Good morning, Ontario.
Here's what we're following
Audit finds provincial contractor made $80 million in improper payments
Court-appointed auditors allege executives with Bondfield Construction, one of Ontario’s largest public-sector project builders, paid $80 million to suppliers for no work. According to the Globe and Mail, the auditors believe some of this improperly billed money was then funnelled back to Bondfield insiders. None of the allegations have been proven in court. Before it went into bankruptcy protection earlier this year, Bondfield was responsible for several major projects, including restoring Toronto’s Union Station and redeveloping three Ontario hospitals. Work on these projects has since stopped.
Province launches review of Peel District School Board over anti-Black racism
Education Minister Stephen Lecce is ordering an “immediate review” of Peel District School Board in response to numerous complaints of anti-Black racism at the board. “These concerns have been raised by families, students, the Peel District School Board Director of Education, the board of trustees, and members of the broader community,” Lecce said in a statement. Reviewers appointed by the province will submit a final report to Lecce once their investigations are complete.
Stay up to date!
Get Current Affairs & Documentaries email updates in your inbox every morning.
Ontario schools need $16.3 billion in repairs
NDP leader Andrea Horwath berated the government this week over the growing bill to fix the province’s crumbling schools, the Toronto Star reports. “The repair backlog was $15.9 billion under the Liberals, and now it stands at $16.3 billion, hardly surprising since one of the first things this premier did in office was cut $100 million from school repair budgets,” she said in the legislature. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the government will spend $13 billion on capital projects over the next 10 years “to improve schools in every region of the province.”
Bill calls for stronger northern highway standards
Globe and Mail education reporter Caroline Alphonso updates Steve Paikin on teachers’ union priorities for contract negotiations and discusses whether Ontario teachers will be heading to the picket lines.
Everyone thinks they can recognize propaganda and that they’re immune to its influence, but Larry Weinstein’s latest film will make you reconsider. In the Season 3 premiere of TVO’s On Docs podcast, Weinstein joins BuzzFeed media editor Craig Silverman and host Colin Ellis for a panel discussion at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema in downtown Toronto to discuss propagandist art, advertising, and the nature of fake news today.
In this final instalment of TVO.org’s series on abortion access across Ontario, journalist H.G. Watson examines how Planned Parenthood Ottawa handles questions about Mifegymiso, a medical abortion drug approved by Health Canada in 2015. Some clinics in the province have been reluctant to carry it, and it’s more readily available in urban centres than rural areas. “As a result,” writes Watson, “people often still have to travel to access a medical abortion.”
7 p.m. — Full Steam Ahead
Historians Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands, and Peter Ginn visit Beamish in County Durham to examine how railway companies began to develop infrastructure beyond stone, coal, and iron. The comfort of the early passenger wagons is put to the test on one of the earliest steam trains, and Ruth finds out how travel opportunities improved.
8 p.m. — The Agenda: Northern Ontario’s contribution to the Second World War
Soldiers from northern Ontario contributed a great deal to the Second World War, but little has been written specifically about their efforts. Untold: Northeastern Ontario’s Military Past aims to help readers understand the sacrifices. Co-author Dieter K. Buse, a former Royal Canadian Air Force drill instructor, joins The Agenda to recount what soldiers were responsible for and what they endured.
Stephen Harper, one of the founding members of the Reform Party of Canada, abruptly quit politics in 1997 to take the helm of the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative lobby group. Shortly afterward, he appeared on Studio 2 to talk about his vision of uniting right-wing politics, and whether there was a plan to unite Reformers with Progressive Conservatives. “The two parties have very different agendas in spite of the fact that people say they are on the right,” he says. “I think what’s happening in the short term is both those parties are moving farther away.” Harper would go on to be the leader of the Canadian Alliance, which then merged with the Progressive Conservatives to become the Conservative Party of Canada. He served as prime minister from 2006 to 2015.