Transcript: Ep 75 - Are we ready for a new school year? | Aug 06, 2020

STEVE:
Welcome, everyone, to the OnPoli
Podcast. I'm Steve Paikin.
JOHN MICHAEL:
And I'm John Michael McGrath.
STEVE:
Yes, almost all of Ontario has
moved into stage 3,
which means more freedom to do
more things,
but we also got a bit of a cold
shower from some leaders
this week, and we'll
tell you why.
Also, concerns about the kids
going back to school,
and a nice break for frontline
pandemic workers
when it comes to enjoying
Ontario's cultural attractions.
Hey, and hockey's back,
and the Leafs haven't been
eliminated yet!
How good is that? It's Thursday,
August 6th, 2020.
So let's get to it!

JMM, we are less than a month
away from Ontario's
two million students going
back to school,
maybe, in some way,
shape, or form.
The provincial government
unveiled its school
reopening strategy last week,
but since then,
there's been a lot of criticism,
not so much about high school
but about the elementary sector.
What's the problem here?
JOHN MICHAEL:
So in Ontario's elementary
system, and particularly
in kindergarten, the classes are
larger, because kindergarten
classes have both a teacher and
an early childhood educator,
or an ECE in them, they have
grown larger.
You know, as much as 30 kids can
be in a single classroom,
and in normal years, that's
not a problem,
because you've got that work
spread out among two people,
and as much as kindergarten
classes can ever be
reasonably managed with a bunch
of screaming little ones around,
normally it's okay. This year,
people are raising a lot
of concerns, because the
government's back to school plan
does not really have any, um,
any kind of funding to open up
new spaces
and shrink those classrooms,
rather those class sizes.
They are still being expected to
have, you know, thirty kids
plus two adults in a class, and
I think, lots of parents,
certainly I've seen a petition
online that 160,000 people
have signed, calling on the
government to find some way
to shrink these class sizes,
because parents are raising
concerns about that.
STEVE:
Well, you did talk money, and
let's pick up the story there
because the province has
allocated, at least they say
they have, more than $300
million, for example,
to hire more caretakers and more
janitors so the schools
can be kept extra-special clean,
to have public health nurses
on site at schools, these are
things that cost money.
But there are a lot of concerns
that the money
that the Conservatives have
allocated won't nearly be enough
to do the job.
What's the issue here?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Well, the issue is that all of
these things are good
and certainly better to have
more caretakers
and more cleaning staff then
less, and even the nurses
will probably help, though even
in that case,
it is going to be less than
one nurse per school,
so these are not going to be
evenly distributed nurses.
Um, the issue really does boil
down to the class size one.
The government had said that it
was basing its plan
off of a report that was
co-authored by a number
of different hospitals, but
primarily from Sick Kids
Hospital here in Toronto, and
that report did say
pretty clearly that the
government should be looking
at smaller class sizes. They had
used the number
of 10-15 students per class, but
they did caveat that by saying
that we don't have really solid
scientific information
in terms of what is a safe
number of students
in a single classroom.
Regardless, the government
really has not done anything
to actually shrink class sizes
in Ontario's elementary system.
STEVE:
And the big fear, of course, is
that we are going to get
everybody back into school,
and then, you know,
things can go south, more Covid
cases will strike,
and then you end up having to
shut the schools down again,
and you know, maybe put people
back from stage three
into stage two, and everybody
wants to avoid that, right?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Exactly right, and you know,
I guess, full disclosure
of a sort here, you know, my kid
is going back into
a kindergarten class in
September, and so I, you know,
I obviously have some sort of
personal interest in this
as do millions of other Ontario
parents, but the,
I guess, the two factors
I would say
in the government's defense, and
I don't feel, like,
super compelled to rush to the
government's defense here,
but I will say two things here.
One is that, and the
government has said,
and I think they're correct on
this, that the government
has said, and I think they're
correct on this, that the safety
of schools is going to depend as
much on what is happening
outside of the schools as what
happens inside. That it is--
if we can bring the level of
Covid-19 infections
down throughout the province,
it will be safer to, you know,
not have the perfectly small
class sizes that we would
ideally like to see. Um, every--
every day we go with fewer
than 100 cases,
lab-tested across Ontario, which
we're now on day four of that
here in Ontario, you know, every
day we have like that
is a day where this plan, this
school plan looks safer.
The other thing I would say is
that the government
faces real resource constraints.
We talked about
the Ontario Liberal proposal
to reopen schools
on this podcast before.
Billions of dollars, tens of
thousands of new teachers
needed, thousands of new
class spaces.
You can't just wish those
resources into existence.
You actually have to do the
work to find them.
And I think, in particular,
the labour shortage
is probably what has the
government, you know,
not chasing smaller class sizes.
It is actually very hard to get
the thousands of teachers
you would need, and then,
I think perhaps, let's say
a bit cynically, there is the
question of what do you do
with those teachers after the
pandemic? If we do, for example,
have a vaccine next year, uh,
it's a complicated question of
do we just tell all of Ontario's
parents, who've had this year
of, you know, 15 students to a
class, that actually it's back
to 30 kids or 25 kids in a class
next year? You know.
Those are-- those are actually
tough questions.
STEVE:
Mm-hm. Well, you made the point
last week when we talked
about this that the Liberals, in
opposition, had suggested
the hiring of 15 to 17 thousand
new teachers to get us through
this time, and I mean, you asked
a really good question.
Even if you wanted to, are there
17,000 unemployed teachers
out there who are waiting to be
brought back into the system?
That's an open question. The
other thing is, and I did hear,
John Michael, I did hear the
Premier refer to this
in one of his daily briefings
earlier this week.
He was asked a question by a
reporter, saying:
"Is it $309 million for your
school reopening plan
"and that's it, not
a penny more?
"Or if you discover that in
fact, it is going to cost more
"you may flow more money?"
And he was, I guess, candid
enough to say
"Look, that's our plan right
now, we're sticking with it.
"We think it's the right plan."
And then came the "but."
"But if we do have to spend
more, you know,
"I'm open to having that
conversation."
I guess he's really gotta say
that at this point, doesn't he?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Yeah, I don't see how you could
give any other answer.
I think there is enough
uncertainty in the future
that the only honest answer
would have to be, you know,
"If things start to go south,
we'll re-evaluate."
STEVE:
Got it. Okay, from education to
a cold shower on reopenings,
we are starting to get some
rather blunt talk
from our political and public
health leaders
when it comes to how much longer
we're going to be dealing
with Covid-19. Almost all of
Ontario, as I think
our listeners know, may be in
stage three right now,
but it looks as if most of the
current restrictions
are going to stay in place for
the rest of the year.
John Michael, what's the
thinking here?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Yeah, this goes back to,
in some ways,
the decision to rewrite
Ontario's
Emergency Measures law as it
pertains to this pandemic.
The Emergency Management and
Civil Protection Act
was not really built for a year
or potentially multiple
year-long crisis like the
one we are in,
and so these restrictions, you
know, are not--
it's not like a forest fire,
where you evacuate
and then everybody is back in
their homes maybe 30 days later
or something like that. This is
something that is going to last,
I mean, optimistically, into
the new year,
and it could last longer.
You mentioned most of the
province being in stage three.
At the moment, Windsor-Essex
is not.
That public health unit still
hasn't quite
got its Covid-19 counts
down to a level
where the province feels safe
letting them enter stage three.
That may come along next week,
or it might not.
But you know, these kinds of
measures that we are in,
the Health Minister was asked
about potentially expanding
the social circles rule that we
have all been trying to
adhere to with varying degrees
of success.
This, you know, ten person
maximum.
And that's going to stay for
awhile, she seemed to say.
A lot of the current measures
that we are in
may not-- may not be lessened
until there is a working
mass-produced vaccine.
You know, this shows up
in some places
I hadn't really thought about.
You know, one of the issues
that's been at the Premier's
press conferences this week
has been Canada's Wonderland.
They have not been allowed
to reopen.
They are apparently, you know,
let's say, a little cranky
that they have not been
allowed to reopen
but other amusement parks in
Ontario have been allowed to.
But there's just been a lot of
concern, not just about
the inherent safety of a large
amusement park,
but the fact that people come
from all over Ontario
to go to Canada's Wonderland,
and they could potentially
catch Covid-19 there and then
take it back
to their communities.
There was something that
Theresa Tam said,
this is Canada's Chief Public
Health Officer,
said in a press conference
earlier this week,
that I think shocked a
lot of people
because they hadn't been really
thinking along these terms,
but she was quite honest about
how long this could take.
DR. TAM:
We're planning, as a public
health community,
that we are going to have to
manage this pandemic
certainly over the next year,
but certainly maybe,
you know, planning for the
longer term,
the next two to three years,
during which the vaccine
may play a role, but we
don't know yet.
JOHN MICHAEL:
That's Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's
Chief Public Health Officer,
talking about how long this
pandemic could potentially last
and what she's planning on.
STEVE:
You know, I can understand why
the folks at Canada's Wonderland
might be a bit cranky about
this. First of all,
they have a very finite
season, right?
They've got to make a whole
years' worth of income
basically between, you know,
well, when the weather's warm!
So, you know, tick-tock,
tick-tock,
"tempus fugit" as they say.
And the other thing is, like
the Ripley's Aquarium
down beside the CN Tower
and the Skydome,
that is open for business! And
that's an indoor facility,
as opposed to an outdoor
facility
where it's harder to pick
this thing up.
So you know, as a layperson, you
can understand why they are
asking questions there, "Wait a
sec, why are they allowed
"to be open and we're not
allowed to be open?
"They've got 12 months to make
their annual income.
"We've got eight months to make
our annual income.
"How is this fair?"
JOHN MICHAEL:
I understand how frustrating
it is for them.
The Premier and the Health
Minister were both asked
about that this week, and they
just reiterated that
the health advice they are
getting is that, uh,
the professionals are still
quite nervous about the prospect
of opening Canada's Wonderland.
I will say that, you know,
you mentioned Ripley's Aquarium,
I suspect there's a scale issue.
Canada's Wonderland is a much
larger attraction
that has thousands of people
in it at a time.
And Ripley's is a bit
smaller scale.
I have actually been there
since they opened
and had a great time
with my kid.
Um, and, uh, it is--
not knowing anything about the
medical expertise
behind these decisions, but one
of the things that comes to mind
is that scale issue, it is just
such a larger attraction.
STEVE:
Fair point. Now from reopening
to transportation.
I was actually on a Toronto
Transit Commission subway
the other day, and noticed that
when commuters walked into
the subway station, there are
attendants from the TTC
at the entrances
and they are holding personal
protective equipment.
They've got masks. And if they
see that you are not wearing
a mask, they say, as you walk
by-- I watched them do this,
they say "Can I offer
you a mask?"
Which seems like a very nice,
gentle way of reminding people
that "Hey, you've got
to wear a mask
"if you want to ride
this system."
You know, with some notable
exceptions, for example,
for the very, very young, or
those with breathing problems.
But from what I could see, 99%
of the people were adhering
to mask-wearing policies,
which was good to see.
Having said that, the subways,
when I was on them,
JMM, they were virtually empty.
Now admittedly,
it wasn't during rush hour that
I was there,
but I'd like to know what you're
hearing or seeing
about whether transit systems
are coming back
in this Covid-19 era.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Transit systems are still
struggling, really,
across North America. Apple
Computers actually, uh,
aggregates a lot of their
mobility data
through their Maps application,
and since Covid-19 struck,
they have made this publicly
available so you can
actually check in, and see
how-- you know,
how many people are driving,
how many people are walking,
and how many people are
taking transit.
And boy, one of these things is
not like the other.
You know, walking and driving
are back to their pre-Covid
levels but transit use is still
way, way down in Canada.
Something like 50% lower than
it was pre-Covid.
So, you know, this is both a--
a public health issue,
people are staying away from
public transit because
they are scared of Covid-19, but
it's also a financial issue,
right? Every person that doesn't
pay a fare on the TTC,
that's money that the city of
Toronto was counting on,
and it's the same story for
transit systems
all over North America.
I do want to add, as we're on
the topic of transit,
that what we are learning about
transit and Covid-19,
it seems to be relatively safe.
There was a lot of concern
at the beginning of the outbreak
that transit would become this
machine for pumping Covid into
communities, but in June,
the
Toronto Star
reported that
zero, that is right,
zero cases of Covid-19 in
Toronto had been traced
to transit use by that city's
public health office.
And we see this in other cities
too, you know,
nowhere is completely safe from
Covid, but the risks on transit
seem to be small and manageable.
STEVE:
Good to know! From
transportation now to culture.
We have talked on this podcast
before about the massive
multibillion dollar hit that
Ontario's cultural industries
have taken because of this
pandemic, and that's everything
from the Raptors to the Leafs to
concerts to museums to galleries
to cultural festivals and
everything in between.
Now today, the Culture Minister,
Lisa MacLeod announced
that if you're a frontline
worker in Ontario,
you're going to get a bit of a
break. What's the story here?
JOHN MICHAEL:
They are offering free
admissions to frontline workers
for publicly-owned attractions.
This is a program designed
to do two things.
To get people back out and
enjoying the provincial
cultural institutions, and
obviously to reward
the frontline workers who have,
uh, really been so crucial
during this pandemic. So we're
looking at free annual passes
to the AGO for a year, free
parking and access to the
outdoor grounds of the McMichael
Canadian Art Collection
in Kleinburg. Free admission to
the Royal Ontario Museum
until the end of August. Free
general admission
to the Royal Botanical Gardens
in Burlington,
and 25% off for their guests.
You know, these kinds of
promotions, what can I say?
These kinds of promotions
hopefully will get more people
in the doors into these kinds of
publicly-owned attractions.
These are-- I think I've been to
almost every place
on this list, you know, the AGO
and the ROM, obviously here
in Toronto, great places
to visit.
You know, some really
interesting exhibits on.
Though obviously some of that
has been derailed
because of the pandemic. Um, you
know, just hoping to remind
people that despite the
pandemic, there is this real
cultural resource here
in Ontario,
and hoping to get more people
to make use of that.
STEVE:
Well, I'll put a plug in
for a show that I saw
a little sneak preview of
a little over a month ago,
and that was the Van Gogh
exhibit down at 1 Yonge Street
in the
Toronto Star
building,
and I'll tell you something,
if you haven't seen this,
it's absolutely spectacular.
You don't see the actual art,
like, the Van Gogh paintings
are not there, but there are
massive video panels
and you are surrounded by them,
and of course,
spots on the floor where you can
look at these things
from physically distanced,
appropriate spots,
and then they bring the music up
and the lights down
and it is an absolutely, I mean,
it assaults your senses
in just the most wonderful way.
It is a terrific,
terrific exhibition, and if you
want to actually do it
as a drive through, they have
that option as well
where you can just drive
through, not even get out
of your car, so if you're
looking for something cultural
to do this summer, I think
that's around for another month
or so, so I would urge everybody
to check that out.
Have you seen it, incidentally?
JOHN MICHAEL:
I have not seen the Van Gogh
exhibit, I was just going to
say that if I could plug another
one of our cousins
in the broader public sector,
the ROM has reopened.
It was obviously closed for much
of the summer,
because Toronto, you know,
wasn't in stage two
for a very long time.
It has reopened.
Some places are still closed
inside the museum
but there's still more than
enough there to keep
a young child entertained
for an afternoon.
I speak from personal
experience there.
(Both laughing)
STEVE:
Good to know. It's always good
when we do that
empirical research ourselves,
isn't it?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Absolutely.
STEVE:
Now do you mind, while we're on
the subject here, if I ask you
one of those, sort of, stupid
little nit-picky questions?
JOHN MICHAEL:
If I did, could I stop you?
STEVE:
No, you could not, because
I'm on a roll here.
Do you notice, and I don't
want to get too
"little pet-peevish" here, but
do you notice that when
the Ford government does its
daily briefings outdoors,
the Premier and his ministers,
who are lined up behind him
in that V-formation we've
talked about before,
they're all masked up.
But when they do the daily
briefings indoors
at Queen's Park, as they did
today, nobody ever wears a mask?
And I was just saying last week
about how impressive it was
to see our politicians
demonstrating such responsible
behaviour outdoors, even though
they don't really have to
because we know, of course, that
it's very hard to get Covid-19
outdoors, because the outdoor
air, of course, dissipates
the droplets, but indoor air is
much more stagnant
and it doesn't dissipate the
droplets as much,
and yet they're not masking up
indoors ever?
And, um, am I being a pedant by
sort of pointing that out?
(John Michael laughing)
JOHN MICHAEL:
Well, I don't think you're being
a pedant, at least,
not on this specific issue.
STEVE: Thanks.
JOHN MICHAEL:
I won't give you general
absolution.
But the thing they are
doing is--
and you can sometimes see them,
when one minister has to come
up to the mic,
and everybody does this dance
around to make sure
that everybody is still keeping
two metres away,
and you know, it is certainly
noticeable and we all see it
every day that they are not
wearing masks indoors,
but I would just remind our
listeners that the masks
are supposed to be in addition
to everybody staying two metres
away from each other, and as far
as we can tell from the camera,
and obviously sometimes
perspective can be tricky,
but they do seem to be keeping
two metres away
from each other when they
are on camera.
STEVE:
No, and that's all good, and it
may well be that I'm a little
sensitive about this, because as
we sit down to tape,
uh, you know, we've just learned
that the governor of Ohio
has tested positive for
Covid-19, and you know,
it has been perhaps lucky,
but certainly of interest,
that no high-ranking politician,
I think in Canada
or the United States yet, until
the governor of Ohio,
contracted Covid-19.
Somehow they've all managed to
stay out of the crosshairs,
but now it's happened, and
I don't know,
I just, I want everybody to be
careful out there,
you know what I'm saying?
JOHN MICHAEL:
No, I hear you, and for my part,
the one I'm sensitive about
is every time either the Premier
or somebody else
at the microphone has a small
cough or they clear their throat
or something, I just, I jump
nearly out of my skin.
I don't know.
(Both laughing)
STEVE:
Okay, maybe we're both
overreacting on this one.
But anyway, that's our
two cents.

Now we haven't, JMM, had a lot
of Covid-related news
out of Ottawa lately, but we did
get some earlier this week
on a topic that we're all
watching quite closely,
and that is vaccines.
What's the good word there?
JOHN MICHAEL:
The federal government announced
earlier this week
that they have signed two
agreements
with major drug companies, in
this case Pfizer and Moderna,
to procure vaccines when they
are available.
In this case, that means when
they have been certified
as safe and effective from
Health Canada.
The announcement, made on
Wednesday by Ministers
Navdeep Bains and Anita Anand is
for an unspecified number
of doses, but the government did
say it's in the millions,
and the government is still
negotiating with other companies
who have other different vaccine
candidates in the works.
There is this really impressive
pipeline of vaccines
that are working their way
through approvals.
I think close to 30 that are,
you know, serious candidates
that I've seen so far, but you
know, this is the part
of the podcast where we throw
some cold water
on these announcements. Again,
Dr. Theresa Tam emphasized
this week that we still don't
know enough about the vaccines
that are in the works to make
confident predictions
about some kind of return
to normal life.
DR. TAM:
Really, honestly we don't know
at this stage, the,
uh, whether the vaccine-- how
effective the vaccine
is going to be, whether it
prevents serious illness
and hospitalizations, does it
prevent you actually getting
an infection, because some
vaccines, influenza vaccines,
for example, prevents you from,
maybe serious outcomes,
but it doesn't necessarily
prevent you from getting
the infection altogether.
So these questions remain
unknown.
STEVE:
Theresa Tam there. Well, and
even if, or even after,
I guess I should say, a vaccine
is developed,
there is the small matter of
actually getting it into the--
shoulders, I guess, is where
you're going to take your shot,
of eight billion people who
need it. I mean, that--
that's a pretty tall order
right there.
JOHN MICHAEL:
It is, and these vaccines,
in Canada's case,
they are being bought by the
federal government,
that's the announcement this
week, but there is presumably
going to need to be some kind of
agreement between Ottawa
and the provinces for how they
will actually be distributed.
Will we have enough vaccines
to inoculate everybody who wants
one in the first round?
I suspect that's probably
optimistic.
There is going to be some form
of rationing or triage,
at least early on. You could
imagine, maybe
medical professionals get
vaccinated first, maybe--
maybe if we're lucky, teachers
are on that list,
but it's going to depend on how
much is available early on.
And then, you know, as it
becomes more widely available,
then provinces have to make a
decision about how
it actually gets distributed.
For example, in Ontario, we let
pharmacists administer
the flu vaccine. Will we do
something like that again,
or is it going to be the kind of
thing that we really want
more like, doctors and nurses
only administering it?
You know, these decisions all
have potential answers,
none of them are show-stoppers
so long as the vaccine
actually exists.
But this is the kind of planning
that the province
has to be doing right now.
STEVE:
Well, I wonder if they're going
to, and I'm only going
on the basis of some public
opinion polling I've seen here.
I wonder if they're going to
catch a bit of a break on this
in as much as, we are seeing,
you know, relatively high
numbers of people who describe
themselves as "vaccine hesitant"
at the moment. These are not
anti-vaxxers, right?
These are not people who think
that all vaccines are terrible
and you should never get them
ever under any circumstances.
Theses are people who are
vaccine hesitant
about the notion that they are
going to be at the front
of the line to take a vaccine
against Covid-19,
and they're not 110% sure that,
you know, the thing is going
to be tickety-boo, or you know,
without any of its dangers.
And, you know, that might keep--
ironically enough,
that might keep the numbers of
people who, you know,
need or want vaccines down,
and I wonder if that could
be a saving grace
for the whole thing, you know,
at the end of the day.
JOHN MICHAEL:
I think if nothing else, it will
keep the lineups manageable,
at least early on. I do find
myself wondering, you know,
as you say, these are not anti-
vaxxers who we're talking about.
These are people who, reasonably
enough, are hesitant
to effectively be guinea pigs
on what is a very new
medical intervention.
And for my part, you know,
I find myself thinking
"Well, I'm not as young
as I once was,"
but I'll only be 40 next year,
if there's a vaccine around,
and I was never a smoker or that
kind of thing, you know,
I feel like I'm the kind of
person who should probably be
volunteering to do a risky thing
when it's available,
but it's not the kind of thing
that I necessarily want my--
my parents, obviously, you know,
older people,
charging the line for.
STEVE:
They're going to be thrilled
that you just described them
on a podcast as "older people."
JOHN MICHAEL:
Well, mathematically they are
older than me!
I don't know how else
to put that!
STEVE:
Well, mathematically,
you are right.
In terms of the emotional wallop
and impact of that line,
I think you're out of the will
now, buddy.
(Both laughing)
Anyways, we always conclude this
podcast with our favourite
quotes of the week. And we will
have those immediately for you
after we ask you to give us a
rating on Apple Podcasts.
Here's a comment from Apple
Podcasts that I think we should
address, actually, JMM. This is
a serious point, made by a user
who goes by the name
"Guccione1234,"
and this person writes "This
podcast is seriously lacking
"the voice and perspectives of
people of colour,
"and especially non-white
women."
And first and foremost, we
really want to thank you
for that comment, for that
feedback, and acknowledge that,
well, look, I mean it's pretty
obvious, Paikin and McGrath,
we've got two white male hosts
here, who happen to cover
provincial affairs for TVO. We
are the guys who do it,
but your comments do remind us
that we do need to figure out
more ways to get alternative
voices on the podcast,
uh, perhaps through more guest
interviews. I don't know.
JMM, anything you want
to add to that?
JOHN MICHAEL:
No, it's an entirely fair
criticism,
and we had--
(Chuckling)
--different plans for this
podcast before Covid-19 hit.
That's not an excuse by
any means,
on our failure--
and I do think it is that,
um, just I think people are owed
at least some explanation.
Hopefully as things ramp up
again in the fall,
we'll have a bit more time to
put some episodes together,
and I'm certainly hoping we can
do a better job.
STEVE:
Well, of course the original
idea behind this podcast
was to have me do, sort of,
longer-form interviews
with members of the Ontario
Legislature
and other people associated with
Queen's Park,
and you were going to do,
sort of,
more policy-oriented features--
JOHN MICHAEL:
Nerdy, wonky stuff.
STEVE:
Yeah, the nerdy, wonky stuff.
You know, I wanted to say it,
but, uh...
(Laughing)
but you beat me to it. Uh, that
was the format.
That was the original format.
And under that format,
we actually did do a little
better on the criticism
that Guccione1234 has brought
forward here.
We had a feature interview with
St. Paul's MPP Jill Andrew,
who is a black woman,
a lesbian as well.
Parkdale-High Park MPP
Bhutila Karpoche,
she was the first person--
she is the first person
of Tibetan heritage elected
anywhere in North America,
I believe. So we had many of
those kinds of interviews.
But as you say, with Covid-19,
the podcast has very much
focused on the pandemic, and
those longer-form interviews
have been put on hold,
but I-- I guess we should say,
leave this with us. We like the
criticism. We do appreciate it.
And we will see what
we can do about it.
JOHN MICHAEL:
If you'd like to send us
any other comments,
please shoot us an email at
OnPolitics@TVO.org
or tweet at us. I'm at
JM_McGrath.
STEVE:
And I'm at SPaikin.
That's S-P-A-I-K-I-N.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Subscribe to the OnPoli podcast
on Apple Podcasts, Google Play,
Spotify, or your favourite
podcast app.
STEVE:
Here now, my quote of the week.
And even though Doug Ford
has really changed his tone
during this pandemic,
from the formerly...
what do we want to say?
Overly-bombastic
right-wing populist
to a more pragmatic, moderate,
"let's bring people together"
kind of a leader, there are
still instances
when his populist blood can
really boil over.
And one of them happened earlier
this week. The issue was crime,
and the high number of shootings
around the provincial capital.
PREMIER FORD:
This is not a criticism,
it's not against the feds,
but guys, you can't keep letting
these guys get out
and walk the streets. It's up to
them to toughen up
on the sentences, that's the
biggest challenge we're facing.
But you get up in the Toronto
GTA, what did we have,
12 shootings? I'd grab those
little buggers
and throw them in jail,
throw the key away,
and let 'em rot in there.
They're going to go around
and create violence in our
neighbourhoods,
where our kids are playing
outside?
And the families don't feel
safe? 12 shootings?
You've gotta be kidding me.
We're way too soft on crime.
We've gotta toughen up on--
on the sentences.
And the police are frustrated
too. I talk to the police
all the time, they're
frustrated. They go out there,
put their lives on the line for
us, they arrest these guys,
and do-do-do-do, two days later
they're bouncing around
out on bail! We need to get the
judges-- tougher judges,
tougher sentences, and keep our
streets safe.
That's what people want. They
want a safe community,
and they don't want a bunch of
gangbangers running around
with guns, it's like
the wild west.
STEVE:
There's Premier Doug Ford
on the spate of shootings
in Toronto lately.
JOHN MICHAEL:
And similarly, I guess, in maybe
a bit of tone, the Premier
was asked today about an
Indigenous protest in Caledonia,
obviously an issue that has been
going on for many, many years,
since long before this
government was elected,
and the Premier had some--
quite a few things to say
about this protest, and about
some allegations of violence
against the police there.
PREMIER FORD:
Like, enough is enough!
You know, I'm just losing
my patience.
I can't direct the police, and I
won't direct the police.
But people have to obey
the rules.
I don't care where you come
from, what your race, creed,
colour, whatever. We have one
country, one rule,
and that is it. Simple!
JOHN MICHAEL:
That's Premier Ford addressing
an Indigenous protest
in Caledonia from earlier this
week. I do want to highlight
his words about "not directing
police" or giving them
direct orders. Of course, we
remember that a prior Tory
premier did direct the OPP to
intervene in an Indigenous
land dispute 25 years ago, and
it ended up with Dudley George
being shot and killed in
Ipperwash, so, uh,
the Premier obviously angry
about a protest in Caledonia,
but not wanting to cross a line
that we've seen crossed before.
STEVE:
Angry but careful, I think,
is the right way to put it.
One last thing here, we are just
totally delighted to have
our producer, Katie O'Connor,
back in the saddle today.
Katie's had some miserable after
effects of Covid-19 to deal with
over the past many weeks, but we
are thrilled she's back
with us today to keep us on the
straight and narrow,
so welcome back, Katie!
JOHN MICHAEL:
Welcome back, Katie!
We missed you, and we'll try to
behave from now on.
STEVE:
Speak for yourself. No, there we
go. So ends episode 75
of the OnPoli podcast. JMM, you
know how I like to end
these podcasts now. As my pop
likes to say,
"Stay positive, test negative!"
JOHN MICHAEL:
Stay safe, Steve.

Watch: Ep 75 - Are we ready for a new school year?