January 18th, 2021

Quebec’s possible new restrictions and Nygard in court today: In The News for Jan. 6


By The Canadian Press on January 6, 2021.

Two construction workers wearing protective shields are seen at work, in Brossard, Que. on Monday, May 11, 2020. Employers and workers in Quebec's construction, manufacturing and education sectors expect to find out later today how Quebec's new lockdown rules will affect them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

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 Jan. 6 …

What we are watching in Canada …

MONTREAL – Employers and workers in Quebec’s construction, manufacturing and education sectors expect to find out later today how Quebec’s new lockdown rules will affect them.

Premier Francois Legault is scheduled to hold his first press conference of the new year at 5 p.m., after meeting with opposition leaders on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, the province may, for the first time since the spring, order “non-essential” manufacturers and the construction sector to close and extend the current closure of schools.

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, says it’s frustrating for teachers not to know whether they’ll be teaching in-person or remotely when classes resume Monday.

Quebec has reported more than 2,000 new infections every day since Dec. 20.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,317 people in hospital – the highest number since late May – and 194 people in intensive care. Quebec has reported 215,358 cases of COVID-19 and 8,441 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Also this …

WINNIPEG – Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard is expected to seek bail today following his arrest in Winnipeg last month over charges he faces in the United States of using his influence to lure women and girls for sex.

Nygard, who is 79, was arrested in December under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the southern District of New York, including racketeering and sex trafficking.

Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office allege Nygard frequently targeted women and underage girls from disadvantaged economic backgrounds with promises of modelling and other financial opportunities.

They allege the criminal conduct occurred over 25 years and involved dozens of women in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations.

Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, has said his client denies all the allegations.

Prober had said he would pursue bail because of concerns over Nygard’s health behind bars.

The U.S. indictment alleges Nygard forcibly sexually assaulted many women and girls, some who were between 14 and 17 years old. It alleges others were forcibly assaulted by Nygard’s associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands.

Nygard stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

U.S. President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the presidential election is going before Congress as lawmakers convene for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

The typically routine proceeding today will be anything but, a political confrontation unseen since the aftermath of the Civil War as Trump mounts a desperate effort stay in office.

The president’s Republican allies in the House and Senate plan to object to the election results, heeding supporters’ plea to “fight for Trump” as he stages a rally outside the White House. It’s tearing the party apart.

The longshot effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the results. Biden, who won the Electoral College 306-232, is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

In Georgia, Democrat Raphael Warnock won one of the state’s two Senate runoffs. He is the first Black senator in his state’s history and putting the Senate majority within the party’s reach.

Warnock, a pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler.

It’s a stinging rebuke of Trump, who travelled to Georgia to rally for Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue.

The focus now shifts to the second race between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, which remains too close to call.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

AMSTERDAM – The European Union’s medicines agency is meeting to consider giving the green light for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used in the 27-nation bloc.

Approval would make it the second shot for the EU after the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The meeting today of the European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee comes amid high rates of infections in many EU countries and criticism of the slow pace of vaccinations across the region of some 450 million people.

Ahead of the meeting on the Moderna vaccine, the agency said in a tweet that its experts were “working hard to clarify all outstanding issues with the company.” It did not elaborate.

On this day in 1918 …

While diving to escape German fighters, Canadian pilot Captain J. Hedley was sucked from his seat and out of the plane. When the plane levelled out, the aviator was sitting safely near the tail. The slipstream had pulled him back to the plane.

In entertainment …

It is a tough week for fans of “Jeopardy!” – as the final shows Alex Trebek taped before he died are airing.

Monday’s began with the longtime quizmaster asking his audience to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trebek urged people to share in “trying to build a gentler, kinder society” – and said if everyone would “pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there.”

Trebek died of pancreatic cancer Nov. 8, soon after taping his final “Jeopardy!” episodes.

Those shows were to air Christmas week, but producers held them back so people could see them after the holidays.

ICYMI …

The head of the Ontario Medical Association says the risk COVID-19 poses to pregnant and breastfeeding women is higher than the risk of taking a vaccine against the virus that causes it.

Dr. Samantha Hill, a cardiac surgeon in Toronto, says because pregnant and breastfeeding women haven’t been included in clinical trials yet she is worried the message many pregnant women are getting is to not get vaccinated.

She echoes concerns raised last month by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, and reiterated in a statement from the Ontario Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Tuesday.

All say women who are pregnant or breastfeeding might be at higher risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19 and that particularly for women at high risk of exposure to the virus, the risks of not getting the vaccine outweigh the unknown risks of getting vaccinated.

Hill says she is still breastfeeding her youngest child and won’t hesitate to get a vaccine when her turn comes, and also would get the vaccine if she were pregnant.

She says pregnancy already puts stress on the body’s immune system and vascular system, and COVID-19 could pose great risk to a pregnant woman or her fetus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021

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