In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 19 …
What we are watching in Canada …
OTTAWA — A new poll suggests almost two-thirds of Canadians would support imposition of a nightly curfew if necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 — even though they’re not convinced it would be effective.
Sixty-five per cent of respondents said they would support a temporary curfew in their province if recommended by public health officials.
In Quebec, where the government imposed a month-long curfew 10 days ago, 74 per cent said they support the move.
Nevertheless, only 57 per cent of Quebecers and just 39 per cent of respondents in the rest of the country said they think curfews are an effective way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The poll, conducted Jan. 15 to 18 by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies, also suggests that Canadians’ mental health has suffered as the pandemic drags on; it registered an eight-point rise since last April in the number of respondents who rate their mental health as bad or very bad.
The online poll of 1,516 Canadians cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.
Also this …
OTTAWA — Ontario Conservative MP Derek Sloan says he’ll fight efforts by his party’s leader to boot him from caucus.
Sloan says a decision by leader Erin O’Toole that he should be tossed out over a donation to his leadership campaign by a known white supremacist is ridiculous.
O’Toole announced he’s launching the effort to remove Sloan late Monday, after news broke that Sloan’s campaign had received a donation from Paul Fromm last year.
O’Toole framed the decision as being a question of having no tolerance for racism within his party.
But Sloan is raising questions about that approach, saying Fromm is a party member and that fact would have previously been known both to O’Toole and to the party itself.
Sloan generated controversy during the leadership campaign for his aggressively social conservative views, and his presence in caucus has been polarizing ever since.
He had survived a bid to oust him during the leadership race itself, when comments he made about the country’s chief public health officer saw him accused of racism, a charge he denied.
EDMONTON — Alberta has decided to cancel recently issued coal leases in the Rocky Mountains, as public opposition grows to the United Conservative government’s plan to expand coal mining in the area.
Late Monday afternoon, Energy Minister Sonya Savage issued a press release saying the sale of 11 recently purchased coal leases would be cancelled. Savage added that no further leases would be sold on lands that were protected from open-pit mines under a policy the government revoked last May.
She also said the move will have no effect on existing coal projects currently under regulatory review.
The cancelled leases are a small portion of the coal exploration leases the government has issued since revoking a policy that protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies — home to endangered species as well as the water source for millions downstream — since 1976.
The decision came as more than 100,000 signatures had been collected on two petitions opposing increased mining on two related fronts.
One, sponsored by environmental groups on Change.org, was addressed to the provincial government and had 77,000 signatures Monday afternoon.
Another, sponsored by a private citizen and addressed to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, had nearly 28,000 names opposing the Benga coal project in southern Alberta, which is undergoing a federal-provincial environmental review.
Members of the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta have sent more than 700 postcards to Wilkinson asking him to block coal development in the Rockies and another 2,000 have joined an online group to that end, said organizer Latasha Calf Robe.
What we are watching in the U.S. …
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol complex temporarily locked down during a rehearsal for president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after a fire in a homeless encampment roughly a mile away sent a plume of smoke into the air and caused security concerns in an already jittery city.
The false alarm briefly interrupted Monday’s rehearsal for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony, a quadrennial exercise in which stand-ins take the roles of Biden and other VIPs and the U.S. Marine Band goes through its paces, including practising “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Wednesday’s performance by Lady Gaga. Rehearsal resumed not long afterward, accompanied by frequent passes by a helicopter patrolling the skies over the Capitol.
Law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not believed to be a threat to the inauguration. Local firefighters put out the blaze quickly. The evacuation of some participants from the area and the lockdown were ordered by the acting chief of Capitol Police in an abundance of caution, officials said.
But the fast decision to lock down underscores the fear that has gripped Washington since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and prompted extraordinary measures ahead of the inauguration. Armed protests planned for this past weekend around the country were mostly a bust, but anxiety is still skyrocketing.
U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol a week early in preparation, and the city centre is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of National Guard and other law enforcement officers stationed around the area.
But U.S. defence officials, worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing the event, pushed the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into the area.
Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat.
On this day in 1943 …
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was born in an Ottawa hospital. Crown Princess Juliana, who became queen in 1948, and her two oldest daughters, fled from the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940 and eventually came to Canada.
In entertainment …
“Schitt’s Creek” continues to flood the awards circuit.
The Canadian CBC series, which swept the Emmys’ comedy categories with seven trophies last September, is now up for five Critics Choice Awards.
The story of the riches-to-rags Rose family is nominated for best comedy series and in acting categories for stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy, and Annie Murphy.
Other series with five nominations apiece include HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” and FX’s “Mrs. America” and “What We Do In The Shadows.”
Two Netflix series lead the pack, with “Ozark” and “The Crown” each up for six awards, including best drama series.
The backcountry survival skills of a British Columbia teen who got lost while snowmobiling are being praised by search and rescue volunteers who found him safe.
The South Cariboo Search and Rescue Society says the 17-year-old did everything right when things went wrong.
The society says in a social media post that the teen became separated from his group and when he realized he was lost he parked his snowmobile in an open area, built himself an overnight snow cave and waited for help to arrive.
RCMP say they received a call for help around the dinner hour on Saturday and a search team reported finding the teenager at about 10:30 p.m.
It society says when team members found the young man he was waiting in the snow cave with food and water.
It says he and his family and friends were snowmobiling near Mahood Lake, located about 80 kilometres east of 100 Mile House in B.C.’s Cariboo region.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021
The Canadian Press