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Northeastern Ontario’s bylaw officer blues
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Dec 07, 2019
Supreme Court rules companies on the hook for site that poisoned Grassy Narrows. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

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Supreme Court rules companies on the hook for site that poisoned Grassy Narrows

In a 4-3 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada said two companies — and not the Ontario government — must pay to look after a site that has caused decades of suffering for the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. The court found Weyerhaeuser and Resolute Forest Products responsible for repair and maintenance of a waste disposal site at the Dryden paper mill, whose mercury runoff contaminated the English-Wabigoon River system in the 1960s. Residents of Grassy Narrows, who live downstream, have suffered health problems related to mercury poisoning ever since.


Province passes animal welfare law

Ontario will build a team of about 100 animal welfare inspectors after the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act was passed Thursday. According to the Canadian Press, the team will include experts in a variety of fields, including zoos, aquariums, and livestock. It will also feature specially trained Crown attorneys. The new law comes after the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals declared in March that it was no longer in a position to enforce animal cruelty laws. The legislation will take effect Jan. 1.


Windsor MP calls for probe after riverbank collapse at former uranium site 

Windsor West MP Brian Masse has sent a letter to federal Environment Minister John Wilkinson asking why it took more than a week for the public to learn that a dock at a former uranium-handling site collapsed into the Detroit River, the CBC reports. Detroit Bulk Storage, on the Michigan side of the river, sits on land previously owned by a company that made uranium rods. The collapse happened on Nov. 26, but Masse says he found out only on Wednesday, partly through reporting in the Windsor Star. Windsor-based utility Enwin says the city’s drinking water is safe despite the accident.


Ontario holds steady amid nationwide unemployment spike

Despite an overall drop of 71,000 jobs across Canada, Statistics Canada’s latest numbers show that Ontario added 15,400 positions in November. According to the Globe and Mail, Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec lost the most jobs, while Ontario was “the only province to notch a sizable gain.” The unemployment rate in Ontario stands at 5.6 per cent, while it is 5.9 per cent nationally.



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The Beginning and End of the Universe: The End

Will the universe end with a bang, or a whimper? Theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili explores what current science has to say about this existential question. It turns out the story is far stranger than anyone imagined and, at the frontier of our understanding, scientists encounter a mysterious and enigmatic force that promises to change physics forever.



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Bylaw and order: Northeastern Ontario’s struggle with bylaw enforcement


Sault Ste. Marie welcome sign
Photo by Nick Dunne

How many bylaw officers does it take to enforce everything from zoning to garbage to parking? Northeastern Ontario Hubs reporter Nick Dunne found out that the two officers employed to do this work in Sault Ste. Marie just can’t keep up with demand. “Everything bylaw-related in the city of 73,000 falls on the shoulders of officers Tyler Bertand and Brant Coulter,” he writes. “Since September 10, the pair has dealt with 891 calls.” By contrast, Toronto has more than 200 bylaw officers, or about one for every 12,000 people. Dunne gets the back story on the city’s bylaw enforcement crunch, and digs up some odd regulations from years past that are still on the books, from throwing snowballs to feeding pigeons.



This weekend on TVO


Saturday, 9 p.m. — Propaganda: The Art of Selling Lies

Throughout history, people have been easily seduced by propaganda in its many forms. Larry Weinstein’s latest documentary traces the art of persuasion from ancient cave drawings to the present age of social media, when we are bombarded by more messages than ever. Contemporary artists, including Kent Monkman, Shepard Fairey, and Ai Weiwei, are featured in this TVO Original documentary.


Sunday, 9 p.m. — Northern Gold

This two-part series profiles the gold-rush history of Timmins. Founded by immigrants and prospectors in the early 20th century, the northern Ontario town’s nascent mining industry spawned legends of bootlegging and gangsters — but a lot has changed since then. Today the city faces mine closures as residents embrace an uncertain future with strength, resilience, and fortitude.



From the archive


December 1986 — Road trip! From Parry Sound to London

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The Festival of the Sound is an annual celebration of classical and chamber music that has taken place every summer in Parry Sound since 1979, attracting musicians from around the world to the shores of Georgian Bay. In December 1986, they took the show on the road, travelling to performances in Great Britain. This episode of People Patterns follows a string quartet, clarinetist, and two opera singers during rehearsals and performances from Parry Sound to London and Oxford.

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