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A generous severance package, Roméo Dallaire’s new mission, and Ontario’s slaughterhouse problem
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 30, 2019
Greg Rickford
File photo of Greg Rickford (Frank Gunn/CP)

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Good morning, Ontario.


Here's what we're following


Province torches the Ring of Fire framework

The Progressive Conservative government has dissolved a fire-year-old Ring of Fire framework agreement negotiated between the previous Liberal government and nine Mattawa First Nations communities. Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines and Indigenous affairs, says working on new agreements on a community-to-community basis is needed to get the multi-billion-dollar mining project going. Opposition leader Andrea Horwath countered that the government’s move will simply waste more time. “Ripping up the framework agreement…takes Ontario backwards by a decade when it comes to igniting the Ring of Fire,” she told reporters while in Thunder Bay for northern caucus meetings.


Ontario launches $200 million math strategy

On a day when new EQAO test results showed many Ontario students are still struggling to meet provincial math standards, Education Minister Stephen Lecce unveiled a new four-year strategy he says will “help our students and educators build the confidence and knowledge to excel in math.” The strategy includes expanding online tutoring programs and investing in training in more than 700 targeted schools. NDP education critic Marit Stiles said in a statement that the government is causing more harm than help to math education by cutting overall school funding and reducing teacher counts.

Meanwhile, experts are criticizing the province’s decision to make all new teachers pass a math test before getting their license, saying it might discourage people from certain communities or with specific skill sets from pursuing a teaching career. “I’m not sure if having to solve quadratic equations is actually going to help you as a drama teacher,” Mary Reid of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education told the CBC.


Controversy over severance packages given to Wynne aides

The Globe and Mail reports that the Kathleen Wynne government approved more than $450,000 in severance packages for two top staffers in the former premier’s office days after the party lost the 2018 election. Wynne says that compensation for aides Andrew Bevan and Mary Rowe was determined with input from the bureaucracy and is consistent with what political staffers have received from other Ontario governments and in other jurisdictions. However, interim Liberal Leader John Fraser has distanced himself from the decision. “Reasonable people will think this is an excessive package and want an explanation,” he said.


Lakehead chooses non-Indigenous dean after law school controversy

Jula Hughes, a law professor at the University of New Brunswick with expertise in Indigenous issues, will be the new dean of Lakehead University’s law school in Thunder Bay. She is the first-full time dean for the school since Dakota law professor and Indigenous law scholar Angelique EagleWoman resigned from the position last year, alleging she was subjected to systemic racism at the university. EagleWoman is now suing the university for $2.67 million. Hughes was chosen ahead of the other finalist for the job, Lakehead professor Dennis McPherson. A member of Chouchiching First Nation, McPherson told the Globe and Mail in an e-mail that he was passed over for the job because he was “the wrong kind of ‘Indian.’” Hughes, who has published papers on residential schools and the Crown’s relationship with urban Indigenous populations, says hiring more Indigenous faculty will be one of her priorities.



Watch now


Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children

How do you shake the memories of going to hell and back? This question has haunted retired Lt.-Gen. General Roméo Dallaire since 1994, when he was UN Force Commander during the Rwandan genocide. After grappling with and reflecting on memories of a humanitarian crisis, his new mission is to eradicate the use of child soldiers around the world. This documentary follows Dallaire as he travels back to Central Africa to make good on this dream.


Museum London looks at racism in the city’s past

Museum London’s latest exhibit, Difficult Terrain, uses artifacts and images to highlight racist elements of the city's past. Over the years, the museum has amassed a collection of toys, postcards, and packages that perpetuate racist stereotypes — and, as Ontario Hubs field producer Jeyan Jeganathan explains, some of the attitudes and false assumptions behind these historical objects persist to this day.



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Does Ontario have enough slaughterhouses?

Between a scarcity of provincially licensed abattoirs and a litany of expensive bureaucratic obstacles, Ontario farmers who sell locally are having a hard time bringing their meat to market. Southwestern Ontario Hubs reporter Mary Baxter looks at the issue by talking to farmers, sustainability experts, and Ontario agriculture minister Ernie Hardeman.


Tonight on TVO


8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: Dismantling ableism in Ontario

She was born with cerebral palsy, but Sarah Jama has never allowed the limitations placed on her as a disabled person to determine her path in life. Now the co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, Jama speaks with Nam Kiwanuka about the power of youth and grassroots organizing, what needs to be done to dismantle ableism in Ontario, and her agency’s vision of “creating a world where people with disabilities are free to be.”


10 p.m. — The Invisible Heart

What happens when capitalism and charity mix to help tackle some of society’s most complex socio-economic problems? Are there repercussions when private investors earn a profit from helping society's most vulnerable? The Invisible Heart explores the world of social impact bonds, a new investment tool that involves using private investments to fund social services.



From the archive


August, 1975 — Between two Africas

In 1975, a TVO crew travelled to Africa to document the struggles Morocco and Senegal faced at the time against poverty, political oppression, and global exploitation. As one Moroccan union leader put it to a reporter, “Reforms aren’t enough. We need radical changes. We must change the economic, political, and social structures of this country. If we keep the same structures we inherited from colonialism, we’ll remain completely exploited and underdeveloped.” Morocco, which took part in the Arab Spring uprising, has since undergone some political reforms — but citizens and workers continue to protest for wider rights and freedoms.

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