columbia consults with First Nations on past growth postponements
In other titles:
Liberal government enacts all priority laws before Christmas break (PC)
Ottawa unveils latest plan to plant 2 billion trees by 2030 (CBC)
Public Service Return to Work Challenged by Omicron Variation (Policy Options)
Alberta government may consider reinstating flat tax system, says Kenney (Post)
Should Ottawa fight Quebec in court for religious symbols? “Of course”, said the Minister (Star)
Montreal hospital says healthy newborn baby has died from COVID-19 (global)
Judge rejects Shelly Glover’s request to reject Manitoba PC Party (CBC) leadership result
South of the border, a “viral blizzard” hits. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN today that the Delta variant is still a problem, and now Omicron variant infections are piling up, leading to an increase hospitalizations. â€œOver the next three to eight weeks, we’re going to see millions of Americans get infected with this virus, and it will overlap with Delta, and we don’t yet know exactly how it’s going to work. outside.”
Meanwhile, Moscow has released its list of demands to defuse tensions with Ukraine. Difficult conditions include the exclusion of Ukraine and ex-Soviet countries from NATO and the establishment of restrictions on troops and arms in Europe. Draft security documents have been submitted to the United States and its allies. The BBC reports.
In other international titles:
Omicron five times more likely to re-infect than Delta, no more benign, study finds (Reuters)
UK reports record 93,045 COVID-19 cases as Omicron rises (Reuters)
Senior official Simon Case leaves No 10 party investigation amid rule violation allegations (BBC)
Iran nuclear talks to resume “soon” after modest gains in Vienna (Al Jazeera)
US Department of Justice asks High Court to authorize vaccine warrant (AP)
Stephen Van Dine: The Arctic is back on the national agenda
Finally, because we know you’re wondering which zodiac signs in Ottawa are the best and worst for getting vaccinated, the Ottawa Citizen has set out to find out. Here is who shines the most.
Have a good week-end.