The federal fiscal update and O'Toole's vaccine complaint: In The News for Nov. 30

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 Nov. 30 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA - The federal Liberals will provide Canadians with a long-awaited update on the health of federal finances later today, and potentially unveil a suite of new spending.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will deliver the fall economic statement in the House of Commons this afternoon, after markets close.

The economic statement should have a full accounting of pandemic spending so far, and the depth of this year's deficit, which in July was forecast at a historic $343.2 billion amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Estimates vary of how deep a deficit the Liberals will unveil today, with a Scotiabank report Friday saying a range of $400 billion to $450 billion is possible.

The government is under pressure to help out industries like travel and restaurants that may take longer to recover from the pandemic.

Observers are keeping a close eye on how much spending space new promises take up, which could limit the government's capacity to spend in next year's budget before deficits become permanent.

The government is also expected to reveal a small step today towards a national child-care system.

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Also this ...

OTTAWA - Erin O'Toole is accusing the Liberal government of putting too much emphasis on partnering with a Chinese company for a COVID-19 vaccine in what turned out to be a failed deal.

The Conservative party leader say the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August when its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine-maker CanSino finally collapsed after months of delays.

"I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole told a Sunday news conference.

The government announced its major vaccine purchases in August after it confirmed the CanSino partnership had fallen through. At the time, it said its decision had come after careful consultations with its vaccine task force of health experts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a firestorm last week when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.

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ICYMI ...

SAULNIERVILLE, N.S. - A Nova Scotia First Nation says it has received a draft agreement on a "moderate livelihood" fishery, which it calls a potentially groundbreaking recognition of Indigenous treaty rights in Canada.

The chief of Sipekne'katik First Nation says he is reviewing a draft memorandum of understanding he received from the office of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan late Friday.

Mike Sack says the Sipekne'katik Treaty Fishery has the potential to be a "historic recognition" of treaty rights, as it would allow the Mi'kmaq community to legally sell their catch.

Mi'kmaq fishers faced violence and vandalism last month after launching a rights-based fishery in southwest Nova Scotia.

The attacks prompted widespread condemnation and calls for clarification on Mi'kmaq treaty fishing rights.

Sack says the agreement would make good on the Supreme Court of Canada's recognition of Indigenous treaty rights in its landmark 1999 Marshall decision.

The ruling affirmed the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood," though it was later clarified by the court that the federal government could regulate the fishery for conservation and other limited purposes.

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

WASHINGTON, D.C - U.S. president-elect Joe Biden is expected in the coming days to name several of his most senior economic advisers.

The group includes liberal economists and policy specialists who established their credentials during the previous two Democratic administrations.

Biden is placing a premium on diversity in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers.

Two expected to be named are former Fed chair Janet Yellen as treasury secretary and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Yellen would be the first female treasury secretary, while Tanden would be the first woman of colour and the first South Asian woman to lead the agency that oversees the federal budget.

Biden, meanwhile, will likely have to wear a walking boot for the next several weeks as he recovers from fracturing his right foot while playing with one of his dogs.

Biden's iffice says the 78-year-old suffered the injury on Saturday and visited an orthopedist in Newark, Delaware, yesterday afternoon.

Fractures are a concern generally as people age, but Biden’s appears to be a relatively mild one based on his doctor’s statement and the planned treatment.

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

TEHRAN - Iran held a funeral today for a recently slain scientist who founded the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program in the early 2000s.

State TV broadcast the ceremony showing the service for Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Fakhrizadeh was killed in a military-style ambush Friday on the outskirts of Tehran which reportedly saw a truck bomb explode and gunmen open fire on the scientist.

Iran has blamed Israel for the attack.

Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has declined to comment on the killing.

In response to the killing, Iran's parliament has begun a review of a bill that would stop inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Experts warn Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least two atomic bombs, if it chose to pursue them.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020

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