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Good morning, readers.
As Canadian concerns grow over the outbreak of COVID-19 — with cases now totalling 33 in the country — Prime Minister Justin said its spread is a moment of “real challenge” and the government is readying contingency plans to blunt the economic fallout of the crisis.
As the Toronto Star reports, Trudeau on Tuesday said Canada’s approach to the virus outbreak is working and noted that the numbers — 33 cases nationwide, including 20 in Ontario — bear that out.
However, Trudeau acknowledged the virus is taking an economic toll, saying that “there will be impacts on Canadians’ business.”
The Bank of Canada is expected to react to those economic worries this morning by cutting a key interest rate.
Ottawa is also looking at contingency measures to blunt the economic fallout of the spread of COVID-19, which is rattling financial markets and upsetting global supply chains.
Canadian tourism is also bracing for the impact of the outbreak on the number of foreign visitors for this summer’s travel season.
The Canadian Press reports that some people in the industry are already seeing a change in the number of individuals coming from overseas, particularly from China — the second-largest long-haul market for Canada-bound tourists and where the outbreak began.
“Bookings are down from China by about 70 per cent between March and October, so that’s obviously quite considerable,” said Maya Lange, the vice-president of global marketing with Destination BC, a Crown corporation focused on attracting visitors to the province.
Several airlines have restricted the number of flights to the country, and some people have had difficulties getting visas due to temporary closures at some application centres.
Some Canadian tourism marketing agencies have also pulled all their ad money from China and are using it to double down on efforts to attract people from other markets like the United States and United Kingdom.
In Other Headlines
Canadian humanitarians detained in Ethiopia granted bail (Globe and Mail)
Alberta government survey asks residents if they support separation (Globe and Mail)
ICYMI from iPolitics
The House of Commons finance committee’s top ask for the governing Liberals’ upcoming budget is to move on ensuring the financial sector considers climate change in its investment decisions.
The first recommendation from the committee in its pre-budget study is for the Trudeau government to act on the advice of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, which urged Ottawa last year to incorporate climate change risks into the fiduciary duty firms have to their clients.
The committee’s report on pre-budget consultations, released last Friday, hints at Liberal priorities for the upcoming budget, which will be the first it introduces as a minority government.
The first seven recommendations of the Commons committee relate to efforts addressing climate change, putting it in alignment with Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comments from January that the budget will have a heavy focus on the environment. Jolson Lim has more.
Around the World
Joe Biden surged to a strong finish on Super Tuesday, winning the most number of votes in primaries in Oklahoma and Minnesota, two states Bernie Sanders won during the 2016 Democratic primaries. Biden also won big in Massachusetts, Virginia and delegate-rich Texas. Sanders, meanwhile, won the greatest number of votes in ever-important California. By the end of the night, Biden won the greatest number of delegates.
Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren were not able to win a significant number of delegates, suggesting the Democratic presidential nomination is now a two-candidate race. (New York Times)
The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned of a global shortage and price gouging for protective equipment to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus and asked companies and governments to increase production by 40 per cent as the death toll from the respiratory illness mounted. (Reuters)
The coronavirus epidemic is shifting westward toward the Middle East, Europe and the United States, with governments taking emergency steps to ease shortages of masks and other supplies for front-line doctors and nurses. (Associated Press)
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by telephone with chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund on Tuesday, the first known conversation between a U.S. leader and a top Taliban official, as a dispute over a prisoner release threatened a U.S.-led effort to bring peace to Afghanistan. (Reuters)
China on Tuesday denounced a move by the Trump administration to reduce the number of Chinese state-run media journalists who can work in the United States by more than one-third as “based on the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.” (AP)
Cartoon of the Day
Among the small moments of humour last night, Biden mixed up his wife and sister on stage at the start of his Super Tuesday speech in Los Angeles.
“This is my sister Valerie,” Biden said, grabbing onto the hand of his wife, Jill.
“They switched on me,” he said moments later, correcting himself, after realizing the truly Biden-esque error.
Joe Biden: “This is my little sister Valerie, and I’m Jill’s husband. Oh no, you switched on me. This is my wife, this is my sister. They switched on me!” pic.twitter.com/5YrBhWUqmz
— The Hill (@thehill) March 4, 2020
Have a great day!