TVO.org daily: Tuesday, November 19

Prey, a TVO Original documentary, premieres tonight
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Nov 25, 2019
File photo of Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce.(Cole Burston/CP)

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Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Province asks for mediation as teachers’ union reveals strike mandate

Telling reporters, “I don’t want a strike,” Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce asked teachers’ unions Monday to agree to mediation to solve the current impasse at the bargaining table, the Toronto Star reports. He says doing so would put a neutral third party in charge. NDP education critic Marit Stiles countered that to avert a strike, the government should back off from its proposals for drastic funding cuts. Following Lecce’s press conference, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation announced that high school instructors had voted 95.5 per cent in favour of a strike. The unions for elementary public-school teachers and English Catholic-school teachers have already voted overwhelmingly for a strike mandate.


Bishop notes ‘hard lessons’ in TVO Original documentary Prey

In the Catholic Register this past weekend, Bishop Thomas Dowd recounted his experience at a screening of Prey, the TVO Original documentary that focuses on a sexual abuse survivor's legal fight against the Catholic Church in Ontario. “We have a unique opportunity to be advocates for all victims of abuse. But it will require us, as bishops and as a Church, to continue to learn the hard lessons and to get our own house in order,” he wrote. The viewing was hosted in Cornwall by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and sparked important— and at times difficult — dialogue. The film’s broadcast and online premieres are tonight on TVO and TVO.org. (See below.)


Ontario town admits residents have been drinking tainted water for years

People in Tottenham, a community of 5,000 that is about a 45-minute drive south of Barrie, had been repeatedly told that their tap water was safe to drink, despite complaints of discolouration and odour. But water samples have shown elevated amounts of carcinogenic trihalomethanes as far back as 2002, the Toronto Star reports. Officials now plan to build a $16.4-million pipeline to tap a different water source. However, that pipeline won’t arrive until 2022 at the earliest, and it’s unclear whether it will supply enough water to meet the community’s needs.


Attorney General wants to change the way Ontario judges are appointed

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey is mulling reforms to the way the province appoints judges and justices of the peace, the Globe and Mail reports. Downey told a legal conference last week that the advisory committee that screens applicants for judicial posts should stop recommending only its top two candidates. Instead, he said, it should put forward longer lists or maintain a large pool of qualified candidates. Supporters say the changes could speed up the appointment process and create a more diverse judiciary. But critics see it as a partisan move. “They want a bunch of names so they can look down and find a nice soulmate Tory,” says Peter Russell, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto who designed the current process.


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The Agenda: Why Conservatives and Liberals think differently

red blue brain
iStock.com/Jolygon

Liberals and conservatives have historically disagreed on issues ranging from immigration to climate-change policy. But what are the deeper psychological roots that drive such divergent political beliefs? In the aftermath of the federal election, The Agenda explores the differences between conservative and liberal minds.


Extraordinary Women: Coco Chanel

In this episode of the documentary series about pioneering women, discover how Coco Chanel rose from an impoverished childhood in France to become one of the most iconic fashion designers of the 20th century.

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One Ontario city’s innovative approach to affordable housing

The lack of affordable housing has blossomed into a major issue in many Ontario cities, big and small. A new pilot project is hoping to address that in Sault Ste. Marie. The Affordable Home Ownership Program aims to give the working poor a chance to own a home. The municipality plans to purchase derelict properties, restore them, and then conditionally offer to cover down-payment costs. As TVO.org’s Josh Sherman learns, the program’s supporters believe it could spur revitalization in neighbourhoods and end cycles of poverty.


Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Taking on the Catholic Church

The TVO Original documentary Prey shines light on William Hodgson Marshall, the late Canadian priest convicted in 2011 of abusing several students over three decades at schools in Rochester, Toronto, Windsor, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie. Before its broadcast premiere, The Agenda discusses this unforgettable film, which focuses on survivor and plaintiff Rod MacLeod’s legal fight against the Catholic Church in Ontario. MacLeod talks to Steve Paikin, along with director Matt Gallagher, producer Cornelia Principe, and lawyer Rob Talach.


9 p.m. — Prey

Fifty years ago, as a boy, Rod MacLeod was sexually abused by Basilian priest William Hodgson Marshall. Most civil-clergy sex abuse cases are settled quietly out of court and far from public view. But MacLeod was determined to be the one plaintiff who did not settle. Prey, a TVO Original documentary by filmmaker Matt Gallagher, follows MacLeod and lawyer Rob Talach, dubbed the “priest hunter,” as they pursue a civil case against the Basilian order of the Catholic Church through a public trial. This powerful film won the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary and the DGC Special Jury Prize for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at the 2019 Hot Docs Festival.


From the archive

November 2000 — Who wins book prizes

In the fall of 2000, Margaret Atwood won her first Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin, and Michael Ondaatje and David Adams Richards shared the Giller Prize for Anil’s Ghost and Mercy Among the Children, respectively. In this episode of Imprint, culture critic Bronwyn Drainie, journalist Noah Richler, and host Tina Srebotnjak discuss the politics behind who wins coveted book prizes, and what they add to an author’s career.

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