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Liberal cabinet expected to focus on coronavirus pandemic, economy during retreat – Global News

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Bold plans to rebuild Canada’s shattered economy will take a back seat during a two-day cabinet retreat as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers confront the more immediate challenge of how to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from doing even more damage to Canadians’ lives and incomes.

The retreat, starting Monday, is being held as COVID-19 cases are spiking again after a summer lull and experts are warning of a second wave over the fall and winter.

Read more:
Guaranteed basic income emerges as top policy priority for Liberal MPs amid COVID-19

Trudeau last week warned Canadians are “going to have to learn how to continue to live with COVID-19 for many, many more months.” Indeed, the government is operating on the assumption that the global fight against the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will continue for at least two more years.

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That grim assumption will underlie cabinet discussions as ministers flesh out plans for the Sept. 23 throne speech, which Trudeau has promised will outline “a detailed vision for the future and a plan to keep Canadians safe while we rebuild a stronger Canada that works for everyone.”

The speech itself is expected to focus more on getting through the pandemic than how to rebuild after it’s over.






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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ‘no interest’ in fall election


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ‘no interest’ in fall election

According to insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter, it will include three main priorities: the measures needed to protect Canadians’ health and avoid another national lockdown; the economic supports needed to help keep Canadians financially afloat while the pandemic continues; and longer-term measures to eventually rebuild an economy that, as Trudeau has put it, is healthier, safer, cleaner, more competitive, fairer and more inclusive.

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In particular, it is expected to promise more funding for health care _ including long-term care homes, which have borne the brunt of the more than 9,000 deaths from COVID-19 in Canada _ and for child care so that women in particular, who have been hardest hit by the shutdown, can go back to work.

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It is also expected to promise investments in affordable housing, in recognition that low-income Canadians living in over-crowded conditions have struggled during the pandemic.

Read more:
Liberals to unveil ‘ambitious green agenda’ in throne speech, Trudeau says

Details on the longer-term recovery measures won’t be revealed until an economic statement later in the fall.

But how fast Canada’s economy bounces back from the pandemic will depend first and foremost on how well the country protects itself while it rages.

That reality is reflected in the agenda for the opening day of the cabinet retreat.

Ministers are to hear presentations from Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as Dr. David Fisman, from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and Valerie Gideon, senior assistant deputy minister at the First Nations and Inuit health branch of Indigenous Services Canada.






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Justin Trudeau sending his kids back to school as concerns over return to B.C. classrooms linger


Justin Trudeau sending his kids back to school as concerns over return to B.C. classrooms linger

They will also hear from members of the task force set up to advise the government on the measures it can take to support the search for a vaccine against COVID-19 and to ensure Canadians will have access to it once a successful inoculation is developed.

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The task force is made up of immunology experts and industry leaders in vaccine development.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Economy

Building a stakeholder economy – Brookings Institution

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Norms and expectations of what corporations should do are changing rapidly. In August 2019, the Business Roundtable, an influential club of the chief executives of major U.S. corporations, announced a new statement on the “Purpose of a Corporation”. Signed by 181 CEOs, the statement of purpose called for a departure from “shareholder primacy” to “stakeholderism” as a core principle of corporate governance, with the CEOs committing to “lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders”.

This change of heart in corporate America is a belated response to the decades-old critique and activism against shareholder-primacy. Preoccupation with quarterly profits is blamed for making corporations short-sighted, leading to environmental pollution, income inequalities, weakening workers’ rights, and lower capital investments—all of which are believed to undermine social cohesion and long-term competitiveness. Stakeholderism, also called stakeholder economy/capitalism by the World Economic Forum, is expected to encourage a long-term orientation by rebalancing the asymmetric power of shareholders vis-à-vis other stakeholders, and revitalize the legitimacy of business.

A sizable share of corporations already practice some form of stakeholderism in response to pressure from value-conscious investors, consumers, and others. More than 80 percent of large corporations, for example, claim to explicitly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Environment, social, and governance (ESG) investing—a class of value-based investments that target corporations that meet minimum ESG criteria—has been growing rapidly, with an estimated total value of $45 trillion in assets under management.

Ambiguous definitions, mixed results

But stakeholderism has had mixed success. While some companies have managed to create environmental and social value, many engage in “greenwashing” or “impact washing” to mask their unsustainable performances. This is in part due to a mismatch between a renewed corporate purpose that emphasizes stakeholder value, and corporate governance principles and incentive structures that are primarily designed to maximize shareholder returns. Even as corporations make commitments to take greater societal and environmental roles, they often fail to change their governance guidelines and board structures to reflect these intentions. This has resulted in a dissonance between what they aspire to achieve and what they can show for it—a process that can also undo the legitimacy of the emerging stakeholder economy.

This is due to a lack of consensus on how corporate governance should adapt to help build a stakeholder economy, due in part to a lack of clarity on who qualifies as a stakeholder as well as what stakeholder value entails. Think of Facebook, with almost 3 billion users, or Boeing, with thousands of customer airlines and hundreds of millions of passenger users, all of whom would qualify as stakeholders. Without specificity on what value a company creates, for which stakeholder and how, a generic commitment to advance stakeholder interests has little practical meaning.

It is also feared that the ambiguity of stakeholderism could enable corporate leaders to amass too much discretionary power that would enable them to dodge shareholder oversight. A vague commitment to all stakeholders could also undermine long-term competitiveness if managers set out to meet multiple goals that are incompatible with one another. Further, implausibly high expectations can end up making managers risk-averse, forcing them to settle for a minimum acceptable performance for all stakeholders rather than excelling in specific issues where they have greater competitiveness. A vague and broad focus on stakeholder value could thus make shareholders and other societal stakeholders worse off.

Needed: Institutional Reform

These critiques, however, do not warrant the conclusion that building a stakeholder economy is an impossible agenda. A growing body of scholarly work, including a recent British Academy report, has documented that building a stakeholder economy requires extensive reforms of market institutions to incentive the creation of long-term corporate and social value. At a minimum, such a reform would include three ingredients.

  • Renewed corporate purpose. This is best defined by the directors of individual businesses, who should specify the stakeholders to whom the businesses will create value, and how this will be achieved. This facilitates effective corporate governance by providing clearly defined goals, and the mechanism for aligning them with corporate strategy. A study by professors Oliver Hart and Luigi Zingales suggests that organizational purpose anchored in maximizing shareholder welfare can help link corporate strategy with stakeholder value. To the extent that shareholders care about certain non-financial outcomes, such as environmental sustainability, the purpose of the corporation should be geared towards producing these outcomes. Corporations can then communicate their performance via third-party verified reports to demonstrate if and how they have created the desired outcomes to their stakeholders.
  • Corporate law reform. Corporate law needs to incentivize directors to take responsibility for the company’s long-term interests, including its social and environmental impacts. Corporate law in many countries is anchored on the principle of shareholder primacy, creating legal challenges for firms that adopt a broader conception of purpose. A recent study commissioned by the European Union underscored the need to modify corporate law to foster the pursuit of long-term corporate goals and environmental sustainability by corporate directors. Another positive development is the emergence of legal innovations for new corporate entities with governance structures designed for addressing long-term societal issues. More than 30 states in the U.S. have introduced legal mechanisms for “benefit corporations” that pursue a hybrid mission of creating financial and social/environmental value. Similar innovations could facilitate investments into corporate innovations for addressing social and environmental problems.
  • Complementary regulations.  Stakeholderism should not be expected to substitute for the regulation of negative environmental and social externalities. Many of the issues that currently fall within ESG domain are in fact negative societal and environmental externalities that are not suited for self-regulation by markets. Effective regulation of externalities, such as CO2 emissions, can also level out the playing field by penalizing the distorting effects of non-compliance. In a positive development, the European Commission has recently started to develop a legal framework for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, which is expected to outline corporate directors’ duties “not to do harm”.

Building a stakeholder economy requires breaking the artificial boundaries that isolate purpose from performance and creating incentive structures that make corporations drivers of sustainable prosperity. This will entail systematic effort to rewire market and regulatory institutions to ensure that they serve the long-term interests of society.

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German economy won't be as bad in third quarter as expected, says minister – The Guardian

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German economy won’t be as bad in third quarter as expected, says minister  The Guardian



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A grim milestone and update on pandemic-plagued economy. : In The News for Oct. 28 – Kamloops This Week

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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 Oct. 28 …

What we are watching in Canada …

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Canada reached a grim and worrying milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths.

Alberta reported two deaths Tuesday from COVID-19 to lift the national tally to 10,001.

COVID-19 case counts slowed across the country through the summer, but have taken a big jump in many areas this fall, with new daily highs regularly being set through Central and Western Canada.

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first one was reported.

Health Canada recently forecast 10,100 COVID-19 deaths in Canada by Nov. 1 as a worst-case scenario and now that number is close, Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said.

Carr said the increased spread of COVID-19 will result in more opportunities for the virus to infect the elderly and other vulnerable people.

But she said she doesn’t believe imposing further lockdowns on peoples economic and social well-being are the answer.

“We’re sabotaging those businesses and people that are paying the price because they are the ones that have been targeted as part of the solution to stop the spread.,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted today that the COVID-19 pandemic “really sucks” but added that a vaccine is coming.

Also this …

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada will release its updated outlook for the country’s pandemic-plagued economy.

The central bank in July said it believed the country had been spared from a worst-case scenario envisioned in April, but warned things could change.

Governor Tiff Macklem has said a severe second wave of the pandemic, health restrictions that extend beyond December and the timing of a vaccine or other effective treatment could all shift the country’s economic course.

This morning the central bank will provide a more detailed analysis of its forecast for the domestic economy as the country marches through a second wave of COVID-19.

Macklem has said the central bank will keep its key policy rate as low at it can go at 0.25 per cent until the economy has recovered and inflation is back at the bank’s two-per-cent target.

That means experts don’t expect the central bank to change the rate from near-zero when the bank makes its announcement later this morning.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

PHILADELPHIA — The lawyer for the family of a Black man killed by Philadelphia police officers in a shooting caught on video says the family had called for an ambulance to get him help with a mental health crisis, not for police intervention.

Police say 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was wielding a knife and ignored orders to drop the weapon before officers fired shots Monday afternoon.

Following a second night of arrests and reports of theft in sections of Philadelphia, a White House statement asserted that the unrest was another consequence of what it called “Liberal Democrats’ war against the police.”

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Satellite photos show Iran has begun construction at its Natanz nuclear facility.

That’s after the head of the UN’s nuclear agency acknowledged Tehran is building an underground advanced centrifuge assembly plant after its last one exploded in a reported sabotage attack last summer.

Since August, the satellite photos show Iran has built a new or regraded road to the south of Natanz toward what analysts believe is a former firing range for security forces at the enrichment facility.

Analysts from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies say they believe that site is undergoing excavation.

On this day in 2008 …

Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page avoided jail time on drug possession charges provided he seek substance abuse treatment and stay clean for the next six months. Page was charged with drug possession in July after police found cocaine at a Fayetteville, N.Y. apartment. He complied with his probation conditions and the charges were eventually dropped.

In health news …

The Canadian Medical Association says ongoing surgical and diagnostic backlogs will only worsen without immediate government help to address a strained health-care system.

The CMA found average wait-times increased by one-to-two months for the most common procedures in the first wave and it would take $1.3 billion in additional funds to tackle procedures sidelined from January to June because they were deemed non-essential during the pandemic.

A study ordered by the organization looked at the six most commonly delayed procedures: CT and MRI scans, hip and knee replacements, cataract surgeries and coronary artery bypass grafts, which all plummeted in April, when almost no cataract or knee replacements took place.

Although procedures gradually began to rebound in June, the report found more than 270,000 people had their MRI scans — which can detect serious disease or injury — delayed by a national average of nearly eight months, more than seven weeks longer than before the pandemic. Those waiting for knee replacement surgeries had to wait an average of 14 months, about two months longer than before the pandemic.

“The impact on wait times is just going to be the worst-ever in our system,” CMA president Dr. Ann Collins says.

“It’s going to have serious consequences the longer this pandemic goes on.”

ICYMI …

An original member of the Jamaican bobsled team featured in the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings” is imploring whoever stole the nose cone from a sled that appeared in the film to return it to a Calgary bar.

Devon Harris, who is also chairman of the Jamaican Bobsled Federation, says he’s not going to lose sleep over the missing bobsled shell, but is disappointed over the news.

“It’s gone too far now,” Harris says. ‘”Just bring it back.”

Police say the shell was last seen at Ranchman’s country bar last week as it hung outside below the roof of the building. The sled was a gift to to the business by the movie’s production crew after some scenes were filmed there. The bar closed last month.

“Cool Runnings” is loosely based on the true story of the national Jamaican bobsled team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Harris, who lives in New York, says he saw a friend from Calgary post on Facebook about the stolen black bobsled shell with the Jamaican flag colours — black, green and gold — and immediately rolled his eyes.

He says the sled was a gift from a Canadian bobsled team and was later painted for the movie.

“It’s kind of like this work of art that somebody go hide in a basement and they are the only ones who have the opportunities to enjoy it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020

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