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Ontario’s new autism program, saving turtles in distress, and remembering David Caplan
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 01, 2019
Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith. (Chris Young/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following.

Ford government unveils new autism program

Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services, announced Monday that the government is designing a $600 million autism program based on the needs of individual children. “It’s clear to me that we didn’t get the redesign right the first time,” he said. “I’m here to tell you we will now.”

But not everyone is impressed. Economist Mike Moffatt, known as “Ontario Dad” on Twitter for his advocacy on behalf of autistic children and their families, pointed out that the new program won’t take effect until April, meaning that parents will face more weeks of uncertainty. “If the revised Ontario Autism Program goes into effect on April 1, 2020,” he tweeted, “it will be *420 days* after Lisa MacLeod announced the 1st iteration on Feb. 6, 2019.”

Ousted OPP deputy chief files wrongful-dismissal grievance

Brad Blair, former deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, argues that the Ford government undermined the job security of “thousands” of police officers when it fired him in March. Blair, who had applied to become the OPP’s next commissioner, publicly criticized the government last fall for tapping Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner to be the province’s next top cop. Taverner eventually withdrew his name amid concerns about his qualifications and his personal connections to Premier Doug Ford. The government says that Blair was let go for breaking confidentiality oaths he was supposed to uphold as a civil servant. Blair contends that his firing was payback for speaking out and done without due process. He has filed a wrongful-dismissal grievance and wants to be reinstated in the OPP. 

Much-delayed Ottawa LRT begins trial run

A 12-day test of Ottawa’s $2.1 billion Confederation light-rail line began Monday after the city deemed the project “substantially complete.” The trial run will involve a regular schedule of trains to confirm that the system is passenger-ready. Mayor Jim Watson says that he hopes the 12.5-kilometre line will start carrying commuters in September. It is already more than a year behind schedule.

Court case to probe whether two wind farms contaminated drinking water

The Ontario Court of Justice has determined that there are sufficient grounds to argue that two wind-farm projects in Chatham-Kent have polluted local private water wells. Many residents have been complaining for years about the poor quality of their drinking water and blame the installation and/or operation of the turbines for the dangerous sediment build-up in their wells. The case will begin at the provincial-offences court in Blenheim on August 14. 

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Genius of the Modern World: Nietzsche

Join historian Bettany Hughes as she retraces the lives of great thinkers whose ideas shaped the modern world. This episode examines the cultural and political legacy of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most brilliant and dangerous minds of the 19th century.

The Agenda in the Summer: A girl’s guide to coping with anxiety

Sleep deprivation. Low self-confidence. Panic attacks. Girls are experiencing high levels of anxiety that affect their lives in a variety of ways. Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, talks to Nam Kiwanuka about her latest book, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.

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‘Fun, meaningful, purposeful’: Remembering David Caplan

David Caplan

David Caplan, a former Ontario MPP, died last week at the age of 54. Steve Paikin remembers his political accomplishments, his belief in finding common ground, and his dedication to public office. “He was born to do politics,” Paikin writes. “And when he wasn’t in politics, he never stopped thinking about politics and figuring out how to get back in to politics. He was one of those folks who just knew life could never be as professionally fulfilling or fascinating unless he was in the arena.” 

You see a turtle in distress. What should you do?

Ontario is home to eight species of turtles, but across the province, populations have dwindled as the reptiles fall prey to habitat loss, road accidents, and hunters and poachers. Diane Peters visits the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, in Peterborough, to find out what it’s doing to save turtles — and how you can help save them, too. 

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: Climate accuracy, activism, and alarmism

How can we effectively communicate the stakes of climate change? Nam Kiwanuka talks to Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s former environmental commissioner; Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment; and Gregory Flato, a senior research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, about scientific accuracy, political activism, and the right language to use in discussions about climate change. 

9 p.m. — Up in Arms: How the Gun Lobby Is Changing Canada

Gun sales are on the rise, and gun clubs are gaining popularity. But do more firearms lead to more violence? Meet Canadian gun owners who are working to win converts and advocate for their rights — and hear from critics warning of the dangers of deregulation. 

From the archive

1978 — The art of the possible

William Grenville Davis, who served as premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985, turns 90 today. In this documentary, filmed in 1978, you’ll get a revealing behind-the-scenes look at his decision-making process as he and his cabinet attend committee meetings, prepare for a throne speech, and table the provincial budget.

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