TVO.org daily: Thursday, June 13

The end of the universe, receding floodwaters, and an NBA star breeding ground — in Mississauga
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on June 13, 2019
Dean French
File photo of Dean French (Chris Young/CP)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following


Ford chief of staff sues maverick MPP Hillier

Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, is suing independent MPP Randy Hillier for defamation. In a statement of claim filed in court, French accuses Hillier of launching a “baseless” campaign against him “fuelled by a misguided personal vendetta.” In a series of tweets this spring, Hillier implicated French in a voter fraud scheme in Alberta and alleged that French ordered the destruction of PC leadership ballots after Ford narrowly won the contest in 2018. Hillier later deleted his tweets and apologized for the Alberta voter fraud allegation. Hillier was ejected from the Progressive Conservative  caucus earlier this year; Ford’s office said he was removed for skipping caucus meetings and complaining publicly about government. Hillier, meanwhile, blames his ouster on tensions with French and Chris Froggatt, another Ford ally.


Canadian Environmental Law Association funding slashed in wake of Ontario budget

Legal Aid Ontario is cutting the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s funding by 37 per cent over two years after the Progressive Conservatives’ spring budget delivered the biggest cut in the nonprofit’s history. The association provides legal support to low-income individuals and communities affected by pollution and other environmental issues.


Ottawa ends state of emergency as floodwaters recede

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced Wednesday that he is ending the city’s state of emergency status while recovery efforts for the Ottawa River floods continue. Watson declared a state of emergency on April 25 as record water levels inundated several neighbourhoods and roads. The city will continue to support residents during ongoing recovery and clean-up.


A northern hotbed for hoops prospects

The Toronto Raptors will try once again tonight to win their first NBA championship after their excruciatingly close loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. With the basketball fever spotlight on the GTA, The New York Times has examined how cities such as Mississauga and Toronto are suddenly churning out star prospects for the NBA.



What we're tracking


Vic Fedeli
File photo of Vic Fedeli (Nathan Denette/CP)

Much has been made about Doug Ford’s first anniversary as Ontario premier — but the same can be said for a number of politicians in his Progressive Conservative government, including Finance Minister Vic Fedeli. Next week, Steve Paikin will interview Fedeli about his year as a major player in the new government that has undertaken quick and sweeping changes since coming to power. Afterward, a panel of Queen’s Park reporters and columnists will recap Ford’s first year at the helm.

“Ford is the first PC premier that Ontario has had in 15 years. That’s significant for the province, and a departure from where we were,” says Agenda executive producer Stacey Dunseath. “We know Doug Ford from his time as a Toronto city councillor, as an adviser to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and as a mayoral candidate himself. It’s been interesting to see him in his lead role throughout the year.” Watch for the segment next Thursday.




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Is Ontario doing its fair share on climate change?


smoke stack
(Stephen C. Host/CP)

The Tories often point out how well Ontario stacks up against other provinces when it comes to reducing emissions — but look beyond the national average, and the comparisons are less flattering. TVO.org’s Daniel Kitts compares Ontario’s efforts to those of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, even Europe, for a wider perspective.



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The Agenda: Private partnerships, public schools

As Ontario schools adjust to new funding priorities, they may soon be looking for more help from the private sector. Partnerships with corporations can offer technology and expertise not otherwise affordable. The Agenda discusses how such partnerships work.


The Beginning and the End of the Universe


If the universe had a beginning, does that mean it will eventually end? Or will it go on forever? Theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili takes us through what is known about the universe and its origins, and how scientists are trying to predict what its future holds.



Tonight on TVO


8 p.m. — The Agenda: Checking in with Canada’s environment minister 


Catherine McKenna
File photo of Catherine McKenna (Justin Tang/CP)

Since she was appointed minister of environment and climate change in 2015, Catherine McKenna has been at the centre of one of the country’s most divisive portfolios. She joins Steve Paikin to discuss the work she’s doing, the carbon tax, and the federal government’s relationship with Ontario on climate change policy.


10 p.m. — House of Saud


Mohammad bin Salman
File photo of Mohammad bin Salman (Amri Nabil/AP/CP)

The second instalment of this three-part series on Saudi Arabia’s ruling family looks at an unprecedented crackdown on corruption in which hundreds of the kingdom’s richest people — including 11 members of the royal family — were detained in a luxurious five-star hotel. It laid bare a secret world of kickbacks and bribes involving foreign governments and leading companies. But were the mass detentions less about ending corruption, and more about advancing the interests of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman?



From the archive


February 8, 2016 — Ask an MPP: Julia Munro


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Former Progressive Conservative MPP Julia Munro died this week at 77. If you wanted to ask a politician anything about the machinations of Queen’s Park, Munro would have been a go-to. A representative for York–Simcoe from 1995 until her retirement last year, Munro was Ontario’s longest-serving female MPP and, as Steve Paikin has described her, someone who went to work at the legislature “almost non-stop for nearly 22 years, in hopes of making her quiet contribution to democracy.”

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