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Good evening to you.
We begin with the ultimate summer cocktail and word today that Canadians can mix and match vaccines for their second dose. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance to provinces and territories today, greenlighting the use of AstraZeneca-Oxford, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots interchangeably in certain situations. Specifically, someone who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as a first jab can get can Moderna or Pfizer for their second. For those who received Moderna or Pfizer as a first dose, they can get either as a second. As CBC News reports, that decision is based on research in the United Kingdom and Spain that showed mixing to be effective and safe.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said today the number of jabs finding their way into Canadians’ arms has grown by “leaps and bounds,” with 58 per cent of eligible people having received at least one dose as of yesterday. That, combined with strict public health measures, has led to a “considerable decline in infection rates” in most provinces. The number of daily reported cases is down 70 per cent from the peak of the third wave in April.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is demanding the Public Health Agency of Canada release documents that detail the relationship between Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That comes after a failed partnership that saw two scientists being removed from the Winnipeg lab after they shipped samples of the Ebola and Henipah viruses to the lab in China. CBC reports.
In the wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, Indigenous leaders are blasting the Catholic Church for its silence on residential schools. Despite calls to address the discovery, Pope Francis has been silent about it since last week. The church ran the Kamloops school from 1893 to 1969, as well as 60 per cent of the other residential schools in the country. Other churches were also involved, but as Global News reports, the Catholic Church is the only one that hasn’t made a formal apology.
Tonight in the House of Commons, MPs are having a ‘take note’ debate tonight on the discovery of the children’s remains.
Still on the Hill: Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet wants to put a “gag order” on government legislation to modernize the Broadcasting Act, the controversial Bill C-10, to ensure its adopted before the end of the parliamentary session. Rachel Emmanuel has more details.
The government’s bill to make a federal election safer during a pandemic may end up before the Procedure and House Affairs committee next week, if members can agree to table their final report on prorogation “no later than June 11,” according to a sub-amendment before the committee. The Procedure and House Affairs committee has been stalled for months following a Conservative motion that would compel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appear before the committee and explain why he prorogued Parliament last August. Janet Silver has the latest.
Canada’s gross domestic product grew 1.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, up 0.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2020, as pandemic restrictions began to lift in some provinces once the country’s vaccination efforts picked up speed, new Statistics Canada data show. The increase was largely driven by favourable mortgage rates, government transfers to households and businesses, and an improving labour market, which boosted the demand for housing investment, the StatCan report said. Aidan Chamandy has the details.
A new report on sexual misconduct in Canada’s military has found it remains as “rampant” and destructive today as it was in 2015. Retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish’s report, based on his months-long review of the military justice system, was tabled in the House of Commons today. Scathing at times, it calls for significant changes, including responsibility for investigating misconduct claims from the military for now — and having the civilian system handle investigations instead for now. CP has that story.
In Ontario, opposition parties at Queen’s Park are demanding an explanation for how and when the province will reopen schools for in-person instruction — as Premier Doug Ford’s government continues to mull the decision. Schools shifted to online learning on April 19 as the province grappled with the worst of the third wave of COVID-19 cases. Since then, the government has faced a looming decision about when, and if, schools will reopen before the end of the academic year in June. In recent days, as the province’s vaccination campaign has ramped up and cases and hospitalizations have fallen, the debate about school reopening has kicked into full gear. So far, the government has been guarded about whether it will reopen schools, with Health Minister Christine Elliott on Monday calling it a “very big decision” that the government doesn’t want to rush. Iain Sherriff-Scott reports.
Their upset win last night — which eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Stanley Cup playoffs — marks a surprise comeback for the Montreal Canadiens after they limped through a season plagued by injuries and personnel changes. Now, Quebecers are united in hoping that a team, whose unofficial but common language is English, has a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. As Kevin Dougherty notes, gone are the days when French-speaking players were the core of the Canadiens.
Comings and Goings: New faces at Crestview Strategies, StrategyCorp, Global Public Affairs
In Other Headlines:
Tories demanding PHAC release documents on viruses sent to Wuhan, firing of two scientists (CTV)
Ontario’s stay-at-home order set to expire but most restrictions to remain in place (CBC)
Record-setting trend of COVID-19 ICU admissions in Manitoba continues as 109 patients announced (CBC)
Canada launches its first national vaccine injury compensation program (CTV)
Trudeau’s COVID-19 spending was tilted toward high-earning Canadians (Bloomberg)
Edmonton Elks: CFL team unveils new name (SportsNet)
The Biden administration announced today that it will suspend controversial leases issued for drilling at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the final days of the Trump administration. In a statement, the Interior Department said the leases will be halted amid a further environmental review, which will determine whether they should be reaffirmed, voided or subject to additional measures to lessen their environmental impacts. This comes after a departmental review found “multiple legal deficiencies” in the record supporting the leases. That story from The Hill.
For the second time in as many weeks, former President Barack Obama is talking about UFOs. His chatter comes ahead of a highly anticipated intelligence report to Congress on so-called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena later this month. While he doesn’t claim to know the origins of UFOs, in a podcast interview this week he said if they are in fact aliens from another planet, he hopes that knowledge would unify people on this planet — instead of tearing us apart.
In Other International Headlines:
Biden unveils plan for racial equity at Tulsa Race Massacre centennial (The Hill)
Kamala Harris will lead Biden administration’s efforts on voting rights (CNN)
6 dead, 7 wounded after bombing in Kabul, Afghan official says (AP)
Space junk damages International Space Station’s robotic arm (NBC)
China’s Sinovac vaccine gets WHO emergency approval (BBC)
U.S. says ransomware attack on meatpacker JBS likely from Russia (Reuters)
In Featured Opinion:
Ian Culbert and Ryan Ness: Want to prepare for climate change? Invest in people.
Finally, whether they’re four-legged and furry, or two-legged and upright, never mess with a momma bear.