TVO.org Daily: Tuesday, April 23

Ontario flouts its own firearm-tracking law, a perilous data deficit, and how the media covers genocide
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on April 23, 2019
Indigenous man Rudy Turtle stands in wooded area
File photo of Chief Rudy Turtle of Grassy Narrows. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

No funding yet for mercury-treatment centre in Grassy Narrows

Will the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation once again be denied help for the severe mercury poisoning that has afflicted the community for decades? Chief Rudy Turtle says he’s worried that that will be the case, as the fall election is getting close, but tens of millions of dollars promised by the federal Liberals for a treatment facility have yet to materialize. Seamus O’Regan, the federal Indigenous-services minister, says that the government remains “absolutely committed” to the project but that it can’t move ahead without provincial co-operation. A spokesperson for Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government counters that there’s nothing stopping the feds from building the treatment centre without its assistance.

Ontario hasn’t been properly tracking firearm seizures

For years, the provincial government has been flouting its own law on tracking firearms seized by police. This came to light only after the Globe and Mail made a freedom-of-information request and the government realized that the records it’s required by law to keep didn’t exist. Now aware of its mistake, the province has been trying to rectify the problem in recent months by reminding police forces of their obligation to submit firearm information. The law dates from 1990 and is intended in part to “police the police” when it comes to what they do with seized firearms.

Anxiety increases along the Ottawa River as water levels rise

While public attention has been focused on severe flooding in Quebec and New Brunswick, residents in the Ottawa area also have reason to worry about rising waters. Forecasters expect that, by later this week, water levels on the Ottawa River will be just shy of those that caused historic floods in 2017and forced several hundred families from their homes. Nearly 100 people on the Quebec side of the river have already been evacuated. That hasn’t happened yet on the Ontario side, but several neighbourhoods there will be vulnerable if the waters keep rising. These flood fears come just as Ontario’s conservation authorities have announced that the provincial government has cut their funding for flood-management programs in half.


What we're tracking

People singing with their arms over their heads

Want to see a whole newsroom full of adults belting out “Skinnamarink”? Then you’ll want to check out The Agenda this week. Steve Paikin sat down with Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison, of Sharon, Lois & Bram fame, to talk about their storied careers and the effect their music has had on generations of children. (Now just try to get that song out of your head.)


Watch now

The Agenda: How the media covers genocide

Twenty-five years ago, Hutu extremists killed 800,000 people in Rwanda over the course of 100 days. Could the media have done a better job of alerting the world to the genocide against the Tutsi? That’s the focus of Allan Thompson’s new book, Media and Mass Atrocity, which looks at how such events are covered today, in light of past tragedies. Steve Paikin speaks to the senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation about what journalists have — and haven’t — learned.

Time Team: The Forgotten Gunners of WWI

A clay pipe. Empty shells. The end of a swagger stick. Little remains at England’s Belton House to tell of the soldiers who trained at the army camp there during the Great War — but through such scraps, and the stories of relatives and historians, Tony Robinson and his team are able to reconstruct what life was like for the men of the Machine Gun Corps before they were sent to the Western Front.


Read now

How to avoid food waste

Each year, $31 billion worth of food goes to waste in Canada. A lot of that happens at the industrial level — but individual shoppers come in for at least some of the blame. So how can you start doing your part to keep your greens out of the green bin? Corey Mintz lays out eight tips for shopping, storing, and cooking smarter.


Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: A perilous data deficit?

The Agenda makes a point of dealing with facts and fostering rational debate. But solid statistical research about everything from health care to employment is lacking in this country. Tonight’s panel looks at the data deficit in Canada and its implications for policy-making.

9 p.m. — Everything is Under Control

Facebook, Amazon, and Google provide us with round-the-clock access to the digital world. Surveillance cameras on the streets take care of our security. But what happens to the data they collect — our online shopping preferences, iris scans, and social-media posts? Filmmaker Werner Boote explores the brave new world of total digital surveillance and what it means for our privacy.


From the archive

March 23, 1989: The Western

“Westerns are morality tales,” filmmaker John Sturges tells Elwy Yost in this Talking Film segment exploring the conventions of the genre. But to what extent are they rooted in reality? Yost speaks to masters of the form, including Sturges (The Magnificent Seven), Robert Aldrich (The Frisco Kid), and Mark Rydell (The Cowboys), about the stories that westerns tell — and what makes them so enduring.


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