Opening Statement



Friday, 5 October 2012

Weekend Teacher Protest Guide 4

Monday October 8 2012:

Thanksgiving Day in Canada Greetings!!!



Are you off to the turkey races....?

Yup. Thanksgiving comes much earlier in Canada. I think that's because we are further north and so the harvest is earlier. We don't celebrate the pilgrims, unlike our US neighbours, that's pure Americana. The football game is widely watched. Other than that I would say the holiday is more a reflection of our rural roots, and just a great excuse for a holiday with family and friends. Like a good teacher I will try to catch up on my IEPs today. I will probably miss the turkey races again this year. Eh??? There are none?!? Oh well. Enjoy and give thanks for all that is good!

Conservative leader Tim Hudak's Thanksgiving message is a tribute to small business owners. They're fine by me I guess, but I'm glad I'm not stuck at this guy's house for turkey. ZZZZZZZZ! Doesn't he ever give it up? See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2kBF4uWZDs

Ontario NDP party leader Andre Horwath's Facebook page + tweets just have a nice unassuming folksy approach to Thanksgiving with her loved ones on Sunday. Maybe she will do something more official later, but you got to love that about her. See: http://www.facebook.com/AndreaHorwathONDP?ref=stream

Office of the Premier held a Thanksgiving food drive with the different government ministries. See: https://www.premier.gov.on.ca/gallery/gallery.php?essay=30&Lang=EN

Rank + File.ca's arm's length review of the teacher union movement in Ontario as a political force is interesting, though not always accurate in detail. OECTA members are referred to the analysis of our current situation, and the wider effects of the MOU. See: http://rankandfile.ca/?p=385

Rabble.ca has been documenting the OSSTF and ETFO protest actions. Reference is made to an earlier poll showing 79% blame for the Liberals in extracurriculars being cancelled. Included is an interesting analysis of the student protests. I might've posted this link before, dunno, but it is an interesting companion piece to the Rank + File article: http://rabble.ca/news/2012/09/why-ontarios-high-school-student-walkouts-give-me-hope

NDP year in review. That's how long it's been since our last provincial election. Seems like a lifetime ago. See: http://ontariondp.com/en/new-democrats-deliver-real-positive-results-in-year-since-election

Toronto Star opinion piece says Dalton's response to the Drummond Report is just a hodge podge of quick fixes and not a credible plan: http://m.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1267767--dalton-mcguinty-s-austerity-plan-is-a-hodgepodge-of-quick-fixes

For some OECTA protest, read Halton Catholic Elementary updated banner on the bottom of their website at:  http://www.haltonoecta.com/

Richard Brock's Hamilton Catholic Elementary President's Forum in the September edition of the unit's Hilites newsletter cuts to the quick as well. Members tell me he has sent out over two dozen direct communiques to update his membership on their terse situation with OECTA Provincial. If you haven't seen his Hilites message, go to page 2 at: http://www.haltonoecta.com/

The new Disenfranchised OECTA Teachers Facebook page has the following petition it wants circulated at our members' schools. The text is below. You can find the page at: http://www.facebook.com/DisenfranchisedOntarioEnglishCatholicTeachers/info
We are Ontario English Catholic Teachers seeking to have it recorded that:
1. We are not in agreement with the contract stripping provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Provincial Association and the Provincial Government2. We have not been allowed to vote to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with the terms of this agreement which have stripped us of hard fought for rights and robbed
us of hard earned sick days
3. We accept the need for wage restraint and for sharing the burden equitably among teachers.
4. we stand in solidarity with our colleagues in other unions who continue to fight for our rights
  All down the line...................What's next????

TECT should have some interesting news items soon. Halton Catholic Elementary President Richard Brock continues to break OECTA silence with the unit's "Failure to Represent" complaint to the Ontario Labour Board. More on that coming. I have also been expecting some biggies from ETFO and OSSTF which are still coming down the news line too I guess. These are in addition to the news about Jim.....

Thanksgiving isn't exactly a big news day. Enjoy your day! Check back later....



Sunday Oct 7 2012:

Back from our US shopping trip. We crossed at Fort Erie in the morning and returned by Queenston Heights at night. Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in the Walden Galleria was fabulous, as usual. The Factory Outlet Mall was so so but I got a nice fall coat for real cheap. Other than that I hit the Record Theatre music stores and came back with a whack of cds. Basically same price as here, different selection. Janet found some tops and a nifty handbag for next time we go out. Our Canadian dollar is at parity plus. Canucks are everywhere and the Yanks seemed very glad to see us. We claimed what we bought at Canadian Customs and got waved through. Seems to me there is about a 1 in 5 if not more chance you won't be charged customs, if you are up front. When you do have to pay it is usually just the taxes you would've had have paid in Canada anyway. Quite frankly though, with apologies to my US readers, Niagara Falls/ Buffalo looks real run down, and tired. There's big cracks in the freeways. Boarded up store fronts and homes everywhere. The shopping is probably, on the whole, not any big deal anymore. On average it seems just as cheap and there's just as good a selection in Canada, though clothing, books and food remain a better deal. Customs will tax you on booze and tobacco at the border. 

Off on a cross border shopping trip.....



The Peace Bridge Fort Erie: Cross border shopping......
IN THE NEWS: 

OECTA Halton Elementary will be holding an MOU vote! It will be interesting to learn the results.

Next time you feel weary of the good fight in Ontario consider this: A description of the effects of defunding arts and humanities, public school and library cuts, and charter schools in Louisiana USA.  There is a lot more to our struggle than a wage freeze. See the article, check out the readers response, sing "O Canada", and weep: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/10/06/eliminating-libraries-is-reform/ 

Our Ontario teacher protest against Bill 115 is about a lot more than wages. It is a struggle to protect our democratic rights. This must not get lost in the public debate. Flamborough Review letter to the editor nails the real issue down most succinctly. See: http://www.flamboroughreview.com/opinion/teacher-protest-about-more-than-wages/

World Teacher Day celebrations continue around the world. Check out this UNESCO chart: http://www.worldteachersday.org/map/

Stage 1 of McGuinty's efforts at provincial economic reform is bogged down in labour unrest over wage freezes. That's good, but hey! What's Stage 2???? Remember that talk about "Grid + Pension Reform"Martin Regg Cohn doesn't say. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1267902--cohn-labour-confrontation-threatens-ontario-s-transformation

On the first year anniversary of his Liberal "major minority" government election win McGuinty now speaks of a "majority opposition". I'm not sure that's a bad thing. With a minority government there is more give and take. Short of a viable NDP win, it might not be a bad place to be parked for the time being, as long as the teacher protest momentum keeps public support on side. Anyway, for the QP year in review see: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1267945--election-anniversary-premier-dalton-mcguinty-learns-the-hard-way-that-minority-government-can

See ILO [International Labour Organization] Director General Gus Ryder's World Teacher Day address on Youtube. Do not underestimate the importance of our solidarity with labour in the difficult period ahead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W068U7s8Kk

This Twitter photo says "Thanksgiving" to me. Pure rural Ontario roots. Of course I was born in Toronto and have lived here in the city most of my life. I can remember visiting family out in the countryside as a young boy though. And I have seen this whole rural thing every time I drive north of Steeles Ave [more or less]. Ahh well! Who am I kidding? In my mind's eye I am here anyway:  http://instagram.com/p/QeZvDEFWRn/

Here's a truly stunning Canadian Thanksgiving slideshow. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2kBF4uWZDs

By the way, save this link to see live and archival broadcasts from the Queen's Park legislature next time things start to politically hop: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/go2.jsp?Page=/webcast/webcast_main&locale=en&menuItem=dandp_webcast

Still nothing new I can say about our OECTA situation but please know ALOT of our members are real  %#@$! fed up!!!*

Saturday Oct 6 2012:

Happy Thanksgiving Day Weekend!



I'm pretty much incommunicado today, but I will be around for most of the weekend, to update my news links as need be. For my non-Canadian readers, this is our Thanksgiving weekend. I've been checking my teacher and union news sources and it is incredibly slow. A lot of us will be enjoying some well earned downtime with family. A happy thanksgiving to you all!

I have added some important updates below.

Friday October 5:

Happy UNESCO World Teachers Day Everybody!



OECTA Celebrates World Teachers Day: Great teachers' spark students' great ideas. A teacher's social justice initiative with her Religion class, resulting in today's "Just" Docs Media Festival in Toronto, is highlighted. See: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1046737/extraordinary-teachers-spark-students-great-ideas

OTF [Ontario Teachers Federation] toasts World Teachers Day! Teacher excellence in Ontario is highlighted. See: 92% of OSSTF/FEESO 60,000 members from across the province of Otario have voted in support of strike action. See: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/osstf-feeso-members-show-solidarity-with-strong-strike-vote-mandate-across-province-1709004.htm

OSSTF's World Teacher message is timely. It focuses on this year's theme. Take a stand indeed! One looks forward to today's protest reports. I will continue to post them here throughout the weekend. See: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/osstf-feeso-encourages-ontario-to-stand-up-for-educators-on-world-teachers-day-2012-1709227.htm

Ditto ETFO's teachers stand up for democracy on World Teachers Day focus. See: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1047763/ontario-teachers-stand-up-for-democracy-on-world-teacher-day

Expect a major OECTA news announcement coming soon. Please stay tuned, I will post the info with commentary as soon
as it is made public. *

92% of OSSTF/FEESO's 60,000 members from across the province of Otario have voted in support of strike action. See: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/osstf-feeso-members-show-solidarity-with-strong-strike-vote-mandate-across-province-1709004.htm

Middlefield staff dressed for Black Fridaywww.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=106856578&l=2263df5c87&id=150297224983708

ETFO ETT [Elementary Teachers of Toronto] pack Metro Convention Centre for strike vote. See: https://twitter.com/ElemTeachersTO/status/253960701511602176/photo/1

ETFO ETT votes 96.2% for strike action. See Facebook photos at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.428405103889723.104488.165777096819193&type=1

Great new OSSTF "Democracy" flyer posted on Facebook. Properly done, one can reach more readers when we post online with links rather than by wasting paper. Of course others can copy and print if need be, or just forward the link. See: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=106856472&l=7b0e22c223&id=150297224983708

I have seen the rough draft for the new OECTA TSU "Highlights" newsletter. Expect some great MOU articles that will rock the house! JC's petition from PJ2  is a bombshell! Ka-Boom!!! Provincial President O'Dwyer is being left space to reply, for the final print copy, expected to arrive soon in your mailbox at school. "Councillor Bianka Hudek and the "Highlights" Committee were still working late on Highlights last night as I left the office. Stay tuned!

* It's no secret, except for many of our own members! The sad truth is that OECTA, since July 5th, has become a badly divided union. We have alienated our fellow teacher and labour unions across the province. Widespread internal opposition exists in large pockets, all kept separate and in the dark about what is happening in the other units. Little communication comes from the provincial office but a spartan handful of vague official statements and handouts. At one stop in the President's Q+A Roadshow undercover guards had to accompany him into the forum. Last night, in Ottawa, speaker after speaker rose to demand his resignation. His reply was , "No."  There seems to be nobody to step up to give proper voice to the dissent and prevent us from falling further into the deep dark chasm of division and strife that surrounds OECTA, in this, our union's darkest hour. Those who try usually get silenced. Clearly the situation is out of control. We must ask ourselves, what next?!? Stay tuned to my blog. I thought I would have a special news announcement for you by tonight. I have agreed to sit on the story until it is made public so as to not inadvertently add to the confusion.You WON'T be disappointed!....................In Solidarity!  David C



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