daily: Thursday, July 25

Battling with a superbug, a First Nations water emergency, and the safest community in Canada
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Jul 26, 2019
The Ontario real estate association urges province to crack down on rule-breakers. (



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Real estate association urges province to crack down on rule-breakers

The Ontario Real Estate Association wants Government and Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson to fix the broken real estate disciplinary system” — and association CEO Tim Hudak has some ideas about how to do it. The former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader sent a letter to Thompson this week. In it, he proposed that the discipline and appeals committee of the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the body that regulates the industry, be given the authority to investigate proactively and revoke and suspend licences where necessary, as well as the power to order that real estate agents repay financial gains from ethics code violations

Maybe the federal election won’t be on Oct. 21, after all

The Federal Court has told Canada’s chief electoral officer to reconsider his recommendation to stick with Oct. 21 for the federal election. That’s the same date as Shemini Atzeret, a religious holiday on which Orthodox Jews refrain from a number of activities, including voting. Activist Ira Walfish and Chani Aryeh-Bain, an Orthodox Jew who will be running for the Conservatives in Toronto’s Eglinton-Lawrence riding, argued in court that Elections Canada didn’t consider their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault has until Aug. 1 to decide whether to recommend a new election date, but federal cabinet will have the final decision.

Possible EpiPen shortage threatens Canada — again

People with severe allergies are worried after Pfizer Canada announced that it may run out of EpiPen injectors due to manufacturing hiccups. The EpiPen contains epinephrine, which can save the life of someone suffering a major allergic reaction. If a shortage happens, it would be the second year in a row that Canada has run low on EpiPens. Despite Pfizer’s warning, Health Canada says it expects the country to maintain an adequate supply.

Canada’s safest community is in Ontario

Looking to move somewhere quiet? According to the latest Crime Severity Index from Statistics Canada, LaSalle, a Windsor-area town of about 30,000 people, is the safest community in the country. The CSI is intended to offer an accurate picture of crime by giving heavier weight to serious offences. LaSalle’s CSI score was 14.65 in 2018; the national average was 75.

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The Agenda in the Summer: A water emergency in Attawapiskat

Lack of potable water access has been a pervasive issue for First Nations communities across Canada for years and Attawapiskat First Nation, near James Bay, is the latest place to declare a state of emergency over water. While the federal government has significantly reduced long-term boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves since 2015, Attawapiskat’s crisis underscores that much work is left to be done. The Agenda welcomes APTN journalist Willow Fiddler, McMaster University Indigenous studies director Dawn Martin-Hill, and Marc Miller, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, to discuss the issue.

The Secret Rules of Modern Living

Algorithms touch our lives every day. They can guide a surgeon’s hand, build works of art, or control what we read and the products we buy — but most people are unaware of their impact. Oxford University mathematician Marcus du Sautoy demystifies the hidden world of algorithms, revealing where these 2,000-year-old problem-solvers came from, how they work, and how some algorithms are now so advanced that they can program themselves.

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Why Doug Ford may finally be putting the scandals behind him

Dean French
File photo of Dean French (Chris Young/CP)

Queen’s Park has cut ties with Dean French after a very public patronage scandal involving plum government postings for friends and relatives of Premier Doug Ford’s former chief of staff. French, in turn, has dropped his lawsuit against a former Tory MPP. Things seem to be going better for the government, writes journalist Matt Gurney, but can Ford keep things that way?

Oud to joy: Celebrating Arabic music in the GTA

a student playing an oud with a teacher supervising
Photo by James Bombales

The Canadian Arabic Conservatory of Music is teaching students to play instruments such as the qanun and the tabla. In doing so, it’s helping students to connect with an aspect of their culture not often represented — and sometimes even misunderstood — in the West. Journalist Josh Sherman profiles the Mississauga-born initiative, which has recently expanded to other parts of the GTA

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: Super battle with a superbug 

Steffanie Strathdee is a successful epidemiologist. Her husband, Thomas Patterson, is an evolutionary sociobiologist. But even this couple’s science expertise was no match for an antibiotic-resistant superbug that nearly killed Patterson. They talk to Nam Kiwanuka about his treatment and recovery, the topic of their new book, The Perfect Predator.

8:30 p.m. — Political Blind Date: Guns

Toronto Liberal MP Marco Mendicino debates Alberta Conservative MP Glen Motz about whether federal Bill C-71, legislation to tighten regulations around gun ownership, infringes on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and whether new rules are strict enough to prevent illegal guns from being used in violent crimes.

From the archive

January 2006 — Probability theory, explained


In this Studio 2 interview, statistician and University of Toronto professor Jeffrey Rosenthal breaks down what probability theory is and how it works. From disease pandemics to plane crashes, we’re often afraid of the tragedies we see in the news — but Rosenthal reveals how probability theory can offer perspective on what we really need to worry about. For example, he says, “Over a third of Canadians are going to die from cardiovascular disease, and most people don't spend that much time sitting around worrying if they're going to have a heart attack, even though, unfortunately, it’s much more likely than that you’re going to be killed by the terrorists, or you're going to be shot by a stranger, or any of these other horrible things.” Grim, but useful!

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