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Provinces to Trudeau: It’s always about you

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Ahead of Friday’s first ministers’ meeting, the attendees are already at each others’ throats. The feds and the provinces can’t even agree on who should be allowed to attend a pre-meeting luncheon on Thursday—Ottawa says just the Prime Minister and premiers with one note taker, while the provinces want each leader to bring in an official. The main dispute though is over the agenda of the meeting. The provinces have a broad set of complaints they want to bring to the table—pipelines, carbon taxes, the GM plant closure and oil prices—but none of those things are spelled out in the agenda. The Trudeau government, meanwhile, wants to make the meeting about issues it views as important: competitiveness, clean energy initiatives and greater economic collaboration. “If the agenda doesn’t change, the premiers will change the agenda during the meeting itself,” Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday. (CTV, Canadian Press)

As far as Raj Grewal and his lawyer are concerned, they’re done explaining the former Liberal MPs millions in gambling debts, how the money was repaid, his name appearing on wiretaps of a money laundering investigation, and his use of his position on a finance committee to urge a higher reporting threshold for financial transactions before they need to be flagged to authorities. In short, everyone can just butt out. “This is now a private personal family matter,” Grewal’s lawyer Joel Etienne said, after clarifying that the money was borrowed from “family and friends” and “repaid back only by family.” (Toronto Star)

If the Trudeau government gets its way, the David Suzuki Foundation should be granted intervenor status at the upcoming Saskatchewan Court of Appeal fight over his government’s carbon tax, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party should not. (Global News)

At the funeral for former president George H. W. Bush, Brian Mulroney delivered an emotion eulogy. If you missed it, you can see the video at Maclean’s or read the transcript.

President Bush’s decision to go forward with strong environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act that resulted in the acid rain accord with Canada, is a splendid gift to future generations of Americans and Canadians, to savour in the air they breathe and the water they drink; in the forests they enjoy and the lakes, rivers and streams they cherish.

There’s a word for this: it’s called leadership. Leadership.

And let me tell you that when George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman. A genuine leader. One who was distinguished, resolute and brave.  (Maclean’s)

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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