Opening Statement



Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Thanksgiving Addendum Compendium Etc

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Yes, In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving now, not in late November like the United  States. I heard it's because Thanksgiving was an agricultural holiday, dealing with the autumn harvest, and being further north, well, the season changes earlier.

Anyway we drove out of Toronto east on Highway 401, north on  the 404 then east through the countryside to the town of Uxbridge for our family dinner. The leaves were bursting with colour; crimson red, bright orange, yellows and more. The hustle and bustle of the big city was far behind us. It was quite magical. Nice and warm too. I enjoyed a little snooze on the porch inbetween festivities, just in short sleeves, with a cold drink beside me. Indian summer. That last little reprieve before the frost and cold temperatures settle in, all the leaves fall off the trees, and we huddle down for the winter onslaught ahead. Here in Southern Ontario we get four very distinct seasons that pretty much change like clockwork. Maybe they've been off a little the last ten years or so, but this weekend was very nice. Autumn is pure Canadiana!

I would think champagne corks were popping at Thanksgiving dinner tables across the province in all but the most true blue Conservative households. Whew! It's still sinking in. A month ago it looked like we were heading towards a Conservative landslide in the Ontario Provincial election. So by now we would've been bracing for a bunch of union bashing, and slashing and burning of public services, like in Rob Ford's Toronto, but province wide, as Tim Hudak commences to turn Ontario into Wisconsin North just like his Republican buddies did down stateside. But nope. Of course we were one seat shy of another Liberal majority, so things still could be volatile, but as my good buddy, and hard core politico Dave T. writes from Simcoe Ontario;
A win is a win is a win! I'll take a McGuinty minority over a Hudak government any day.
Ha. Me too. Heads are still definitely spinning. As our colleague and former TSU Bagman Bill D. writes from his retirement villa in Niagara Falls;

Now for me, I am a fun loving caring promoter for the Liberal candidate in Niagara Falls _ Kim Craitor!  It sounds like he defeated that a..h...., Lepp but I am still nervous.  The Fort Erie vote in the area I was scrutinizer went contrary to my expectations.  Even though Craitor had a 600 lead a number of polls had not yet reported.  Not sure where they were from.  Craitor was interviewed this morning as winning so I hope things do not change. I was glad to see Zimmer win in Willowdale.
Yes election day was full of surprises! I haven't heard of any recounts yet. Indeed, Elections Ontario is closing up it's polling booths and putting away the ballot boxes until next time, but it seems there's still some work to do. As retired TSU'er and Chair extraordinaire Tony E. reports from the Elections tomato patch out his way;
I do enjoy your blog. I was tempted to toss you a few ideas before you went to Cuba but I was too busy with election matters. I survived polling day but there is still a load of stuff on my plate related to the election.
It's a big job. Each election Tony helps set up, run and then wrap up affairs at a polling station or two or three. I've unsuccssfuly advocated hiring Elections Canada or Elections Ontario to run our yearly OECTA TSU elections for us. Perhaps a bit pricey at $10,000, but think of all the confusion and grief that could solve. See my posts on last May's election in my blog archives for more information on what happened last year. Now of course there's the possibility of telephone and online voting too...

So what's up on the TSU teacher's union front now that the election is over? My Beginning Teachers, Religious Affairs and Ad Hoc Special Education Committees have all had their first meetings, chosen  chairs as required and prepared a budget proposal for the 2011-12 school year. The Finance Committee meets tonight. TSU Executive meets Wednesday Oct 12. We'll need to have a balanced budget to present to you but of course some difficult decisions as always will need to be made. Budget Night is Thursday Oct. 27. Please come out to look it over and join in the debates. No use complaining later!

Interviews for this year's LCBT Local Collective Bargaining Team are Wednesday Oct 12. Appointment times have been sent out. The competition could be pretty stiff this year as we have had a lot of very active members learning, preparing and doing the leg work heading into this year's negotiations, so we should get a good team.

Thursday October 13th is the Committee Chair's meeting. This is your chance to learn more about chairing a TSU Committee. Also in discussing your interests, ideas and concerns about your committee work directly with our executive. If you are a chair, please plan to attend.

Sunday Oct 16 and Monday the 17th are our two day Staff Rep In service at the Kingsbridge Centre. Please make sure your rep or if need be a designate is there. There is so much you need to know at school, especially as we head into a contract year.

Did you know there are also training sessions available through our TSU office for your LLSAC team? None of this union biz is easy anymore. It's all by contract. We've got to do it right and make sure the school board does too. Remember LLSAC will look over your staffing model and report back to your staff, so you know it's been set up fairly and done right.

About the slideshow "My 11 Years On PAC". I decided after showing the Ontario Election related photos that I might as well take this opportunity to post the rest. As a part of my job as either PAC executive liaison and/ or chairman between 2000 to 2011 I talked to everyone, of every political stripe and it was pretty interesting. I suppose I could write a book or just post a few stories here every so often. The latter sounds easier and like more fun. At any rate there's photos of Prime Ministers, Premiers, leaders of the opposition and that's not to mention the Harris henchmen. Yup I talked to them too! One can't politically advise effectively unless you talk with everyone regardless of whether you like and agree with them or not. I always find it's interesting to actually meet the politicos up close and in person to get a better sense of their character, which is very, very important.

Okay okay, so let's have a larf or two. Who had the best parties? Not as in "political" party but the kind of party they have after the meetings, conferences, fetes and what not? Well here's an overview, from what I heard of course... heh heh er....er....a sort of rule of thumb;

NDP: Great if you like discussing and debating documents and policies. Expect a cash bar with plain white bread and cheese slice sandwiches wrapped in cellophane. Somebody in a plaid workshirt is wearing too much Aqua Velva after shave lotion. Festivities don't go on too long, as everybody heads off to caucus [no pun intended].The Barenaked Ladies [the band type] might show up and play sing-a-long songs on acoustic guitars, probably fairly early in the evening. Don't mention Bob Rae. Interesting people but not necessarily a whole lot of fun. Definately more pumped at a protest or demonstration where the adrenalin really flows.

Liberal: Expect wine and cocktails, R+B or Eurodisco music and a fancy buffet. Great hot roast beef sandwiches carved and served by the chef if the Premier is in attendance. Lots of suits, it's a dress up affair but open neck. Hardly any of the guys wear ties anymore except on stage. Maybe a sports jacket with a rather pointless scarf wrapped rakishly round the neck. Spot the slinky cougars. Older Libs stand around drinks in hand reminiscing about Trudeau while the young Liberals listen intently. Everybody will get drunk, dance and stay up very late.

Conservative: Expect liquor, beer and a huge buffet table. Very well dressed, stylish and assertive wives lobby the room for the cause. The guys are all sensibly dressed in pressed pants, plain shirts and black polished shoes. Perhaps more business than lawyer suits unlike at the Liberal affairs. There's lots of great rock music and good joking around until somebody invariably makes a red neck remark about "welfare bums" or something of the like. You look around. Everybody laughs "har har har" and thinks it's real funny. Look carefully and you might see Mike Harris making the rounds.

Well what do I know? I suppose they are all lots of fun after a few drinks. I don't drink anything stronger than soda myself. Each "party" did have their moments though! Never a dull moment but in time you can grow weary of it all and it gets to be like a chore.

So back to business. It looks like a pretty busy month still ahead. I have a few new blogs with various themes coming your way as I switch out of election gear and get back to the teacher and union news and views at hand. Stay tuned and happy teaching etc.

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