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In today's Morning Brief, we look at the threats and abuse that campaigners are facing in the U.K. election. We also news on a labour disruption at Canadian National Railway, the resumption of public hearings in the Trump impeachment inquiry, and the winner of the 2018 Giller Prize.
Labour MP Tracy Brabin campaigns for re-election in the riding of Batley and Spen. (CBC News/Renée Filippone)

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U.K. politicians face abuse, unprecedented threat levels on campaign trail

Candidates in the U.K. election have been receiving serious threats, so police are recommending they change how they campaign. 

Candidates are being urged to not go out alone, always carry a charged cellphone, and monitor and report comments on social media.

Normally, Labour member Tracy Brabin would go door knocking in the evening as she seeks re-election in her riding of Batley and Spen. But growing security concerns have her staying inside at night. "To be honest, we are just not taking any risks," says Brabin, showing off a new personal security alarm that keeps her in contact with police.

Brabin blames the Brexit stalemate for the increased abuse. "People are now emailing, 'I am going to kill you, I am outside your house.'" 

Things have become so bad that some MPs decided not to run in this election, citing threats. Former Tory cabinet minister Nicky Morgan announced last month she would stand down, writing in her resignation letter that political life was having an impact on her family.

Many of those walking away from politics are women who are early in their political careers, says Alice Lilly, a researcher with the Institute for Government in London. She says the issue of abuse likely won't fade away anytime soon, because people have lost faith in democracy. The U.K. voted to leave the EU more than three years ago, yet Parliament has been unable to make it happen. Read more here about the threats U.K. campaigners are confronting.

More anti-government protests erupt in Chile

(Pablo Sanhueza/Reuters)

Laser lights glow behind a demonstrator during a protest against Chile's government in Santiago yesterday. After a month of protests, they've escalated in number since President Sebastian Pinera acknowledged late Sunday that excessive force had been used to clamp down on demonstrators with legitimate social demands.

In brief

About 3,200 Canadian National conductors, trainpersons and yard workers are on strike after the union and company failed to reach a collective agreement. A spokesperson for the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference said they are still in talks with CN. The union said commuter rail services in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver would not be affected by the strike. Read more about the dispute here.

Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Donald Trump resume today in Washington, D.C. Two top national security aides who listened to Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are set to testify: Lt.-Col. Alexander Vindman, an army officer at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, his counterpart at Vice-President Mike Pence's office. Read more about what is ahead for the impeachment probe

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said today she hoped a standoff between police and a holdout group of anti-government protesters at a university could be resolved and she had told police to handle it in a humane way. A last group of about 100 protesters remained in Hong Kong Polytechnic University after more than two days of clashes with police surrounding it. Read more on the latest developments in Hong Kong here.

Sellers of second-hand clothes are enjoying a boom in business. As CBC's Dianne Buckner reports, retailers say the growth is partly because consumers' growing concern about the environment is leading them to turn away from the fast-fashion industry, with its throwaway garments and carbon footprint. Read how climate concerns are driving a newly energized resale clothing industry.

Ian Williams is the winner of the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's richest literary award for fiction, for his novel ReproductionWilliams won the $100,000 prize last night at a gala in Toronto. "You have no idea how special this is for me," Williams said, telling the story of how the very first book he bought with his own money was one by Margaret Atwood, who was in the audience. Read more about Williams's big win here.

Now here's some good news to start your Tuesday: Owners of a Dairy Queen in Osoyoos, B.C., say they're blown away by the response they've received to a gratitude wall they started just before Thanksgiving. What began as an idea to fill a picture up with sticky notes containing  anonymous messages about what people are thankful for has turned into a giant display. "The notes were spilling over onto the whole entire wall," says restaurant co-owner Caron Keens. Read more about the gratitude wall here.

Today in history

1867: The British government rejects a request that British Columbia be allowed to join Confederation.

1869: The first of two Métis rebellions under Louis Riel breaks out in the Red River Colony, now Manitoba. The Métis were alarmed at the possibility of mass immigration by Canadians when the Hudson's Bay Company handed over the colony to the government of Canada. 

1918: An order-in-council unites government railways, leading to the creation of Canadian National Railways. 

1995: The Baltimore Stallions become the only American-based team to win the Grey Cup. The Stallions beat the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 in the CFL final in Regina.

2001: Nelson Mandela becomes the first living recipient of honorary Canadian citizenship. The former South African president is honoured at a ceremony at the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Que.

2002: B.C.'s conflict commissioner's report concludes that former premier Glen Clark broke conflict of interest rules when he accepted free home renovations from a neighbour seeking a provincial casino licence in 1999.