daily: Wednesday, July 10

Straight talk about patronage, the benefits of a walk in the woods, and the challenges women face at work
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on July 10, 2019
Residents of Pikangikum First Nation have been forced to evacuate for the second time in as many months because of smoke from nearby wildfires. (Brent Linton/Thunder Bay Chronicle-Herald/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Welcome to the weekly!

A reminder that this newsletter will be on a reduced summer frequency for most of July, posting weekly editions on Wednesdays.

Here's what we're following

First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario evacuated due to forest fires

Residents of Pikangikum First Nation have been forced to evacuate for the second time in as many months because of smoke from nearby wildfires — the largest of which is about 404 square kilometres. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General told the Canadian Press that the evacuation of about 2,000 vulnerable people started on Sunday and that more of the community’s 3,800 residents will follow. Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said on Monday there may be a need for more host communities should they need to proceed with large-scale evacuations.

The green projects that could have been

A new report from the National Observer tallies up the green-energy projects that were axed after the Ford government pulled out of a cap-and-trade program with Quebec and California last year. Funds collected through the agreement — about $2.9 billion — had been earmarked for 120 commuter cycling programs, 41 green social-housing program, 20 improvement or retrofit projects for social-housing apartments, 11 electric-vehicle charging stations, and an electric-bus pilot in the city of Brampton.

The battle over Champlain

Will Samuel de Champlain soon gaze out over Orillia once again? City council recently voted to rebuild a statue of the French explorer that was removed in 2015 because of a crumbling foundation. Opponents of the move to restore the monument have called its portrayal of First Nations people “offensive,” the Canadian Press reports. “Champlain used people against people and brought European wars (to) this country,” said Konrad Sioui, Huron-Wendat Nation grand chief. Steve Clarke, Orillia’s mayor, hopes that a new statue will provide an opportunity for education — but the final decision rests with Parks Canada.

Policing panhandling

Between January 1, 2013, and May 10, 2018, Toronto police issued 30,970 tickets under the Safe Streets Act, which includes a prohibition against aggressive panhandling. Toronto Star investigation has found that 46 people were repeatedly issued fines — one man received 467. But it’s unlikely that those charged, many of whom are underhoused or homeless, will be able to pay them. The Fair Change Community Legal Clinic, which launched a constitutional challenge against the Safe Streets Act two years ago, wrote in legal submissions that the law is “discriminatory, cruel, repressive, and violates many of our society’s most fundamental norms regarding justice, fairness, compassion, and decency.” The Ministry of the Attorney General says that it stands by the program.

What we're tracking

The Agenda in the Summer continues this week with back-to-back episodes about women and work. Tonight, Colleen Moorehead, editor of The Collective Wisdom of High-Performing Women, and Sylvia Bashevkin, editor of Doing Politics Differently: Women Premiers in Canada’s Provinces and Territories, talk to Nam Kiwanuka about the barriers women still face when competing for leadership roles. Tomorrow night, theoretical physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein discusses the challenges of being a Black woman in STEM. Next week, we turn to fiction: tune in for a two-part interview with CanLit veteran Barry Callaghan about his recent book, All the Lonely People, a collection of his best short fiction.

Watch now

The Agenda in the Summer: Ann Hui’s Chop Suey Nation

Food reporter Ann Hui discusses her new book, Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories From Canada's Chinese Restaurants, which documents the history of Chinese food in this country — and what it reveals about culture and family legacies.

The Agenda in the Summer: Cecil Foster

Canada's Black train porters were subjected to racist treatment and had few opportunities for advancement. In They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada, author Cecil Foster chronicles the history of their struggle to be heard and their push for equal treatment.

19 Days

What is it like trying to make a new home in Canada? In this documentary, you’ll meet refugee families from places including Syria, Sudan, and Burundi who are navigating their first 19 days in the country, at Calgary’s Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre — and gain insight into the global migration crisis.

Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees

If you feel refreshed by a walk in the woods, you may have chemicals to thank — the aerosols emitted by trees directly benefit the immune system. And forests will do you good in other ways: they’re a significant source of food and oxygen and provide components for a number of medications. Join botanist, biochemist, and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she explores our profound biological and spiritual connection with trees and meets people who are taking the lead in replanting, restoring, and protecting the last of the planet's great ancient forests.

Read now

It’s time for some straight talk about patronage appointments

Doug Ford and Dean French
File photo of Doug Ford and Dean French (Chris Young/CP)

In recent weeks, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has faced harsh criticism over patronage appointments linked to the premier’s now-former chief of staff, Dean French. While some of these appointments were particularly egregious, Steve Paikin argues, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with giving jobs to supporters — you just have to hire the right people in the right way.

Ontario Hubs: Why this prison farm is sowing controversy

a man on a farm with some cows
Photo by David Rockne Corrigan
A decade ago, the prison farm at the Collins Bay Institution, in Kingston, was shut down after the program was cut by the federal government under Stephen Harper. Now a new one is set to open — but not all those who fought for it are celebrating. That’s because there are rumours that its goats will service a $225 million Chinese-owned baby-formula factory scheduled to open in Kingston this fall. The Correctional Service of Canada says that the program will give inmates vital job skills, but critics argue that prison labour should not be used to benefit private corporations.

TVO this week

Saturday, 10:30 p.m. — David and Me

When troubled teen Ray Klonsky began writing letters to prison inmate David McCallum, both of their lives changed forever. In this documentary, Klonsky, now a filmmaker, joins forces with a dedicated team of lawyers and activists to uncover new evidence that could exonerate McCallum, who has maintained his innocence since he was imprisoned for murder in 1986 at the age of 16.

Tuesday, 9 p.m. — My Millennial Life

The gig economy. Soaring real-estate prices. Those are two of the big reasons that young people in this country are finding it hard to buy homes and plan for secure futures. Meet a group of young Canadians who are looking for work while trying to meet familial and social expectations, dispel stereotypes about the millennial generation, and make important decisions about the next stage in their lives.

From the archive

Oct. 12, 1997 — A young soprano sings Schubert

As Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman recovers from open-heart surgery, we bring you her 1997 performance of Schubert’s "Gretchen am Spinnrade," recorded while she was still a student at the University of Toronto. The Juno Award winner has also earned praise for her 2017 memoir, Something Is Always on Fire.
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