Skip to main content

Hello,

The Ontario government has unveiled a new plan to free up hospital beds, which could involve moving some elderly patients who are waiting for long-term care to facilities outside of their communities.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra made the announcement Thursday. Ontario and other provincial governments are facing increasing pressure to take action as health sector officials warn of a system in crisis, with some emergency rooms adopting temporary shutdowns as hospitals struggle to maintain doctor and nursing staffing levels.

Globe and Mail Queen’s Park reporters Dustin Cook and Jeff Gray report on the announcement here and will be updating their coverage throughout the day.

The Ontario ministers said the changes will require new legislation and will free up 250 hospital beds in the first six months. The ministers said the plan, which also includes boosting the number of surgeries done at existing private-sector clinics, will lead to 6,000 more health care workers and 2,500 more hospital beds in the province.

Opposition NDP health critic France Gélinas warned that moving more people from hospitals into long-term care homes that are not their first choice would see vulnerable, elderly patients pressured into accepting beds in older, privately managed facilities with no air conditioning and are far from their families.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Bill Curry, who is filling in for Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

LISA LAFLAMME ‘GOING GREY’ QUESTIONED BY CTV EXECUTIVE – The Globe and Mail’s Robyn Doolittle reports that shortly after Michael Melling became head of CTV News, he raised questions about host Lisa LaFlamme’s hair.

According to a senior CTV official who was present at the meeting, Mr. Melling asked who had approved the decision to “let Lisa’s hair go grey.” The issue of Ms. LaFlamme’s hair colour came up again on set one day, when he noted that it was taking on a purple hue in the studio lighting.

CANADA SENDS $450-MILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Wednesday that Canada has disbursed $450-million in loans to Ukraine to support the purchase of necessary heating fuel before winter. The amount is a part of $1.95-billion in loans Canada committed to Ukraine to support Kyiv during the Russian invasion. Reuters story here.

SUPREME COURT DECLINED TO HEAR APPEAL IN DISPUTE OVER $1-BILLION VANCOUVER WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal from property developer Concord Pacific Acquisitions, ending a long-running legal dispute over the billion-dollar development of one of Vancouver’s last parcels of waterfront land.

The feud began in 2015 when Concord argued Singapore-based billionaire Oei Hong Leong and his company, Canadian Metropolitan Properties, backed out of a deal to jointly develop the former Expo ‘86 Plaza of Nations site. Canadian Press story here.

THE CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

Pierre Poilievre continues to show visible signs of momentum ahead of the Sept. 6 deadline for party members to cast their ballots for the next leader of the party.

The MP for Carleton has spent the first part of the week touring southwestern Ontario, generating crowds and some local news coverage. The Windsor Star reported on his Tuesday stop in Essex County, where Mr. Poilievre promised to scrap the ArriveCan app and all border mandates. SarniaNewsToday.ca reported that about 150 people attended a voting party in Sarnia on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Poilievre is in Montreal Thursday before spending the weekend on a tour of Atlantic Canada.

Jean Charest attended an event in Quebec City Thursday with MP Gérard Deltell. In a statement on Twitter, Mr. Charest said he will sweep Quebec and win the party leadership race.

Former Conservative ministers Lawrence Cannon and Peter Kent, along with John Reynolds, who previously held various senior roles with the party, published a column this week in support of Mr. Charest. They highlighted a recent Ipsos survey that found Canadians are more favourable toward Mr. Charest, while Mr. Poilievre is the most popular among self-declared Conservative Party voters.

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis said this week that she sat down for a nearly three hour interview with Jordan Peterson, an author and podcaster.

The Sault Star reported that Roman Baber visited Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday. Candidate Scott Aitchison has not received much media attention since he was one of three – along with Mr. Baber and Mr. Charest – to attend the party’s third and final leadership debate earlier this month.

The results of the ranked ballot leadership vote are scheduled to be announced on Sept. 10.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

THE DECIBEL

A study from the University of Copenhagen that looked at billions of records taken from sleep-tracking wristbands across 68 countries suggests that people are already losing 44 hours of sleep a year because of hot nights.

And with record-breaking temperatures happening more frequently because of climate change, Kelton Minor, lead author of the study, tells us the extent of this problem, who is most affected by it and why it’s so important for people to get a good night’s sleep. Links to this and other podcast episodes can be found here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting the small town of New Richmond, on the Southern coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. His itinerary lists three photo ops, including at a local farm and two industrial facilities.

OPINION

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) writes that The business of journalism is ruthless. Lisa LaFlamme is just the latest casualty: “Print journalists are nagged by the notion that they are only as good or relevant as their last byline, and broadcast journalists are plagued by the understanding that their looks or voice could disqualify them from a job if a network decides to pursue a new image. The paradox of working in contemporary media is that journalists want to become successful enough to command a certain salary, but that salary can make them a target if and when company bean-counters decide the organization needs to cut back on expenditures. No one is really immune from the cruelty of the journalism business, and the sudden departure of Lisa LaFlamme – one of Canada’s most recognized, respected and well-regarded broadcast journalists – is proof.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) questions why Ottawa is focused on dental care and premiers are cutting taxes at a time when Canada’s core health care system is falling apart: “This Liberal government must introduce a national dental-care program before year’s end as part of its confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP. But how can we expand the public health care system when the existing system is collapsing?

That question is vital to your well-being, which is why the time has come for a once-in-a-generation accord between the federal and provincial governments on rescuing and restoring health care.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) says Official bilingualism is officially dead in Canada: “Statistics Canada surely did not time the release of language data from the 2021 Census to coincide with the launch of an election campaign in Quebec. But its publication of findings that confirm the decline of French within the province and across Canada are sure to light a fuse on the campaign trail as Premier François Legault calls for Ottawa to cede more powers to Quebec.”

Former Liberal MP and Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan writes in the The Globe and Mail that strong mayor powers will actually make Toronto and Ottawa city councils weaker: “Power isn’t the problem: money is. Toronto Mayor John Tory, for example, has yet to lose an official council vote, and yet he still apparently needs more political heft. Mayors already have all kinds of power at their disposal – some of it codified, some invisible and some personal – and in Toronto, they pretty much get what they ask for from council. What they can’t get? New sources of funding. The property tax base on which cities rely is inelastic. User fees are limited in scope, and other local charges are woefully small. Without new fiscal powers, cities just can’t solve the problems that confront residents. Instead, what Queen’s Park is delivering is a series of solutions in search of a problem.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.