daily: Friday, February 28

Canadian non-fiction takes a bow
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Feb 28, 2020
Ontario sees its first human-to-human coronavirus transmission. (



Ontario sees its first human-to-human coronavirus transmission 

The husband of a woman who is believed to have contracted COVID-19 while visiting Iran is the province’s sixth confirmed case of the disease, CP24 reports. Health officials say the man did not travel to Iran with his wife, meaning he is the first case of a human-to-human transmission of the respiratory infection to take place within Ontario. People in the province’s four other coronavirus cases had recently travelled to China, where a majority of the 80,000 known cases of the new coronavirus remain.

Report into nuclear emergency false alarm released

An emergency alarm that was accidentally sent to millions of smartphones on the morning of January 12 was the fault of human error and gaps in training and communication, an official report on the incident concluded. The mistaken alarm warned of problems at the Pickering nuclear plant, and a correction wasn’t issued for nearly two hours. According to CTV, the report found that confusion over what to do in the event of an accidental alert resulted in the delay between messages. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement that “refresher training” and new procedures have addressed the problems highlighted in the report.

Province greenlights cheaper medicines despite industry pushback

Two senior government sources have told the Globe and Mail that Ontario’s public drug plans will begin favouring a new class of medications called biosimilars. These medicines mimic the properties of biologics, a more expensive group of drugs. The move is expected to save the province tens of millions of dollars a year. Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet is said to have made the decision on biosimilars on January 30, one day before bureaucrats received pressure from drug company Janssen Inc. to retain public funding for the biologic Remicade, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. The company had offered a steep discount to the government to keep buying Remicade and also threatened to stop providing 1,872 Ontarians with free Remicade if Ontario switched to biosimilars.

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The Agenda: Provincial tax breaks under scrutiny

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario just released a report raising concerns about how tax breaks are growing more quickly than program spending. The FAO says that if tax breaks had their own line in the budget, it would overshadow most other spending categories. To help us understand what this means, The Agenda welcomes Sheila Block, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Finn Poschmann, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

White Right: Meeting the Enemy

With hate crime rising and divisive populist rhetoric influencing discourse across western democracies, filmmaker Deeyah Khan goes to the front lines of the U.S. race wars. She meets with fascists, white supremacists, and proponents of alt-right ideologies to see if human connection is possible.

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Improving francophone health care in northeastern Ontario

Northeastern Ontario Hub reporter Nick Dunne writes about how francophones in the province’s north are underserved by the health-care system and looks at the steps that operators of a new facility are taking to help change that situation.

Tonight on TVO

7 p.m. — Monty Don’s French Gardens: The Artistic Garden

Monty Don turns to France's artistic tradition to see what influence it has had on the country's gardens. He travels to some of the most celebrated artists' gardens, including the one created by the impressionist Claude Monet. He also matches paintings to the garden of Paul Cézanne and visits several contemporary artistic gardens to see how the use of plants and trees has evolved.

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Canadian non-fiction takes a bow

After 20 years of celebrating the best in Canadian non-fiction, the RBC Taylor Prize is winding down. This year’s finalists join us to discuss their books and what being nominated for the 2020 prize means. In the studio will be Mark Bourrie, author of Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson; Robyn Doolittle, author of Had It Coming: What’s Fair in the Age of #MeToo; Jessica McDiarmid, author of Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; Zia Tong, author of The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions That Shape Our World; and Timothy C. Winegard, author of The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator.

From the archive

October 17, 2001 — An interview with author Diane Schoemperlen

In this 2001 episode of Imprint, Diane Schoemperlen reads from her second novel, Our Lady of the Lost and Found, about a writer who entertains a house guest who just happens to be the Virgin Mary. A Governor General’s Award recipient for her fiction, the Kingston author was also nominated for a Taylor Prize in 2016 for her memoir, This Is Not My Life, about her relationship with a convicted murderer. Schoemperlen is known for her inventive fiction, which often incorporates illustration and other bits of art and ephemera.

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