Morning Brief: Tories call for anti-corruption committee



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Good morning.

The Conservatives are calling for the creation of an “anti-corruption” committee to probe into the WE scandal. “Canadians deserve answers, we deserve accountability,” said Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett. The Tories meanwhile plan to try to kick start the ethics and finance committees this week, which were studying the matter before prorogation but have been recently stonewalled by the Liberals.

Kady O’Malley previews the day ahead in politics with iPolitics AM and gives us a bird’s eye view of parliamentary scheduling with What We’re Watching, including two upcoming opposition supply days. Coming up today: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads back out onto the COVID-19 briefing circuit.

The federal government was warned years ago that unless there were oversight changes at PHAC, the agency would be destined for serious problems, according to two prominent Canadian doctors, the Globe and Mail reports. The symptoms were there and the diagnosis was clear, but cronic resource shortages, budget cuts, and a lack of ears around successive cabinet tables and elsewhere in governmnet hampered the agency well ahead of the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson is temporarily putting its phase 3 coronavirus vaccine clinical trials on hold after one of the participants suffered from an “unexplained illness.” Meanwhile a new study says the coronavirus can stick around on surfaces, including bank notes (ATM buttons, etc.),  for up to about a month — BUT that doesn’t mean we should all freak out about surfaces again.

A highly anticipated trial begins today for the founder of the ‘Just for Laughs’ festival, Gilbert Rozon, over charges alleging he raped a woman some 40 years ago, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Michael Kovrig is making international headlines for having only recently learned about the pandemic because he has been detained in China with no access to the outside world.

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AROUND THE WORLD

He’s back. Donald Trump hit the hustings Monday saying he feels like a million bucks after grappling with COVID, and he defended his record on handling the pandemic. “I went through it now. They say I’m immune. I feel so powerful,” Trump said at a rally in Sanford, Florida. “I will kiss everyone in that audience,” he joked with the crowd. He wants to make the rallies a daily event.

Trump made that immunity joke just as the WHO said it is ruling out herd immunity as a response to the pandemic and called it immoral.

Democrats and Republicans are duking it out at Supreme Court nomination hearings this week, which run through Thurs.  Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee, said she approaches the law in a conservative and fair manner at her hearing Monday, AP reports. Democratic senators painted her as a threat to Obamacare, while Republicans want the focus to be on her credentials.

The White House says it plans to move forward with three sales of advanced arms to Taiwan, a move expected to provoke China.

Facebook says it will now ban Holocaust denial on its platform amid a wave of antisemitism.

Elsewhere: Walt Disney says it is restructuring its media and entertainment businesses to focus more on streaming services.  China says it will test 9 million people amid a new COVID outbreak in Qingdao. China and Cambodia have inked a free trade agreement on the heels of EU sanctions levied on Cambodia. And Mike Pence said he didn’t notice the fly on his hair during the VP debate and wasn’t bugged by it.

IN OTHER HEADLINES

WHAT WE’RE READING

ICYMI FROM IPOLITICS

CARTOON OF THE DAY

THE KICKER 

Election officials in Sacramento, California are asking voters to stop disinfecting their mail-in ballots after about a hundred people did — and damaged them. In one case, someone tried to microwave their ballot.

And with that, you’re all caught up.

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