Good morning, Ontario.
Here's what we're following
Freeland to U.S. Democrats: We’re done
Canada’s foreign affairs minister is trying to slam the brakes on any talk of again reopening the North American free trade pact. “Canada’s view is, we’ve done our deal,” Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Thursday in Washington, D.C., where she is attending NATO meetings. “This was a very intense negotiation. A lot of time, a lot of effort went into it, compromises were made on all sides, and we believe that people need to be very careful around opening up what could really be a Pandora’s box.” Freeland was responding to reports this week that some U.S. Democrats are dissatisfied with the deal reached last fall and want changes to it now that they have the votes in Congress to block the deal signed — but not yet ratified — by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
Two new provincial wage policies don’t add up, critics say
The Progressive Conservative government is under fire for two policies that critics say will hurt low-income workers. First, the province’s Financial Accountability Officer has confirmed warnings that the Tories’ tax credit for low-income individuals and families leaves workers worse off than they would have been with the $15 minimum wage hike that was cancelled last fall. The government is also taking flak for the passage of Bill 66, a law that allows employers to average out workers’ hours differently, meaning some employees will make less in overtime pay. Economic Development Minister Todd Smith says the law is about "getting government out of the way of our job creators.” But Pam Frache, co-ordinator of the Ontario Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign, says the new law gives "the green light to employers to demand that workers work more but get paid less."
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Canoe shrine to get much-needed rebuild
The federal government announced this week it will contribute $10 million to a new $65-million facility for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough. The museum houses more than 600 canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft — the largest collection of its kind in the world — but the current structure is small, preventing many of the artifacts from being displayed. The new facility is scheduled to be up and running in 2021.
The Internet can never have too many cat memes, but can the same be said of city streets? Cornwall has one of the largest feral cat populations in the province, and city council has a controversial proposal to fix the problem: bylaws that would require that all cats remain indoors, and that anyone who feeds a feral cat immediately has to claim ownership of it. Eastern Ontario Hub reporter David Rockne Corrigan gets reaction from both sides of the stray cat debate.
What we're tracking
When it comes to reconciliation, are we as a nation doing things right? And what do all Canadians need to know to have a real conversation about it? Michelle-Andrea Girouard and Charnel Anderson address these issues in First Things First, a video series that puts these questions to Indigenous activists, educators and leaders from across Canada. The four episodes premiere this week. “This was a real team effort, which I love,” says Hannah Sung, TVO’s manager of video and podcasts. “It's an amazing day at the office when we get to hear from leaders such as Cindy Blackstock, Pam Palmater and Eddy Robinson.”
The Agenda: Education for reconciliation
Among the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report’s 94 recommendations was a call to make education about Indigenous history and culture available in Canadian classrooms. What does that curriculum look like, and how can some of the atrocities experienced in residential schools be taught with age-appropriate sensitivity? The Agenda invites Indigenous educators, as well as representatives from Jewish and Black communities, to discuss how this dark aspect of Canada’s history can be presented to students.
Tonight on TVO
8 p.m. — The Agenda: How the EU views Brexit
As British Prime Minister Theresa May emerges from her third attempt to broker a Brexit deal, and with the no-deal April 12 deadline looming, The Agenda broaches the question of what the rest of the European Union thinks as it watches the British government’s scramble to come to an agreement.
From the archive
Bert Sitch and Joe Webb, two veteran loggers from Hymers, in northwestern Ontario, reminisce about a 1969 referendum to name a new city that was created to connect Port Arthur and Fort William. When asked why the communities needed to be amalgamated, Sitch jokes, “That smells like Toronto politics.” He suggests a third name was slipped onto the ballot to ensure that a split vote between Lakehead and The Lakehead would guarantee that Thunder Bay would win. It's a topic that TVO has revisted more recently: Learn more about the naming controversy in this episode of Name that Town.