Hey Passengers,

It’s Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) back for the new year. Hope your holiday season gave you the ability to take your mind off the wretched hell world we live in. I know mine didn’t. 

Anyways, today we’ve got stories on: Ontario’s new lockdown measures that are bound to fail; the Conservatives’ repeated dalliances with Rebel News; potential consequences for the U of T donor who interfered in the hiring process for a scholar whose views on Israel he doesn’t like; two anti-lockdown Canadian nurses who travelled to Washington, D.C., to support their fellow chuds. 

Let’s get to it!

Ontario Tightens Lockdown Screws, But Offers No Reprieve For Workers

The Ontario government announced a new state of emergency today, issuing a stay-at-home order to start Thursday, delaying the return of in-person classes until at least February 10 for major population centres, limiting outdoor gatherings to five people from 10 and prohibiting non-essential businesses from staying open past 8 p.m.

Under the stay-at-home order, everyone is required to stay in their place of residence unless they are going to the grocery store or pharmacy, exercising, accessing healthcare or doing essential work. 

With the declaration of this second state of emergency, authorities — including provincial and local police, bylaw officers and workplace inspectors — will be given the power to issue tickets for those found in violation of the new restrictions. 

Absent from the new set of measures announced was any indication the government might move toward offering paid sick leave, which has been advocated by Toronto Medical Officer of Health, Eilleen de Villa and Mayor John Tory, as well as the province’s associate Medical Officer of Health, Barbara Yaffe. 

Said Tory, “I’m almost to the hair-lighting-on-fire time with this, where the fact there has been no response from anybody about this.”

Premier Doug Ford insists the federal government’s $450 for workers who must stay home is sufficient. 

Today’s announcement comes after modelling data presented by health officials this morning showed that the daily COVID-19 mortality rate could double to 100 deaths from 50 “between mid-January and the end of February,” which would make COVID-19 the leading daily cause of death in Ontario. 

DIG DEEPER: New Year, New Lockdown

Conservatives Say They’ll No Longer Grant Access To The Rebel … Again 

  • The office of Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says the party will no longer engage with Rebel News, after staffers responded to questions from the outlet, which was then advertised as an “exclusive” interview with the leader of opposition. 
  • If this sounds familiar, that’s because O’Toole’s predecessor Andrew Scheer made a similar vow in the summer of 2017, two months before hiring former Rebel director Hamish Marshall to run his federal election campaign. 
  • O’Toole spokesperson Chelsea Tucker took the blame for responding to the Rebel’s questions and allowing her answers to be attributed to O’Toole, but wouldn’t say why she thought it was a good idea. 
  • Ontario PC MPP and federal Conservative nomination candidate for Thornhill, Gila Martow appeared on the Rebel last month, which she shared on social media. 

Tax Judge Who Pressured U of T To Not Hire Israel Critic Could Be Removed From The Bench 

  • The Canadian Judicial Council has ordered a panel to review complaints that federal tax court judge and University of Toronto donor David Spiro pressured the university into not hiring international legal scholar Valentina Azarova due to her body of work criticizing Israel’s apartheid regime. 
  • A Judicial Conduct Review Panel is established when it’s determined allegations are serious enough to warrant a judge’s expulsion from the bench. 
  • One of the complaints to the council came from Osgoode Hall law professor and former NDP MP Craig Scott, who said the council’s preliminary investigation took longer than usual, suggesting that it must have “revealed serious concerns.” 

ICYMI: Despite Border Closures, At Least 2 Canadians Travelled To Washington, D.C. To Support Capitol Siege 

Two Canadian nurses active in the anti-lockdown movement made their way to Washington, D.C., last week to attend the pro-Trump rally that preceded the storming of the capitol. 

Sarah Choujounian of Toronto and Kristen Nagle of London were part of a contingent of healthcare workers from the U.S. and Canada called “Global Frontline Nurses,” which held its own rally prior to the main event.  

From the Washington Post: “Though there is no evidence that either woman participated in the violence, their trip to Washington raises questions about loopholes in the rules governing travel between the United States and Canada during the coronavirus pandemic. It also offers a reminder of the deep ties between conspiratorial and far-right movements on both sides of the border.”

Although Canada and the U.S. technically agreed to close their borders to non-essential travel at the pandemic’s outset, which has been renewed in monthly increments since, travellers from Canada are able to fly to the U.S. as long as they quarantine for two weeks afterwards. 

As a result of her participation in the event, Nagle has been put on unpaid leave at the London Health Sciences Centre-Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, where she works. Choujounian said at the nurses’ rally that she was fired from her job at a long-term care facility for her anti-lockdown posting on social media. 

DIG DEEPER: QAnon Conspiracies Are Taking Over Canadian Conservatism

That’s a wrap on your January 12 Passage Daily. Check your inbox tomorrow for more news from an unapologetically progressive perspective.

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