TVO.org daily: Thursday, May 9

Oshawa GM plant’s second act, political postcards, and the curious case of the elephant bird
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 9, 2019
GM sign
General Motors revealed Tuesday it would transition the facility from auto assembly to stamping, sub-assembly, and autonomous vehicle testing. (Lars Hagberg/CP)

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GM to invest $170 million in Oshawa plant, saving 300 jobs

After shocking Ontario’s auto industry in November by announcing it was closing its storied Oshawa plant, General Motors revealed Tuesday it would transition the facility from auto assembly to stamping, sub-assembly, and autonomous vehicle testing. The union representing GM workers expressed relief, even though the 300 jobs that will be saved by the move are a far cry from the 2,600 currently at the plant. “By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said.


Teachers’ unions target vulnerable Tories with postcard campaign

The Toronto Star reports that teachers’ unions are sending postcards slamming education cuts to households in ridings where Tory MPPs won narrow victories in last year’s election. The personalized cards have a photo of the local MPP and say “Tell our MPP to stop hurting our kids’ education.” According to education blogger Doug Little, the unions opted for a political response to the cuts because any job action would likely be shut down with back-to-work legislation. Public opinion, in fact, may be on the unions’ side on this: a survey found 62 per cent of voters disagree with the Ford government’s decision to eliminate more than 3,000 teaching jobs over the next four years.


Ontario Telemedicine Network lays off 44 staff

The agency responsible for connecting patients to medical professionals via videoconference is shedding 15 per cent of its workforce. It’s the latest round of layoffs contradicting the Ford government’s pledge that no public-sector jobs would be lost because of cuts. It also seems to contradict Health Minister Christine Elliott’s stated goal of increasing virtually-delivered medical care. NDP health critic France Gélinas told the CBC the layoffs will especially hurt the small and rural communities that need access to health specialists typically available only in larger urban centres.


Liberal MPP mulling a jump to federal politic


In an interview with TFO current affairs program ONFR+, Liberal MPP Marie-France Lalonde said she’s considering running in this fall’s federal election. Lalonde represents the Ottawa riding of Orléans, which suddenly needs a federal Liberal candidate because current MP Andrew Leslie isn’t seeking another term. Lalonde will announce her decision this week.

Watch Now

The Agenda: Ontario's cuts to mental health





Toronto city council and the Ontario government don’t quite agree on how the latter’s cuts to public health funding will affect municipalities across the province. Toronto sees the cuts as a threat to vital services. Robin Martin, MPP for Eglinton–Lawrence and parliamentary assistant to the minister of health and long-term care, says Ontario just wants cities to re-evaluate their priorities. She talks to Steve Paikin about the government’s rationale and characterizes the funding cuts as “a very modest realignment of services in public health.”

How I introduce myself says a lot about my First Nation



TVO’s Indigenous Affairs video journalist Allana McDougall explains that how she introduces herself — Anishinaabe from Hiawatha First Nation — not only tells people about her background, but the history of her First Nation and the role she plays in her community. She asks us to imagine what it would be like if everyone did this: exhibiting pride and knowledge of birthplace, community, and heritage, with just a simple greeting.

Read Now

Why rising child-care costs are bad news for everyone — not just parents

Lisa Thompson

Child-care expenses are keeping families in poverty and women out of the workforce. So why have the Tories cancelled a fund that helped keep costs down? As columnist Lauren McKeon writes: “There’s a reason that basic, universal child care has long been a rallying point for feminists. Simply put: It helps women achieve economic independence. It helps keep them in the workforce.” The changes include cancellation of $50 million in funding to child-care centres, offset by a new child-care credit to families who earn less than $150,000 per year, and a commitment to 30,000 new child-care spaces across the province.

TVO Tonight

8 p.m. The Agenda: The case for basic income

Under the former Liberal government, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay were test cities for a basic-income pilot program that offered eligible citizens a guaranteed annual income. The idea was to check on how the participants’ lives changed after three years, then decide whether to take the plan province-wide. Shortly after being elected, however, the Progressive Conservative government cancelled the pilot. The Agenda speaks to Evelyn Forget, who’s spent four decades researching this subject, about her new book, Basic Income for Canadians: The Key to a Healthier, Happier, More Secure Life for All.

10 p.m. Attenborough and the Giant Egg

In 1960, historian, environmentalist, and broadcaster David Attenborough travelled to Madagascar to film Zoo Quest, one of his first BBC wildlife series. On that trip he acquired a giant egg of an extinct species known as the elephant bird, said to be the largest bird that ever lived. Fifty years later he returned to the island nation to find out more about the creature — and also to see how the wildlife of Madagascar has changed since.

From the archive

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Last week, the Progressive Conservative government introduced the More Homes, More Choice Act, a housing bill that also has implications for the province’s Endangered Species Act. Changes to planning and housing legislation are often a hallmark when a government switches hands, as has happened three times since this Fourth Reading episode first aired in 1994. At the time, urban planners and environmentalists were thrilled about the NDP government’s newly-revised Ontario Planning and Development Act — but rural communities saw the legislation as an erosion of property rights more than as an attempt to protect prime agricultural land from development.

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