daily: Wednesday, May 8

A reprieve for the trees, a legendary Maple Leaf, and going for the goats
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 8, 2019
File photo of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer (David Kawai/CP)



Good morning, Ontario.

Here’s what we’re following

Scheer says Conservatives would side with Trump on Israel, Iran

Laying out his vision for Canadian foreign policy in a speech on Tuesday, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer argued that the governing Liberals have displayed “a fundamental unseriousness and misunderstanding” on global issues, in large part because of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “poor judgment.” In addition to criticizing Trudeau on his handling of China, trade negotiations, and protecting the Arctic, Scheer said a Conservative government would follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and branding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity. Scheer also says he wants Canada to sign up to the U.S.-led missile defence program.

Ontario tree-planting program safe — at least for this year

The provincial government has announced that it will continue to fund a program aiming to plant 50 million trees in Ontario — at least for this year. The government cut support for the initiative in last month’s budget, but now says it will ensure that this year’s seedlings will go into the ground while Forests Ontario, which runs the program, tries to find private-sector funding to replace the government cash. One tree nursery says the funding cut is forcing it to seriously consider killing 3 million trees it was growing for the program.

Tories decide mock guillotine = fundraising gold

The Progressive Conservatives are so disgusted by a mock guillotine targeting Premier Doug Ford at a protest last week that the party has decided to try to make money off the spectacle. In a recent email to party members, Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod is quoted as saying, “They want to cut off [Ford’s] head. Protesters showed up last week at Queen’s Park waving communist flags. And they brought out a guillotine. Yup. A guillotine." The message asks supporters to donate at least $1.

Is a Green wave heading east?

Paul Manly made history Tuesday when he became the first Green Party candidate not named Elizabeth May to be elected as a federal MP. Manly’s byelection victory in the B.C. riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith has politicos wondering what it says about the general mood heading into a fall election. “Voters want politicians to take the climate emergency seriously,” a thrilled Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner tweeted following Manly’s win. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed. CBC polling analyst Éric Grenier also notes that the win could spell trouble for the NDP and Liberals if it’s a sign the parties are losing progressive voters to the Green banner.

What we're tracking

Nam Kiwanuka and Joshua M. Ferguson

Joshua M. Ferguson became an accidental pioneer in LGBTQ advocacy in 2018 after being the first person in Ontario to have an X, a non-binary designation, on their birth certificate. Ferguson talked to Nam Kiwanuka this week about Me, Myself, They: Life Beyond Binary, their new book about the journey to understand their “hybrid” gender identity, which they describe as “part man, part woman, part something else — beyond what simple language can capture.”

“People like Ferguson have been through so much bullying, harassment, sometimes assault and trauma in just trying to live their lives comfortably in their own skin,” says TVO’s Carla Lucchetta, who produced the segment. “I think it’s important to shine a light on what may one day not be considered such an alternative life.” Watch for Ferguson’s interview in an upcoming segment of The Agenda In the Summer.

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Kidding around: Why more people in Ontario are farming goats

David Rockne Corrigan

While goat farming has deep roots in southwestern Ontario, the eastern part of the province is quickly becoming home to more of the animals as demand for goat’s milk is expected to increase.’s David Rockne Corrigan reports on one Indigenous community that sees goat farming as a potential for profit — and a return to traditional practices.

Ontario’s hockey-star MP: How Red Kelly represented the Leafs and the Liberals

an archival photo of Red Kelly
City of Toronto Archives

Last week, veteran NHLer and former Toronto MP Red Kelly died at the age of 91. Ontario historian Jamie Bradburn chronicles Kelly’s life through his career, before and after hockey and politics.

Watch Now

The Agenda: The cost of Ontario's funding cuts

The Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario — an organization with the mandate to support strong urban governments — has referred to the Progressive Conservative government’s funding cuts as “downloading by stealth.” The Agenda looks at how municipalities might grapple with funding changes to public services that range from public-health authorities to child care, library services, and flood management.

City Wildlife Rescue

This 12-part series captures the lives of small animals in a big city. In this episode, Toronto Wildlife Centre's rescue crew teams up with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to catch a coyote with mange, a mite infestation that can transfer to humans. Baby cedar waxwings also fill up the aviaries, forcing the rehabilitation team to work around the clock to keep up with their feeding demands.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. — The Agenda: Documenting an NHL trailblazer

Willi O'Ree
File photo Patricia McDonnel/AP

If hockey is Canada’s game, Willie O’Ree is a trailblazer who should be a household name. In 1958, he became the first Black hockey player to hit the ice in an NHL game — wearing a Boston Bruins uniform at the fabled Montreal Forum against the Canadiens. The new documentary, Willie, chronicles what it took to break the colour barrier more than 60 years ago. The Agenda welcomes director Laurence Mathieu-Leger to talk about the film. 

10 p.m. Breakthrough: The Age of Aging

Canadians have a lifespan that reaches into the eighties, and older individuals occupy a growing demographic in the country. But living longer doesn’t necessarily mean living healthier. This documentary features a group of pioneering researchers dedicated to extending the healthy years of our longer lifespans. They believe they have the knowledge to identify and slow the mechanisms of aging, and are working to change not only the way diseases of aging are treated, but the way society thinks of longevity.

From the Archive

March 24, 2015 — Para Normal

Canadian philosopher, humanitarian, and Catholic theologian Jean Vanier died yesterday at the age of 90. A champion for accessibility and rights of the developmentally disabled worldwide, Vanier founded L’Arche in 1964, a charity that helps people with developmental disabilities live as citizens of their communities. 

TVO’s 2015 Short Doc Contest winner Rostyk Makushak profiled members of L’Arche Ottawa for his video entry, Para Normal. These interviews ask the viewer to rethink what they consider to be normal — and the “normal” things they take for granted.

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