Opening Statement



Monday, 24 October 2011

Hooray Laurel Broten: Our New Minister of Education!

Congratulations to MPP Laurel Broten [Etobicoke Lakeshore] our new Education Minister!!! I myself take great personal joy in her new appointment after having known and worked with Laurel for over 10 years on her campaigns from 2003 through 2008. Although I am still a proud member of her riding association, please know it was Bianka and Mark from TSU who saw her through her third election victory this fall. They are hardly strangers to Laurel either. Mark is retired now but still helps her out. Bianka is our main TSU executive point person, having been the one on TSU full time release this time around. So continues a long and happy working relationship between Laurel and OECTA TSU.


Laurel made Ontario history a while back when she became the first woman minister to get pregnant and have children, two twin boys, while in cabinet! She has previously served on Premier McGuinty's Liberal cabinet most notably as the Environment Minister, and the Minister of Child and Youth services. OECTA worked closely with Laurel on the new province wide Kindergarten program. It was a very fruitful and rewarding relationship that will serve our youth and their families well.


In 2002 our TSU PAC at the time decided to embed teacher reps in the riding's of each provincial election candidate who we considered educationally friendly. It proved a very positive way to organize our teacher support in the Toronto riding's. At a loss where to go, I called up my college buddy Rob Foote. He's made a good name for himself as a succesful Liberal campaign manager. Rob and I used to be the President and Program director respectively at CFRE Radio Erindale during our university years. That's a great story I can share at a later date. The point is, I asked Rob to recommend a good candidate from our list who was not only top notch but a pleasure to work with, and he introduced me to Laurel. He couldn't have made a better pick.


Laurel has solid credentials at her lawyer's office down on Bay Street Toronto, as does she supporting and promoting the women's shelters in her own home riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore. Eight years in government and Laurel still walks door to door, regardless of whether it's an election year or not, meeting her constituents personally to hear their concerns! You will find her at every civic function and town hall meet always eager to answer questions or engage in a good debate. Anyone who works with Laurel invariably enjoys it so much they keep coming back, myself included. She is genuine and sincere, highly professional and yet down to earth. Laurel is the real McCoy. She's a politico you can really believe in!


I sincerely regret that I was not released by TSU to work on her campaign this year as originally planned.Still I look forward to continuing to work with her and see her now off the campaign trail, wearing another hat, since I am no longer on TSU PAC. Yup, that's over. I think I all ready told you how I will be focusing on the Ad Hoc Special Education, Beginning Teacher and Religious Affair Committee portfolios, as well as helping Dave with the Solidarity grants instead in my role as your TSU 3rd Vice President this year.


I know Laurel has always been very interested and concerned about our youth. We have discussed my own Special Education classes, most notably the Autism Developmentally Delay Multiple Exceptionality [AU-DDME] one at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic Secondary, my school where I teach. Our TSU Ad Hoc Special Ed Committee is working on an indepth review of our board's special education programs. So far the teachers, department heads and even our board superintendants have shown a lot of interest in contributing to the project as a group effort, and we look forward to making a number of reports and important recommendations to our TSU executive, our Local Collective Bargaining Team [LCBT], and of course first and foremost you our members.


It would be interesting to talk some more about this directly with Laurel, in time, as she settles into her new job as Minister of Education. My understanding is that right now Laurel is catching her breath after the vigorous election campaign. She's cracking open the books on her new ministry as she sets up shop. I would never want to seem pushy or opportunist as a teacher politico myself, that's not my own style, nor is it Laurel's. Still, I do look forward to seeing and helping her again as soon as I can.


So, once again, congratulations to Laurel Broten. It is with a huge sigh of relief, I'm sure, that we all welcome her back as our new Liberal Education Minister, after having again helped keep the provincial Tory's at bay! Please know, as teacher's we couldn't have done better than with Laurel. We can rest assured we will continue looking forward to making our education system one of the very best anywhere working together with her!

Victoria, Laurel and I have fun and talk shop.

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