Good morning, Ontario.
Here’s what we’re following
Horwath to shine spotlight on public health cuts
It’s opposition day at the Ontario legislature, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath will put forward a motion calling on the Progressive Conservative government to reverse cuts to public health funding. The motion cites health officials’ concern that the cuts will compromise their ability to handle infectious disease outbreaks, and references 28 Ontario mayors calling on the government to halt the funding changes. With the Progressive Conservatives holding the majority of seats, the motion will almost certainly fail, but it's a way for Horwath to try to keep the controversy over the public health cuts alive in the media.
Children’s Mental Health Week kicks off
May 5 to 11 is Children’s Mental Health Week, an opportunity to draw attention to what Ontario families face when seeking mental health treatment for children. The picture isn’t pretty: a recent study found one in five children in the province have mental health problems, about the same proportion as 30 years ago. Another study warns that two-thirds of Ontario kids go without the specialized mental health care they need. Researchers say this status quo is in part because no one in the province is ultimately responsible for delivering mental health to children or held accountable for gaps in care.
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A week to celebrate Canadian music —and discuss its future
Speaking of commemorative weeks: today also kicks off Canadian Music Week. It’s certainly an interesting, if difficult, time to be a musician in Canada. From artists struggling to make a living in the digital age to criticisms about the music scene lacking diversity to concerns about sexual misconduct and recent cuts to the Ontario Music Fund, there are a lot of issues to ponder alongside celebrating the excellent work that Canadian musicians produce.
What we’re tracking
TVO.org’s Chantal Braganza recently chatted with a couple of first-time farmers from Guelph looking to try something new in Ontario agriculture: burgundy truffles. Largely confined to Europe and some parts of the coastal U.S., large-scale production of the lucrative fungi hasn’t really been a possibility in Canadian soil until recently. “A big development for truffle hopefuls in Ontario has been successfully introducing hazelnut crops here,” says Braganza. “Those trees are ideal hosts for the truffle spore, so a lot of entrepreneurs are excited right now about the possibility of growing a dual crop.” Watch for her story on TVO.org later this week.
The ink hadn’t even dried on the government’s housing plan before critics charged that it was a giveaway to developers. But if it means that more homes get built, then what’s the problem? TVO.org columnist John Michael McGrath reflects on how changes to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, formerly the Ontario Municipal Board, which will give the province greater powers over housing development, have been met by Toronto city council. “It’s certainly true that developers are happy about the changes proposed by the government,” he writes. “But here’s the thing: homebuilders are going to be happy about any policies that make it easier for them to build more homes. That isn’t, and can’t be, a disqualifying factor for policy.”
A group of seasoned conflict photographers reflect on their experiences capturing images of war in its various forms around the world, the emotional toll of such work, and connecting with people who are caught in the crossfire.
Tonight on TVO
8 p.m. — The Agenda: Benzodiazepine in Ontario
Whether it’s named Ativan or Valium, benzodiazepine anxiety medication is pervasive. It may be helpful for everything from acute cases to long-term anxiety, but it also carries with it an addictive element. Benzos contribute to approximately half of the opioid deaths in Ontario. The Agenda discusses the prevalence of this medication and whether it’s time to reconsider how common it’s become.
9 p.m. — Queen of the World
Royal watcher alert! This documentary on the life of Elizabeth II was filmed with privileged access to the Queen, her family, staff, and residences — and even features footage from her private film archive. Witness the complex preparation for a traditional royal summit and learn how the palace keeps an eye on all the interests of the Commonwealth.
From the archive