Evening Brief: Letdowns and lockdowns
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Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said the government will reject the Conservative Party’s motion for a special committee to study the WE Charity scandal, just one hour after WE Charity released more documents related to the opposition’s probe.

The Conservatives had proposed to move discussions about WE Charity from the ethics and finance committees to an “anti-corruption committee” in order to continue investigating the charity while freeing up committee schedules, said Conservative MP and finance vice-chair Pierre Poilievre in a news conference this morning. Rachel Emmanuel reports.

Evening Brief: Letdowns and lockdowns
(Andrew Meade/iPolitics)

Today, federal ministers condemned the violence committed recently against Mi’kmaw fishermen in Nova Scotia. They called for a peaceful end to the dispute with commercial fishermen, but Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller acknowledged that Mi’kmaw fishermen have “once again (been) let down by police,” who are sworn to protect them.

“Throughout history, Indigenous peoples have experienced continuous discrimination and, to this day, still suffer the consequences of colonial practices,” Miller told reporters at a news conference. “But they have shown an extreme resilience and courage in standing up for their rights.”

Along with Miller, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair joined the NDP in calling for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the increasingly violent conflict. Blair said more RCMP officers are being sent to Nova Scotia, but Sipekne’katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack wants the army sent in instead. CBC News reports.

Canada hit a bleak milestone today by topping more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19, just over four months after the country reached the 100,000-case threshold. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t think a second lockdown is imminent. He told Global News that Canadians know more about the precautions they need to take than they did in March.

“There’s no question that the second wave is really frustrating and painful,” Trudeau said. “But we have more tools now. We know how targeted lockdowns make a difference. We know what areas are most vulnerable to spread.”

As the situation remains largely out of control south of the border, the closure of the latter has been extended another month, to at least Nov. 21. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced the extension on Twitter today.Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” he said.

Changes to the employment insurance system to allow more workers to qualify for benefits will cost $13.5 billion, according to a new estimate from the government’s spending watchdog. That’s significantly higher than what the government has projected. On Oct. 1, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the cost of changes to employment insurance (EI) would be $10.2 billion. The parliamentary budget office said the difference of $3.3 billion likely reflects how unemployment is forecasted. Changes to EI will cost $7.7 billion in 2020-21 and $5.8 billion in 2021-22 for a total of $13.5 billion, according to its estimate. That story from Jolson Lim.

In Ontario, the province’s top doctor is urging kids in COVID hot spots not to go trick-or-treating this Halloween. “Given the high transmission of COVID-19 in the modified Stage 2 public-health-unit regions of Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York Region, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended, and people should consider alternative ways to celebrate,” said Dr. David Williams. At least one infectious disease specialist doesn’t agree with him, however.

As for Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton, is she running scared from reporters? Or in a snit over a Twitter spat?

Still in Ontario, the government advanced a fourth NDP bill to protect seniors in long-term care to the committee phase on Monday, but New Democrats say they’re afraid the PCs will ultimately block the bill from becoming law. The purpose of Bill 196 is to create an independent seniors’ advocate within government. It’s the latest NDP legislation to pass second reading unanimously and move to the committee phase.

As a second round of talks gets underway between Ukraine and Iran on the destruction of Flight PS752, an Iranian official said today that Canada has no part in the negotiations and called Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne “impolite.” As CBC News reports, Saeed Khatibzadeh, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson, apparently took offence when Champagne said recently that Canada will hold the Iranian “regime” to account.

Jenni Byrne, former campaign director and deputy chief of staff for former prime minister Stephen Harper, has joined the list of registrants lobbying on health and government procurement after launching a Toronto-based public affairs consultancy earlier this year. According to her filing, Byrne is pursuing a contract for an unnamed client’s rapid COVID-19 test kits. That and more in this week’s Lobby Wrap.

In The Sprout: Lobster feud, restaurant relief, and bacon-scented masks

In The Drilldown: Canada Pension Plan must stop investing in fracking, say Colorado residents

In Other Headlines:

N.L.’s COVID-19 travel ban decision to be appealed (CBC)
Commons gives approval in principle to judges’ sexual assault training bill (CP)
Canada-China spat heats up over ambassador’s alleged threat (AP)
The place in North America with no COVID cases (BBC)
Kathleen Wynne says she won’t seek re-election in the next campaign (The Star)


Evening Brief: Letdowns and lockdowns
 (Official White House Photo/Flickr)

Because the disastrous pandemic response is everyone’s fault but his, U.S. President Donald Trump saw fit today to attack Dr. Anthony Fauci during a phone call with campaign staff, calling the infectious disease specialist a “disaster” and saying that, every time he goes on television, there is a “bomb,” but there would be “a bigger bomb if you fire him.”

NBC News obtained a recording of the call.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots — these people, these people that have gotten it wrong,” Trump said. “Fauci’s a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years. He called every one of them wrong. And he’s like this wonderful guy, a wonderful sage telling us how to respond to the pandemic. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths. If we listened to him, we’d have 700, 800,000 deaths right now.”

Imagine listening to the scientists! That’s so 2019.

As for CNN, the president called the network “dumb bastards” for covering the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. experiences an alarming rise in cases, infectious disease experts are warning that the coming weeks will be the “darkest of the entire pandemic.” The Hill has that story

Belgium is not faring much better. The country’s health minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, says the country is nearing a “tsunami” of cases that could overwhelm the country. New measures to try to halt the spread came into force there today. As the BBC reports, it’s a scene playing out across the continent.

In Featured Opinion:

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The Kicker:

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