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State of emergency in Ottawa and Canadian gold in Beijing: In The News for Feb. 7


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 Feb. 7 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — An Ontario court is scheduled to hear arguments in a proposed multi-million-dollar class-action lawsuit by Ottawa residents who want protesters encamped in their downtown to stop honking their horns.

Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean had set a 1 p.m. deadline to get all documents and cross-examinations done before he would rule on one part of the proposed class-action.

A group of downtown residents is asking for an injunction to prevent truckers parked on city streets from honking their horns repeatedly throughout the day.

Their lawyer, Paul Champ, says the honking is causing irreparable harm because of how loud and prolonged it has been.

Keith Wilson, who is representing three of the respondents in the case, told McLean the ruling on the injunction carried national importance. 

The hearing comes as Ottawa police get ready to provide more details on a series of arrests and seizures related to what local officials have called an illegal occupation of the capital's core.

The so-called Freedom Convoy rolled into the national capital over a week ago and those in the hundreds of vehicles in the core have vowed to stay until all COVID-19 restrictions, mask and vaccination mandates are lifted.

City police say the situation has taxed their resources, and Ottawa's mayor has declared a state of emergency partially aimed at underlining the need for extra help from upper levels of government.

Some local politicians have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take a more active role in the situation. Trudeau's itinerary says he is having private meetings today somewhere in the National Capital Region.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Sunday the province has given Ottawa everything the municipality has requested, and will continue to do so.

Ottawa police are expected today to provide updates on arrests and raids Sunday night where officers walked away with litres of fuel and propane from protesters. Police have warned that anyone bringing items like gasoline to demonstrators could be arrested.


Also this ...

Venues across Quebec's cultural sector are set to partially reopen today as the province eases health restrictions put in place to contain COVID-19.

Places of worship, entertainment and sports venues can reopen after being closed since December, with capacity limits in place and proof of vaccination required for entry.

Cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports venues such as the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, can reopen at 50 per cent capacity or a maximum of 500 people. 

The cap on vaccinated people allowed inside places of worship is set at 250.

Outdoor events can also resume with a limit of 1,000 attendees.

The second phase of the province's reopening plan takes effect amid an ongoing decline in hospitalizations across Quebec.

The first phase began last week when restaurant dining rooms reopened to patrons and school sports were allowed to resume.

Meanwhile, Ontario's long-term care residents can start taking social trips and see more caregivers as of today.

The loosened visitor restrictions come after more than a month of strict rules aimed at slowing the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Starting today, the number of designated caregivers per resident increases from two to four, though only two can visit at a time.

Residents who have had at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are now allowed to resume social day trips.


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

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol wants to know what Ivanka Trump heard and saw that day. 

Committee members say they are trying to stitch together the narrative of the riots and Donald Trump's role in instigating them. 

The former first daughter is known as a rare voice that her father listened to.

 The committee says her proximity to him on Jan. 6, 2021, could provide precise details of what the president was doing during those crucial three hours when his supporters violently stormed the Capitol.


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

MOSCOW — French President Emmanuel Macron is set to hold talks in Moscow in a bid to to help de-escalate tensions over Ukraine. 

The concentration of an estimated 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fueled Western worries that it heralds a possible offensive. 

Russia has denied any plans of attacking its neighbor, but urged the U.S. and its allies not to accept Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations into NATO, halt weapons deployments there and roll back NATO forces from Eastern Europe. 

Washington and NATO have rejected the demands. 

Macron, who is set to meet in the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin today before visiting Ukraine the following day, said last week that his priority is “dialogue with Russia and de-escalation.”


In Sports ... 

BEIJING—It's a golden day for Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Canadians dominated the men's snowboard slopestyle competition, with Max Parrot winning gold and teammate Mark McMorris claiming bronze.

It's the second straight Olympics that Parrot and McMorris have shared the podium in the event.

Parrot, from Bromont, Que., upgraded his silver from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, winning Canada's first gold medal in Beijing, while Regina's McMorris also won bronze for a third straight Olympics.

Canada's medal tally in Beijing now stands at four — one gold, one silver and two bronze.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO — Tanya Tagaq says her new album "Tongues" is a reminder to Canadians they can no longer "turn their head" to the atrocities inflicted on Indigenous Peoples.

The Inuk musician and activist says it's time for people to "wake up and understand they also have a responsibility" to push back against the hatred that continues to brew in this country.

Tagaq points to online forums where she's read messages "literally celebrating" the death of Indigenous children after the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential schools.

Her 10-track album offers an unflinching perspective with songs including "Colonizer" and "Teeth Agape," where her unmistakable message crashes against pulsing electronic beats.

"Tongues," released last month, was co-written with New York beat poet Saul Williams and partly inspired by Tagaq's 2018 book "Split Tooth," a collection of journal entries and poems.

The studio recording was largely completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but Tagaq found a renewed inspiration during isolation that drew out a stark and grittier tone to the songs.

"(My producer and mixer) Gonjasufi and I had all the time in the world," she says.


Also this ...

LOS ANGELES — Spotify’s CEO says in a note to employees Sunday that while he condemned podcaster Joe Rogan’s use of racist language, he does not believe that cutting ties with the popular personality was the answer.

Daniel Ek writes in the letter that he does not “believe that silencing Joe is the answer.” 

Ek's message comes a day after Rogan apologized for using racist slurs on his podcast and removing some older episodes. 

Spotify reportedly paid $100 million to license Rogan's podcast, but has faced intense criticism for hosting his show, which has also been criticized for promoting COVID-19 vaccine skepticism. 

Canadian born musician heavyweights Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have both pulled their music from Spotify in protest of Rogan.



UNDATED — The Queen has begun her platinum jubilee year, marking a 70-year reign that now makes her the longest-ruling monarch in British and Commonwealth history.

King George VI died on the morning of Feb. 6, 1952 while Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya. She acceded to the throne immediately upon his death, though did not enjoy an official coronation until the following year.

"As I look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism to the year of my Platinum Jubilee, I am reminded of how much we can be thankful for," the Queen said in a statement. 

She said she has been fortunate to have had the loving support of family, and was blessed that in Prince Philip she had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort until his death last year.

"And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," she wrote. 

Canada Post has unveiled a new stamp to commemorate the platinum jubilee.  

As Canada's head of state, the Queen has been featured on more than 70 Canadian stamps that have been issued for royal visits, historical events and her previous silver, golden and diamond jubilees.  

The new stamp features the Royal Mail's profile of the Queen which was sculpted by Arnold Machin, and will be available at post offices starting today.  


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2022

The Canadian Press

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