Opening Statement

Sunday 30 September 2012

The Queen's Park Student Rally!

Saturday Sept. 29:

The Student Movement: Queen's Park Rally: A Review:

About 100 protesters attended today's student run rally out front of the legislature. The students did a good job in getting a sound system, a press release and speeches together. It was very grassroots, and in fact very exciting. I watched with interest, and even a sense of relief, as a new generation of protesters took up the good fight for our democratic rights and freedom. Many of my readers will  remember protests at Queen's Park going way, way back to our youth. Whenever the politicos lost touch with the people they were elected to represent, we were there. It was great to see the students pick up the torch!

The students' support for teachers was quite clear and straight forward, unburdened by the big words and rhetoric that often makes these events seem so weighed down and dull. Basically, the emphasis in the speeches was on social justice, honest representation, and a strong understanding of the loss of democratic rights under Bill 115. The protest was very heartfelt and sincere. I heard it in the speeches or just walking around talking to the student protesters. Ontario's future is in good hands. Long may they run!

NDP Education Critic Peter Tabuns stuck his head out the legislature widows and came down for an impromptu meet and greet with the students. When he was introduced from the podium as "Peter", he joked that he'd been called many things over the years. He liked just being called by his first name for a change.

CUPE helped by providing a bus for the students who don't live in downtown Toronto. They were paired off with each other so nobody would get lost or left behind. PSAC lent them the huge paper mache heads of Harper, McGuinty, Hudak, and Ford, from the Court House protest a few week backs. Other than that today was very much the students' day in the sun, and they handled it with aplomb. It was an honour to be there at the simple beginnings of something really big; today's student movement!

The Toronto Star covers the student rally at Queen's Park. Students clearly in support of teachers. See:

For a good photo of the rally on Twitter see:

This one too:

Here's a possible prototype for a students movement flyer being shared on Twitter. Good! Just needs your own student logo. See:

My photo's are below and in the top left slide show.....

Friday 28 September 2012

Weekend Teacher Protest Guide 3

I will continue to ad links to this blog. Please keep checking back for the latest news as it becomes available! Student Rally Review moved to new blog. See photos above and in top left slide show.

Monday, Oct 1st:

OECTA TSU: Don't forget! Our Q+A membership meeting with Provincial President Kevin O'Dwyer is Tuesday 4pm at St. Basil the Great CSS!!!!!!! MOU? Bill 115? Gratuities? Sick Days? LTD? Grid delay? A rare chance to ask!!!!!

More photos of students' Queen St. Rally at:

ETFO's photo album of the Lib AGM protests is at:

Here's Youtube video coverage of the teacher protest outside the Liberal AGM this weekend:

Limestone Local MPP office protests are growing. See:

Teacher protests continue outside MPP Glen Murray's Toronto office. See:

Windsor students use Facebook to plan mass walk out on Wednesday. See my Queen's Park Rally blog. The future of protest in Ontario looks great!

Students protest on College St Toronto:

Toronto Parents + students call for more talks with teachers. Grass roots approach is one everyday people can relate to. These stories can grab public interest  to build popular support for the teachers
rather than the government who likes to demonize us during these types of crisis. The Harris years were a real nightmare in the public relations department when he first started to go after us. The Toronto Sun is gearing up now to do it again. But I digress, back to our news article:

Hudak steams full speed ahead with his Ability to Pay Act gaining much municipal support. Who can really tell how much they can pay? They themselves? See:

ETFO's Petition for Repealing Bill 115 do it yourself quick and easy info pack. Nice job! Hey I know what! We should do this at OECTA too! Somebody?!? Anybody!?! See:

Fed Liberal's lead Green Party at bottom of the latest Environics poll! NDP on a surge across Canada, now in 1st place! See:

Behind the Liberal nastiness towards unions: Bill 115 promotes worker infighting? Read my Neo Real blog and see:

Tim Hudak plays the Conservative fiddle while the Liberals fume + burn at QP. Unfortunately, people do listen to him, and often like what they hear, as with the NDP for others. Different strokes for different folks. The whole political game is played on the media stage. What is reality but a perception? Like it or not, so it goes. Be aware. See:

Ottawa Public board gears up for motion against Bill 115. Watch OCSTA cry; Us too! Us too! Don't be fooled. It's not the same! Read my Neo Real blog and see:,%20FitzGerald.pdf

OSSTF's Articles and Allies internet service provides a good collection of news links and letters to the editor. I don't post just Allie articles + links that only support teachers, or any specific union. It's important to be able to consider other points of view so you can think for yourself and argue your case well. Nonetheless, great to see OSSTF on line with this service. ETFO is good too. OECTA only prints the "truth" and you need a special secret member number to read the dozen or less pieces they have posted since July 5th. Go figure who's missing this information age thingy! What did Marshall McLuhan, [a Catholic teacher by the way], say? The Medium is the message? The medium is the mass? The medium is the age? The medium is the mass age? Tut tut! Read on:

McGuinty: the next Davis or Charest? Steve Paikin figures he will stick around now to restore his Liberal majority. Personally I'm pretty sure he's lost his mojo but read:

The Classism of Teacher Bashing: Teachers are not in it for the money so we are pariahs in the capitalist world. I'm not a big fan of the usual class struggle arguments, but this writer examines us in the context of social class, education and identity and spares the rhetoric. Worth a gander at:

Sunday Sept. 30th:

Libs not about to stop school strikes if they happen?!? For a good commentary with lots of very interesting and useful links:

Thomas Walkom compares Bill 115 to the War Measures Act:

Windsor Star article says Ontario Government has placed itself "above the law". See:

Windsor Star letter to the editor says CAW deal shows Collective Bargaining works. Actually much to my disappointment I thought Minister Broten would've negotiated PDT in same way as big automakers did with CAW. There was no crisis last spring, and now? See:

Here's a local news story with a video of the teacher protest in Sudbury protest:

Catholic educators mourn passing of Fr. Carl Matthews:

Saturday Sept. 28th

McGuinty wins Liberal leadership review by 85.8. Party in 3rd place in the polls:

McGuinty tells Liberals he will win back his union support. Boy is this guy living in a bubble! This article also includes responses from the other party leaders. Cons seem to think the union movement is split. See:

Martin Regg Cohn warns never to underestimate Dalton's survival skills, if he sticks around:

Globe article claims Libs told school boards this week it won't block strike actions. Hmmm. See:

Student Rally at Queen's Park.
Here's the flyer that was shared through the Twitter. Great idea! See: t

Friday Sept. 28

Thousands of teachers, students and public service workers hold huge protest rally outside Ontario Liberal AGM. ETFO, OSSTF, CUPE, OPSEU help send out strong message that "We won't be fooled again". OECTA conspicuous by it's absence. Check out the photos! I haven't seen anything like this since the Harris Days of Action. See:
More + More

Huge protest rally expected outside Lib MPP Deb Matthews London office today at 4pm today after school. Wouldn't it be great if some of our OECTA members could go to these events to wave our flag too? Hmm. We aren't getting any info through our union about any rallies or protests. See:

Lib MPP Brad Duguid's Toronto office gets the protest treatment today too:

Kingston students step up for their teachers in protest outside city hall. See:

Annie Kidder from People for Education is holding an on line discussion about Bill 115 with parents and teachers. You can join it at:

News Flash: OECTA Halton is filing a complaint against OECTA Provincial with Ontario Labour Board! I will post as soon as I receive it.

OECTA is holding an OT president's workshop in Toronto. Unclear if they will be talking about the MOU. Maybe just how it is so good compared to the original PDT terms? Or maybe nothing will be said at all? I grow weary of the OECTA pep talk and alternating silence myself:

ETFO President Sam Hammond addresses misunderstandings about teacher extracurriculars in Toronto Star letter to the editor:

ETFO ETT Toronto holds strike vote Oct 4th. Details:

ETFO Sept. 27 letter to parents:

Dwygn5 teacher blogger considers how Bill 115 provides a teachable moment for our students about complacency, respect and our laws in Canada. Well reasoned, straight forward language, one from the heart. Read:

More below! More to come!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

OECTA: Cracks in the Wall?

Today's news links continue in blog below this one.

Does OECTA's membership support the MOU? We don't know. For most of the summer holidays, the silence from OECTA Provincial, and our local units was deafening. The MOU was never put to a membership vote, angering many members who were stuck following the news story in the public media. The reason given by OECTA Provincial, for explaining why our membership wouldn't be allowed to ratify or refuse the MOU was:

Will I get a chance to vote on the provincial agreement? 
No. This is a memorandum of understanding between OECTA and the Ministry of Education; this is not a collective agreement. The agreement has been ratified by the OECTA ProvincialExecutive, who are your elected representatives. You will have a chance to vote on any local agreement that may be negotiated by your local collective bargaining team.

If you will recall, on July 5th, one week into our summer holidays, a surprise announcement was made. The OECTA PDT team had reached a MOU [Memo of Understanding] with the Ontario Liberal government MOE [Ministry of Education].Some very controversial terms were agreed upon, to say the least. They formed the OECTA Road map, that under Bill 115, all the teacher federations must now follow in locally negotiating their new contracts by December 31st of this year. These are the terms:  Memorandum of Understanding between the province and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association

Here's a link for OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer's letter  to our members which immediately followed July 5th:

comparison chart was also included in the home mailings. It compared the original PDT terms with the OECTA ones, in point form:

The quote from above is included in the OECTA PDT Question and Answer sheet that came with the package:[1](1).pdf

A carefully worded OECTA PDT time line completed the package:

Finally President O'Dwyer provided the following CBC interview explaining why he "had to agree" with the MOU. Afterwards little more was publicly said or posted on the members' login website for the rest of the summer. You can find the video at:

Here's what happened while most of our members were away on holidays:

Our OECTA TSU [Toronto Secondary Unit] Executive had an emergency summer meeting on July 9th to advise President Rene Jansen ahead of the OECTA [Council of Presidents] which met the next day. I told Rene that the MOU was unacceptable because it agreed to contract stripping. Our TSU members sick day banks would be unilaterally removed, and their retirement gratuities grandfathered. It was also uncertain what would become of our successful local LTD plan. As your representative, I simply could not agree to that for you.

At the July 10th OECTA COP [Council of Presidents] the vote in support of ratification for the MOU was 42 to 24. We later learnt that the Presidents were told the MOU would be ratified regardless of their vote. In our discussions, President Jansen told me he had voted against it. I asked if he was going to notify the membership of how he voted. This was sent out by email to our members later in the summer, as they began to return home from their summer holidays.

Meanwhile, a private member's letter was sent to OECTA Provincial requesting that a list of how all the unit presidents voted be released. It is my understanding that  letter was not replied to until President O'Dwyer's August 23 Toronto meeting at Roy Thompson Hall. [see below]

On August 8th the TCDSB [Toronto District catholic School Board] agreed to the terms of the MOU. Why? It removed our sick days and grandfathered our gratuity, their goal for the past few decades, that they were, of course, never able to get us to give up on our own. Read my August 8 blog for more details:;postID=2504041067942672608

Despite the plethora of public news, commentary and statements by the other teacher affiliates on the OECTA MOU, little more was heard from OECTA Provincial. However, the cracks in the wall started slowly to appear:

On August 8th OECTA Halton President Richard Brock became the first president to publicly announce his opposition to the MOU. For my full account see my blog "Brock Breaks OECTA Silence"

By the way, a reader's "Comment" to my Richard Brock blog was posted there last week claiming a special OECTA Provincial letter has been sent since then to Brock's Halton Elementary schools about the MOU. I have been unable to confirm if that letter was sent, and if so what it said.

On August 23rd President O'Dwyer agreed to meet with our Toronto membership at Roy Thompson Hall, Present were Chief Negotiator David Church, as well as TSU and TECT [Toronto Catholic Elementary Teacher] Presidents Rene Jansen and Mario Bernardo. Unfortunately this Q+A with President O'Dwyer was scheduled while many of our teachers were still away or doing summer things at home. There seemed to be an inchoate anger to the members' questions as they began to ask about the deal. Jansen and Bernardo confirmed for the membership that they had voted against the MOU at the COP. O'Dwyer explained that the list of how the different unit presidents voted would not be released until the first weekend of November. That was because, he explained, the meeting had been held "in camera" and the minutes would not be approved until the next COP meeting. See my full blog report on the OECTA and the TSU/Tect meeting at:;postID=6647530925825533206

After Bill 115 legislated the OECTA Road Map into law, the other unwilling affiliates were forced to be bound by it in their local contract negotiations. It also rewrote substantial sections of the Ontario Labour Act to further change our Collective Bargaining terms, for the next two years, with a possible one year extension. Widespread ETFO, OSSTF and CUPE protests had flared up across the the province. Many of our members were shocked by our provincial president's seemingly indifferent letter to them, after basically remaining silent until after the Bill was passed. See the letter at:!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3jDIBNLI2cfIwP30GBjAyNLdyNzc4sgQ3cvI_1wkA6zePdQJ9dQI0N_A3_jQDMDI49QC_

In  my September 17th "Vichy Mentality" blog, I noted that President O'Dwyer wouldn't be available for the Oct 1 to 3 TSU MOU information meetings to be held across the city. You can find the blog at:;postID=1210404977623632002

Kevin finally agreed to come to answer your questions at St. Basil's for our Oct. 2nd TSU info meeting. As I wrote on my September 20th "OECTA Sudbury Letter" blog: 
Wonder if Kevin reads my blog? A lot of our members are feeling like they have been muzzled and boondoggled since the end of June. This is causing deep rifts and a very strong sense of betrayal by our union. This is a very, very, very bad situation for us all to be in. Blaming it on lies and misinformation is not an acceptable answer.
Many TSU members were eager to meet with him since they had missed the summer holiday meeting. However, President Jansen and Chief Negotiator David Church would still be on their own to answer questions during the other two dates of Oct. 1st and 2nd. David Church is an excellent person to answer technical details about the terms of the MOU. However, I doubt he can speak about the Provincial Executives political decision to approve the MOU, and of course Rene had voted against it, to no avail.

A private member's petition was circulated to tell Kevin he was wanted at the Oct.1 and 2nd meetings too. I was not involved in that petition, nor the private member's letter. I have not not heard anything more more about them.

Since we have returned to school, the cracks in the OECTA wall of silence slowly seem to be now opening more wider and wider. Finally they revealed a possible looming chasm just this week:

On Sept 24, Oecta Sudbury Elementary President Kent MacNeill released a media statement that his unit has filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Board against OECTA Provincial Executive "for failing in their duty of representation". He explained what the unit has all ready done to try to rectify the situation directly with OECTA Provincial, and their response. Kent also claimed COP was told Provincial would ratify the deal regardless of how they voted. My blog containing the letter can be found at:;postID=7765285286762421598

On Sept 25 President MacNeill publicly spoke further on his unit's repudiation of the MOU. Provincial President O'Dwyer replied he "won't engage in a public debate on the matter." That news article can be found at:

On Sept 26, the OECTA silence was shattered for all but the most muffed ears. In a news interview MacNeill adds that he expects Halton + Toronto will also be filing complaints against the OECTA Provincial deal. Sudbury had their extended medical benefits removed. The Toronto units lost their gratuity. Everyone had their accumulated sick days stripped away. Perhaps the sleeping giant of OECTA indifference is finally beginning to awake among all the clatter and din! See:

On today's OECTA Website the following "updated" OECTA Q+A can be found posted. You will note the July Q+A is not publically posted, explaining about what happened July 5th. The "updated" one explains the advantages of the new agreement. You can read it to delineate the OECTA provincial state of mind at:!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3jDIBNLI2cfIwP30GBjAyNLdyNzc4sgQ3cvI_1wkA6zePdQJ9dQ

OECTA Provincial's wall of silence has often seemed impenetrable throughout the summer. President O'Dwyer has been visiting the local units, but there has been little if any media or OECTA news coverage. Even yet, a bunker mentality still seems to exist. It will be very interesting to see what happens next! I look forward to reporting on President O'Dwyer's meeting with the OECTA TSU membership on Oct. 2. If you are a concerned TSU member it would be well worth your while to plan to attend too!

PS: If I missed any important info or links I will add them to this blog. If any dates are off I will corect those too.  In the meantime I beg your indulgence. I wanted to get this summary time line of events out to you asap!

OECTA Pravda: A bunker mentality?

Monday 24 September 2012

A Welcome to Recent Readers!

Today's news links follow below....

Welcome to my teacher + union news+ views blogspot! I post articles, links and photos from all of the teacher affiliates here: OECTA, ETFO, and OSSTF. Also CUPE who represent many of our educational support workers.

If you are unfamiliar with my blogspot, yes, I am the OECTA TSU 3rd VP here at Toronto Secondary. This blogspot is not an official OECTA website. I've used it for the past year and a half or so to keep our unit members, whom I represent,  up to date on important issues, and my own work on their behalf. I like to provide links that represent a wide variety of points of view. I think we are smart enough to read and consider their validity. If other teachers also find my blogspot useful that is great too! I'm very pleased to be of service!

I add commentary as I see fit. It is my blog. It does not represent OECTA's official position on whatever I am blogging about, unless it is identified as such. To be quite blunt, I am opposed to the OECTA MOU, because it represents contract stripping. I consider that an absolute no no. I was not impressed with OECTA Provincial's ratification process, nor the communications follow up. Bill 115 stripped our collective bargaining rights. I'm very concerned that we are not out officially protesting and holding strike votes along with our colleagues from the other affiliates. There are about 176 blogs in the archive below this column. You can find out more there about any number of important teacher + union issues. Read what I think. Decide for yourself.

I don't try to hide that I am a Catholic teacher. I believe it is necessary to stand up for what is just and best for our OECTA members. It is a duty. From what I have seen since July 5th, well, our position with the MOU and silence about Bill 115 just plain isn't correct for us or anyone else. However. also know I will provide links and so on that sometimes are very critical of the other affiliates too, when need be. Like most of you, I am a teacher. I do not indoctrinate. I educate. Please read everything here with an open mind. Consider the different perspectives for yourself. Think hard about the education crisis. Only the truth will set us free from all the nonsense that's going on.

To read my Blogspot Manifesto for please go to:

I hope you enjoy my blog! Please share my address!

New Teacher Newslinks:

Thursday Sept 27:

McGuinty + Liberals slump badly in polls, while party + leader shows polarization between Cons + NDP:

Martin Regg Cohn considers McGuinty's leadership support at this weekend's Liberal AGM:

Ottawa Public board to consider making it easy to allow parent's to supervise + coach extracurriculars. They discussed it with Broten on Tuesday. Fears parents will transfer students to Catholic schools with extracurriculars, though numbers have not yet been significant:

Cardus think tank believes federal constitutional challenge possible to Accepting School's Act requiring GSA's:

Wednesday Sept 26: 

The OECTA MOU cracks start to widen? Sudbury Catholic Elementary unit president expects Halton + Toronto will also be filing complaints against OECTA Provincial deal! Sudbury had their extended medical benefits removed. Toronto units lost their gratuity. Not happy campers! See:

Government wage freeze deal reached with public service managers

New legislation, if passed will freeze the wages of 481,000 public service workers:

Globe article predicts new legislation will test Liberals limits on wage freezes:

Please share! Twitter link for student protest at Queen's Park this weekend can be found at:

Tuesday Sept 25

Sudbury OECTA Elementary President MacNeill speaks further on his unit's repudiation of the MOU. Provincial President O'Dwyer argues he "won't engage in a public debate on the matter."
Surely, most everyone else must know by now the issue will not just go away. A bunker mentality? See:

Dalton's daily affirmation: If you have nothing nice to say.....See:

McGuinty expected to introduce new tough guy legislation for public wage freeze to divert attention from the Liberal power plant fiasco:

OFL [Ontario Federation Of Labour] meets to mobilize opposition against McGuinty's plans:

Hudak Conservatives persist in ridiculous drivel that Tim's much more drastic cuts can reverse economic crisis the Liberals themselves created, ignoring virtually everything happening outside Ontario since 2008. See:

OPSBA [Ontario Public School Board Association] seeking legal advice on the duties of a teacher,
in consideration of Bill 115, but claims this is not related to extracurricular duty concerns:

Windsor Public Board uncertain on whether to take legal action against teachers for not attending Meet the Teacher nights:

York Public Board approves extra funding for extracurricular transportation costs. Boycott of extracurriculars varies from school to school, but overall sounds like not much is happening.
Go see:

ETFO President Sam Hammond takes on hypocritical  former Tory Ed Minister John "Snowman" Snobelen in his letter to the editor. Sun editor responds with a rude remark his right wing buddies can snort and guffaw about over their morning beer:

Windsor Star letter to the editor provides a math primer for McGuinty on Sick Day Debacle:

K-W Public elementary contract talks continue:

Ontario Teacher Network notes that teachers do not sign contracts to coach. It should not be taken for granted that we have to, we volunteer:

More links coming! More below........................

Thursday 20 September 2012

OECTA Sudbury Letter + Teacher Weekend Protest Guide 2 !

OECTA Sudbury Breaks Ranks/ O'Dwyer At Oct 2 TSU Q+A!

[Monday Sept 24 news links + TSU Committee Reports Continue Below........................]

OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer at TSU MOU Q+A Oct 2

IMPORTANT NOTICE: OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer HAS confirmed he will be at the Oct 2 OECTA TSU MOU Q+A meeting to be held at St. Basil's, with our President Rene Jansen. There are also TSU Q+A meetings Oct 1 at Senator O'Connor, and Oct 3 at Marshall McLuhan CSS, but to ask Kevin questions, you will need to attend Oct 2.

David Church was chief negotiator for the MOU. He is not on our OECTA provincial executive. He will be at the other meetings. David is a good guy to ask technical questions about the terms of the deal, but I doubt he can comment on OECTA provincial executive's political decision to agree.

Wonder if Kevin reads my blog? Alot of our members are feeling like they have been muzzled and boondoggled since the end of June. This is causing deep rifts and a very strong sense of betrayal by our union. This is a very, very, very bad situation for us all to be in. Blaming it on lies and misinformation is not an acceptable answer.

Sunday Sept 25

Sudbury Unit Breaks Ranks Against OECTA Agreement!!!

Angry Oecta Sudbury President Kent MacNeill releases statement that his unit has filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Board against OECTA Provincial Executive for failing in their duty of representation. He explains what the unit has all ready done to try to rectify the situation directly with OECTA Provincial, and their response. Kent also claims COP was told Provincial would ratify the deal regardless of how they voted. The press release is reprinted below. The highlights are my own. See:

OECTA Sudbury Press Release: In the wake of the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated with the Ontario Government and ratified by the OECTA Provincial Executive with neither input nor vote by the local membership, the OECTA Sudbury Elementary Bargaining Unit voted unanimously to file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against the Provincial Executive for failing in their duty of fair representation. Internal means of discipline investigation were attempted, but the response from the OECTA Provincial Office was that the internal discipline investigation procedure did not apply to members of the Provincial Executive acting in that capacity. Essentially, they may act outside the by-laws and procedures in the Handbook to which the other 45 000 OECTA members must adhere. In a letter to the General Secretary of OECTA, the Sudbury Elementary Unit President alleged that by negotiating and ratifying the MofU with the government, over thirty By-Laws and procedures contained in the OECTA Handbook were breached. “We believe that in our society, democracy should reign supreme. Everyone should have the right to vote. Everyone should have the right to give input into their working conditions. The MofU took away these fundamental rights from my members. Even worse, my members lost significantly more under this MofU than any other unit in the province, as stated by the Provincial President, yet they cannot refuse to accept this MofU. In fact, when the Presidents from all OECTA Units were called down to a Special Council of Presidents Meeting in July, we were told that even if the Council should fail to endorse the MofU, it was ratified by the Provincial Executive and so was a done deal,” said Kent MacNeill, President OECTA Sudbury Elementary Unit.

Please also see my earlier blog on OECTA Halton President Richard Brock's opposition to the deal:

When will the levy break? My guess is to expect the trickle of simliar actions by other OECTA units to turn into a fludd in the weeks ahead. Maybe I'm wrong, but if my reader members' "Comments" under each of my blogs is any indication, the current of discontent runs deep!

And in other protest news:

Excellent "you are there" Youtube video of the Liz Sandals protest. Love the soundtrack. Great editing + visuals too. Not too long or boring. Very effective + top notch! See:

Star Editorial Opinion piece angry teachers won't volunteer for extracurriculars. What does voluntary mean? Duh. See

See Broten and OSSTF President duke it out on Focus Ontario video, with John Tory + Leslie Roberts:

David Doorey's "The Charter + The Law of Work: A Beginners Guide." [19 page pdf]. If you really want to be in the know you better start reading. See:

Monday Sept 24

Know thy enemy. The Toronto Sun begins it's venomous attacks on teachers in earnest. Those of us who were around during the Harris years will remember this well. Editorial cartoons showing us as lazy, selfish and incompetent are on their way. Every right wing kook in Ontario will be writing letters to the editor drooling at the mouth. In today's attack, we are accused of brainwashing our studenhts to protest for us, and they don't have any choice anyway, because thy are afraid we will fail them, parents too. See:

Durham letter to the editor claims extracurriculars do not an education make:

Parents for Education primer provides an up to date balanced view of the current education crisis for your average reader: analyses the failed McGuinty gambit to turn on teachers thinking it would gain him more public support:

Windsor Star story pops the propaganda ballon that teachers are overpaid, and responsible for the deficit:

ETFO strike votes across Ontario pack members in. Most support is in the upper 90% range. Take a gander at one such meeting in Ottawa Carleton. Are our OECTA members content to just sit back and just do nothing? Please see:

OSSTF is experiencing the same result. Here's the press release from Bluewater, where members voted 97% in favour of strike action. Will we be good Catholic boys + girls? Just keep on going to teach at school if something happens? That's the plan! It could get tense in the days ahead. Read + think hard
for yourself:

This student protest video has gone viral on Youtube:!

A young student's letter to Mr. McGuinty. Just plain folks love this. Definitely stirs the cockles of one's heart. Very well done. Very effective. Mom + Dad should be proud. Please give the little lad a pat on the head for us all. Share:

Saturday Sept 22

This cyber flyer for the Student Queen's Park Rally in support of teachers is available to retweet at:

Putting Students First is getting out the message from students that our Ontario teachers put students first. Looks like the Premier's media office is following them now:

A CTV video of student strikes in Vaughan:

To read this lawyer's blog on the constutionality of Bill 115 see:

Regg Cohn comments on Dalton's strategy + alliances at Queen's Park. Also on tweaking his tough guy act vis a vis "tough love" but "no grenades" with the other public servants. I'm not convinced it's going to help the Liberals. With all the ongoing teacher protests, who's he kidding but himself? He's blown it big time with his strongest supporters, and is paying the price. Now if only my own affiliate OECTA would get off it's duff and go kick him where it hurts over Bill 115, for starters. See:

Public school boards investigating legal means to force teachers to attend parent/ curriculum nights. See:

People 4 Education's Crisis Primer is at:

An opinion piece on extracurriculars, followed by an online poll for 2 year strike ban. Vote:

Rumour: Sudbury OECTA is taking Ontario Provincial to the Labour Board. Can anyone confirm?

More to come. I've just kept  adding links below too, where appropriate......

Friday Sept 21

ETT staging Toronto wide protest outside Lib MPP and Minister offices today. For more details see:

OSSTF D10 teachers vote 99% for strike action in Lampton Kent

Finance Minister Duncan says teachers should "leave students out" of contract dispute with extracurricular boycott and praises automaker union negotiationsFiance Minister Dwight Duncan acccuses teachers of using students.

Protesters stop traffic in downtown Guelph:

Teachers and EA's protest outside Lib MPP Gen Murray's office today:

Young protester has a message for Education Minister:

Lots of photos from large Guelph protest outside MPP Liz Sandles office today:

A recording of TVO's Steve Paikin's Sept 21st live chat on Queen's Park verses the Teachers is available here:

Student protests, walkouts and rallies across the GTA listed today to protest 115. Silent treatment in one Gr.8 class because they can't go outside:

CP24 reports on student walk outs today in support of teachers + democratic rights:

Black Out: A great student move to wear black on Black Fridays, to protest Bill 115. Easy to do. See:!/search/?q=%23SLSSBlackOut&src=hash

Durham Board decides not to punish students for "orderly" walk out protest:

100's of Bowmanville High and Clarington Central Public students march on city hall and MPP John O'toole's office Sept 20th in support of teachers. See:

100's of students walk out as protests continue across Grey Bruce in support of teachers. Scroll down the 923 News page for this:

The Kingston Whig [?!] reports on student movement's use of social media to mobilize protests. Wow! These kids are good! This is a leading edge new wave protest for sure Watch them to see how it's done.
We have much to learn. The Sixties in 2012? For starters read:

Got a Smart Board at school? Many excellent documentaries available for free to teach very relevant social, politcal and other relevant issues to the new generation of young protesters. Thanks to Rob D'Addario for the Twitter tip! See:  Also tres kool: Ditto:

Reality fix: The sad truth for  many: Parents face legal liabilities + must closely supervise and often hold activities off school property if they decide to run extracurriculars themselves. That's the way it legally works folks, and teachers regularly volunteer for this all the time:

Surly Ottawa Sun editor snarls at citizen letter blaming boards and government for underfunded and unpaid teacher extracurricular activities. Teachers to "keep in mind it's the public that pays their wages." Duh! These are voluntary duties above + beyond what we are paid for dummy! Read + weep at the Sun's mentality. It's only going ot get worse:

OSSTF Media Advisory: Halton teacher protest outside Lib MPP's Kevin Flynn's office today [Fri] at 4pm: petition for premier to reverse Bill 115 because of no extracurriculars:

CUPE President Fred Hahn  + NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speak out aganst public service wage freeze:

Reg Cohn takes neo realistic stab at union concessions during tough economic times. I'm going to look at the OECTA deal from the same perspective in an upcoming blog. Many will disagree but it is important to consider the protest from different points of view, to have any depth or balance to your arguments. Do we educate or indoctrinate? Hold your nose as you read, if need be.If the argument is wrong, well then, you need to be able to explain why, to have any credibility beyond the party faithful. Neo real is a pretty hard take. Hard nosed and often quite brutal and nasty. Breath deep. See:

Guelph Record reader disputes Cohns arguments against extracurricular protest in earlier column:

Bogger + history teacher Sean O'Conner lists reasons why the OECTA MOU negotiations were a good idea:

Apparantly a special OETA Provincial letter was sent members at the Halton schools in President Richard Brock's unit regarding Bill 115. I need to confirm. Anyone have a pdf copy?

Wednesday 19 September 2012

My TSU Committee Update

TSU News Update!

Yes! It is very sad OECTA members aren't officially protesting Bill 115 either, but maybe you can ask Kevin about that on Oct 2 Meanwhile back home at TSU:

This blog will be of interest to the members on my committees. I'd suppose it's of limited interest to anyone else outside TSU, except perhaps in that it might give you some insight into what we are up to in any number of different areas, as per my TSU 3rd VP profiles as executive liaison this year.

My Committee Meetings:

The following are our initial meetings. The email notices will have gone out for all of them except Joint Medical + Physical Procedures, which I  still need to talk to Rosemary about. At each meeting we need to choose a Chair, a Secretary, and do a budget proposal. I will also review the terms of the committee and provide an overview of this year's work. All meetings are upstairs in the TSU offices on 951 Wilson Ave, starting at 4pm. Dinner and mileage are covered as usual. The committees are:

RAC: Religious Affairs: Monday Sept 24
JHS: Joint Health and Safety: Tuesday Sept 25
Special Education Committee:  Wednesday Sept 26
JMP: Joint Medical Physical Procedures: Thurs Oct 4

JHS members please check your email for your Health + Safety Conference Applications. Submit asap. JHS, JMP + Sped Comm will all be involved soon in a special joint meeting to discuss safety procedures for our AU-DDME classes across the city. Date to be announced. There's a big initiative coming up. I will forward you the letter from Rene.

Sped Comm will also need to set possible dates we can provide to the board superintendents for continuing our discussions on the SPED Issues + Concerns Survey etc. The clause for a new Joint Sped Committee is now included in our initial TSU Contract proposal. There has been a lot of talk about Dept. Head roles, so our Sped Comm meetings will provide us with a good chance to discuss that along with our other priority issues.

I will also be sitting on a few more TCDSB board committees as your TSU liaison this year: NTIP and Mental Health. Other than that, there's JHS, JMP, JSS, and of course here's hoping Sped can become a joint committee too.

General Reminders:

Our first TSU staff rep meeting is Thursday Sept 27. A lot of the meeting will be taken up with MOU and LLSAC/ SSAC issues. It will be an especially important meeting.

Our Staff Reps Retreat is at the Kingsbridge Centre again, on Oct 14-15. Contact Sabina at our office for your room and any other arrangements or questions.

Need to talk to me? Use my personal or board email. We can also arrange to meet personally or talk on the phone of course. I am always open to that except after 9pm. or before 8:15 in the morning, please. I have my cellphone at my disposal, but as you know I am in class and also sometimes all over the city on TSU business, as need be. Text messaging seems to be especially useful for getting hold of me if you'd like to set that up!!!

In solidarity!

David C.

PS: All OECTA members: Please set your "secret Catholic decoder rings" for R.O.M.E. #A6!!! Just kidding....Seeing if I can get a rise from my ETFO and OSSTF readers! ;-)

Monday 17 September 2012

A Vichy Mentality?

Sept 20 daily news links included at the end of this blog.......

As an OECTA member, the many protests when Bill 115 became law last week sure brought back lots of memories from when we were on the teacher front lines during the Harris Years. Being faced with far worse cut backs and threats to the very existence of our union seemed to bring out the best in us all. OECTA's commitment and participation were second to none during the province wide protest strike when all the teacher unions were all out on the streets for 2 weeks. Excellent communications, and organization helped us mobilize our members to rise to protect our jobs and our schools. It was really disheartening to sit back and do nothing now as the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition banded together to strip our contracts and ban key sections of the Ontario Labour Act. I still strongly feel the necessary urge to get out on the streets to protest now too!

We have all seen the MOU [Memo of Understanding] that was reached on July 5th when our members were off on their summer holidays. Unfortunately, many of our TSU [Toronto Secondary Unit] members were unable to attend the OECTA Provincial presentation at Roy Thompson Hall in late August. Many would not even have been aware of it.

I have received many antedoctal reports from our TSU members who were far off in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Others were cottaging without internet or snailmail connections. When they got a phone call, or went into town to check their email, they were totally shocked. There were maybe 4 or 5 info pieces on the members only OECTA Provincial website, which was hardly enough for piece of mind, even if they did have a password to read them. I'm glad if this blogspot was of some help in letting you easily access the great debate and different informative points of view that raged across the province this summer.

As you may know, OECTA TSU will now be holding 3 meetings across the city to hear and answer your questions and concerns. They will be: Oct 1 at Senator O'Connor CSS, Oct 2 at St. Basil's and Oct 3 at Marshal McLuhan. Unfortunately we have not yet received info on whether our Provincial Executive members will be there. My understanding, at present, is that TSU President Rene Jansen will be there instead. I will enquire further at our next executive meeting. One appreciates Rene's effort but does this seem right to you? No, it doesn't seem right to me either, whatever the reason or excuse.

As I mentioned in my last blog, we now know both OECTA TSU and TECT's [Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers] retirement gratuities became little more than collateral damage when the MOU deal was reached. We were among the few OECTA units with retirement gratuities, which we have fought very hard to keep for many years. Our board couldn't believe it's good fortune! Neither unit president voted for the MOU when OECTA Provincial presented it to the local presidents at COP last July. And now? We are told it's a done deal. Basically, our hard  fought gains were a part of the trade off when OECTA provincial decided to gamble with a roll of the political dice on the MOU and the Ontario Liberal party.

No? Am I being disingenuous here? Go check the reader Comments below my blogs from this summer. Listen to your colleagues often deep sense of anger and betrayal around your staffroom table. If anything, I have been accused of going too easy on OECTA Provincial's decision to sign the MOU, as well as our union's lack of participation in the Bill 115 protests. I can accept that. My goal is not to indoctrinate or be pedantic. My blog attempts to provide links to all sorts of info from many different points of view so you can think and decide for yourself about the great controversy we face, even within our own ranks. Let me assure you though, it has not been easy to see provincial sit quietly on the sidelines, outside the forum of action and debate, unlike when we had a gun held to our heads by the Conservatives, and even the NDP in years past.

When OECTA says Bill 115 is unacceptable, that is not enough. I also have to question the letter we were sent by President O'Dwyer after Bill 115 passed into law this week. I posted it in a previous blog. Here is a link, in case you wish to refresh your memory:!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3jDIBNLI2cfIwP30GBjAyNLdyNzc4sgQ3cvI_1wkA6zePdQJ9dQI0N_A3_jQDMDI49QC_

I am uncertain about the tone and underlying message of this letter. Is OECTA just glad Bill 115 is out of the way so we can start local collective bargaining using the MOU? Maybe I am wrong. I hope so. I realize Bill 115 has a time limit to it, that can be extended an extra year. But what a fine tool the Conservatives now have for dismantling us, if as the polls suggest, they were to win the next election. Any strategizing on OECTA's behalf, as with the Liberal party, could soon backfire terribly for us all. Our tried and true friend; the Ontario Labour Act, is now on "pause". Wouldn't it be a horror show if it were "turned off" or gutted and we were left with the Ontario Ministry's Employment Standards. Read these and weep:

OECTA has developed a Vichy Mentality in the recent education crisis. Normally as a teacher union, we can either vigorously oppose or isolate ourselves when we feel powerless to change an unfriendly education policy being forced upon us. At the union level one may protest vigorously or even engage in civil disobedience, like during the Harris Years. Or you could argue you're just too busy at school to worry about this now, and don't want to get involved, like many of our members as of late. On the other hand, if you think Vichy, one will instead cooperate and modify our own policies to appease the perpetrator of our fears in hopes of saving our own butt, or at the least minimalizing the damage. Perhaps we argue a gun is being held to our head and we have no choice but to do so.

Perhaps I stretch the analogy too far. The original reference is to the Vichy Government during WW2, which tried to appease and cooperate with the German invaders as they occupied France. In our sense this does not include the same racial overtones. However, draw your own conclusions about how, or even if, there is a parallel to the OECTA "Road map" and Bill 115. Ouch! This hurts but it needs to be said.

Unfortunately for the Vichy, that didn't later stop the Germans from taking over all of France. The Vichy Mentality is a very risky and dangerous path to follow as the French later found out. Is it unlikely that this could happen to us? Or are we now safe with the Liberals after having signed the MOU? Let me take this one step further. Are you even sure the minority Liberal government will still be around a year from now? Unless they make an about face with us as teachers, which would seem highly unlikely, we had better now darn well hope the NDP insurgence continues to grow, as we sit uselessly on the sidelines of the great political struggle going on all around us as OECTA teachers.

It is very hard for me to say this. I have worked for many years with our leaders up at OECTA Provincial and usually hold them with the utmost of respect. I also worked many years with the Education Minister Laurel Broten when she even fully supported us in the Tory defeat, and fought alongside her to help keep them at bay for nearly ten years since. Still, it is wrong to sit in silence when we think something is wrong. It is our union. We would be in neglect of our ethical responsibilities when hard questions need to be asked, and we don't do so, for the good of us all.

OECTA's MOU agreement on July 5th, and indeed our silence and inaction during the passage of Bill 115, need to be directly addressed by our provincial executive with the membership now! Otherwise we face a great divide between those who support the policies and those who don't which will not just go away, even with the passage of time between now and our spring AGM [Annual General Meeting]. Hopefully we will see some real leadership. It sure would be helpful, in Toronto at least for a start, on Oct 1-3, since we have taken an especially hard blow with the grandfathering of our gratuities. It will be truly sad if our own unit president, who voted against the MOU at the Council of Presidents, is left to explain and answer for OECTA Provincial's actions come Oct 1-3. Let's hope Provincial will meet and communicate more directly and more thoroughly with our members in the days ahead. The window of opportunity for a honest, and constructive membership dialogue is closing fast!

At first Vichy France seemed like a good idea. Are we going the same way with the OECTA "Road Map", and our lack of involvement in the Bill 115 protests?


Thursday Sept 20:

Yes! I corrected the dates. Guess you can tell  I haven't been around school much this week.

Fife + Drums in KW Record as new NDP MPP takes her seat at Queen's Park. She's also using Liz's old constituency office. Liz really could be a pretty good sort herself. See:

Student protests 4 teachers in Ottawa, at school and out front MGuinty's office. See:

Student protests in York Public not 4 teachers, or so frames it. The student movement at Richard Green High School is really interesting, and the Twitter debates go both way, as the students flex their political wings. I am trying to refind the link. Great stuff, but be wary of this articles spin:

Who is using the students as pawns? reprints article from Michael Laxer's blog. A well argued leftie spin. See:

Boo hoo! Waterloo Public board can't hire their friends any more without needing to consider seniority too. Record writer D'Amato tries to frame the issue in a stinkerooni of a neo con reverse argument wherein she is worried that only white people will be hired now. Those big, bad unions! See:

Half the meet the teacher nights are cancelled in Greater Essex Public. Board acknowledges they are strictly voluntary. Teachers do need to be willing to meet parents during the day, of course, and there is this thing called the telephone that the parents can use too. Too sarcastic? Maybe. See:

Hudak's Conservatives sure are holding a lot of nomination meetings between the beer drinking and golfing events as of late. What is he thinking? Hold your nose and go see:

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives latest "thought provoker" is a video on CB as a fundamental right. A Dummy Guide? Ha. This group is pretty good. Go see:

London Free Press Sun Media opinion piece by Brian McLoud sees McGuinty switching back to Premier Dad. He's trying to move the polling numbers back to a more popular + relatively Liberal centre while the NDP and Conservatives fight it out from the extremes. Quit credible regardless of whether McGuinty is successful or not in reversing his bad slide. See:

Arf! Arf! Just 4 fun. Lassie the reading dog to the rescue in literacy fight! Makes 4 a good pet too. Actually, this is pretty interesting, though I just chuckled at first. See:

Lassie Come Home!!! The students need you!!!

Wednesday Sept 19: 

NDP lead provincial polls. Election would result in Tory minority government, a Liberal opposition, + party in 3rd place due to distribution of votes + seats. See:

Toronto Star primer on the teacher dispute. A very general overview for folks who are just starting to wonder what it's all about. Doesn't mention CUPE or support staff. Thanks 4 pointing that out Wendy. See:

With local Windsor OSSTF winning a 95% strike vote, talk of teachers' "ramping up" job actions start to spread. ETFO strategy is to continue to try to negotiate new contract locally as if Bill 115 never happened. Local union goal is to "increase pressure" beyond no extracurriculars + McGuinty Mondays. The Windsor school board director is off to Toronto Monday to meet with MOE. Start reading the tea leaves dear reader! Look for these same sentiments across Ontario as local unit strike votes receive very similiar if not higher numbers of teacher support.

Former ETFO head David Clegg speculates on elementary teacher walkout as local strike vote tallies continue to pour in from across province. Voting should wrap up in early October and then.....? If Liberal cabinet intervenes.....? Ker Booooom! Expect mucho fireworks in weeks ahead. The wick has been lit! See:

Belleville writer group's Colin McKay discusses possibility of a huge general province wide strike in support of the teacher's fight for democracy in opposing Bill 115. Hmmm. I'm thinking back to the 90's..... Widespread labour support, rumoured to include rotating strikes at car factories and nuclear plants didn't materialize in time, as the all affiliate province wide teacher protest strike claiming "We won't back down" collapsed from within. At the time it was the largest in North American history. The province's teachers' were eyeball to eyeball with Tory Premier Mike Harris and, with all due respect, ETFO blinked. Many of us were at the massive Queen's Park Rally that day and can remember the terrible shock when it happened. Just as we were about to go over the top, OECTA-OTF President Marshall Jarvis looked out from behind back stage and waved his head no. Still, that was then and this is now. You figure it out. I'm only an ETFO member in spirit. Read:

For a good place to start, but not end, studying the 1998 protest strike, see the Troublemaker's Website labour history account of strategy and events, which inexplicably doesn't refer to OECTA or ETFO, nor do I see reference to the "Common Front", as our teacher + labour umbrella group was called:

Scott Stinson considers the yays + nays of the no extracurricular strategy, and with reservations decides nay, it will backfire on the teachers. See:

Tuesday Sept 18:

Heeeeeeeeere's Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiim! Hudak's on a real roll now:

He'd also like to fix arbitration so teachers don't win all the time, I 'd suppose even when we are usually right. Seig heil mein fuhrer!? Welcome to the second coming, with Lil' Mike:

Windsor Mayor doesn't think Tim's idea would make arbitration any more fair:

Dalton + Tim pretend they don't know each other. As if. See:

If politics doesn't work out for Dalton maybe he could become a car salesman? See:

Hudak gives up politics to drive a tractor! Guess what he'd be good at raking up? One can only wish! See:

<<<Incorrectly included article on MPP pay raise has been removed. No huge increase.>>>

NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo at the Runnymede CI student Dalton Monday walk out in Toronto: writer Nora Loretto proposes a real radical list of ways to protest Bill 115 in her "Dear Teachers" letter:

Brampton students protest in support of teachers on McGuinty Monday. McGuinty appeals to teachers "better angels." Blech! Gag! You just stripped my CB rights and you want me to do what?!?

Of course a lot of students disapprove too, with extracurricular sports and fundraising being the most recent focus of attention:

ETFO now posts links to media coverage of protest events on their website. Wow. What a great idea! ;-)
Got to love their website. See:

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!