Politics

PM says Canadians ‘angry’ with the unvaccinated


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Good evening to you.

With many parts of the country once again locked down as COVID cases surge, straining the health care system and forcing thousands of surgeries to be cancelled, people are p***ed at those refusing to get vaccinated, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today. Well, he didn’t actually use the p-word — unlike French President Emmanuel Macron (see below) — the PM did say it’s made plenty of people angry.

“People are seeing cancer treatments and elective surgeries put off because beds are filled with people who chose not to get vaccinated; they’re frustrated,” he said. “When people see that we’re in lockdowns, or serious public health restrictions right now because (of) the risk posed to all of us by unvaccinated people, people get angry.”

In the wake of Macron’s blunt comments, Trudeau was asked if it’s time he took a different approach with the unvaccinated. His response? He’s frustrated by them and said it’s not too late for them to “do the right thing.” CTV has more.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam attends a news conference virtually as Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos delivers an update from Ottawa of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Dec. 10, 2021. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Despite a national shortage of tests, Canada’s chief public health officer isn’t worried that future waves of COVID-19 could go undetected as a result. “In Canada, we will not miss an entry of this variant, or its spread in the community,” Dr. Theresa Tam said today. “There’s enough testing to detect that. We are doing more daily tests than (in) any other period during this pandemic, (so) if you’re tracking the trajectory of this virus, we’ll be able to (see) the trends.”

Her comments coincide with Ontario’s decision to restrict tests to people who are at high risk of severe disease or who work in high-risk settings. At a press briefing, she was careful in her response to the province cutting mandatory isolation time in half last week, from 10 days to five days.

“We’re still learning about the Omicron virus, (including) things like the incubation period, or the period during which people can be infectious,” she said, noting prolonging isolation is the “most precautionary approach,” while also “recognizing other realities of keeping society going.”

Tam’s comments come on the heels of Ottawa announcing it’s getting 140 million rapid tests in January. The tests will be distributed based on the provinces’ populations, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said. More from Aidan Chamandy.

In Ontario, where hospitals are on the verge of being overrun with COVID-19 patients again, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says improving the province’s delicate health-care system must be a top priority for whichever party Ontarians elect in five months. The virus has repeatedly exposed weaknesses in Ontario’s health-care system, and today, the provincial government cancelled non-urgent surgeries at hospitals for the third time since the start of the pandemic. Charlie Pinkerton has that story.

Circling back to Trudeau, he announced several changes to senior staff in the public service today. The full list is here.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre iPolitics/Matthew Usherwood
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre pictured in Ottawa in November 2017 (Matthew Usherwood/iPolitics)

Conservative Finance critic Pierre Poilievre is demanding that the House Finance committee return from its holiday break early, so it can tackle the ballooning cost of housing in Canada. “It’s time for politicians to get to work,” he told reporters today. “We’ve been on vacation now for three weeks, and (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) wants another nearly four weeks before the House comes back.” As Jeff Labine reports, the chair, Liberal MP Peter Fonseca, can recall the committee early if at least four members from at least two political parties ask him to. He didn’t respond to iPolitics’ request for comment.

Still with housing: An annual progressive surtax on Canadian homes valued at over $1 million could reduce soaring home prices across the country — and even help end housing inequity. That’s the conclusion of a new report from Generation Squeeze, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for younger Canadians. Released today, the report proposes to tax homes worth more than $1 million at a starting rate of 0.2 per cent, which equals about $400 and peaks at one per cent, or about $1,000 a year. The tax would be paid when the home is sold. That story from Janet Silver.

The Sprout: Canada, U.S. both claim victory in dairy-quota spat

Net Zero: Coastal GasLink construction resumes after blockades

In Other Headlines:

Trudeau calls Sunwing flight party a ‘slap in the face’ amid Omicron surge (Global)
Passengers on Sunwing party plane could face jail time, thousands in fines (CBC)
Winnipeg police chief declares state of emergency for force due to COVID-19 (Global)
Iain Rankin to step down as N.S. Liberal Party leader (CBC)
Kathleen Wynne on her political downfall and the private advice she gave Doug For(Maclean’s)

Internationally:

In France, President Emmanuel Macron vowed today to make life difficult for the unvaccinated.“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” he told Le Parisien newspaper. “I won’t send (unvaccinated people) to prison. So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”

His comments have ruffled some feathers, more it seems because of the language he used, specifically ’emmerder,’ which is considered vulgar. The kerfuffle halted debate among MPs on a law barring the unvaccinated from public life, and brought the National Assembly to a standstill for a second night. This comes as France reported another 332,252 cases of COVID today, the highest daily tally recorded there since the pandemic began.

South of the border, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol. The White House said today that President Joe Biden will address Donald Trump’s role in the attack when he speaks.

“I would expect that President Biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility president Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “And he will forcibly push back on the lie spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters, as well as distract from his role and what happened,” she added.

Meanwhile, in a news conference today, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said investigations into the attack will go on as long “as long it takes” to achieve justice in the wake of the “unprecedented attack” on American democracy. “Those involved must be held accountable. And there is no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice,” he said.

In Other International Headlines:

EU’s top diplomat vows ‘full support’ for Ukraine on front line visit (Al Jazeera)
US, Germany say Russia poses ‘urgent’ challenge to stability (AP)
Kazakhstan protests turn deadly as crowds storm, torch public buildings (Reuters)
Poland’s president tests positive for COVID-19 (Politico)
Choosing pets over babies is ‘selfish and diminishes us’, says pope (Guardian)
North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile into the sea (BBC)
Italy extends COVID vaccine mandate to everyone over 50 (Reuters)

In Opinion:

Graham Thomson: Kenney’s New Year filled with political baggage from the Old Year

The Kicker:

It’s pretty common knowledge that most things in Australia can — or wants to – kill you.

Turns out that includes crabs.

Have a good night.

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