/Morning Brief: House of Commons to convene — this time physically

Morning Brief: House of Commons to convene — this time physically

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Good morning, readers.

The House of Commons will sit at noon today in order to pass legislation enacting $9 billion in measures to support students.

A skeleton cast of MPs will be physically in the House chamber.

That’s unlike yesterday’s first-ever virtual special House committee on COVID-19 meeting involving about 280 MPs.

As the Canadian Press reports, House Speaker Anthony Rota wrapped up the historic three-hour meeting with thanks to the chamber’s technical staff for ensuring it went “relatively well.”

“We did have a few hitches but nobody’s perfect,” he said. All 338 MPs are members of the committee.

After Tuesday’s debut run of a virtual sitting, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner called for “a virtual round of applause” for the technical staff. Her praise for the technicians came after fellow Conservative Alain Rayes complained that he’d been cut off from the proceedings for about 15 minutes when he lost his internet connection.

Other MPs were reminded to take themselves off mute. One MP, Cathy McLeod, saw her computer crash during the meeting.

The House had previously agreed to two virtual sittings through the special committee and one in-person sitting in the chamber weekly during the period of shutdown.

You can follow along with today’s in-person meeting of the special COVID-19 committee with iPolitics’ liveblog coverage of the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Canada’s two largest provinces are charting different paths toward normalcy despite federal projections on Tuesday that thousands of more people would likely contract COVID-19 and hundreds more could die in the coming week.

The Canadian Press also reports that Quebec Premier Francois Legault said although deaths were rising in long-term care homes, they were largely stable elsewhere in the province, the hardest hit in the country.

As a result, Legault said stores outside the Montreal region could start reopening on Monday. Primary schools and daycares are also to reopen starting May 11.

Ontario, on the other hand, has given no dates or schedule for lifting restrictions, other than that schools will stay closed until at least the end of May. Premier Doug Ford has been adamant reopening depends on getting the virus spread under firm control.

“Let me be crystal clear: As long as this virus remains a threat to Ontario, we will continue to take every precaution necessary,” Ford said this week.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday he will announce plans for the province’s relaunch later this week.

Fundingportal analysis: Who got government grants this week

In Other Headlines

COVID-19 is hitting seniors financially, and they’re looking to Ottawa for help (Toronto Star)

Tam says the pandemic will bring a ‘new normal’ to workplaces, defends WHO’s performance (CBC News)

Nova Scotia gunman killed 9 of his 22 victims by setting fire to their houses, police say (Reuters)

‘Mask diplomacy’: Taiwan donates half a million masks to Canada with appeal for closer ties (Globe and Mail)

Health Minister says Canada is ‘open’ to reviewing WHO’s COVID-19 actions (CTV News)

Canadian province sends nurses to northern community hit by COVID-19 (Reuters)

CFL asking federal government for up to $150 million in financial assistance (Canadian Press)

ICYMI from iPolitics

Researchers conducting trials on the effectiveness of an antibody-dependent treatment for COVID-19 say they’re not worried about a report from the World Health Organization casting doubt around how long antibodies may last.

On Sunday, the WHO warned that there’s “no evidence” that recovering from the virus prevents someone from falling ill again because of it.

A team of researchers from across Canada, which includes academic physicians and doctors from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, are in the early steps of a study of whether blood plasma taken from people who recovered from COVID-19, which contain antibodies to the illness, could be given to patients with existing cases to help them recover.

A spokesperson for CBS said the WHO is right in that there’s no evidence of permanent immunity if someone has had COVID-19 once. However, the organization said the declaration does not impact its clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as a possible treatment. Charlie Pinkerton reports.

Around the World

Governments should focus on climate protection when considering fiscal stimulus packages to support an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump took executive action Tuesday to order meat processing plants to stay open amid concerns over growing coronavirus cases and the impact on the nation’s food supply. Unions fired back, saying the White House was jeopardizing lives and prioritizing cold cuts over workers’ health. (Associated Press)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte defended himself on Tuesday from widespread criticism of his highly cautious plans for a slow-placed end to Europe’s longest coronavirus lockdown. (Reuters)

Protests against growing economic hardship erupted in Tripoli and spread to other Lebanese cities on Tuesday, with banks set ablaze and violence boiling over into a second night. (Reuters)

Joe Biden won Ohio’s presidential primary Tuesday, clinching a contest that was less about the Democratic nomination and more about how states can conduct elections in the era of the coronavirus. (AP)

Nearly two years after 43 people died when a bridge in Genoa collapsed, its replacement, built in record time, has become a symbol of Italian can-do. (New York Times)

Cartoon of the Day

Michael De Adder cartoon



British World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore is in for a very special 100th birthday on Thursday after well-wishers from around the world repaid his record-breaking fundraising efforts by sending tens of thousands of birthday cards.

As Reuters reports, Moore has raised more than 29 million pounds for the National Health Service by completing laps of his garden with the help of a walking frame.

People tuned in from across the globe to watch his progress online and a flood of donations soon came in. Moore has also received plenty of birthday cards.

Have a great Wednesday.

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