daily: Tuesday, January 21

Transit plans risk running off the rails
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Jan 21, 2020
File photo of former governor general David Johnston. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Nearly a third of Ottawa’s federally owned buildings in disrepair

Thirty per cent of Crown-owned buildings in the Ottawa–Gatineau region are in either critical or poor condition, according to the Treasury Board Secretariat, up from 18 per cent three years ago. A building is considered in critical condition when “[operations and maintenance] costs are high, and frequent emergency maintenance and repair are required. Risk of building and building systems failure is high.”

In total, 187 structures have been classified as being in critical condition, while 409 are in poor shape. The list includes the Supreme Court building on Wellington Street, the Sir Charles Tupper Building on Riverside Drive, and the National Printing Bureau on boulevard Sacré-Coeur.

Canada’s rural communities need psychiatrists

Psychiatrists in Canada are heavily concentrated in major urban areas, such as Toronto and Vancouver, which leaves a shortage in rural communities, according to the Globe and Mail. In some instances, entire regions lack access to psychiatric care.

The Ontario Psychiatric Association suggests that wages should be raised for rural doctors. But David Cochrane, a psychiatrist in North Bay, says that it’s more important to train psychiatrists who come from small towns and allow them to complete their residencies in similar areas. He also notes that the job is very different in rural areas: cities attract doctors who want “a better work-life balance and don’t want to be on call,” while small towns offer more professional freedom and less bureaucracy.

Future of GO expansion plans uncertain

According to documents obtained by the Toronto Star, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario have had to reconsider a massive expansion for GO Transit rail service. At a meeting last fall, companies tasked with executing the plan — which is meant to introduce electric trains and drastically improve service across much of the GTA — raised concerns about its feasibility. “We had heard from some of the construction industry and stakeholders that certain risks that they do not have full control over are becoming more difficult for proponents to carry,” says an Infrastructure Ontario spokesperson.

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The Agenda: Should billionaires be taxed out of existence?

In front of a live audience at Victoria University at the University of Toronto, two opposing teams debate whether the onus should be on the super-rich to share their wealth or whether heavy taxation is the solution to income inequality. Economist Armine Yalnizyan and author Linda McQuaig argue in favour of higher taxes. On the opposite side are the Munk School on Public Policy’s Sean Speer and Graeme Moffat.

Tomorrow’s Food

What will we be eating in the future? How will it be produced and served? Tomorrow’s Food provides insights into these questions and more: Angela Hartnett, a Michelin-starred chef, meets the U.S. Army food scientists who are looking to make food that lasts forever; greengrocer Chris Bavin heads to Australia to see the world's leading robotic farm; technology expert Shini Somara experiences the robot waiters of Shanghai’s cutting-edge restaurants; and host Dara O’Briain visits Britain's largest high-tech farm to learn the secret to growing produce without any soil.

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How to make election debates better, Part 1

Steve Paikin, who attended a closed-door meeting of the federal debate commission and an advisory committee, reports on lessons learned from the federal English debate. Were there too many moderators? Did candidates get asked the tough questions? And what can be done to make the next one more successful?

Tonight on TVO

9 p.m. Political Blind Date: City Finances

Toronto councillors Gary Crawford and Shelley Carroll kick off the third season of TVO’s critically acclaimed series by taking a close look at how best to manage a budget shortfall at city hall. Crawford, also the current budget chief, doesn’t want to raise taxes or create new ones and believes in finding efficiencies. Carroll, who previously occupied the same role and is now a budget-committee member, suggests that new revenue tools are needed to pay for the city’s growth.

Prior to the Season 3 premiere, Steve Paikin talks to Crawford and Carroll on The Agenda at 8 p.m. about their experience facing off on the issue and exactly how to reach consensus on the budget.

From the archive

April 2010 – Science fiction vs. fact


Jamaican-Canadian writer Nalo Hopkinson has authored more than a dozen novels and anthologies of speculative and science fiction and often draws on Caribbean history and language for her award-winning work. In this interview, she explains how she comes up with the futuristic concepts in her books. “I’d imagine a nanotechnology application without even knowing what it was,” she says. Sometime science fact is stranger than science fiction.

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