daily: Wednesday, July 3

Off to the campaign races, too dumb for democracy, and a sugar quandary
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on July 3, 2019
Justin Trudeau with a supporter
File photo of Justin Trudeau (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.

Federal precampaign period underway

While it seems as like federal party leaders have been hustling for votes for months, the election warm-up is period is now officially on, according to Elections Canada. The precampaign period started Sunday, which means new spending restrictions have been imposed on activities by political parties and registered third parties. For example, political parties can now only spend a maximum of $2 million on advertising between now and the Oct. 21 election.

Ottawa fertility doctor’s victims still seeking information on their background

The fight is not over for victims of Norman Barwin, an Ottawa doctor who lost his license and was fined more than $10,000 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario last week for inseminating at least 11 women with his own sperm and mixing up sperm in dozens of other cases. Some are still struggling to find out who the biological father of their children actually are. Barwin’s own medical records are apparently “a mess,” and sperm vendor companies that Barwin dealt with are refusing to release certain files in the name of donor confidentiality. At least one victim told the Ottawa Citizen she blames lax regulation of the fertility industry for her difficulty in obtaining information.

Black Torontonians being handed transit fines at disproportionate rate, data suggest

An investigation by the Toronto Star has revealed that out of 47,000 fines handed out by the Toronto Transit Commission between 2008 and 2018 that recorded the race of the transit user, 18.5 per cent of them were issued to Black riders — even though they make up only about 10.7 per cent of people who commute by public transit in the city. In response, the TTC insisted its employees do not discriminate against Black riders or any other group.

What we're tracking

The Agenda in the Summer, hosted by Nam Kiwanuka, kicks off this week! During July and August, the show will feature in-depth interviews with authors, educators, scientists, academics, and people working to make a difference. We’ll also be turning our minds to the fall federal election, with informative programs on issues that are important to Ontarians.

Tonight, David Moscrop, columnist, political commentator, and University of Ottawa postdoctoral fellow, discusses about his book, Too Dumb for Democracy: Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones. On Friday, two-time Giller Prize-winner Esi Edugyan explains why it’s important to write Black histories.

Watch now

Ground Control to Dr. Dave

What insights can an emergency room doctor — who also happens to be a former astronaut — share about human nature? Dr. Dave Williams talks to Nam Kiwanuka about his new book, Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe.

Read now

Seven books you should read in summer 2019

For The Agenda in the Summer host Nam Kiwanuka, reading is the best kind of homework. She offers some of her favourites — many of which will be featured on the show over the next two months. “Reading a book is a personal act,” she says, “One that requires curiosity, time, and commitment. Books help us see the world from a perspective other than our own, provide us with insight into why we do what we do.”

TVO this week

Thursday, July 4 — 8 p.m. The Agenda in the Summer: Rick Steves

Marijuana legalization. Affordable housing. Immigration. Travel writer and broadcaster Rick Steves came to understand all these issues because of his journeys around the globe. He discusses how travel has opened his mind in his new book, Travel as a Political Act, and why others should feel compelled to do the same.

Saturday, July 6 — 10:35 p.m. Sugar Coated

Is sugar toxic? For 40 years, the sugar industry deflected all threats to its multi-billion-dollar empire, while giving the world an ample supply of products to satisfy a sweet tooth. But as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates skyrocket, the sugar industry is under siege. How will it survive a call for healthier choices?

Sunday, July 7 — 8 p.m. The Life-Sized City: Montreal

It’s a little bit of Paris, and a little bit of Brooklyn. In this episode of The Life-Sized City, urban-design expert Mikael Colville-Andersen explores Montreal, the largest francophone city in North America, with a unique identity of its own. 

From the archive

Studio 2: Birding Sept. 2, 1996

Summer is a good time to explore nature in action. In this 1996 Studio 2 segment, former Toronto Star columnist and author of Down & Dirty Birding Joey Slinger enthuses about his affinity for birds. He takes viewers on a tour of local wildlife, including the largest breeding colony of ring-billed gulls in Toronto, and demonstrates his prowess with bird calls.

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