Skip to content

Canada and post-COVID economic recovery; Protecting poutine: In The News for May 19


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 19 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

International Trade Minister Mary Ng says Canada needs to be a central player in American efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ng joined U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Mexican Economy Secretary Tatiana Clouthier in a virtual Free Trade Commission meeting in the first such meeting under the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Speaking after the meeting, Ng called it "incredible and historic" that for the first time, three women represented North America's trade relationship.

In her opening remarks to the commission, Ng emphasized the role Canada stands to play in the U.S. effort to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a nod to concerns north of the border that President Joe Biden's labour-friendly protectionist stance risks freezing out Canadian suppliers and contractors.

"Our trade relationship is built on long-established, deeply integrated supply chains — networks of workers and businesses that aren't just selling to each other, but innovating and building together," she said.

"Many of our traded goods cross our borders to become the final 'North American' products that we buy and sell from each other and around the world. That is why our trade relationship is so important."


Also this ...

In an effort to improve international promotion of an iconic Quebec dish, a group representing the province's dairy industry says it is considering seeking a protected designation for the term poutine.

Luc Boivin, a cheese producer and member of a Quebec industry group, says the traditional meal of french fries, cheese curds and gravy is becoming increasingly popular all around the world.

He says a working group will seek to create a national branding strategy to help producers collectively market their products.

The group is also looking at getting a reserved designation, which is an official recognition by the Quebec government of the authenticity of distinctive regional food products.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — A Democratic effort to create a 9/11-style commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol could be running into an attempt to block it by the Republicans.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is “pushing the pause button” on the legislation to form the commission, which is expected to pass the House this week despite the opposition of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. That means the bill is likely to have a more difficult path when it reaches the Senate, where majority Democrats will need at least 10 GOP votes to pass it.

McConnell told reporters that his caucus is “undecided” but willing to listen to the arguments about “whether such a commission is needed.” He questioned whether the panel's work would interfere with the hundreds of criminal cases stemming from the attack and whether the “fine print” of the bill would ensure that both parties on the commission have an equal say.

McCarthy's opposition and McConnell's hesitancy will almost certainly mean fewer Republicans will support the commission in both chambers. Most in the party are still loathe to upset former president Donald Trump, who had encouraged his supporters to head to Capitol Hill that day to stop the counting of the electoral votes and overturn his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

But it will also expose divisions in the party, as some Republicans have said they think an independent review is necessary.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

CEUTA, Spain — A sudden influx of migrants has fuelled a diplomatic spat between Morocco and Spain over the disputed Western Sahara region and created a humanitarian crisis for Ceuta, where the Spanish military was deployed Tuesday.

The Spanish military at the Moroccan border expelled nearly half of the thousands of migrants who jumped fences or swam onto European soil over two days after Morocco loosened border controls amid the deepening diplomatic squabble.

Overwhelmed soldiers separated the adults from the young and carried children in their arms while Red Cross workers helped an endless trickle of migrants who were emerging from the water shivering and exhausted.

Ceuta is a city of 85,000 in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, separated from Morocco by a double-wide, 10-metre fence.

By Tuesday afternoon, nearly 8,000 sea-soaked people had crossed the border into the city since early Monday, the Spanish government said, including some 2,000 thought to be teenagers. The number getting in slowed after Spain deployed additional police officers and soldiers, but the arrivals didn't stop even when anti-riot police on the Moroccan side dispersed crowds of people hoping to cross over.

At least 4,000 were returned to Morocco, according to Spain's Interior Ministry. Morocco and Spain signed an agreement three decades ago to expel all those who swim across the border.


On this day in 1780 ...

Complete darkness fell on eastern Canada and the New England states at 2 p.m. Many people gathered in churches for comfort during the so-called "dark day." Scientists believe smoke and ash from forest fires burning to the west in Canada and the United States most likely became concentrated into a dense cloud that was drawn across eastern North America by passing low pressure. This is supported by reports from Boston that the air smelled like a ``malt-house or coal-kiln,'' and that something resembling ash settled on pools of rain water.


In entertainment ...

LOS ANGELES — Disney Junior is going to broadcast “Rise Up, Sing Out,” an animated shorts series presenting the concepts of race, racism and social justice to young viewers.

Designed for children ages two to seven and their families, the series will include music by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots, who are executive producers with Latoya Raveneau.

“We hope these shorts will encourage the young audience to recognize and celebrate our differences as human beings while learning the tools to navigate real-world issues of racial injustice,” Thompson and Trotter said in a joint statement Tuesday.

They said their hope is to “empower and uplift the future generations in the way we know best, through music.”

“Rise Up, Sing Out,” produced in collaboration with Oscar-winning studio Lion Forge Animation (“Hair Love”), will debut this year on Disney Junior platforms including the channel and app. A date wasn't announced.

Disney Junior recognizes that children are “experiencing a multitude of feelings around what’s happening in our world today” and that families are struggling to discuss “sensitive issues around race,” said Joe D’Ambrosia, its general manager and a senior vice president.

The shorts are intended to give families "the tools and knowledge to address these important topics with their preschoolers in an age-appropriate manner through music and relatable kid experiences,” he said in a statement.



MONTREAL — If the National Hockey League playoff series between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs lasts until May 29, a limited number of fans will be permitted in the Bell Centre.

The Quebec government announced Tuesday that indoor venues will be able to start hosting up to 2,500 patrons starting May 28, the same day a provincial curfew will be lifted.

"Although the number of spectators remains limited, we applaud this decision which allows us to foresee an eventual return to normality," France Margaret Bélanger, the Canadiens' executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, said in a statement.

Bélanger said 2,500 people is about 12 per cent of the Bell Centre's capacity.

The announcement of Quebec's reopening plan came hours after Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said allowing fans into games is not under "serious consideration" at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I would say if you look at that timing and what's the schedule for the NHL playoffs, which is taking place right now and into the summer months, it's not really something that's under serious consideration in terms of fans in the stands, just based on where we are with our vaccination campaign at this point," Njoo said in Ottawa.

All of the American games so far in the playoffs have had fans, with a high of 12,000 for a Carolina Hurricanes home contest against the Nashville Predators on Monday night.

The NHL has had Canadian teams play exclusively in the country this year with no fans at any games. The Edmonton Oilers open the North Division playoffs against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, while the Maple Leafs and Canadiens start their best-of-seven series Thursday in Toronto.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks