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Day 12 on campaign trail, Quebec vaccine passport security: In The News for Aug. 26

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 Aug. 26 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 Aug. 26 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The Liberal and Conservative leaders are staying central for Day 12 of the federal election campaign, while the head of the NDP is expected to spend most the day in Winnipeg.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will be in Quebec City in the morning for an announcement about supporting seniors.

In Ottawa, Conserative Leader Erin O’Toole is scheduled to make an announcement at noon, before hosting a virtual town hall with Nova Scotians.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is expected to make two announcements in Winnipeg — one about housing and the other with heads of Manitoba First Nations.

Singh will then cross the boundary into Ontario for a meet and greet at the Kenora airport.

On Wednesday, the main political parties made varying promises to help make everything from housing to food to mobile phone bills less costly. 


Also this ...

A cybersecurity expert says the smartphone applications that run Quebec's vaccine passport system cannot secretly collect user data and should be a model for the country.

Steven Lachance says he was pleasantly surprised by the technology behind the applications.

That technology is known as the SMART Health Card and is being used in vaccine passports in several American states. 

He says the applications cannot collect location data and aren't connected to a centralized server, which protects user privacy.

Starting Sep. 1, Quebec will require people 13 and over to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to access a wide range of services and activities deemed non-essential, including zoos, gyms and restaurants.

On Wednesday, Quebec released the applications that will be used to power its vaccine passport system on Apple devices: VaxiCode Verif for businesses and VaxiCode for patrons.


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

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A man upset over state-ordered coronavirus restrictions has been sentenced to just over six years in prison for planning to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Ty Garbin apologized and was sentenced Wednesday. He admitted his role in the alleged scheme weeks after being arrested last fall. 

He is among six men charged in federal court but the only one who has pleaded guilty. 

Garbin says they trained at his property near Luther, Michigan, constructing a “shoot house” to resemble Whitmer’s vacation home and “assaulting it with firearms.” 

The government noted Garbin’s “exceptional” co-operation and asked the judge to give him credit for helping investigators reinforce their case against his co-defendants. He’s likely to testify at any trial.

The 25-year-old aviation mechanic told U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker: “I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of stress and fear her family felt because of my actions. And for that I am truly sorry."

The judge said the "constitution is designed to ensure that we work out our fundamental and different views peacefully, not at the point of a gun, not with some other blunt force threat or a kidnapping conspiracy." 

Prosecutors recommended a nine-year prison term. But Jonker went shorter, at 6 1/4 years, saying he was convinced that Garbin was an “excellent prospect” to stay out of trouble when released from prison.


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

LONDON — The international scientists sent to China by the World Health Organization to look for the origins of the coronavirus say the search has “stalled” and warn the window for getting to the bottom of the mystery is closing fast. 

In a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the experts say the origins investigation is at “a critical juncture” requiring urgent collaboration. They noted among other things that Chinese officials are still reluctant to share some raw data, citing concerns over patient confidentiality.

Increasing numbers of American scientists have called for two Chinese labs to be investigated, a request China has dismissed as “scapegoating.”

Meanwhile, a U.S. intelligence review ordered up by President Joe Biden proved inconclusive about the virus's origin, including whether it jumped from an animal to a human or escaped from a Chinese lab, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the WHO sent a team of experts to Wuhan, where the first human COVID-19 cases were detected in December 2019, to probe what might have triggered the pandemic now blamed for nearly 4.5 million deaths worldwide, with more than 10,000 people a day succumbing despite more than five billion doses of vaccine administered.

In their analysis, published in March, the WHO team concluded the virus probably jumped to humans from animals, and they described the possibility of a laboratory leak as “extremely unlikely.”

But the WHO experts said their report was intended only as a first step and added, “The window of opportunity for conducting this crucial inquiry is closing fast: any delay will render some of the studies biologically impossible.”


On this day in 1977 ...

Bill 101, the Parti Quebecois language legislation, was passed in the Quebec national assembly. The bill declared French as the official language of the province and placed restrictions on English-language education.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO — Plans to turn the Broadway hit "Come From Away" into a big-screen movie musical have been indefinitely placed on hold because COVID-19 delivered an unexpected blow to the project, say the Canadian writers of the musical.

David Hein and Irene Sankoff were well into the script stages of their film adaptation.

"We were supposed to go into production out in Newfoundland and then all the borders closed," Sankoff said in a webcam interview from Seattle.

"I think it cost a lot more than anyone wanted to, just because of COVID, so we're in a holding pattern for that at the moment."

The Tony-winning "Come From Away" is inspired by the real-life story of residents in Gander, N.L., who hosted thousands of unexpected plane passengers forced to land in the small town after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The writers says they remain hopeful their script will be turned into a movie when the time is right.

For now, they're focused on the upcoming debut of a filmed version of "Come From Away" that was captured on Broadway during a special performance in May. The live version arrives on Apple TV Plus on Sept. 10, the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

"Come From Away" resumes performances at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Sept. 21. The show will return to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto on Dec. 7.



TORONTO — Joni Mitchell has been named MusiCares' 2022 Person of the Year, becoming the second Canadian to receive the honour.

The singer-songwriter will be toasted by the music industry at the Recording Academy's pre-Grammys charity event in Los Angeles on Jan. 29. The evening will be centred on her career with various artists paying tribute to Mitchell's songs, which have won eight Grammy Awards over the decades.

A dinner, reception and silent auction will be held with proceeds going to MusiCares, a U.S.-based charity that assists musicians who face a personal, financial or medical crisis.

Performers will be announced at a later date for the event, which takes place two nights before the 64th annual Grammy Awards.

The 77-year-old Mitchell is the second Canadian to receive the MusicCares Person of the Year since its creation in 1991. Neil Young was recognized in 2010, while other honourees include Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2021

The Canadian Press