TVO Original series “Political Blind Date” hits close to home in Season 3, tackling hot button Ontario issues

TVO, Open Door Co., and Nomad Films are thrilled to announce the return of TVO Original series Political Blind Date for a third season, premiering Tuesday, January 21 at 9 PM ET on TVO and Produced by Open Door Co. and Nomad Films in association with TVO, this season takes a closer look at the hot button issues facing cities, towns and rural regions. It brings some of the most debated Ontario issues to the forefront: city finance, subways and public transportation, the housing crisis, agriculture and food, high tech manufacturing, and hydro rates and power solutions for our energy needs.

“With the ongoing popularity of the first two seasons, we are excited to continue to bring politicians and the issues they care about to Ontarians and Canadians looking for more than just sound bites,” said Tom Powers, creator and executive producer. “We hope to connect audiences to their representatives in a more meaningful and personal way,” added Mark Johnston, Executive Producer, Director and Writer of the series.

“The TVO Original series Political Blind Date continues to create a space for real, in-depth and civil conversations between politicians with opposing views,” said John Ferri, TVO Vice President, Current Affairs and Documentaries. “Season 1 and 2 proved that this show can be a counterpoint to the polarized and hyper-partisan nature that characterizes so much of the political conversation. We’re proud of that and excited to move more of the series back to Ontario, where we get a chance to address municipal issues that affect people close to where they live.”

Each of the 6 half-hour installments brings politicians with different points-of-view together on a “date” to see if they can find common ground as they explore different perspectives of important issues that affect Ontarians. Each person introduces the other to interesting situations that best illustrate a point of view on the issue. 

“Season 3 of Political Blind Date has given us the chance to focus on the municipal level and look at issues that affect us all,” said series Producer Amanda Handy. “Whether it’s looking at Toronto’s housing crisis, agricultural policy in rural Ontario, or hydro rates across the province, we’ve got something for everyone this season – on issues that impact our everyday lives.”

Season 3 of TVO Original Political Blind Date includes the following episodes, with one episode launching each week:

•    January 21 – City Finances  
Gary Crawford (Ward 20, Scarborough Southwest), Toronto Councillor and present Budget Chief, and Shelley Carroll (Ward 17, Don Valley West), Toronto Councillor and former Budget Chief kick off the third season by taking a close look at how to best manage a budget shortfall at City Hall after provincial funding cuts. Crawford doesn’t want to raise taxes or create new ones and believes in finding efficiencies. Carroll believes that new revenue tools are needed to pay for the city’s growth.

•    January 28 – Subways 
Toronto City Councillors Jim Karygiannis (Ward 22, Scarborough-Agincourt) and Anthony Peruzza (Ward 7, Humber-Black Creek) consider mass transit needs.  They explore a full range of solutions, moving from the Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension to the Finch West LRT, and the Province’s new plan to expand the subway system.

•    February 4 – The Housing Crisis 
Ana Bailão, (Ward 9, Davenport) Toronto Councillor and Deputy Mayor, and Stephen Holyday, (Ward 2, Etobicoke Centre) Toronto Councillor and Deputy Mayor, debate the housing crisis. From multi-residential and laneway housing to rapid densification, these two politicians hold very different views on how to house a city’s exploding population.

•    February 11 – The Food We Eat 
Randy Pettapiece, PC MPP (Perth-Wellington), Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture Minister, and Mike Schreiner, Green Party Leader, MPP (Guelph), dig into how farmers can transform operations with technical innovations. They debate the role government should play in supporting large and small-scale farms, especially as the number of farms in Ontario declines.

•    February 18 – The High-Tech Future  
Donna Skelly, PC MPP (Flamborough-Glanbrook), Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry (former Liberal MPP and former Minister of Transport), dive into questions of innovation and how to support high tech manufacturing in Ontario, a critical issue as major plants shut down.  They weave between Cambridge factories supporting the auto, aerospace and medical sectors, and driverless car tracks in Ottawa, Ontario, debating the relative merits and pitfalls of “corporate welfare” and provincial grants which help local tech companies to expand.

•    February 25 – Hydro Rates and Energy Policy 
Bill Walker, PC MPP (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) and Associate Minister for Energy, and Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP (Toronto-Danforth), debate the Government’s plans for hydro rates and energy policy in Ontario.  Discussions visit retro-fitted energy-efficient homes in Toronto, community windmills and a couple claiming negative health impacts from wind turbines, and the Bruce Nuclear Plant near Kincardine, Ontario. 

Political Blind Date is produced by Open Door and Nomad Films Inc, in association with TVO, and is written and directed by Mark Johnston.