daily: Wednesday, August 21

Picking a sticker fight, a rocky rollout for legal cannabis, and trailblazer Bette Stephenson dies
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 21, 2019
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has announced it will launch a legal challenge over the Progressive Conservative government’s anti-carbon tax stickers. (Lars Hagberg/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

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Tories face court case over carbon tax stickers

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has announced it will launch a legal challenge over the Progressive Conservative government’s anti-carbon tax stickers once the law officially kicks in on Aug. 31. The province is forcing all gas stations in Ontario to prominently display stickers criticizing the federal government’s price on carbon emissions. “Forcing anyone to ape a political party line is an abuse of power,” said Michael Bryant, executive director of the CCLA and a former Ontario attorney general.

Trailblazing politician Bette Stephenson dies at 95

Tributes are pouring in for former physician and politician Bette Stephenson, who died Tuesday at the age of 95. “Her contributions to the worlds of medicine, government, and her community will live on for generations to come,” Premier Doug Ford said on Twitter. After a visit with her last month, TVO’s Steve Paikin wrote: “Anyone who remembers Stephenson as an Ontario cabinet minister in the 1970s and ’80s will recall what a force of nature she was.”

A new deal for municipalities, a rocky rollout for legal cannabis, and the true cost of gold

The Progressive Conservative government has told Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities to focus on “core” programs, such as flood control and the protection of drinking water. “Over the years, conservation authorities have expanded past their core mandate into activities such as zip-lining, maple syrup festivals and photography and wedding permits,” Environment Minister Jeff Yurek told the Toronto Star. Kim Gavine of Conservation Ontario said in a statement that her group was caught “completely by surprise” by last week’s directive. “I can only assume they are trying to avoid criticism about downloading conservation authorities’ programs and services to municipalities.”  

Resignations pile up at postsecondary education agency 

The Globe and Mail reports that the president, chair of the board, and two senior staff of the province’s postsecondary education advisory body are leaving their posts. President Harvey Weingarten is leaving after nine years to take a job at Massey College, while Nobina Robinson, who was named chair on May 30, has not publicly stated the reason for her departure. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is in uncertain times, the Globe reports, as the province shifts higher education funding to a “performance-based” model.

Deporting son to Somalia would be ‘a death sentence,’ woman says 

“He has no family and doesn’t know the language and culture there. I don’t approve of his mistakes, but he would die if he’s sent back to Somalia,” Faduma Isse told reporters Monday in Toronto. Her son, Abdilahi Elmi, 34, recently served a six-month sentence for assault and is scheduled to be sent to Somalia next week. Elmi came to Canada as a child but never acquired citizenship. He spent some of his youth in foster care, and Isse argues children’s aid officials should have helped him become a permanent resident. 

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Why this Liberal leadership hopeful is making a case for charter cities 

Liberal leadership candidate and MPP Michael Coteau this week proposed a “new deal” for Ontario municipalities, hoping to start a “fresh conversation” with the province. As part of this plan, Coteau suggests the creation of charter cities, which would shift power to local governments. TVO’s John Michael McGrath writes: “By extending the idea of charter cities to all larger municipalities and wrapping it up in a broader conversation about responsibilities and taxing powers, Coteau’s proposal could end up offering protection even to those municipal powers that don’t have the force of the Constitution behind them … Make it politically painful to upset the municipal apple cart, and maybe Ford’s successors will be a bit more cautious.” 

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The Agenda in the Summer: Turmoil in Hong Kong 

Pro-democracy demonstrations have continued throughout the summer and show no signs of ending. The Agenda welcomes Cheuk Kwan, past chair of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China, and lawyer Andrea Chun to discuss what’s at the heart of the protests — in Hong Kong and abroad — and the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

The Beat Goes On

Filmmaker Sarah Keenlyside captures the Bloor Street New Horizons Band as its members prepare for their year-end concert. The orchestra is the Toronto chapter of an innovative music program for older adults. Featuring retired virtuosos as well as newbies who have never played an instrument before, the band proves that creative expression has no age limit.  

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda in the Summer: The rocky road of legal cannabis 

According to Statistics Canada, 4.9 million Canadians over the age of 15 have consumed pot and 42 per cent of them bought from illegal sources. Abi Roach, director of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association, and Mark Rendell, the Globe and Mail’s cannabis reporter, join host Nam Kiwanuka to discuss the roll-out of legal cannabis, and the future of the black market.

8:30 p.m. — Shadow of Gold

The gold industry is as lucrative as it is controversial. The first episode of this two-part documentary links the fortunes of mining companies to pollution and corruption worldwide. Who wins and who loses? Discover what our lust for gold costs, and who pays the price.

From the archive

June 2006: Drew Hayden Taylor on Indigenous humour 

“I was born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation, just north of Peterborough. My standard line being, I'm half Ojibway, half Caucasian. Technically, that makes me an occasion. Or, as I like to say, a special occasion. Or, at the very least, a memorable occasion,” says playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor. In this Studio 2 conversation with Alan Gregg, Hayden Taylor says it’s important for Indigenous people to keep a sense of humour at the ready in the face of hardship. 

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