The COVID19 pandemic is pushing the federal deficit to a level not seen since the Second World War. The government’s fiscal snapshot yesterday forecasted Canada’s deficit climbing to $343-billion dollars, with the Finance Department estimating the federal debt is set to exceed $1-trillion-dollars Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the House of Commons that all the money the government spent over the past few months was designed to ensure Canadians survive the economic downturn. Prime Minister Trudeau said the cost of doing nothing would have been far more. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says the Liberal government has failed Canadians during the pandemic. Scheer says the government was wrong to leave our borders open for longer, wrong when they said they were going to have enhanced screening at airports and slow to fix the gaps in their own programs.
Here is the fiscal “snapshot”:
Ontario had 118 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, along with nine new deaths. The number of active cases dropped again after 202 more cases were resolved. The number of people in hospital because of the virus, in ICUs and on ventilators all slightly decreased.
Testing Truck Drivers:
The Ministry of Transportation says it’s launching a pilot program to make it easier for truck drivers to get tested for COVID19. The pilot program will allow truckers to access voluntary testing on a first-come, first-served basis at locations where there is high-volume truck traffic. DriverCheck rolled out the project yesterday in Kitchener. A truck stop in Ayr will offer testing starting July 14 and a mobile option will be available at select locations until September 8th.
Pleased to connect with our trucking industry partners today to discuss our new COVID-19 testing pilot program.
We are committed to ensuring drivers are supported, and have the resources they need to keep our supply chain strong.
— Caroline Mulroney (@C_Mulroney) July 9, 2020
Provincial Omnibus Bill:
The Ontario government has introduced sweeping new legislation dubbed the COVID19 Recovery Act that would affect schools, municipalities and the justice system. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark says the bill would speed up environmental assessments, offer new consumer protections and help address unemployment. But Liberal House leader says parts of the legislation — including changes to the way justices of the peace are appointed — have nothing to do with pandemic recovery. The bill also includes measures announced this week to end school suspensions for students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Ford Says AC Will Be Mandatory:
Premier Ford is pledging to make air conditioning mandatory in the province’s long-term care homes. Yesterday he criticized homes without cooling systems in place, saying he’d like to put the owners of such facilities in sweltering rooms for a day to see how they like it. Ford says he and Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton are already looking at how the Long-Term Care Act can be changed, and exploring the possibility of providing money to make it happen.
Bars Want to Continue Selling Alcohol via Takeout and Delivery:
The provincial government is being urged to allow restaurants to permanently sell takeout alcohol alongside food. Owners of Toronto bars and restaurants dealing in rare wines and spirits say the change made to help outlets weather the COVID19 pandemic has boosted their sales. They say they can offer customers a specialty product the LCBO rarely carries and they’ll fight to change the measure from temporary to permanent. The Ministry of the Attorney General’s says it’s committed to working with the hospitality sector but did not comment specifically on whether it will explore making takeout laws permanent.
Cannabis Retailers Want to Continue Curbside Pickup:
Ontario’s private cannabis stores say they’re disappointed that they will have to give up offering delivery and curbside pickup next week. A temporary emergency order issued by the Ontario government during the COVID19 pandemic allowed both services to begin in April. But orders that allowed delivery and curbside pickup are not being extended past July 15th. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its Ontario Cannabis Policy Council say the move will further reduce consumer access to the legal cannabis market.
Student Positions Don’t Actually Exist:
A federal website is advertising hundreds, if not thousands, of student volunteer positions that may not even exist. The positions are connected to a $900-million-dollar government aid program. The YMCA says 1,500 positions to help create online exercise regimes for kids and seniors were the brainchild of WE Charity. That’s the organization originally tapped by the Liberal government to administer the Canada Student Services Grant. The YMCA and WE both blame a miscommunication as WE scrambled to get the program up and running as quickly as possible.
Is COVID19 Spread Through the Air?
Some Canadian infectious disease experts are weighing in on the debate over just how COVID-19 is spreading. An associate professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, thinks we would have seen huge rates of transmission if COVID19 was a predominantly airborne virus. Earlier this week, 239 scientists and physicians urged the World Health Organization to recognize the potential for airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus and revise its safety recommendations.
America Hits 3 Million Cases:
The U.S. hit another COVID19 milestone yesterday, recording three-million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. But health experts say the real number of infections is about 10 times higher. The death toll stands at more than 130,000 and infections have surged to the rate of more than 50,000 per day.
United Airlines Layoffs:
United Airlines is sending layoff warnings to 36,000 employees, nearly half its U.S, staff. It’s the clearest signal yet of how deeply the COVID19 pandemic is hurting the airline industry. United officials say that they still hope to limit the number of layoffs by offering early retirement, but they have to send notices this month to comply with a law requiring that workers get 60 days’ notice ahead of job cuts.
Infections from Trump Campaign Rally?
The head of the Tulsa-County Health Department in Oklahoma says U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in late June likely contributed to a dramatic surge in new COVID19 cases. Health officials say Tulsa has recorded nearly 500 confirmed new COVID19 cases in the last two days. Oklahoma is reporting 673 confirmed new cases, the state’s second-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.
NOTE: Some are suggesting this claim is mainly political as there have been very few infections linked to the weeks of Black Lives Matter rally’s that took place across America which also involved thousands of people; many not wearing masks and in close proximity.
Reaction to America Pulling Out of the WHO:
Top U.S. allies are denouncing the country’s planned pullout from the World Health Organization within a year. Italy’s health minister calls it wrong. A political ally of Germany’s leader warned that it create more room for China on the world stage. President Trump vowed in May to end participation in the WHO over its alleged missteps and kowtowing to China.
Trump Warns Schools To Be Open For September:
Donald Trump warned schools yesterday that if they do not reopen in the fall due to continuing concerns over coronavirus, he may cut off government funding. The president said Democrats are concerned that reopening schools would be a bad political move for presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden ahead of the November presidential election, and asserted other countries that have begun reopening their schools are having no problems. “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” Trump asserted in a tweet yesterday morning.
BBB Closing Stores:
Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close approximately 200 stores over the next two years, the company announced yesterday. The home goods retailer, which also operates buybuy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, said the closing stores would “mostly” be Bed Bath & Beyond stores. In January, company officials said they still planned to close 60 stores across all of its concepts, which was originally announced in October 2019. However, in January, the company said 20 of the 40 Bed Bath & Beyond stores scheduled to close would be delayed until the first half of 2020. CEO Mark Tritton said in a news release announcing the permanent store closures and the company’s quarterly earnings that the COVID-19 pandemic “was felt across our business during our fiscal first quarter, including loss of sales due to temporary store closures.”
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health announced just 4 news COVID19 infections, along with 5 more recovered. That leaves the number of active cases in the region at 67. Again, there were no new deaths and there has only been 1 death in the past month. There were zero new cases in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph yesterday and the number of active cases dropped to just 29. Majority of the cases are in Guelph itself. They have 215 infections but only 15 are active at the moment.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Global News via YouTube screenshot