daily: Wednesday, May 15

The NDP’s future, Ontario’s affair with alcohol, and how to be a film critic
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 15, 2019
File photo of federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (Adrian Wyld/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here's what we're following

Tories want old university professors to make way for new blood

Ontario faculty associations say elderly post-secondary professors will be forced to work for no salary if the Progressive Conservative government gets its way. The province put measures in the latest budget bill to block postsecondary profs from collecting a pension and salary at the same time, which could allow schools to hire more full-time faculty. While the move to freshen the teaching ranks has its supporters, critics say it would affect a small number of people, won’t save much money, and could be unconstitutional since it would allow government to override collective bargaining agreements.

Ford chief of staff accused of meddling in police affairs

The Globe and Mail reports that Dean French’s calls for police to focus on illicit marijuana storefronts made Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services staff nervous that the government was treading close to political interference in police decision-making. Following up on reports last fall that the premiere’s chief of staff told ministry employees he’d “expected to see pictures of people in handcuffs” once Canada’s new legalization rules came into effect, the Globe spoke with sources who say that French sought regular updates on arrests and urged staff to send letters to police service boards.

Restaurant owner wins big in hate speech lawsuit

The owner of a GTA-based restaurant chain has been awarded $2.5 million in a hate speech case. An Ontario Superior Court agreed with Mohammad Fakih of Paramount Fine Foods that former Mississauga mayoral candidate Kevin Johnston had tried to ruin Fakih and his business’ reputation through posts to his site, Johnston once accosted Fakih and his children at a mall, accusing Fakih of supporting terrorism. Johnston also posted videos saying that “You have to be a Jihadist or have raped someone else’s wife as a condition of entry to [Fakih’s] restaurant.” The videos also included a photo of Fakih altered to show blood on his hands and face.

The Raps have a date with destiny tonight

After “the shot” Sunday night, do the Toronto Raptors finally have what it takes to get to the NBA Championship? We’ll start to find out tonight, at 8:30 p.m., as they face off against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

What we're tracking

The future of the NDP

Recent polling on this fall’s federal election has the Conservative Party of Canada leading the Liberals at 35 per cent to 30 per cent. And when it comes to preferred leader, Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer are neck-and-neck. But the news is worse for Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, whose party is polling at 15 per cent and whose individual rating is behind Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens.

The party’s fortunes have dropped a long way since holding the Official Opposition title in 2011. “The NDP has lost ground in several byelections, it’s falling behind in the fundraising, and has had some internal disagreements,” says Agenda producer Sandra Gionas, who recently put together a panel on the NDP’s future that airs later this week. “We thought it was time to examine the health of the party and to see how it plans to differentiate itself this fall.”

Watch now

The Agenda: Celina Caesar-Chavannes on leaving politics

A former parliamentary secretary to Justin Trudeau and once one of his star MPs, the Whitby riding representative now sits in the house as an independent and has announced she won’t seek re-election this fall. Celina Caesar-Chavannes talks to Nam Kiwanuka about what she has characterized as hostile experiences with Trudeau, as well as her accomplishments in her brief time in politics, from highlighting equity and justice issues and raising awareness of the need for mental-health funding for young people.

The Invisible Heart

Filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza tracks the birth of social impact bonds, a burgeoning financial model that raises private capital to fund social services. The arrangement adds a profit motive for these funded programs: should the program be successful, the private funders receive a return on their investment. But can capitalism and social good truly mix?

Read now

The part of the Tories’ housing plan no one is talking about

a TTC subway and Go Transit station
Downsview Park subway station (Fred Lum/CP)

Bill 108, the government’s new housing legislation, gives the province far more power to force development around transit stations. Columnist John Michael McGrath unpacks why such a move could lead to more housing — and angry urban voters. “Local councils will have less say when it comes to new density around transit stations — and they haven’t been shy about expressing their opposition to that,” he writes. “Giving the minister [of municipal affairs] the power to force municipalities to adopt community plans will be no less controversial.”

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Ontario’s Alcohol Affair

If Ontarians were looking for one word that defines this year’s provincial budget, that word would likely be alcohol. The Progressive Conservative party’s 2019 budget proposed changes to relax liquor laws — including drinking in parks, allowing bars and restaurants to serve alcohol as early as 9 a.m., tailgating at sporting events, and more lenient advertising rules. The Agenda examines what changes could mean for Ontario.

10 p.m. — Breakthrough: More than Human

Actor Paul Giamatti directs and narrates this look at the ongoing history of human interaction with technology. From primary medicine to manipulating our genetic codes, how far have we come? And from tech aids that replace parts of our bodies and, in the not-so-distant future, our minds, where are we headed?

From the archive

April 5, 1989 — Not everyone’s a critic


What does it take to be a good film critic? Talking Film host Elwy Yost finds out in his conversation with renowned writers such as John Simon, theatre critic for New York magazine from 1968-2005, and Andrew Sarris, who wrote film reviews for the Village Voice from 1960 until his death in 2012.

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