TVO.org daily: Wednesday, July 31

Climate alarmism, an about-face on autism funding, and Bill Davis at 90
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on Aug 01, 2019
Former Ontario premier Bill Davis reading a book
Bill Davis was the second-longest-serving premier in Ontario history. (Steve Paikin)

Comments

X

Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following.

scientists holding petri dish

Western University opens state-of-the-art disease lab

Researchers at Western University are now able to study serious illnesses such as Zika virus, tuberculosis, and the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA in a secure facility. With a $16 million price tag and at only 650 square metres, the lab is the most expensive real estate at the university. The facility contains two labs with different levels of clearance: a level-two biosafety containment lab will handle pathogens such as HIV and MRSA, while a level-three lab will study more contagious diseases such as Zika and West Nile virus. The highest containment level is four, where the most dangerous bacteria and viruses, such as Ebola, can be studied. Winnipeg currently hosts the only level-four facility in Canada.

Tory donors get their businesses plugged by party’s media arm

Queen’s Park Today has discovered four instances in which people who donated to the Progressive Conservative Party had their businesses featured in videos by Ontario News Now, the Ford government’s promotional arm. Founders and executives of these companies have contributed a total of nearly $9,000 to the party and its candidates since 2017. The four companies are Pelee Island Winery, Paris-based Curtainsider, Patriot Forge of Brantford, and Automatic Coating of Toronto. The issue came to light earlier this week when it was discovered that the president of Pelee Island Winery had made a contribution to the Tories just two weeks before the company was featured in a July 28 video.

“As the premier has always said, no one can buy Doug Ford,” Ford’s press secretary Ivana Yelich wrote in an email to Queen’s Park Today. Ontario News Now is funded by taxpayers through the caucus services bureau. 

Could prefabricated homes solve the GTA’s housing woes? 

A veteran builder has secured a demonstration site in downtown Toronto for a concept that’s already popular in Europe and is turning heads in the U.S.: prefabricated homes. Prefabs skirt the process of building homes on-site. After being mostly constructed in a factory, the building’s components are then shipped to a property for quick assembly. Leith Moore of R-Hauz Solutions says building homes this way is faster and extremely cost-efficient — something that should appeal to people trying to get into the GTA’s pricey housing market.

Watch now

City Wildlife Rescue

This 12-part series documents a day in the life of a dedicated crew at the Toronto Wildlife Centre as they help animals in distress. In this episode, a raccoon gets stuck in a peanut butter jar on a hot summer day and the rescue team takes the call.

The Agenda in the Summer: Climate accuracy, activism, and alarmism

When it comes to talking about climate change, how can researchers and advocates get across ideas that involve complex science and global consequences without confusing or alarming the wider public? Former Ontario environmental commissioner Dianne Saxe, Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Gregory Flato, a senior research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, join the panel to discuss.

Read now

The ordinary extraordinariness of Bill Davis

Steve Paikin has long been fascinated with the life and times of former Ontario premier Bill Davis. “No question, part of it stems from the fact that his formative years in politics coincided with my formative years growing up in Ontario,” Paikin writes. “And as a cub reporter in the early 1980s, I covered his fourth and final term at Queen’s Park, which turned out to be a hugely interesting and consequential time for our province and country.” On the week of Davis’s 90th birthday, Paikin looks back at a career matched by few — if any — of the 25 other premiers who’ve led the province. 

Why the government will come for your gas stove someday

The California city of Berkeley recently restricted the number of new homes that can be connected to natural-gas lines. It’s the kind of policy that governments — including Ontario’s — need to start thinking about, writes John Michael McGrath. 

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. – The Agenda in the Summer: A new day for the autism file

After a heavily criticized revamp of Ontario’s autism services earlier this year, the Progressive Conservatives announced this week it would be introducing a new needs-based program for children with autism. The Agenda analyzes what the changes will introduce — or re-introduce — and discusses the trajectory of one of the Ford government’s most controversial files. 

8:30 p.m. — The Water Brothers: More food, less water

Humans need water to survive — and so do the livestock and crops that make up our main food sources. In this episode, the brothers travel across North America to meet with farmers using innovative methods to produce more food with less water. 

From the archive

2005 — Malcolm Gladwell’s big ideas

Malcolm Gladwell’s sixth book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know, is due out this fall. Gladwell is known for identifying seemingly unlikely trends and making connections about how they affect the way we think and live; this approach has garnered both praise for its wide scope and criticism for the same. Here’s a look at a talk captured in an episode of TVO’s Big Ideas about his 2005 book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and how making rapid decisions, not considered ones, can actually improve our lives.


Author