daily: Wednesday, December 18

Why Toronto doesn’t take pedestrian deaths seriously
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Dec 18, 2019
File photo of Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (Nathan Denette/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Ford rules out running for federal Tory leadership

In a year-end interview with CTV, Premier Doug Ford shot down speculation that he would seek to replace Andrew Scheer as federal Conservative leader. Ford said he’s too busy “turning the province around” and added he thinks the Trudeau minority government is “going to go the distance” — an indication he doesn’t think the Conservatives will have another shot at power in the near future.

In another interview, with the Toronto Sun, Ford said he’s hopeful the province can reach a deal with the teachers’ unions and avoid a prolonged strike. He also admitted his campaign promise to lower electricity bills by 12 per cent has proven tough to keep, but added his government will make the reduction happen “one way or another.”

Teacher labour tensions continue

With talks between the province and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation still stalled, the union will stage a one-day strike for the third consecutive week today. High schools at 10 English-language school boards will be affected.

Meanwhile, teachers’ unions are also continuing their opposition to Bill 124, which caps Ontario public sector wage increases to one per cent annually for the next three years. Yesterday, the Ontario Federation of Labour, CUPE, SEIU Healthcare and United Steelworkers announced they would launch a court challenge over the law. Four teachers’ unions launched their own legal challenge to Bill 124 last week.

Catholic order commits to identifying members accused of sexual abuse

The Jesuits of Canada will publicly name any priest among their ranks who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse in the past 60 years, the Globe and Mail reports. Father Erik Oland, head of Canada’s Jesuits, says that his organization is taking this action “as a way to move forward,” and that a list of names and where the priests worked will be disclosed no later than January 2021. The Jesuits are the first Catholic order in Canada to make such a commitment.

Parents react angrily to update on autism program

Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith announced Tuesday that while a first phase of the province’s new autism program will be in place by April, the full revamp won’t be ready until 2021, the Toronto Star reports. A video posted to social media by Globe and Mail reporter Laura Stone shows parents who attended the announcement visibly upset following the minister’s appearance. “Kids will be dead by then,” says one. “I’m done with the lies, we’re not going to stop fighting, we’re coming harder,” says another.

Watch now

The Agenda: On reclaiming faith

With religiosity in decline, what continues to keep people connected to their spiritual beliefs? Michael Coren, a British-Canadian clergyman and author of the new book Reclaiming Faith: Inclusion, Grace, and Tolerance, shares his views with Steve Paikin.

Off the Beaten Track 

Along with her Welsh sheepdog Teg in tow, BBC science host Kate Humble travels from the tip of North Wales through the most remote parts of the United Kingdom, taking in the landscape and noting its influence on local life in each region. Along the way, they experience the comeback of old-style shepherding, learn how canines are saving lives on the mountains, and see a forest through the eyes of a pack of huskies.

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2019 was not the year Toronto took pedestrian deaths seriously (and 2020 won’t be, either

So far this year, 39 pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles on Toronto’s streets, and there have been 41 deaths related to gun violence in the city. These figures may seem close, but as politics columnist John Michael McGrath points out, the way the city addresses each issue couldn’t be more different. “While the latter consumes endless news cycles and tens of millions of dollars in hastily-approved funding, the former is an afterthought,” he writes. From lacklustre prevention initiatives to a measurable drop in traffic enforcement, “2019 hammered home in some unpleasant ways that if you’re a pedestrian in this city (or any other kind of vulnerable road user) the city simply does not care if you live or die.”

‘Point Your Way to Safety’: The complicated history of crosswalks in Ontario

In the mid-1950s, growing frustration over careless drivers and an increasing number of pedestrian fatalities led to a controversial innovation: pedestrian crosswalks. Historian Jamie Bradburn chronicles their introduction to Ontario streets at a time when provincial laws offered little protection for pedestrians and their right-of-way to cross intersections.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: A generational showdown

The stereotypical division between the millennial and baby boomer generations feels more pronounced than ever, and now there’s a catchphrase attached to it: “OK, boomer.” The phrase is the basis of a popular meme that first appeared on social media app TikTok and has spread throughout the internet, even making its way onto clothing and merchandise. The Agenda unpacks the “OK boomer” phenomenon and explores what’s fuelling inter-generational discontent.

9 p.m. — Stealing Van Gogh

In 2002, thieves broke into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stole two paintings. Fourteen years later, the artworks were found stashed in a hideout of the Camorra, the notorious Neapolitan crime syndicate. Art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon pieces together the story of the heist and examines the world of art crime, why paintings are prime targets for theft, and how they are trafficked on the black market.

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