Canadians concerned about political divisions will find solace in season five of TVO Original series Political Blind Date. Premiering on TVO Tuesdays starting March 15, 2022 at 9 pm ET and streaming across Canada on TVO.org, YouTube and smart TV services like Apple TV and Roku, the final season of this innovative TVO series demonstrates the value and necessity of building bridges in hard times.
“Political Blind Date bridges partisan differences, creating memorable, human moments of understanding on the issues that matter most to people,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “We are very proud of the impact made by this show over five incredible seasons. The topics covered in this season not only reflect the concerns of the day, but also chart a path forward during this challenging moment in history.”
“We are so proud of this series and the dialogue it has fostered around the important issues impacting Ontarians and Canadians every day,” says Tom Powers, creator and executive producer. “This final season on TVO is no different, and we look forward to exploring a new host of relevant and timely topics through a uniquely Canadian lens.”
New and longtime viewers alike will make fresh discoveries in this season of debate, diversity and understanding. These six episodes of Political Blind Date feature discussions between leaders from multiple levels of government and a spectrum of political parties.
A typical “date” starts with two politicians getting to know each other before heading out to explore the issue of the day. Each participant chooses where they will take the other and keeps it a secret. TVO Original Political Blind Date balances light-hearted fun and heated exchanges to help humanize political discourse, while also providing an outlet for viewers who want to see past partisan divisions and build something together.
“The conversations we dive into this season are some of our most meaningful yet and we know viewers will find something they can relate to, no matter what side of the issue they stand on,” adds Mark Johnston, executive producer, director and writer.
“Now more than ever, it’s so important that we understand each other as human beings first and come together to tackle these issues, and not each other,” says Amanda Handy, producer and executive producer.
Season 5 of TVO Original Political Blind Date includes the following episodes, airing weekly:
March 15 – Systemic Racism Liberal MP Greg Fergus and Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson delve into possible ways to tackle anti-Black racism. From organizations encouraging Black Canadians to seek public office, to federal government programs providing financial assistance to Black-owned businesses, Fergus and Thompson debate their visions on how to address systemic racism.
March 22 – Veterans Conservative MP John Brassard and Liberal MP Darrell Samson discuss the state of veteran affairs in Canada. Brassard takes Samson to meet veterans in Barrie who are fighting for their claims to be resolved due to a significant backlog. In Nova Scotia, Samson takes Brassard to talk to former service members and families who have benefited from the Liberal government’s latest programs to help veterans.
March 29 – The Real History of Canada Sol Mamakwa, Member of the Kingfisher First Nation and NDP MPP (Kiiwetinoong, Ontario), and Kingston City Councillor Jeff McLaren speak about what to do with the statues and symbols of some of Canada’s early political leaders whose policies harmed Indigenous Peoples. McClaren is opposed to removing Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue but is in favour of telling a more complete history. Mamakwa takes McClaren to Sioux Lookout to meet Indigenous leaders who have a different perspective about how to remember Canada’s real history.
April 5 – The Future of Unionism Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton and UNIFOR president Jerry Dias examine the state of labour relations in Ontario and the future of unions in Canada. In London, McNaughton takes Dias to visit people who are benefitting from training programs and initiatives supported by the provincial government to fill thousands of vacancies in the skilled trade sector. Dias takes McNaughton to meet workers from the retail and long-term care industries who face wage freezes and have no guaranteed sick days under new legislation in Ontario.
April 12 – Homelessness Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter (who was homeless for 14 years) discuss solutions to the growing homelessness crisis in their cities and across Canada. Carter takes Brown to Oshawa to examine solutions that include an integrated health care and social services hub for the homeless, and a micro-home prototype made from storage containers. In Brampton, Brown demonstrates the power of large, diverse cities to harness faith communities to help combat homelessness and poverty.
April 19 – The Opioid Crisis Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Conservative MP Garnett Genuis reunite to debate what needs to be done to address the opioid drug crisis in Canada. Erskine-Smith believes that the government needs to legalize and regulate all illicit drugs, since a poisoned supply laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl is killing thousands of unsuspecting drug users. Garnett Genuis believes that the threat of criminal charges may encourage those with substance use disorders to seek treatment services and recovery, and that these services need to be expanded across Canada.