daily: Thursday, March 5

How to create big cities that work
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Mar 05, 2020
Finance Minister Rod Phillips will deliver Ontario’s 2020 budget on Wednesday, March 25. (Chris Young)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Next provincial budget coming March 25

Finance Minister Rod Phillips will deliver Ontario’s 2020 budget on Wednesday, March 25, and it appears the books will be in better shape than expected. According to iPolitics, a report from the Financial Accountability Office released yesterday finds the government is on track for a budget deficit of $6.1 billion, down from the $9-billion figure the province projected last fall. The FAO attributes the smaller deficit in part to about $2 billion less in government spending than was predicted for the first three quarters of this fiscal year. The forthcoming budget is Phillips’s first since taking over the finance portfolio from Vic Fedeli last June.

Bank of Canada slashes interest rate in response to COVID-19

The Bank of Canada cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point Wednesday to counter a weakening economic outlook driven mainly by fears of a coronavirus epidemic, the Financial Post reports. Economists say a quarter-percentage-point cut to the rate, which is currently set at 1.25 per cent, is expected next month. While the move could deliver a much-needed boost to business activity, BNN Bloomberg reports it could also “add kerosene” to an already hot housing market by making mortgages more affordable. The CBC’s Mike Crawley notes the average selling price of a GTA home is now above $910,000. That’s just short of the record high observed in April 2017, when Ontario’s foreign-buyer tax was introduced to cool the housing market.

Study counters government claim about basic-income pilot

Researchers at McMaster University surveyed 217 former participants in the province’s now-shuttered basic-income pilot program and found it led to better health, fewer emergency-room visits, and improved housing stability, the Toronto Star reports. They also suggest the program did not discourage people from working en masse, as critics predicted it would. Three-quarters of people who were employed before joining the program continued to work while receiving basic income, and more than one-third of those moved to higher-paying and more-secure jobs. The province cancelled the pilot in July 2018,arguing it was “failing.”

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The Agenda: A new cyber community 

What was once the stuff of science fiction is now a reality for a growing community of tech enthusiasts who are redefining the boundaries between humans, machines, and AI. Joining Steve Paikin to discuss this brave new world are Tamara Banbury, a self-described “voluntary cyborg” and a PhD student at Carleton University; Isabel Pedersen, Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media, and Culture; Lee Wilkins, a cyborg artist and adjunct faculty at OCAD and Ryerson Universities; and Rob Spence, a filmmaker with the world's only wireless, prosthetic-eye video camera.

Grayson Perry: Who Are You?

Award-winning artist and cultural commentator Grayson Perry explores identity as he creates diverse portraits of a variety of subjects, including ex-British MP Chris Huhne, the X-Factor’s Rylan Clark, a Muslim convert, and a young transgender man.

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What a difference 1 per cent makes: Ontario’s finances now sustainable, budget watchdog says


According to the 2020 Fiscal Sustainability Report, Ontario’s fiscal gap is 0.1 per cent of GDP, down from 0.9 per cent as reported two years ago. “In case there were any questions about who should get the credit for this turnaround, the Parliamentary Budget Office’s report is pretty clear: elections matter, and the change in government at Queen’s Park mattered,” writes John Michael McGrath. “The PBO based its projections on last year’s Fall Economic Statement, the most up-to-date set of financial and economic commitments from the Progressive Conservative government.”

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: How to create big cities

How do Ontario’s smaller and mid-sized cities handle population growth as they take up the spillover from the province’s major urban centres? Joining The Agenda to discuss the issue are John Fleming, vice-president for the Council for Canadian Urbanism; Mary Lou Tanner, partner and principal planner with the Niagara Planning Group; Jason Thorne, Hamilton’s general manager of planning and economic development; and Jo Flatt, vice-president of corporate strategy and planning at developer Allied REIT.

9 p.m. — Teachers Training to Kill

School shootings are a recurring tragedy in the United States, with lockdown drills taking place in classrooms across the country. In this documentary, meet teachers in Ohio who are learning to shoot and, if necessary, kill. Witness the heated debate in America about how best to protect pupils from gun violence on school grounds.

From the archive

April 5, 2012 — How race relations shape American politics 

In the aftermath of the Trevon Martin shooting in Florida in 2012 — and as Barack Obama sought his second term as president — this archival episode ofThe Agenda looks at race and the U.S. election. From the challenges facing the first African-American president, to the courting of the Hispanic vote, how do race relations factor into U.S. politics?

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