Today’s Morning Brief is brought to you by Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. The federal budget provides the government with an opportunity to take key steps to build a resilient economy. Learn more.
Hello, iPolitics readers.
— “The threat remains high”: Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told The Canadian Press yesterday that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains high. This follows some optimism earlier today when Russian President Vladimir Putin told his German counterpart he did not want a war and the Kremlin said it was cutting troops. The NATO chief, however, said there was no indication of a decline in Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. Then the Ukrainian government was hit by a series of cyberattacks.
“Everyone takes it on time,” she says. “Things have moved; the situation is extremely volatile.
As for what to expect today, the Russian ambassador to Europe reassured the German newspaper Die Welt: “As far as Russia is concerned, there will be no attack this Wednesday. … Wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday.”
— Kady O’Malley looks to the future the rest of the day in politics with iPolitics AM.
— Back to the Ranch, federal ministers, hoping to avoid another weekend of protests, outlined next steps as well as their rationale for invoking the Emergencies Act. Government House Leader Mark Holland said the government would bring the motion for a declaration of emergency to Parliament “shortly”.
Some Ottawa protesters, however, rejected the federal government’s decision to invoke the law as a scare tactic. Organizers, meanwhile, are urging supporters to keep funding them through cryptocurrency.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Ottawa police, empowered by the Emergencies Act, will now be able to establish “no go” zones in downtown Ottawa. But Peter Sloly has reportedly resigned as Ottawa Police Chief, which he is expected to announce today.
Elsewhere, the last remaining border blockade – in Emerson, Manitoba – will be dismantled today after protesters agreed to leave after several days of negotiations.
— End of PCR mandate for vaxxed travelers: Starting February 28, fully vaccinated travelers will soon be able to take a cheaper and easier rapid test to enter Canada, rather than a PCR test. The rules are more closely aligned with those in the United States and would come before the March break.
Topical advice? Let us know: [email protected]
AROUND THE WORLD
— Mixed messages about Russia: Russia announced today that military exercises in Crimea have ended and troops there are being moved to their “permanent deployment points”. Ukrainians, meanwhile, are wary of any Russian claims of withdrawal, according to BBC News.
US President Joe Biden echoed Joly’s comments yesterday, saying in televised remarks that an attack on Ukraine by Russia is “still a possibility” that would have “tremendous” human costs.
Yesterday, the lower house of the Russian parliament voted to ask the president to recognize the eastern regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent republics. France’s foreign minister said if he did, it would amount to an “unarmed attack”.
— Navalny is tried again: A new trial against imprisoned Putin critic Alexei Navalny opened this week in Moscow. Navalny, who is already serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence, has been charged with new fraud charges, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called “dubious”.
— Somewhere else: France and EU partners should announce a military withdrawal from Mali. Poland prepares to accept Ukrainian refugees in case of war. Asylum seekers in Australia are detained for an average of 689 days. Belgium grants workers the right to request a four-day week. A leaking pipe in the Irish Sea spills 500 barrels of oil into the sea. Prince Andrew has settled his sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre. The families of the victims of Sandy Hook settled with the arms manufacturer Remington.
IN OTHER TITLES
WHAT WE READ
ICYMI OF IPOLITICS
CARTOON OF THE DAY
Here’s a supply chain story for the ages. When 65 shipping containers slid off a ship in high winds in the mid-Atlantic, every copy of two cookbooks that were set to go on sale was lost to the seabed.
One of the books was particularly rich in seafood. “I hope the fish will like it – or maybe they’ll freak out a bit,” the author said.