Good morning, Ontario.
Here's what we're following:
French-language services commissioner: a final report and au revoir
Ontario’s French-language services commissioner, François Boileau, will file his twelfth — and final — annual report tomorrow. The Ford government announced in November it was shuttering the commissioner’s office in the name of balancing the books. Starting May 1, the Ontario ombudsman’s office will handle concerns about the status of French-language services in the province. (Ombudsman Paul Dubé is hiring new staff to take on the extra responsibility.) Boileau told the Ottawa Citizen that Dubé is an outstanding ombudsman, but “French will be only one of many issues. Paul Dubé has so many issues on his plate. The job is to look at complaints. We do that, but much more.”
Alberta vote promises to have ripple effects across the country
If polls are any indication, Albertans are likely to elect Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in tomorrow’s provincial election, ending four years of NDP rule under Rachel Notley. The Toronto Star’s Chantal Hébert suggests a Kenney win could force Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to choose between his climate change policy and his promise to build a new oil pipeline. Meanwhile, the CBC’s Aaron Wherry speculates that Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford could be the enemies Trudeau needs to get re-elected. It’s worth noting: a Notley loss would mean all 13 premiers in Canada would be men.
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Ontario feels the pain of canola fight with China
The CBC has an interesting look at how China’s decision to ban canola imports from Canada shows Beijing’s willingness to hurt trade partners for political ends. Chinese officials say the ban is due to the presence of “dangerous pests” in Canadian canola, but analysts believe the real reason is to punish Canada for detaining Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. While canola is primarily a western Canadian crop, about 45,000 acres of the oilseed is grown in Ontario. The Ontario Canola Growers calls the Chinese move a “deeply concerning situation.”
What we're tracking
Northeastern Hub reporter Claude Sharma spent some time in Cochrane last week to see what researchers at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat & Heritage Village are up to. A delegation from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently started testing drones as a way to observe bear migration patterns. “Tracking polar bears isn’t exactly a perfect science,” says Sharma. “They use collars, they tag them, they do surveys. Then they try to guesstimate how many are there.”
Why does tracking polar bear movement matter? “It’s a sign of global warming,” Sharma says. “More often we’re seeing these bears come south, and it’s a matter of time before the trend hits other part of Ontario.” Look for the full story on TVO.org later this week. (Photo by Mathilde Loubeyres.)
Coast New Zealand
This series about New Zealand’s dynamic coastline continues along the Coromandel Peninsula, known for its steep hills and temperate rainforest. Host Neil Oliver learns about historical influences, marine activity, and signs of the earliest life on the coast.
While the 2019 Ontario budget unveiled measures for job creation and revenue sharing with Indigenous communities, it also cut Indigenous Affairs’ budget nearly in half: from $146 million pledged by the Liberal government to $74.4 million in 2020. TVO.org’s H.G. Watson and Haley Lewis report on how the funding and policy proposals in this year’s budget will affect Indigenous people across the province.
Tonight on TVO
8 p.m. – The Agenda: Child care and the budget
With the 2019 Ontario budget, the Progressive Conservative government pledged to create 30,000 new child-care spaces and lift restrictions on existing independent daycares. How does this differ from what the previous Liberal government had on offer? The Agenda talks to policy experts and industry advocates about these and other changes to the province’s child-care strategy — including a new tax credit for child-care expenses.
9 p.m. — Extraordinary Women: Coco Chanel
“Anything he can do, she can do better.” That used to be a rallying cry for women to prove they could be the equal of any man. This series features prominent women who did just that, from actress and activist Josephine Baker to prime minister Indira Gandhi. In this episode, discover what it took for Coco Chanel to rise from an impoverished childhood in France to become one of the most iconic fashion designers of the 20th century.
From the archive
With Albertans heading to the polls this week, watch this Studio 2 interview with a figure who continues to loom large in the province’s politics: Ralph Klein, the Progressive Conservative who served as premier from 1992 until 2006. Klein, who won an impressive four majority governments, died in 2013 at age 70.