daily: Wednesday, December 4

Do prisoners need more telephone access?
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Dec 04, 2019
Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk will table her annual value-for-money report on the province this morning. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Ontario gets its report card from the auditor general

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk will table her annual value-for-money report on the province this morning. The audit will also include a new assessment of the Doug Ford government’s climate-change plans. While Lysyk herself has declined to comment ahead of its release, it’s expected the audit will be highly critical of the provincial government on the climate file, reports CBC News. The audit’s scope also spans the justice-and-corrections sector, court services, and various health items, from addictions treatment to chronic kidney disease management.

High-school teachers strike today

High-school teachers are set to go on a one-day strike today after the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation gave the province notice last week that its members intend to walk off the job if a deal is not met. While the OSSTF and provincial representatives returned to the bargaining table Tuesday to try to head off the work action, the federation’s president, Harvey Bischof, told City News that no progress has been made in talks. The strike, however, applies only to public schools: the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association will be in a legal strike position later this month.  Elementary and high-school teachers have been engaged in a work-to-rule campaign since November 25.

Ford goes to Washington

Today also marks the beginning of Premier Doug Ford’s trip to Washington, D.C. His itinerary includes a meeting with Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland and chair of the National Governors Association, to discuss infrastructure. He’ll also speak at a gathering hosted by the International Democrat Union, an association of right-wing political parties chaired by former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

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The Agenda: Future-proofing the economy 

Economist Armine Yalnizyan went from analyzing government data to creating public policy when she took a role in Ottawa with the federal government department of Employment and Social Development Canada last year. She’s now the Atkinson Foundation’s Fellow on the Future of Workers, and she joins The Agenda to talk about the economic and social issues related to the changing nature of work as the gig economy, telecommuting, and automation reshape the labour market. 

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On Docs: There’s something in the water

In 2018, Dalhousie University professor Ingrid Waldron published a ground-breaking book about environmental racism in Canada. What’s environmental racism? When policymakers and corporations ignore the people affected by having toxic dumps and industrial sites placed near their communities — people who are often lower-income, rural, and Black or Indigenous. Shortly after Waldron’s book came out, actor and producer Ellen Page contacted her about collaborating on a film. Podcast host Colin Ellis spoke with Waldron about There’s Something in the Water, the documentary Page ended up making about her book, as well as what it’s like to have a celebrity take interest in your work.

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How nuclear power could help Doug Ford build ‘national unity’

It might not have been the point, but an agreement signed by premiers on Sunday could be the closest thing to a climate policy that Ford and Justin Trudeau can agree on. John Michael McGrath reviews a new memorandum of understanding that commits New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Ontario to collaborate on developing and deploying a new generation of nuclear power.

Do Ontario prisoners need more phone access?

Provincial inmates are limited to 20-minute collect calls. Critics say it’s time to update the system so that prisoners can access the services they need. Journalists Tebasum Durrani and Clara Pasieka highlight a glaring gap in Ontario carceral institutions that could make all the difference for inmates’ lives after prison. As one expert tells them, “If you aren’t given a meaningful way to communicate, it’s basically the state setting you up for failure." 

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Huawei’s Uncertain Canadian Future 

It’s been one year since Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was taken into Canadian custody. The Trudeau government and the security community are still trying to determine whether the tech company can be trusted to build Canada’s next-generation 5G wireless network infrastructure, while keeping Canadians’ data safe. The Agenda welcomes Alykhan Velshi, head of corporate affairs at Huawei Canada, to respond to the intense criticism the company continues to face.

9 p.m. — The Real Dr. Zhivago 

Stephen Smith traces the story of Boris Pasternak’s iconic 1957 novel, Dr. Zhivago, from its revolutionary beginnings to its role during the height of the Cold War. In the words of his family, Pasternak willingly committed an act of literary suicide in being at once true to the Russia he loved and honest about the Soviet regime he despised.

From the archive

May 1988 — The Spirit of Blyth

This People Patterns profile traces how the rural town of Blyth, Ontario, began to blossom as a major art centre that attracted high-profile directors and artists in the province. It all began when the community rallied to save a local theatre from being torn down.

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