daily: Thursday, June 27

A new anti-racism strategy, the tale of the killer parson, and how Ontario helped invent the modern highway
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on June 28, 2019
John Fraser
File photo of John Fraser (Christopher Katsarov/CP)



Good morning, Ontario

Here's what we're following

Government appointments under scrutiny amid Dean French fallout

As the media and opposition discover more instances of friends and family of former chief of staff Dean French getting government jobs, Premier Doug Ford has called for “a review of all pending appointments.” The move came after Katherine Pal resigned from the Public Accountants Council after it was revealed that she is French’s niece. The Globe and Mail has also learned that Andrew Suboch, chair of the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee, is a friend of French and was fined $8,000 in 2012 after the Law Society of Ontario found that he had engaged in professional misconduct. The NDP is calling for the Progressive Conservatives to recall the standing committee on government agencies to review all public appointments that have been made since Ford took office. Interim Liberal leader John Fraser (pictured) has called on Ford to ask the province’s integrity commissioner to do the same.

Federal government details new anti-racism strategy

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodríguez has announced that Ottawa will spend $45 million to establish an anti-racism secretariat and invest in community programs and public-education campaigns to confront online hate. “While we take pride in being a welcoming and inclusive country, we know that racism and discrimination are still a reality for many Canadians across the country,” Rodríguez said in a statement. 

Leadership battle wracks Ojibway Nation of Saugeen

Saying their community is controlled through fear and rampant nepotism, members of Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, 400 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, have voted to replace Chief Edward Machimity, the CBC reports. But Machimity, in office since 1985, says he isn’t going anywhere. “I am lifetime chief and I am determined to stay until I pass on,” he told a gathering of Saugeen members, referring to an internal governance code that subjects him to a leadership review every 21 years. Despite Machimity’s desire to stay, Ron Machimity, who was chosen by the chief’s opponents to succeed him, says a new council will be sworn in on July 6.

Hamilton mayor vows city will ‘do better’ after Pride attack 

Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger wants to meet with the city’s queer community after violence involving Christian extremists broke out during a Pride celebration earlier this month. Pride Hamilton has complained that the police were too slow to break up the altercation. Members of the LGBTQ community are also critical of the municipal government on a number of other fronts, including the hiring of a former head of a white supremacist group in the city’s IT department, and not holding a community conversation requested by Pride Hamilton. Eisenberger says he wants to discuss the community’s concerns. “We are committed to open dialogue. We are committed to listening and developing an action plan to fight those who promote hate and division,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

What we're tracking

Another season of The Agenda With Steve Paikin wraps up this week — and what a season it’s been! Right from September, this season has been jam-packed with analysis of Premier Doug Ford’s new government, U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration, and the roller coaster that has been U.K. government upheaval over Brexit.

“It’s always challenging to pick out one interview from the hundreds we do over the course of a season,” says Paikin, “but if I had to urge you to watch just one, it’d be the one we had with broadcaster and activist Sarain Fox. I learned a new word from Sarain. We wanted to talk about reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the rest of Canada. Instead, she told me she'd prefer to talk about ‘reconcile-action.’ It was a heartfelt interview filled with authentic, magical moments, thanks to a brilliant guest.”

Read now

Opinion: Don’t let the Tories’ PR disaster distract you from Doug Ford’s good idea

Doug Ford
File photo of Doug Ford (Justin Tang/CP)

The Ontario government has been accused of favouritism in its appointments of trade envoys, and though some recent staff hires have been reversed, columnist Matt Gurney thinks the positions themselves are a good idea and shouldn’t be discounted. “Canada (and Ontario) has interests abroad,” he writes. “We have good stories to tell and good products and services to offer. Too often, our business leaders are flying blind when they go into a foreign market.”

How Ontario helped invent the modern highway

Did you know that North American highway infrastructure planning and road-safety innovation owe a lot to Ontario? Journalist Sean Marshall looks at the history of the Queen Elizabeth Way as the province’s first superhighway. This 80-year-old roadway’s initial success and evolution — and the lessons learned from its construction — have been a leading example to cities across the province.

Watch now

The Agenda: A murder in Prohibition-era Windsor 

There was no shortage of stories of murder, organized crime, and intrigue in Ontario during Prohibition, but author and lawyer Patrick Brode has a particularly good one — and it happens to involve a killer parson. Inspired by an infamous story about a preacher and a liquor inspector in the Windsor-Detroit borderlands of the 1920s, Brode spoke to Steve Paikin about his recent book, Dying for a Drink: How a Prohibition Preacher Got Away With Murder.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Finding inspiration in African mythology 

Marlon James
File photo of Marlon James (Justin Lane/EPA/CP)

Four years ago, Marlon James won the coveted Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel inspired by the life and near-murder of Bob Marley. His latest book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, draws from a different well: it’s a striking and fantastic epic that draws upon African history and mythology. He talks to Nam Kiwanuka about why the fantasy form is perfect for this book, the first in a trilogy.

9 p.m. — The Woman Who Joined the Taliban

Beverley Anne Giesbrecht was a successful publishing executive and a devout Christian living near Vancouver before the events of 9/11 changed her life. Within months, she had converted to Islam and, determined to show a different side of militant Islam, travelled to the Taliban-controlled mountains of Pakistan to make a first-person film. This documentary dives into her personal life and investigates the tragic circumstances that led to her 2008 kidnapping, disappearance, and eventual death.

From the archive

March 17, 1996 — Bias in media coverage

In an era of fake news and social media’s overtaking of traditional information systems, this Fourth Reading segment may seem quaint, but the discussion is proof that history often repeats itself. Steve Paikin and a panel of journalists and politicians debate the reliability of media coverage and where to draw the line between news and editorializing, especially in political coverage of Mike Harris’s government. Guests include: John Downing, then-editor of the Toronto Sun; Kathleen Kenna, former assistant national editor at the Toronto Star; and former MPP Chris Stockwell.

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