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How small Ontario towns are finding transit solutions
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Nov 26, 2019
In the new Liberal cabinet, Chrystia Freeland moves from foreign affairs to deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. (twitter.com)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following.

Ontario ministers make moves in federal cabinet shuffle

Several high-profile Ontario MPs were given new roles in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle Wednesday. Most notably, Toronto MP Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale) moves from foreign affairs to become deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. Observers say the prime minister is counting on Freeland to help heal regional divisions worsened by the October election results. Among other changes: Ottawa Centre’s Catherine McKenna moves from the ministry of environment and climate change to infrastructure; Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest) takes on the public safety portfolio; Thunder Bay–Superior North’s Patty Hajdu becomes minister of health; and Marco Mendicino of Eglinton–Lawrence was sworn in to cabinet for the first time as immigration minister. One Ontario MP was dropped from cabinet: Kirsty Duncan of Etobicoke North, previously minister of science and sport, is now deputy house leader. The size of cabinet grows by one to a total of 36 ministers, and includes new titles: minister of diversity, inclusion and youth; minister of middle-class prosperity; and minister of disability inclusion.


Tories under fire for cost of cancelled green energy contracts

News that Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government spent $231 million to cancel hundreds of renewable energy contracts last year fuelled several opposition attacks in the legislature Wednesday. NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the government was squandering money that could have been spent on schools and hospitals. Energy Minister Greg Rickford defended the cost, arguing that scrapping the projects ultimately makes electricity more affordable. Horwath has asked the auditor general to investigate the cost of the cancellations.


Province launches new dental program for seniors

The Ontario government announced Wednesday it will spend $90 million annually to provide regular dental care to low-income seniors, the CBC reports. Provincial residents aged 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less, or couples with a household income of $32,300 or less, will qualify for the program if they do not have dental benefits. The province estimates that 100,000 seniors will benefit from the program when it is fully implemented. People who think they may qualify can apply at http://ontario.ca/seniorsdental.



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The Agenda: Jane Philpott on the trail less travelled

Before she was a Liberal MP, Jane Philpott was a family doctor, a professor, and chief of family medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital. In 2015, she was elected to do politics differently as part of Justin Trudeau’s “sunny ways” team, and was appointed minister of health, a position in which she oversaw substantial legislative initiatives. Then came the SNC-Lavalin scandal — and her decision, on principle, to leave the Liberal party. Philpott talks to Steve Paikin about her political decisions and her bid to gain an independent seat in last month’s election.



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On Docs: Can the Catholic Church atone for a legacy of abuse?

In 2011, former priest William Hodgson Marshall pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault and indecent assaults of minors. Eight years later, Matt Gallagher made Prey, a documentary that profiles his case. But Prey isn’t about what happened before Marshall’s conviction: it's about what happened when a survivor took the Congregation of St. Basil to court over its financial settlement. In this week’s episode of On Docs, host Colin Ellis speaks with Gallagher and survivors Rod MacLeod and Patrick McMahon about the making of the film



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How small Ontario towns are finding new transit solutions


Ontario city
(Kevin Van Paassen/CP)

In smaller Ontario cities, the lack of transit opportunities means fewer accessible ways of getting around for those who can’t afford a car — and Greyhound’s recent cutbacks on routes have only exacerbated the problem. Journalist Diane Peters looks at how small-town investment in transit can help retain residents, attract business interest, and tackle income inequality all at once.


Why the Ontario Liberals still don’t get it


Liberal leadership
 (Christopher Katsarov/CP)

Political columnist Matt Gurney reviews the Ontario Liberal leadership candidate appearances at the Ontario Real Estate Association Conference earlier this week and finds their reflections on what went wrong for the party in the 2018 election rather lacking — and indicative of a bigger problem in the party’s approach to failure. “The problem wasn’t, as [Steven] Del Duca said, that they had swung at too many pitches,” he writes. “It's that they had missed too many pitches by a country mile and then insisted that they'd never had any intention of hitting the ball.”


Tonight on TVO


8 p.m. — The Agenda: Steering Ontario’s justice system

The Agenda welcomes Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey to discuss how the Progressive Conservative government is managing the province’s justice system, from the rollout of cannabis retail stores to its changes to legal aid funding.


10:25 p.m. — Grand Trunk: A City Built on Steam

From 1856 to 1964, Stratford was a railway hub and locomotive repair facility for the Grand Trunk Railway, precursor to the Canadian National Railway. In an era when steam propelled the nation’s trains, these hubs boosted the city’s economy. This documentary celebrates Stratford’s history as a vital railway town and the people who worked there.



From the archive


February 1998 — Talking to the king of Kensington

Decades before Kim’s Convenience, there was King of Kensington. The popular CBC sitcom starring Al Waxman as a convenience-store owner in Toronto’s Kensington Market aired from 1975 to 1980. In this 1998 episode of Dialogue, Waxman talks to Richard Ouzounian about his acting career and his portrayal of Willy Loman the year before in Death of a Salesman at the Stratford Festival. Waxman was inducted into the Order of Ontario and Order of Canada in 1997 and 1998, respectively, and died in 2001 at the age of 65.

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