In brief: New minister's stance on sex-ed, cardiac care in Barrie, and Hydro One's acquisition passes one more hurdle

In brief: New minister’s stance on sex-ed, cardiac care in Barrie, and Hydro One’s acquisition passes one more hurdle

Ontario's new minister of the status of women says she no longer has concerns about the province's sex-ed curriculum.

In 2015, Harinder Malhi was quoted having concerns about the curriculum at a community meeting in her riding of Brampton-Springdale.

“There are some issues in the curriculum, I agree,” Malhi said, according to the Mississauga News. “I wasn’t taught these things and I turned out okay. I do see the issue, I do see the concerns.”

However, when she was sworn in as a cabinet minister Wednesday, she said her views had changed.

"At the time, I was hearing a lot from my residents about the sex education curriculum that we had, and it was a time to reflect on the curriculum. As we have gone through the implementation phase of the curriculum, I do want to say that I support the sex education curriculum, it is for the safety and protection of our children and our youth."

Malhi, a former school board trustee, has not been one of the government's more prominent backbenchers. When asked what her qualifications are for cabinet, she said cited her work on with Brampton politicians and her work getting to know the grassroots of her community.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie to mark the opening of the Cardiac Intervention Unit. The new unit is providing diagnostic heart procedures and will begin providing advanced heart procedures in the fall. More services will ramp up over the next five years, including heart procedures, diagnostic tests, inpatient care, intensive care, rehabilitation and an urgent cardiology clinic, eventually providing the full range of care that had not been available in the community. The province spent $6.2 million on the unit and increasing operational funding to RVH by $6.7 million.

Hydro One has cleared a regulatory hurdle in its acquisition of Washington-based energy company Avista. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the thumbs up to the $6.7-billion purchase that was first proposed in July 2017. The acquisition is in keeping with Hydro One's strategic forecast that predicts the North American energy industry will consolidate over the coming years, leaving fewer dominant players with more efficient operations, as the company's CEO Mayo Schmidt has previously outlined to QP Briefing. However, the Avista acquisition has been criticized by the NDP, and Schmidt's $4.5 million in compensation is frequently criticized by both opposition parties in question period.

Schmidt stated the approval "marks another important milestone in bringing together Hydro One and Avista." But it is just one small step. The deal still needs approval from utility commissions in five states, the Federal Communication Commission, and "clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States," according to Hydro One's statement.

Jessica Smith Cross

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