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Good morning, readers.
— A Tory shuffle: The Conservative Party will shuffle its critic roles, with Ed Fast replacing Pierre Poilievre as Finance critic, CBC News reports. Poilievre will become the Tory critic for jobs and industry. Unnamed sources say it’s part of an effort to pressure the government on employment and rebuilding the economy.
— Kady O’Malley looks ahead to the rest of the day in politics with iPolitics AM: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to go before the cameras — or, at least, his webcam — as he teams up with Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, and Canada Infrastructure Bank chair Tamara Vrooman for a ‘virtual announcement.’”
— Alberta caucus members turn on Kenney: Two members of Jason Kenney’s caucus — Drew Barnes, the United Conservative legislature member for Cypress-Medicine Hat, and Angela Pitt, the deputy speaker of the house and chair of committees — are challenging their own government’s COVID measures and have joined a national coalition pushing against lockdowns.
— Defence committee to probe Vance: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and other senior Liberal officials will be called before the defence committee as it investigates how the government reacted to informal allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Gen. Jonathan Vance. The committee voted unanimously yesterday to probe the allegations against the former top soldier, after four Conservative MPs put forward a motion.
— Ottawa looks into visa security in Beijing: Trudeau has asked the immigration and procurement ministers to guarantee the security of its visa application system following a Globe and Mail report that the visa centre in Beijing is operated by a company owned by Chinese police.
— New evidence in the Flight PS752 case: Canada is reviewing a secret audio recording in which a man thought to be Iran’s foreign affairs minister discusses the possibility that the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 may have been intentional, CBC News reports. The voice said there are a “thousand possibilities” to explain the incident, of which a deliberate attack was “not at all unlikely.” Of the 176 people killed in the plane crash, 138 were Canadian or had ties to Canada.
— A land preservation deal in the heart of oil sands country: The Alberta government and the Fort McKay First Nation have reached a deal for a land protection plan — twenty years in the making — in northern Alberta. It will protect 103,000 hectares of land north of Fort McMurray.
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AROUND THE WORLD
— Trump impeachment voted constitutional: The Senate voted to declare Donald Trump’s impeachment constitutional, allowing the trial to proceed. Six Republicans joined all Democratic senators, voting 56-44 to reject an argument from Trump’s lawyers that it was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer the president.
— U.S. bill to help Hong Kongers flee as refugees: A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reintroduced a bill to make it easier for Hong Kong people who’ve joined anti-China protests to become refugees in the U.S. A previous version of the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act expired when a new Senate was seated last month.
— Myanmar protesters are defiant: Some 100,000 people protested in Yangon today. Yesterday, Myanmar police used water cannons, rubber bullets, and live rounds against demonstrators, as tens of thousands marched to protest last week’s military coup. Some police officers have joined the demonstrations.
— Elsewhere: The head of the European Commission says the EU was late and overconfident in its vaccine rollout. Quarantine rule-breakers in the U.K. could face up to 10 years in jail. The WHO says it’s extremely unlikely that the coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab. Huawei filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. A Japanese submarine collided with a commercial ship. The Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul could be released tomorrow after 1,000 days in jail.
IN OTHER HEADLINES
WHAT WE’RE READING
ICYMI FROM IPOLITICS
CARTOON OF THE DAY
Europe’s oldest person — a French nun — has survived COVID after not even realizing she had it. She is celebrating her 117th birthday this week.