Good morning, Ontario.
Here's what we're following:
Carbon tax challenge goes to court
Is the federal carbon tax unconstitutional? That’s what the Tory government believes — and what Ontario’s Court of Appeal is poised to determine. The hearing began yesterday, and you can follow the legal arguments over the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act in real time: in an unusual move, the court has decided to allow a livestream of the proceedings.
The battle over pharmacare
Pharmacare appears to be one of the issues the Liberals will campaign on as they fight to maintain their majority in the upcoming federal election. But there are still challenges ahead. The Canadian Press reports that an internal government analysis raised concerns that a subsidy plan pushing the use of generic drugs could lead to big pharmaceutical companies threatening to cut research and delay the release of new drugs. But the organization that represents 44 pharmaceutical companies in Canada says they "fully support" generics.
Paying your taxes with cryptocurrency
The small town of Innisfil is on the cutting edge: this month, it became the first municipality in Canada to accept Bitcoin as payment for property taxes. “We developed a bit of a reputation for not being afraid to try new things,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin, referring to the city’s transit partnership with Uber. The Bitcoin experiment won’t be limited to taxes: the long-term plan is to extend cryptocurrency payments to other municipal services.
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What we're tracking
Cannabis-friendly golf courses. Pot shops partnering with the Tragically Hip. Eastern Ontario is getting ready for a boom in weed tourism — and Eastern Ontario Hub reporter David Rockne Corrigan has spent the past couple of weeks talking with entrepreneurs about the trend. “People are expecting international tourists to come smoke our cannabis and go on wine-tour-like trips of the area. But will it work? There are two theories,” says Corrigan. “The business folks cashing in on this say yes, but I also spoke to a lawyer who pointed out there are marketing restrictions for how companies can advertise their product that make it hard to get your name out there. It’ll also heavily rely on whether Ontario becomes known as a top-quality producer of weed.” Look for his story on TVO.org this week.
Earlier this month, Steve Paikin attended a round-table conversation at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College. At issue: whether liberal-arts graduates are being set up for success. “The next big question that Vic and many other liberal-arts institutions are grappling with,” Paikin writes, “is how to send their graduates into the world (or off to their next adventure in post-secondary) better prepared for what’s to follow.”
For the thousands of Ontario adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual and developmental disorders, mental-health conditions such as anxiety and depression can be isolating. But a group of entrepreneurs and researchers is developing a new resource that will help monitor, track, and manage anxiety symptoms before they escalate. Veronica Zaretski takes a closer look at the pilot program for TVO.org.
The Ontario government announced major changes to education and child care recently, including a new child-care tax credit introduced in last week’s budget. Minister of Education Lisa Thompson joins Steve Paikin to discuss her first 10 months on the job — and how the Tory changes will affect parents and kids across the province.
Tonight on TVO
8 p.m. — The Agenda: Ontario’s $30 billion transit plan
Shortly before the 2019 provincial budget was revealed, the Ontario Progressive Conservative government announced a $30 billion transit plan. Among other things, it promises two Toronto subway extensions, an underground extension of the Eglinton Crosstown line, and something called the Ontario Line, a $10.9 billion light rail service from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre. It sounds ambitious, but can the plan work? Steve Paikin chats with a panel of urban planners and transit consultants to find out more.
9 p.m. — First Contact
This docuseries takes six Canadians to Indigenous communities across the country to help them confront and readjust their attitudes and beliefs about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. In the season finale, the group visits an Edmonton prison to learn about the over-incarceration of Indigenous peoples in Canada. They then head to Ahousaht First Nation, on Vancouver Island, a reserve that has seen its community change for the better in recent years.
From the archive
Interviewer Elwy Yost first met John Huston in England in 1952, when he was an extra in the famed director’s Moulin Rouge. In this interview from 1980, Huston discusses the challenges he faced directing some of his best-known works — The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, and 1956’s Moby Dick, which was shot on the Atlantic Ocean, near Wales — and the high points of his 50-year career in filmmaking. Huston died in 1987 at the age of 81. Yost died in 2011 at 86.