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In NIMBY Ontario, even gentle density can be too much
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Feb 06, 2020
Teachers are shown on the picket line in front of a high school in Guelph, Ont., December 4, 2019. (Stephen C. Host/CP)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Parents aren’t taking up Ontario’s funding offer during teachers strike

As public elementary school teachers prepare for a province-wide strike today, the Toronto Star reports that more than three quarters of parents eligible for child-care compensation because of labour stoppages have yet to apply. The provincial government has promised to compensate parents $25 to $60 per student for every day their local school is on strike. Rachel Huot of the Ontario Parent Action Network says the lack of applications is partly due to many parents being unaware the program exists.


Environmental groups sound alarm over logging plan 

Several environmental organizations say the province’s plan to boost jobs by increasing logging on Crown-owned lands from 15 million cubic metres to 30 million cubic metres of wood by 2030 is reckless, the Canadian Press reports. Green Party leader Mike Schreiner is also critical of the move, calling it “a short-sighted decision by the government that undermines our climate obligations and our obligations to protect endangered species.” A spokesperson for the province says the proposed levels are sustainable. Representatives of the forest industry say the larger quota is “significantly less” than the rate of annual forest growth.


Cabinet minister’s social-media strategy under scrutiny

A social-media campaign for Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy may have blurred the line between official business and partisan political activity, according to CTV. The campaign, intended to increase Bethlenfalvy’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, was prepared by his taxpayer-funded staff at the Treasury Board. Staff then forwarded the campaign to his riding association in Pickering-Uxbridge with the idea that donations to the Progressive Conservative party would finance it, creating a potential violation of the Public Service of Ontario Act. "I did not provide approval of this strategy," said Bethlenfalvy in a statement. "As soon as I learned that it had been erroneously distributed to board members at a recent meeting, I stopped the meeting and took corrective action."



Watch now


The Agenda: The doomed Donnellys of Ontario

The vigilante murder of members of the Donnelly family remains among the most notorious crimes of 19th-century Ontario. The story of the Black Donnellys, as they were known, has been told many times in the past 140 years, but Keith Ross Leckie’s new novel, Cursed! Blood of the Donnellys, brings a fresh perspective to the massacre.


A Cook Abroad


Dave Myers travels to Egypt, home to some of the world’s oldest recipes. From the street foods of Cairo, to a family feast 800 kilometres south in ancient Aswan, Myers voyages along the Nile to find the origins of cherished traditional dishes.



Listen now


On Docs: And the Oscar for Best Documentary goes to…

Host Colin Ellis and TVO’s executive producer of documentaries, Jane Jankovic, discuss this year's group of Academy Award nominees: Honeyland, American Factory, The Cave, For Sama, and The Edge of Democracy. Then, Sami Khan of Sarnia, Ont., talks about his Oscar-nominated short doc St. Louis Superman, and what it's like to be vying for the prestigious film award.



Read now


In NIMBY Ontario, even gentle density can be too much


a Toronto laneway
(Kevin Van Paassen/CP)

As Toronto continues to grapple with a housing crisis, some say gentle density, which includes laneway homes and duplexes, could provide some relief. But in his latest column, John Michael McGrath suggests it’s not as easy as it sounds. “Across huge swaths of Toronto and the GTA, even the most minimal amount of new homebuilding is slower and more expensive than it needs to be. Gentle density may well be at least part of the answer, but, for many voters, no form of density is ever going to be gentle enough,” he writes.


Ontario’s animal rescuer Down Under

When Heidi Bechtold started to hear about the plight of wildlife in Australia’s bushfires, the owner and operator of Complete K9, a dog-walking and training business in Kitchener, Ont., knew she had to get involved. She joined up with a rescue team in Calgary led by Brad Pattison, a dog trainer and former television host, and headed to the Australian state of New South Wales to help rescue and feed animals that had managed to survive. TVO’s Southwestern Ontario Hubs reporter Mary Baxter spoke to Bechtold and Pattison about their experiences in the middle of what Bechtold calls “Mother Nature’s holocaust.”


Tonight on TVO


8 p.m. — The Agenda: John Mighton and math for all

The decline of students’ math scores in Ontario is well documented, but academic and author John Mighton says it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, he believes everyone can be good at math. He’s the founder of the charitable organization JUMP Math, short for Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies. His latest book, All Things Being Equal: Why Math Is the Key to a Better World, lays out his ideas.


10:30 p.m. — Brilliant Ideas: Ali Banisadr's Impassioned Landscapes

Born in 1976 in Tehran, Ali Banisadr moved to the United States when he was a child. His artwork is influenced by his experiences as a refugee from the Iran-Iraq war, and his approach mixes memory, nostalgia, and violence. He is best known for his large, lush, highly intricate paintings featuring fantastical landscapes reminiscent of stained glass. His work can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum der Moderna in Salzburg, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the British Museum.



From the archive


October 12, 2001 — Ready to retire?

In this 2001 episode of More to Life, Dr. Ricky Schachter, a dermatologist still practising at the age of 82, reflects on her choice not to retire quite yet. “Do I think that 65 is a good year to retire? I think it's a good year for many people,” she says. “I think that many people don't have the opportunity that I have had, which is the opportunity of remaining in a work area that you like and have the opportunity of seeing that job change, seeing that your choices grow and having the opportunity to be part of that growth.” Schachter, who received the Canadian Dermatology Foundation's Practitioner of the Year award in 2005, died in 2007.

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