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Working from home and Saskatchewan election: In The News for Sept. 29

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 Sept. 29 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

A new poll suggests a slim majority of Canadians have some confidence that the federal government’s economic recovery plan will strengthen the economy and create jobs after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in the meantime, the poll also suggests the vast majority who can are happy working from home.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said they are very or somewhat confident that the economic recovery plan, unvelied in the Trudeau government’s throne speech last week, will lead to more jobs and a stronger economy in future.

Thirty-nine per cent were not very or not at all confident.

Fully 89 per cent said they’ve found working from home to be a very or somewhat positive experience and 82 per cent said they’d prefer to continue working mostly from home, commuting to work when needed, in the coming weeks as a second wave of the COVID-19 sweeps the country.

The online poll of 1,514 adult Canadians was conducted Sept. 25 to 27; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Also this …

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he plans to kick off the provincial election campaign today.

Moe told reporters in Saskatoon on Monday that he will be visiting the province’s lieutenant-governor to ask that the legislature be dissolved.

Voters go to the polls Oct. 26.

Saskatchewan is the latest province to call an election during the COVID-19 pandemic; British Columbia’s vote is to take place two days earlier.

Moe has opted for the shortest possible campaign — 28 days, the minimum time allowed — before the fixed election date.

The official launch will be without the typical fanfare of past elections, as the pandemic prevents having crowds at rallies.

Candidates have already been door knocking for weeks.

The Opposition NDP has rolled out pre-campaign pledges that include $25-a-day child care and $100 rebate cheques for drivers. Moe’s Saskatchewan Party government has made a flurry of previously committed infrastructure spending announcements.

Moe is seeking a fourth term for the party and his first mandate from voters as premier. He got the top job after winning the party’s leadership in 2018, when premier Brad Wall decided to retire from politics.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Northern California’s wine country was on fire again yesterday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 72 kilometres north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history.

“Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.

“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”

The bleak milestone, recorded on Monday in the U.S. by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.

And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by new outbreaks, and experts fear a second wave in the U.S., which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

On this day in 2004 …

The Expos played their last game in Montreal, as the club moved to Washington after 36 seasons.

ICYMI …

EDMONTON – The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup champions, defeating the Dallas Stars 2-0 Monday to capture the NHL’s top trophy in front of empty seats, sprawling tarps, and no fans at Rogers Place.

Brayden Point and Blake Coleman scored the goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for his first career playoff shutout.

The Lightning players exploded off the bench as the seconds ticked to zero, swarming Vasilevskiy, their whoops and hollers echoing around the arena.

The Lightning are the champions of the so-called bubbled NHL playoffs, with players kept in isolation for the past two months. Games were played without fans in attendance in hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Lightning won the best-of-seven series 4-2 for the second championship in the 28-year-history of the franchise. The first cup came in 2004.

Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Hedman scored 10 goals and added 12 assists during the Lightning’s run.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020

The Canadian Press

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