Economics & Finance & Trade

COVID-19: initial batch imminent

Up to 249,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the first of millions the government has contracted for, will be available in Canada before the end of the year, potentially as early next week if Health Canada approves the Pfizer vaccine. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the initial batch will be delivered directly to 14 distribution centres across the country, except in the territories where appropriate storage is unavailable, on a per capita basis and that vaccination will begin with highest-risk populations. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Most U.K. flights banned

Canada has joined a growing list of countries which have halted flights from Britain in an attempt to contain a more contagious variant of COVID-19. The restriction does not apply to cargo flights, aircraft landing for safety reasons or transiting without passengers disembarking. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: second vaccine approved

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by Health Canada, clearing the way for imminent delivery of thousands of doses. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved earlier this month, the Moderna alternative does not require storage at ultra-low temperatures so can be distributed more easily. [node:read-more:link]

USN urges greater Arctic presence

Increased Chinese and Russian activity in the Arctic warrant a more assertive U.S. involvement in the region, according to a new U.S. Navy strategic plan. It notes that the Arctic has significant estimated and proven petroleum reserves as well as strategically important rare earth minerals. [node:read-more:link]

Federal cabinet mini-shuffle

Former trade minister Jim Carr has returned to the cabinet fold in a mini-shuffle announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Carr stepped down last year for health reasons. His return as a special representative for the Prairies was precipitated by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister to step down to spend more time with his family. Bains is replaced by former Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne who in turn is replaced by former Transport Minister Marc Garneau. [node:read-more:link]

NAFTA 2.0 clears Congress

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week.  [node:read-more:link]

MacKay would ban Huawei 5G

Former Defence Minister and now Conservatives Party leadership contender Peter MacKay said 25 February that if he eventually was able to form a government, he would not permit Huwei 5G communications technology to be used in Canada. His statement, in which he also said Britain would eventually reverse its decision to permit limited 5G use, came during a wide-ranging interview. [node:read-more:link]

Covid-19 response fund announced

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 11 March that the federal government is “pulling out all the stops” by setting up a $1-billion fund to address the potential continued spread of Covid-19. The total includes $275 million for more research, including vaccine development and, among other things, the one-week waiting period for employment insurance is being waived. [node:read-more:link]

Penalties for ignoring isolation advice

The federal government is considering criminal penalties for travelers who ignore COVID-19 self-isolation recommendations on their return to Canada. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says “every measure in our toolbox” is being considered, including “monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties” provided for in the Quarantine Act. [node:read-more:link]

Economic impact of COVID-19

A quorum of approximately 30 Members of Parliament are being back to the House of Commons 24 March for a brief sitting to adopt a package of emergency measures designed to address the economic impact of COVID-19. [node:read-more:link]

Vance looks to the long term

The Chief of the Defence Staff says the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing for continued outbreaks of COVID-19 for up to a year or more.  Gen Jonathan Vance says in a planning directive, which he calls a “worst-case scenario”, that calls for assistance will come from all levels of government and the private sector. He also says that rather than have the public think of armed troops during a crisis, “people need to see the response as more akin to a humanitarian response.” [node:read-more:link]

Vance looks to the long term

The Chief of the Defence Staff says the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing for continued outbreaks of COVID-19 for up to a year or more.  Gen Jonathan Vance says in a planning directive, which he calls a “worst-case scenario”, that calls for assistance will come from all levels of government and the private sector. He also says that rather than have the public think of armed troops during a crisis, “people need to see the response as more akin to a humanitarian response.” [node:read-more:link]

PM says “nothing off the table”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is “not taking anything off the table” when it comes to tackling the spreading COVCID-19 outbreak. Closing the borders to international travelers and making self-isolation were among the options discussed at a weekend cabinet meeting. [node:read-more:link]

Virus bill goes to Senate

The House of Commons has passed a bill to enact the government's $82-billion COVID-19 economic aid package and referred it to the Senate for approval. However, Bill C-13’s parliamentary progress wasn’t as smooth as the government had hoped because opposition parties objected to extraordinary powers it would have given the government through to 2021. [node:read-more:link]

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