daily: Tuesday, August 13

Canada’s unsung songwriter, the ‘confusing mess’ of legal-aid cuts, and combating gun violence in Toronto
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 13, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced one-time legal aid funding of $25.7 million for refugee and immigration cases in Ontario. (Francis Vachon/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Cuts to legal aid causing confusion in Ontario courts

It’s been about two months since the Ford government announced funding cuts to Legal Aid Ontario — and now, those cuts are being felt in the courtroom. The Toronto Star details a day in Toronto’s College Park courthouse, where people who would once have been able to get the assistance of duty counsel are forced to represent themselves. Dana Fisher, the union spokesperson for legal-aid lawyers, said the “confusing mess” will affect vulnerable, low-income accused the most.

In a campaign-style event yesterday in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced one-time legal aid funding of $25.7 million for refugee and immigration cases in Ontario, and slammed Premier Doug Ford’s government for “walking away from services for the most vulnerable”.

Spike in gold prices hailed as good news up north

Last week, gold hit an all-time high in Canada, trading at about USD$1,500 an ounce. According to the Globe and Mail, it’s a result of escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, slower global growth, and falling interest rates. John Mason, mining-services project manager for Thunder Bay, told that the spike gives hope that there will be more investment in gold mining in northwestern Ontario. And, in recent days, gold sellers have found that more people seem eager to sell their jewellery and watches.

Ontario man denied life insurance because of anxiety disorder

Could a mental illness leave you without life insurance? Earlier this year, Robert Pugh decided to apply for coverage. But Pugh, who has been in treatment for generalized anxiety disorder for several years, was denied. One expert told the CBC that it is fairly common practice in the insurance industry to “penalize those with pre-existing conditions.” Courtney Mulqueen, a lawyer who specializes in disability-insurance law, expressed concern that “the practice of excluding people from insurance coverage based on mental illness could discourage people from seeking help.”

Highway in Windsor area is getting an upgrade

A dangerous stretch of highway along Lake Erie's northern shore is set to be expanded. According to the CBC, between 1993 and 2012, there was at least one collision every 11 days on Highway 3, which drops from four lanes to two in one area. In that same period of time, there were seven fatalities. “Widening and improving safety on Highway 3 is a priority for this government,” Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s minister of transportation, said at Monday’s announcement in Leamington.

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Bugs: Italy and Denmark

Johan Nilsson/EPA/CP

In many cultures around the world, bugs are considered a delicacy. Travel to Sardinia, where the casu marzu method of cheesemaking results in a pecorino that has been deliberately infested with the larvae of the cheese fly. And then visit Denmark, home of the Nordic Food Lab, where chefs have been experimenting with the culinary possibilities of bee larvae.

National Geographic: Russia’s Wild Arctic

How has climate change affected Russia’s untouched Arctic? National Geographic explorer-in-residence Enric Sala leads a group of scientists and adventurers on the first international scientific expedition to Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth.

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Why Ruth Lowe deserves a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame

Frank Sinatra and Ruth Lowe
Photo courtesy of Tom Sandler

Steve Paikin is TVO’s resident Frank Sinatra super-fan, so it’s not surprising that he’s also a Ruth Lowe fan. Lowe, who would have been 105 on August 12, wrote two of the crooner’s most memorable tunes: “I’ll Never Smile Again” and “Put Your Dreams Away.” Although she’s been recognized with induction into the American Music Hall of Fame and an honorary Grammy award, the Toronto-born songwriter has yet to receive her due in her hometown.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: Gun violence in Toronto

For the second summer in a row, Toronto has seen an increase in gun violence: over the August long weekend, there were 14 shootings in the city. Joined by guests including University of Toronto sociology professor Jooyoung Lee and Louis March, founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement, The Agenda looks at the reasons for the seasonal spike, what is being done to protect citizens, and how to develop long-term solutions.

9 p.m. — Risk Factor

Risk is part of our everyday routine, whether we realize it or not: it informs our decisions and shapes our lives. Filmmaker Robert Lang's journey to demystify risk leads him to a renowned statistician at Cambridge, an ice climber on an avalanche-prone mountain, a physicist at a nuclear reactor, and a security guru at the Boston Marathon. Along the way, he reconsiders his own riskiest life experiences — a drunken joyride, a murder on his doorstep, a brush with nuclear radiation — and the aspects of his family history that speak to current fears about terrorism.

From the archive

March 19, 2005 — Charlotte Gray on Canada’s history

In The Museum Called Canada: 25 Rooms of Wonder, award-winning literary historian Charlotte Gray provides a guided tour of some of our country’s most significant historical themes and milestones. In this 2005 episode of Big Ideas, Gray explains how the book came together and why certain artifacts — including melted glacier samples and Louis Riel’s deerskin coat — ignited her imagination. “I never knew quite why the object had pulled me in,” she says. “And, invariably, I found that it either had an extraordinary story itself or that it shed a brilliant light on the period to which it belonged. I’ve come to the conclusion it hardly mattered which objects I chose to concentrate on. Because every object on these pages gave a unique insight into our shared past.”

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