Opening Statement



Monday, 29 October 2012

Ontario Teacher Weekly News + Hurricane Watch!

I will continue to post my news links here for the rest of the week. You can keep checking back. I update them regularly.

Dear teacher readers! There was virtually no Ontario Political news during the hurricane except for a few odd links, but there sure is now! I will continue to add these here with the hurricane news links for convenience sake.



OK! I got him to put on a top!

Really bad Halloween Costumes? Last chance to see. Scroll way down below this blog column if you so want! Going, going, gone...

November 4, 2012: Updated Sunday evening again:

We enjoy an evening out with friends for dinner and a show. Eliadis Ochoa a virtual musical legend in Cuba was performing at the Danforth Music Hall with his 7 piece touring band. It was a fabulous night of traditional Cuban music. His speciality is Son Montuno,  the tradition  song style of Santiago de Cuba. I have seen him just sitting around and playing at the Casa De Trovo/ House of Music when I visit there on Cuban School Project business. Have said hello to him before but of course he wouldn't remember me. 



Here's Cuban music legend Eliadis Ochoa playing the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday night.

After joining the Buena Vista Social Club Eliadis became an international hit. He still lives in Cuba but is on the road a lot. It was a wonderful diversion. Even better in a small club in Santiago with the locals, sipping expresso instead of having a midday siesta when it gets to hot to go outside. Likewise during the evening after sunset when it's a bit cooler and the whole city comes alive. No matter! We enjoyed a great night of Cuban music right here in Toronto!


Eliadis Ochoa and I after the show. That's his trademark hat he is wearing.


I was at the Draft Kennedy meeting this afternoon. I'll write about it tomorrow. 

I've been really run down lately. The doctor told me to cut back on work and taking on too many things while he does some tests. It's hard but he did say a relaxing evening out not thinking, talking or doing anything with school or union might help. Not a single word was spoken about either tonight. Actually it was quite a pleasant change of pace, but I know I always have school + union running through my veins. Unless of course it's summer and I am diving or laying on a beach down south.

Glen Murray quits OLP cabinet on Saturday:  http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/glen-murray-quits-cabinet-door-opens-to-possible-ont-liberal-leadership-bid-1.1023220

Here's the CTV report. Notice how they point out he is gay. Is every candidates sexual preferences going to be listed? So then whats this all about? Seehttp://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2667249035907855270#editor/target=post;postID=6937992377326713795

Glen Murray invites you to Maple Leaf Gardens at 11am tomorrow for his special announcements. Details at:  http://www.facebook.com/MPPGlenMurray

Hey! City TV's spelling skills are as bad as mine!

Huffington Canada adds some meat to the story by publishing Murray's leadership platform: tax cuts for the middle class and "no money down" university tuition. See: http://www.huffstrategy.com/MediaManager/release/Glen-Murray-MPP-Toronto-Centre/4-11-12/Glen-Murray-Enters-Ontario-Liberal-Leader

George Smitherman and his son attend the Murray launch. Will we get news reports now on what George likes to do in bed too?! See: https://twitter.com/suntooz/status/265124138866311169/photo/1

University students protest outside the door while Murray announces his leadership bid. See: https://twitter.com/suntooz/status/265122914918076417/photo/1

Premiers Office announces another cabinet shuffle. MPP Jim Malloy adds Ministry of Training Colleges + Universities: http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2012/11/changes-to-ontarios-cabinet---november-3-2012.html

Globe + Mail reminds folks OSSTF is set to withdraw services this Wednesday Nov 17: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/ontario-high-school-teachers-set-to-withdraw-services-wednesday/article4902786/#

There's no donor limits in the leadership race! Money talks? See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1282445--cohn-in-ontario-politics-money-talks

Peter Tabuns tweets that the ONDP has unanimously voted to repeal Bill 115. A very smart move if you wants teacher support! Liberals need to learn how to say bye-bye!

Forum Research Poll shows half of Ontarians oppose Catholic school funding, but those polled a soft vote compare to those who support it. See the breakdown and commentary for yourself at:
http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/politics/archives/2012/11/20121103-144524.html

Dalton yammers on about legislative shenanigans and ringing bells as the reason for prorogation. Says after 22 years of politics, life was just becoming noise to him. He's thankful for his family standing by him. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/02/pol-mcguinty-exit-interview-the-house.html?cmp=rss&



OSSTF's Ken Coran: Is there some substantial backroom shuffling going on prior to his Nov 7 deadline between the unions and the boards? So far the MOE claims it hasn't seen anything official yet.

OSSTF
plays hardball as Nov 7th approaches? It would be good strategy! Coran claims the crisis could be over in an hour if the benefit plan can be revamped. Hmmm. Would want more info on this. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1282454--ontario-teachers-union-pitches-revamped-benefit-plan-in-bid-to-end-labour-logjam#.UJZmQH

Toronto Sun article speculates OSSTF + MOE log jam might be averted if the MOE agrees with the outcome of an OSSTF plan to talk to a number of boards on how to find other ways to reduce government debt, like with the benefit plan. For some reason I have always believed that was all ready included in the OECTA PDT deal anyway, and assumed it would also automatically include the other affiliates in a new joint teacher controlled benefit plan. Huh. Go figure. More details please! See: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/03/talks-may-avert-school-strike-action?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Talks+may+avert

November 3, 2012

Remember that Day Light Savings Time takes effect at 2am Sunday! My watch is already off a day, now this again! There's all those tiny little button one's got to click a kazillion times just to see the correct tiny little date. Now I'm going to be poking at it the darn thing again + again so I'm not an hour off..... Whoa! Is this what they call a senior moment?!? ;-)


The Toronto Sun dedicates every song at the Newsapalooza charity drive to Toronto Councillor Doug Ford who jokes that a missing reporter from one of the other papers must be off "stalking" his brother Mayor Rob Ford again. Okay, everyday laugh at once now! Ah one ... ah two:  Har. Har. Har.

The Ford administration is a terribly sad joke. Unbelievable! This week I dropped by Toronto City Council Chambers for a few minutes on my way to an appointment. No mayor present but Councillor Nunziata sat in as speaker. During the vote on a quite procedurally sensible challenge to the chair she kept making snide nasty right wing jokes about how the various councillors were going to vote. She won the vote 16 to 9! 

When Doug Ford then got up to speak he started making sexist comments and jokes about a female councillor who happened to walk past him, calling her "hon[ey]" and making lewd references about her "backside". She got into a yelling match with him but that was the end of that. I kid you not!


I later read in the news that Mayor Rob Ford was absent from council duty coaching his high school football team. He even got them a TTC bus to go to the game! What me worry? Rob will just shrug and say that the "pinkos" are picking on him again if anyone complains. His "Ford Nation"; the winning majority of Torontonians will loyally agree no matter what he does.

The situation is way beyond bizarre. I seriously wonder if Gerrard Kennedy wouldn't be better off saving his political capital for running against Mayor Ford in 2014 rather than using the last of it all up in a long shot at the OLP leadership race? We certainly could use him here in at Toronto city hall city. I'm sure it would be a hilarious race, and Gerrard would have the last laugh. It's a no brainer.

BTW be forewarned, if you don't know all ready: Doug Ford is very interested in a PC seat at Queens Park if a provincial election is held this spring, which is pretty much a given! He's the family "brain trust", so to speak, plus he has a solid electorate base in brother Robs old ward!

For a photo of Doug "Har Har" Ford so you will recognize him next time he's around see: https://twitter.com/robertbenzie/status/264558058863210496/photo/1

Good news? Education critic Peter Tabuns reports the ONDP Provincial Council is underway today with a packed house and a lively debate. See: https://twitter.com/Peter_Tabuns/status/264740556461178881/photo/1

November 2, 2012


Join me for a cyber night cap! Or even brunch if you are reading this on Saturday. Events from earlier today follow below. There have been a few more news links since then:

A cabinet shuffle quickly follows the Wynne announcements today: Bob Chiarelli takes on Municipal Affairs from Wynne. He keeps Transportation and Infrastructure. Bentley picks up Aboriginal Affairs on top of his Energy portfolio. No extra DuGuid appointments yet. See the notice from the Premiers Officehttp://www.premier.gov.on.ca/news/event.php?via=RSS&ItemID=22494&Lang=EN

Meet the cabinet: a handy reference list of names + portfolios:  http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/team/index.php?Lang=EN

Draft Kennedy meets 1-2pm  Saturday Nov.3 at Bloor + Keele. Here's the invite +details.
Dunno if I will go just to check it out or not but if you are interested: http://liberalvision.ca/

Invites were also sent and withdrawn to Liberal staffers but the meeting is still scheduled to proceed. Here's a pretty good overview on the pro's and con's of a Kennedy run: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/kennedy-supporters-try-and-fail-to-gauge-support-for-a-leadership-run/article4879501

Here's an article which just basically re-states the Wynne dilemma I was commenting on earlier. See:
http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/kathleen-wynne-likely-to-take-liberals-to-the-left/article4806910/?service=mobile


Justin Trudeau as the "New Kid in Town". Which shoot out will the Liberal guns stick around for? Provincial? Federal?

The Stars Thomas Walkom figures Liberal politicos will be writing off Ontario for a better chance federally with Justin Trudeau. IMHO a pretty big gamble either way requiring years of hard work to restore the Liberal brand. See: http://m.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1281956--walkom-dalton-mcguinty-s-successor-inherits-a-mess-while-justin-trudeau-gets-a-gift

The Globe + Mail seems in a race with the Toronto Sun to become top scandal sheet as the Liberal power plant debacle continues to unravel with the legislature prorogued: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-liberals-were-stumped-over-how-to-kill-power-plant/article4851392/

You can join Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath's Facebook page for more upbeat news. Let's hope the dippers get a solid plan in place if an election shift is coming their way this spring so it isn't 1990 all over again. See: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaHorwathONDP


Clint was kool! Dalton? Not! What do they have in common? Both B Grade Western Stars? Read on...

McGuinty provides a media interview. Yup. Duelin' Dalton is still in the premiers saddle until after the OLP leadership conference. Hee Haw! See: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaHorwathONDP

A Globe + Mail editorial again calls for Dalton to recall the legislature rather than subvert democracy to cover up the scandals. I suppose Dalton thinks he can escape the parliamentary watch guards as he rides off into the Liberal sunset, in this B-Grade Western that just keeps going on and on and on: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/editorials/more-than-ever-dalton-mcguinty-needs-to-recall-ontarios-legislature/article4852915 

We get our 10 free online news link reads with the Globe + Mail again since it's the start of a new month. Like last month I'm going to just stop using them after I reach 10. You decide which 10 you will read. You decide if you want to pay more. Today's links are okay  if power plant scandals are what interest you the most. I myself don't think the Globe is worth $20 a month even with the 99 cent one month trial offer when there are just so any other online news sources we use. The main stream media just doesn't seem to get the on line paradigm shift that's occurring with when they defensively resort to these types of old school business models. Quite frankly the Huffington Post Canada is way more interesting these days and it's free! Anyway: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/editorials/more-than-ever-dalton-mcguinty-needs-to-recall-ontarios-legislature/article4852915


EARLIER TODAY:

News Flash! Kathleen Wynne resigned from cabinet this morning! Expect her OLP leadership bid kick off Monday, possibly 5:30pm at the Japanese Cultural Centre.Wonder if the timing is related to the poll below? Anyway, the Toronto Star is dropping names over who will be next. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1281517--kathleen-wynne-resigns-from-ontario-cabinet

OECTA TSU has worked on Kathleen Wynnes Don Valley West election campaigns since before the 2003 provincial election. In the past she has enjoyed the support of a virtual "army of teacher" as the news reports at the time said. She was in regular contact with OECTA throughout her term as Minister of Education, and was the assistant to Education Ministers Gerrard Kennedy, and I believe Sandra Pupatello after him. Those were quite different Liberal times though. One suspects she will have a difficult tight rope walk straddling both the OLP right and left of centre to win enough support to sustain her in the possible case of multiple run off votes during the leadership convention ahead. For the most part she has usually been very much to the Liberal left as a progressive although her comments and support of the MOU process and Bill 115 have been politically vague and very much open to interpretation. It would be up to OECTA TSU PAC and OECTA Provincial Government Relations to investigate and advise our TSU executive as we consider where we would place TSU strategic support in the days ahead. IMHO, whichever way it goes, best wishes Kathleen Wynne. I'm sure you know what the teachers of Ontario will want. Do it. Good luck!


OK: An interesting OLP leader bid, but how much will she actually distance herself from McGuinty on collective bargaining?

Footnote: The Premier couldn't wait past lunch to spill the beans that it's official: Wynnes going to run. Okay, no big secret to figure out but should he be announcing that?!? He's obviously eager as a beaver to let everyone know that yes! Somebody is finally going to run for OLP leader! Regretfully, while listing off her many portfolios he couldn't remember Transportation. Hmmm. Did his tongue got the better of him? His tact?

More Flash!! OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer has announced he will run for re-election at this Springs AGM! We now have a two way race between him and Past President James Ryan. It should make for a very good debate on a lot of MOU issues of great interest and importance to our membership. Agree or disagree with Kevin, one must respect his tenacity and sign of good character in running again. Actually, this is getting pretty exciting now! Enough of all the silence! However, just a word of warning dear reader: Don't expect the public campaigning to start just quite yet.


 OECTA slugfest? KO verses JR: Which way will the Spring AGM votes go? Best wishes guys!

Have you checked out Steve Paikin's Agenda request for your advice on Bill 115 yet? What's that???Bill 115 isn't quite the best thing since toast with peanut butter and jelly? Then go to: http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/we-want-your-advice-bill-115

Forum Research Poll shows Gerrard Kennedy is the most popular choice for OLP leadership bid at 22%. Kathleen Wynne was at 16%, Glen Murray tied her at 16% Pupatello at 15%, as was Deb Matthews + Laurel Broten. Eric Hoskins lead them all at 17%. When polled against the other party leaders here were the results: PC Hudak 33%, NDP Horwath  28% and Green Party Shreiner 6%. Hmmm. I'd be careful. These numbers seem to be in flux, last poll showed Horwath leading Hudak by a respectable lead.

It seem this is just a public opinion poll so a lot might be based upon name recognition outside of the political circles who actually vote. It's still pretty early in the game for either the Jan 25 OLP leadership conference or a spring election when all the PR [Public Relations] machines get primed up and running. One also recalls that Kennedy earlier said he was going to run municipally against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford instead. It's interesting that despite all the news hoopla about Wynne and Pupatello they are both tied for third. The article speculates Kennedy comes without baggage and represents the golden age of the OLP before everything hit the fan. Anyway read the tea leaves for yourself at: http://m.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1281353--liberal-leadership-kennedy-top-pick-to-replace-mcguinty-poll-shows


GK: C'mon! Please! Prime Minster? Premier? Mayor? Something...anything okay?????? ;-)

The Ottawa Citizen reports on a lot of parents surprise and dismay in coaching and supervising after school extracurriculars themselves, especially in terms of the L word: Liability. Definitely a teachable moment! ;-) See: http://m.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1281353--liberal-leadership-kennedy-top-pick-to-replace-mcguinty-poll-shows

KW Record editorial emphasizes the need for a wage freeze. Apparently it could still save McGuinty legacy [!?] Could somebody please have NDP MPP Catherine Fife go talk to them! See: http://www.therecord.com/opinion/editorial/article/828424--mcguinty-faces-a-final-challenge


MPP Catherine Fife: "McGuinty could improve his legacy by doing what?!?!"

Toronto Winter Alert! @#%$!@#$%@Snow flurries as close as Barry + Lake Simcoe this morning!

November 1, 2012

There are some late additions to today's post! Thanks for the Agenda Bill 115 discussion link Lisa! See below;

By the way: There was a total of 9079 reader visits to this site in October!

Who's next? Education Minister Laurel Broten announces she will not run for OLP party leadership. Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynnes office says not to expect an announcement today. She has business to do in cabinet. CBC news on alert anyway. So far still all "nays". Nobody is willing to say they will do it. Hmmmmm.

There is a lot going on behind the scenes today, including at Day 2 of the OECTA COP [Council of Presidents], 2 biggies I am sitting on out of respect. Everybody seems to be lining up their ducks and is worried I am going to tell, then it might blow it for them. No. That's not how I work. Remember, what I report is within the public domain. I will go there but here's betting I don't get in. Just a hunch. Hope I am wrong. [PS: I was either very warmly greeted or else given the cold shoulder, but most everyone was at least polite. Also seemed to me like they were all walking on eggshells too but that had little if anything to do with my being there. Whew! I was almost glad I didn't have to stick around, and indeed was soon back off to my doctors appointment. Managed to have a good talk with President Brock before I left.]

York Region.com's Kim Zarzour knocks one out of the ball park in her report on OECTA York and OECTA Halton. Possibly two different threads here. York President Liz Stuart, Halton's Bad Boy Brock, ETFO York's David Clegg, OECTA Provincial's Kevin O'Dwyer are all quoted. This article is a biggie in putting together all the pieces of what is actually going on. See: http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1528266--strike-action-looming-at-public-schools

A very insightful piece by Adam Radwanski who argues that the Wynne verses Pupatello left wing verses right wing struggle means both candidates need to tread carefully in case the leadership convention comes down to 2nd, 3rd, or 4th votes in a tight multiple ballot race. How does one position oneself in terms of the McGuinty record without cheesing too many Liberals off, so they absolutely will not vote for you? Deb Matthews and [surprise] John Wilkinson are playing "wait to see". Remember Dalton wasn't  most conventioneers first choice for leader but he won, as a compromise candidate, defeating Gerard Kennedy in 1996. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/kathleen-wynne-likely-to-take-liberals-to-the-left/article4806910/?cmpid=rss1

By the way, Tom Allison will be Wynne's campaign manager. He's pulled off a hat trick with Laurel Broten in Etobicoke Lakeshore last three elections. There's more; he definitely knows his stuff and is very interesting to work with on a campaign. He's a low key but heavy hitter.

All eyes on Sandra Pupatello now. Is it a loosing proposition she will want to risk? See: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/11/01/pupatello-liberal-leadership-race/

One still wonders if the Liberal manoeuvring isn't like moving the deck chairs about the Titantic. Still, up until the past year the party had an excellent teacher rating, and it's still not clear if the NDP popular support will result in enough legislative seats to prevent a Conservative government with Tim Hudak calling the shots Mike Harris redux style. Not a pleasant prospect for us. My advice? Time just to watch everybody very, very carefully for now.

NDP's Catherine Fife notes legislature still locked. Seems they have removed the ridiculous chains though. Whoopee! Fife soldiers on. See: http://twitter.yfrog.com/nwnzyrgj

Steve Paikin's Agenda seeks your advice on Bill 115! Weigh in now at: http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/we-want-your-advice-bill-115

Primary sources? Here is the complete text of Bill 115: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?BillID=2665

October 31, 2012
Brad DuGuid announces he will not run in the OLP leadership race. I'm watching this live on CITY Pulse. He's been a big disappointment as of late. Sparky Stelmacovich and I lobbied him at great length for TSU PAC to include teachers in the Safe School acts via labour legislation. I'm sure others did too. Anyway, we got this from him with the Bill 168: Health and Safety Act. A lot of folk still don't seem to understand its full implications. Brad was always a good spirited lad to meet and chat with but policy wise he does have a Liberal right wing bent. Then there's the gas plant scandal. He will stay in cabinet, run for MPP again, and will not endorse anyone at present but spoke very highly about the Liberal women's caucus. Watch for him to get a cabinet promotion when others step aside to run. Methinks the announcements have been delayed because of Sandy, but Dalton did make it known he wanted the leader hopefuls to do so this week ostensibly so he can reorganize cabinet. Stay tuned.


Brad DuGuid won't make OLP leadership bid. OK. So who will? Going once! Going twice.......

Brantford Expositor [!?] reports Lib House Speaker Dave Levac won't run for leader either!


House Leader Dave Levac: OLP Leadership hopeful? Nope. It's official. Anyway, he's all ready got a good seat.

OLP Dipper Deb Matthews says she is still talking with people but hasn't put together a team. C'mon now toots! The chief says times running out! Are you running or not? Quite frankly it sounds increasingly unlikely.
Both the OLP right and left can duke it out between Pupatello and Wynne. Unless Pupatello declines soon my guess is Matthews isn't going to crowd the field or hurry Wynne. Photo at:
https://twitter.com/reevesreport/status/263673931473514496/photo/1

Or..............doesn't anyone want to be OLP party leader?!? See: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/31/scott-stinson-two-more-liberals-decline-the-honour-of-leading-the-struggling-party/

OSSTF D12 teacher sets Toronto Star straight on false claim teachers won't be talking to parents. See: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/1279313--try-shutting-up-the-teachers

OLP cabinet meeting ends around 2pm today. More announcements to follow? Stay tuned.....

Toronto Stars Robert Benzie interviews McGuinty on what went wrong + right. Dalton regrets that with 20/20 hindsight mistakes were made. Points out accomplishments, including 25% pay raise for teachers and a great education system. His "level of understanding" argument about government relations with the teachers unions mystifies me. To OECTAs credit there had been a lot of very constructive dialogue over the past 9 years and then this spring the MOE pulls out a gun to our heads?!? See: http://m.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1280064--dalton-mcguinty-regrets-how-teachers-unions-were-handled

All three Ontario Political Partys finally agree on one thing! Heft severance pay packages for MPP's. Sigh. Alas. Hey! What about us??? See: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/politics/archives/2012/10/20121031-183233.html

James Cardinal McGuighan CSS remains the only school closed by the power outages in Toronto. The AU-DDME Halloween Party was scheduled for today, with students from our neighbourhood schools and a magician coming! I know the school well. [20 years] There have been blackouts before. When subway construction reached nearby Finch and Keele the ground was dug up and the hydro wires, pipes etc moved around the new tunnel. It tied up traffic for the better part of a school year. Then the tunnel flooded and the workers had to dig it up all over again. There was an underground river below! I've mentioned before that there is a sixth great lake under southern Ontario, but no matter for now. There have been school power outages before, some fumes. Two workers died just north of Keele in the tunnel pit. A great little school, with some serious setbacks over the years that the staff has always soldiered through, for our love of the students. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/10/31/toronto-sandy-cleanup.html


Visit the new Steve Hnatiuk memorial garden out front of James Cardinal McGuigan CSS!

A wonderful peace garden has been built out front James Cardinal McGuigan in memory of teacher and coach Steve Hnatiuk who fought bravely against cancer while he was still in his prime. If you are near the school at Jane and Finch drop by to see it and maybe rest awhile. It is very pleasant and a fitting tribute to a young teacher who is very much missed by students + staff alike! For my blog with the story see: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/01/steve-hnatiuk-jcm-teacher-coach.html


Tim Hudak takes mom + dad to the legislature today.  Ooops! It's closed but we can check out all the neat paintings!

The Brampton Guardian reports a vice principal was busted in his school parking lot at 2:54 pm Tuesday and charged with drug possession and impaired driving. Boy, what was he on? Betcha it's a real stressful school to teach at, a toxic workplace environment et al. There are a lot like that nowadays. Bill 168 Health + Safety will in time help sort the problems out, and we're not just talking power outages, fumes and deteriorating infrastructure either. Whoa still! See: http://www.bramptonguardian.com/news/police/article/1525170


HurriCanada time again: Here is how hurricanes get their names. A primer if anybody doesn't know. Might even be good to use at school. A teachable moment? See: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/30/hurricane-names_n_2040277.html

Ditto. Environmental climatologist David Phillips says the real story behind the story of Hurricane Sandy is climate change. You can read about it and download the podcast from Huffington Canada at: http://digitaldogpodcast.com/climate-change-canadas-uncomfortable-truth-podcast/

Hurricane Politics Revisited! See my commentary below from yesterday and consider:



President Obama is praised for his handling of crisis. Romney is relatively silent. Remember the FEMA crisis in New Orleans during the Republican watch? With the election next week Barrack is not letting that be forgotten either. Donald Trump gets a lot of push back for his "Your Fired" obsession with Obama. IMHO it's about time someone stood up to the corporate control freak. Read: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1280062--u-s-election-obama-praised-for-handling-of-crisis

"This storm is not yet over." President Obama becomes Commander of Chief of America in it's hour of need with a personal touch, seems quite sincere. Yowza! He gets it! Hi comments are a little heavy on the "ahs" and "ands" but lets not nitpick. This could potentially give him a good bump in the polls as the US election  heads into the homestretch. See the video on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/president-obama-this-orm-is-not-yet-over/2012/10/30/92832601-62b2-4a8b-a8ed-33ac952a0

Republican contender Mitt Romney stumbles on FEMA [Federal Emegencies...] questions by refusing to answer them. Not very take charge or sympathetic at all. Ouch! This could hurt his election fortunes in the horse race to the finish line. Read the story and see a video:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/mitt-romney-fema_n_2044213.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada

Meanwhile back in Ontario Canada. It could be a good opportunity for Andrea Horwath to demonstrate her "Premier Mom" skills . Hudak to look and sound like an idiot. Maybe even for Dalton to save some face. Not much yet still, but lets see......


Will the NDP's Andrea Horwath step up to show us Premier Mom in action?

More on the paywall for internet news links. Rosie DiManno speaks out for the Toronto Star in defending its "move forward" in 2013 like the Globe + Mail. A rather prickly style to her piece and a very odd digression about how they once fired her even though she would've worked for free. Rosie then went to work in a massage parlour instead [!?]. Anyway, as far as the paywall goes, let's consider both points of view even though I'm still pretty ticked. See my diatribe yesterday. Read: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1280020--dimanno-star-introduces-pay-wall-because-it-costs-big-bucks-to-put-out-a-decent-paper

Confirmation: Yes this blog is watched at the MOE. Hello! Behave yourselves!

Teacher do's and don'ts? For some hot tips check out the calamity teacher blog! ;-) http://calamityteacher.blogspot.co.uk/

Just a thought! ;-) The Criteria for the next Liberal Party leader? Give the people what they want? In a highly developed country like Canada possibly 10% max can identify 3 or more issues in the news. 30% might be able to identify 1 to 2 max. The rest? Most folk only can tell you whats going on in their own daily lives or each others. Not politics! Not issues! Besides that here is a Youtube link of what they really like. Actually the video and song are kind of catchy, pop culture usually is, while also being quite reflective of our every day life, times, fantasy's and whatnot. So I had a great idea! The OLP leadership convention should be run like a dance show on t.v. where you can phone in to vote for whoever you think does best! We could do the same at our spring OECTA AGM: Kevin O'Dwyer verses James Ryan! This Gangnam video currently has way over a million hits on Youtube and is the number one song in 30 countries around the world. Go Kevin! Go James! Go Sandra! Go Kathleen .......er  ...er...you too Andrea and Tim! Lots of folks will vote! You'll see! Skip the ad and beware the false ending. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

Save yourself all the reading, thinking and grief. Here's all you really need to know:


It can't happen here? Saskatchewan pet owners warned not to perform DIY [Do it yourself] surgery on their pets, especially neutering! OMG! No! No! No! See: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/30/sasktchewan-spca-encourages-saskatoon-pet-owners-to-refrain-from-do-it-yourself-pet-surgeries_n_2047421.html


DIY pet surgery to cut costs? Leave it to the pros! Your pet will thank you!

October 30, 2012

Teacher News first, then the Hurricane:

TVO  Agenda video of 2 lawyers discussing what Bill 115 will mean for Ontario. See: http://theagenda.tvo.org/episode/184105/the-ontario-we-want

George Smitherman declines leadership bid. Thinks candidates should show pride in Liberal achievements. See: http://georgesmithermantoronto.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/smitherman-bows-out-of-liberal-leadership-race-final-30oct12.pdf

How do they do it? The inside story on how the McGuinty news story was covered by the Toronto Star.

Fascinating inside report on how the Toronto Star Special Edition on McGuinty's resignation + prorogation was put together on short notice. Tells how they get their info and what they did. Remember, this has a lot of influence on how regular everyday folk view what happens. See: http://j-source.ca/article/prorogation-resignation-consternation-how-toronto-star-handled-mcguintys-bombshell?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Liberal resignations cost us $800,000 in severance pay. Christina Blizzard asks Sandra Pupatello if she will pay hers back if she re-enters Ontario politics with a Liberal leadership bid. Ha. See: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/archives/sunnews/straighttalk/2012/10/20121030-195648.html

Liberal Event calender asks you to attend their next event in your neighbourhood. Hmmm. Here they all are! Any bright ideas? See: http://www.ontarioliberal.ca/GetInvolved/FindanEvent.aspx

Former PC Education Minister Janet Ecker explains the difference between the government and  union policy making in the education portfolio. I have had a standing contest to see how many political figures I can get my picture with, the good, the bad and the ugly, for about the last 12 years. Janet thought it up. I often meet quite a few in my various teacher union advisory roles. Janet had the bright idea to see how many photos I can get. Ha! All they can say is no. I've got quite a few. Ecker is the only one whom ever asked who the heck I was first! See: http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/primer-former-education-minister

Son of PET, Justin Trudeau gives a well considered address on the decline of the middle class in Canada. He's pretty good at speeches. Remember his eulogy at Pierre's funeral? Really stirred the ol' cockles o' ones heart. See: http://m.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1280029--canadian-middle-class-left-out-of-the-growth-equation

Green Party addresses letter on the Canada-China Investment Treaty to Premier McGuinty. Kind of explains the "China takes over Canada" hysteria I wrote about earlier. Seehttp://www.gpo.ca/blog/2012-10-29/open-letter-premier-mcguinty-protect-ontario-china-investment-treaty


Comrade Gorbachev's Russian Communists poised to prorogue Ontario Legislature in plot to take over the world?!? Back to the Cold War again???? No!!!! Er..............okay! It's so easy to get confused these daze!

Winnipeg Mayor hands over keys to the city to ex Russian Dictator Gorbachev. Are you kidding? If he takes over Winnipeg, then it's Manitoba, + next Ontario. Then he prorogues Queen's Park. What?!? It's prorogued all ready??? Who gave him the keys to Ontario? Eh?!? What will the Liberal politicos pull out of their hat next?!? See: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Gorbachev-to-get-keys-to-the-city-176315201.html


James Ryan: Sure he's got leadership skills but can he dance Gangnam style?

OECTA's James Ryan tweets this excellent reminder that the Catholic Church has a very dedicated social justice wing in the "fight against poverty", known as the "preferential option for the poor".Our Catholic activists may not be calling the shots in Rome these days but many of us still  strongly believe that it is our duty to fight for social justice, rather than participate in all the other hoopla everyone's so p'o'ed about these days in Ontario. See: http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/human-dignity/resources/encyclical-statements-poverty-2/



More HurriCanada: 

It looks like Halloween is still on for the kiddies as Hurricane Sandy blows over. I am assuming you survived or you wouldn't be reading this. Whew! It was a total non-event 4 Janet +  I. Now we are stuck with lots+ lots of chocolate malt balls! Munched some while we watched "Revolution" on t.v. wondering if all the electricity was going to go out like in the show. Kept checking to see if my flashlight worked just in case. All 4 nought, but our hearts go out to anyone who did meet with tragedy or grief. In southern Ontario the damage seems light. Here are the latest hurricane news links. BTW check out my Hurricane Politics blurb below.



Hurricane Sandy as seen from the International Space Station.

Hydro One Storm Centre site maps were the power outages are across Southern Ontario: http://www.hydroone.com/stormcenter/

Toronto Star "Aftermath of Hurricane" has live updates and a Toronto Sandy photo galleryhttp://livenews.thestar.com/Event/Hurricane_Sandy_bears_down_on_US_East_Coast

A Huffington Canada Facebook page of reader photos: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=484828378204013&set=a.214645348555652.54171.212705892082931&type=1

The psychology of hurricanes: Why do some folk ignore the warnings while other revel in the danger? This is real interesting. See: http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/157280-schneidereit-understanding-why-some-people-ignore-storm-warnings


Possible route of Hurricane Sandy...

West end Toronto woman killed by falling Staples store sign. Corporate @%$#&!'s. See: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/one-woman-dead-as-storm-sends-rain-high-winds-into-canada-1.1014601

The huge sign landed on her head! Toronto Police are seeking witnesses. Phone "Crimestoppers" or see: http://www.cp24.com/news/witnesses-sought-after-woman-killed-by-storm-debris-1.1016638


Hurricane Sandy wracks havoc on Toronto! Kinda Sorta. Well, you know what I mean.....

Hurricane Politics: Of course we aren't getting any Ontario political news, especially about the OLP leadership race. The story would get lost in the hurricane news which is what everyone wants or needs to hear right now. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a possible political angle to disaster stories like this!

During the homestretch of the Ontario 2003 election, a really bad storm was headed our way. PC Premier Ernie Eves had his staff compiling lists of all the emergency shelters being set up, so he could go around visiting them and make news grabbing headlines as the man in charge of rescuing Ontario. Sound stupid? Far from it. The election was only a week or so away. It would've given him many photo ops as the strong leader stealing all the headlines from the other candidates on the news.With a little posturing it can quite frankly make just about any "leader" look good. I remember  following Eves around monitoring his political activities for TSU PAC. He was strutting about like Winston Churchill holding an umbrella waiting for his finest hour, while speaking to the near empty Conservative campaign halls and events. Even had the chance to shoot the guff with him for a bit it was so slow. Fortunately 4 McGuinty the storm blew over without incident, or it could've been used to possibly help turn the election around for the Conservatives.

Remember US President George W. Bushes 9/11 speeches? He stirred the heart of a nation, regretfully leading to a senseless stampede of ill thought out retaliatory military moves, but no matter. Before 9/11 Bush was going nowhere in a hurry. Politically speaking he was seen as a total wimp. Afterwards? He was the Commander in Chief of a great nation under attack from invisible "evil doers" around the world. Totally maximum!Worked great 4 Bush if not the United States and the rest of the world.

So what about Ontario now? Dalton could try some grandstanding to save face from his recent fiascoes. The hurricane wasn't that bad though. History comes full circle and his party is left standing in the PC's shoes like ten years ago.Wait to see if he tries. One would guess not, but you never know.

Now Barrack Obama is a different story. The punch and charisma just hasn't been there, with Mitt Romney tied with him in the polls for crying out loud. The hurricane poses opportunities to show strong, decisive leadership. Let Mitt say something stupid, then blow him off he news front with a lot of photo opportunities and stirring, concerned speeches that show spine: The leader in charge of a great but humbled nation that will rise again etc. I dunno. Barrack doesn't seem to be firing off on all cylinders lately but don't be surprised if he gives it a shot. The time is now, and it's a pretty short window of opportunity!

Queen St West Roots store burns down! Does anybody know of an outlet where they still sell new Earth Boots? I used to love wearing them back in the 70's + 80's. For a while I was going into the factory office and kicking up a big stink. They said they only make them to sell for export. I asked if they had any in the factory. The manager said yes but I couldn't buy any. Not good! I did notice after the kerfuffle that some outlets started stocking them again. Now? Nope! The factory closed to go somewhere else. No more Earth Boots again! See: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1279493--fire-destroys-roots-store-on-queen-st-w?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

For the Earth Boot Story, and an account of their popularity in Japan + around the world but not here, see: http://www.etsy.com/listing/41287290/original-70s-kalso-vintage-earth-shoes


Vintage Earth Boots: Where to get a new pair? Enquiring minds need to know!

Windsor West Liberal MPP explains why Putting Students First Act and Bill 115 make sense. Haven't had a link like that in some time and I do provide them for all points of view. See: http://www.windsorstar.com/Children+schools/7467333/story.html

KW Record reader sympathizes with ETFO teachers. Suggests we all wear black armbands until democracy is restored in Ontario: http://www.therecord.com/opinion/letters/article/826838--loss-of-democracy


Some of last nights damage in Toronto! Nope I didn't knock over the stupid 24 Hours News box. Brainless mush!  I'd sure like to but no. Not me. I didn't do it.

Follow up on the Globe + Mail "Pay Wall": The 1st 10 news link viewings are free. For the rest of the month? .99 cent trial offer for one month. Regular monthly rate? $20!!!! P'shaw! I think I will be cutting back on my Globe links in a last ditch attempt not to encourage them but alas!


Dear Globe + Mail: Basic Marketing 101: If you charge a lot you might earn more but you will have fewer readers. Sell cheap + you will sell lots + lots, + can even make more $$$ and have many readers.......duh!

October 29, 2012


First, a bit of a departure here, but with the the "Frankenstorm" including Hurricane Sandy about to hit Southern Ontario there is an extreme weather watch in effect with forecasts of very heavy rainfall and high winds. Here are a few worthwhile news links:

Environment Canada link for Toronto: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/on-143_metric_e.html

Environment Canada link for all of Ontario: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/forecast/canada/index_e.html?id=ON

Then there's more links for all of Canada on the Weather Channel + it's website: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/

Global Skytracker provides live web updates on hurricane conditions as Sandy makes itself felt: http://www.globaltoronto.com/pages/story.aspx?id=6442743081

Toronto Hydro website shows sections of Toronto with power outages. So far Janet + I are fine. See: http://www.torontohydro.com/sites/electricsystem/poweroutages/pages/outagemap.aspx


CBC article explains what a "Frankenstorm is. Think of the "Perfect Storm". See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/10/26/frankenstorm-us-canada-sandy.html

A Globe + Mail update on what to expect in Southern Ontario. See: http://www.catholicregister.org/news/canada/item/15241-broten-sparks-outrage-with-misogyny-comments

National Post warns of 7 meter waves on the Great Lakes: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-strengthens-remains-on-course-to-hit-canada-monday-bringing-7-metre-waves-to-great-lakes/


Here's a webcam link to the Toronto skyline as the hurricane approaches. Watch the video then see the right hand side bar for the webcamhttp://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/canada-braces-for-hurricane-sandy-s-rain-strong-winds-1.1014601

Here's a pretty cool NYC Times Hurricane Watch link for the US Eastern Seaboard up to + including Southern Ontario, with satellite photos, radar and a map of the storms progress. Last report was it's a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. The trajectory keeps changing. At one point it was going to hit near Kingston, last time I checked they'd changed that to Toronto. Better batten down the balcony/ patio furniture and bring the kiddies and Fido in! See: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/26/us/hurricane-sandy-map.html?smid=tw-nytimes

Incredible Instagram photos of New York City taking a hurricane hit. See: http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-instagram-photos/peabody-ma

This list of webcams can allow you to see it make landfall along the US eastern seaboard. I've been stuck in two hurricanes before. It can be very exciting as long as nobody gets killed, then of course it's just plain awful. The trees bend and the rain falls sideways. Everything gets blown all over the place. Along the coast it can even pick up rocks from the sea bottom as big as your car and toss them inland. We are pretty far inland but of course there's Lake Ontario. Heck if it's strong enough a hurricane can toss your car into the air and blow off your rooftop, doors, windows, or even destroy the whole house. Let's hope it peters out before it reaches us. If you want to watch to watch how it's going see:  http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/post/34501672221/list-of-webcams-to-witness-the-doom-of-hurricane

Store stampedes in New York City as shoppers stock up on food supplies. In Florida last summer all Janet and I could find were junk food and beverages. Still there are worse ways to spend your anniversary than stuck in a hotel room watching the hurricane on t.v. and outside your window while you entertain yourselves for a few days. In the article shopkeepers warn you that if the electricity goes you can't cook. Of course the satellite t.v. goes on and off and the internet can be intermittent, at least when we were in Florida. Often though you get a total blackout with this constant real loud howling wind and you can't go outside for a few days. Batteries, flashlights, lots of drinking water and peanut butter are recommended in the news story. But let's face it, you aren't going to starve in three days.


A power generator could be very useful, as Professor Guardiola reports from Santiago de Cuba, in the blog below. Wouldn't probably be a good idea in our condo y whatnot tho. I went shopping late this afternoon and bought a case of San Benedetto carbonated spring water, coffee, cheese rice crackers, some cans of baked beans + pork. Some chocolate malt balls for Janet (an excellent dietary source of chocolate and malt.;-) Filled up the gas tank of the car. Remember if the electricity goes, the gas pumps won't work. Ditto debit and credit cards. Got some cash from the bank. Dropped by the drugstore for some drugs etc.....It wasn't too too busy yet here in Toronto. Oh yeah, for the news link see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/28/hurricane-sandy-shoppers_n_2035931.html?ir=Canada+Living

Here's my Miami Beach Diary blog from when the hurricane went by last August: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/08/miami-beach-diary.html

For all we know this could just blow over as a regular bad storm and basically be a non event, then again look at what happened in Santiago de Cuba, and they are well versed and prepared for hurricanes on a regular basis! Best be careful!

Should be interesting to see how our school boards deal with the absence codes should we get stuck at home over the next 72 hours!! Under Bill 168 the hurricane is a legitimate health and safety concern. You shouldn't be told to come to school if it could put you at risk!

Now back to Ontario teacher politics:

Last of the Liberals leadership hopefuls expected to declare their intentions + step down from cabinet this week. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1279423--liberal-leadership-hopefuls-may-quit-cabinet-starting-this-week?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

First a Liberal gas scandal, now a cement one. Zzzzzzz. It's not very exciting but it's our province. See: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1060881/mcguinty-prorogation-enables-subpoena-of-premier-other-ministers-in-275-million-seat-saver-scandal

Prorogation has a silver lining 4 all 3 parties. Liberals can work on their budget + election plans free of scandals. Tim Hudak can rework his economic plan so it makes some sense. NDP can come up with one for if they are elected. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/even-prorogation-has-a-silver-lining/article4716185/#


Prorogation allows Liberals to make appointments without scrutiny: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/politics/archives/2012/10/20121028-155331.html

Tim Hudaks PC's: All form no content. His plans all lack details + are full of economic contradiction. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1279432--cohn-where-would-tim-hudak-take-ontario

OLP's [Ontario Liberal Party] Jan 25 leadership convention is to be held at the Maple Leaf Gardens. This Toronto Sun article includes a photo of the new Garden arena area since it was converted into a Loblaws and a food court. See: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/politics/archives/2012/10/20121029-072830.html


"Loblaws Leaf Gardens": Site of the Jan 25-27 OLP Leadership Convention

Interesting National Post speculation on prorogation. They don't necessarily result in an election defeat but the numbers don't look good for the McGuinty Liberals. Strike 3 and you are out. This is the 3rd prorogation in recent federal/ provincial government history. Dunno with the logic but go see: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/28/michael-den-tandt-the-rule-of-three-strikes-harper-mcguinty/

Torys lead Libs in recent polling, and are ahead of NDP, but Horwaths popularity beats Hudak hands down. Will votes from bleeding Liberal support shift over to her? If so Tim's in trouble. Still, remember that NDP support covers the province but is only 2 inches thick. There might not be enough voters in each riding to win a lot of actual seats in our "first past the post" system. Everything is influx, but this is an interesting read to consider. Nothing but nothing is for sure in Ontario politics anymore. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-ndp-picks-up-support-in-wake-of-mcguinty-resignation-announcement/article4718705/


NDP Leader Andrea Horwath: Drinks lots of Orange Crush but not the red Kool-aid. Nope!

Very interesting spin on why teachers should watch the Liberal leadership race closely. Not all Liberal leader hopefuls approve of the parties recent shift to the corporate right, which cost the party it's labour support after a pretty good 9 year run. Our teachers unions did very well while the going was good. The NDP track record on unions suggest they could dump us just as readily as McGuinty if need be, and their support has been tepid and guarded at best. Nothing is safe, we have been burnt by all 3 main parties now. Again nothing is for sure anymore. Another interesting read to consider. See: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1278414--organized-labour-has-a-stake-in-race-to-succeed-dalton-mcguinty

Huffington Post Canada gives a very good overview of where the Liberals go from here, with reference to a wide variety of points of view, none too promising. Amusing conclusion seems to be that China should take Ontario over since the Communists are out to rule the world [!?] I suppose the advantage would be that we all get to wear those neat Chairman Mao caps, and the slippers are cheap. Or something like that ;-) See: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jj-mccullough/ontario-liberal-leadership_b_2037074.html


Will Chairman Mao take over Ontario + become Premier??? What?!? He's dead! Hmmmm.

The Toronto Star is planning on charging you to access their news links starting in 2013. The Globe is all ready doing so. First ten links per month are free, then you hit the "paywall" and need to pay .99 cents, for how long I am not sure, but apparently my numbers just about up, so I will let you know. Hmm.  Not good for the global village information network but newspapers can no longer support themselves by the traditional means. It will be interesting to see what happens. One could just post an article without a link for readers to see for free. Or maybe we will see a shift to more alternate sources of news coverage rather than the mainstream press? See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/toronto-star-plans-paywall-for-early-2013/article4718737/#

Upper Canada District Board promises new portal with access to different news sources to keep you up to date on the crisis in education. Sound familiar? Somehow I can't see them sharing news links with which they disagree, as a public institution, but who knows? Best wishes to them! See: http://chairofucdsb.ca/2012/10/28/new-project-to-keep-our-communities-in-the-loop

Abortion debate could be the life or death of the publicly funded RC school system. The Catholic Register weighs in on MOE Broten's recent remarks. See: http://www.catholicregister.org/news/canada/item/15241-broten-sparks-outrage-with-misogyny-comments

Steve Paikin provides a thoughtful and very thorough TVO Agenda report on Lt. Gov Lincoln Alexander's funeral. See:
http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/was-great-funeral


More below. More to come..................

Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Letter from Santiago de Cuba


Dear Mr. David Chiarelli.

Greetings to all our friends in Canada.

During the sad night of October 24 and the morning of the 25th, the city of Santiago de Cuba has seen one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the city.  Hurricane Sandy has brought much pain, suffering and loss of life in the city. 


I am sorry to say that the community school "Friends of Toronto", has suffered property damage. The last class was on the 23th. The students were told to go home to prepare for the arrival of Sandy on the night of the 24th. The school took all necessary measures to preserve materials, school furniture, as well as electrical equipment, but the wind forced caused some problems. 

Sandy entered the city as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds of 175 kilometers per hour. The wind broke the doors. The entry of the strong wind and rain has created serious problems. During Oct. 26, 27, and 28, we have been working to try to repair the damage so we can make the school run again, while we  recover economically and try to repair the rest of the damage. 

Currently, the entire city is without electricity, so we need to await the return of electrical service or get a generator. In future posts I will try to send you some pictures of how the city has been devastated.

I take this opportunidad to express our highest consideration and respect to you and your organization. 
   
Lic. Guillermo Guardiola
Founder of the Community School
"Friends of Toronto"

[For a useful news link and updates on the post hurricane situation in Cuba see: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=81060 ]

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cuba: Hurricane Sandy Hits Toronto Friendship School!

SCROLL BELOW FOR TODAY'S UPDATED NEWS LINKS

Hurricane Sandy delivered a devastating full frontal blow on Thursday to Santiago de Cuba. I talked to Prof. Guardiola from the Toronto Friendship School last night. The school was hit, and the barrio neighbourhood around it suffered severe damage. A lot of the homes and buildings are flimsy and very old with stone tile roofs. You can imagine what happened when even the huge palm trees where ripped right out of the ground!


Here is the main plaza in the city centre near the Casagrande Hotel + the Cathedral. The community based non denominational Toronto Friendship School is located nearby, in this 500 year old city which was one of the very first Spanish settlements in the Americas.

Pappy Guardiola is okay, as are Madelena and Cari. They are still at the school. I have not been able to confirm with Prof Jose Luis or Aurelio how they and their families are though they also live in the neighbourhood. The roof was ripped off the Casa de Estudiente [student's house]. A curfew is in effect as the army tries to dig out the city. The Bucannero Resort was completely destroyed, wiped right off the coastline, read "gone". The Melia Santiago City Hotel suffered extensive damage. Telephone service is of course down, but the cellphones still work.



Here I am at the Toronto Friendship School in Santiago de Cuba last summer. I regularly visit to help  with donations + to provide direct assistance in developing the English language program etc. at the school.

You may be aware of my work as director of the CSP [Cuban Schools Project] in Santiago, especially if you were a regular on the ENO teacher internet site during the Harris years, or read my blog during the summer when I go down there. We helped the Cuban teachers build the Toronto Friendship School with direct volunteer assistance, and educational developmental aid and solidarity grants from OTF and OECTA. Teachers have helped from OSSTF and ETFO too. Over the years teachers from all the different affiliates have sometimes been interested in going to visit and help out at the school.


Before Hurricane Sandy: The Toronto Friendship School is on the 2nd floor. It was built and funded by teacher educational aid + solidarity grants through the Cuban School Project which I founded back in 1992 after a class trip to Santiago de Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba is located in "Hurricane Alley". This swath of the Caribbean is a bulls eye target during hurricane season, though it often receives very little news coverage from US media sources. When a hurricane strikes, the city evacuates into the huge cave shelters which the governnment carved into the side of the Sierra Maestra Mountains overlooking the city, so that civilian casualties are usually very light. However the city was apparently hit extremely hard this week. As the locals says it is devastated. They've seen many hurricanes in their time.  If they say it is devastated, believe me it is devastated. Not a very good situation under the crippling US embargo!



A news photo of the damage on a typical street in the barrios where the school is located.

As before the Cuban School Project will be seeking donations to help the students, teachers, their families, and for rebuilding the damaged sections of the Toronto Friendship School. It's an especially well built reinforced concrete rooftop structure but it has still suffered bad roof and water damage in years past. I am still waiting to ascertain the full damages from last week.


Here is the Student House, near the city centre. You can see the stone tile roof strewn on the ground.

If you can direct me, as the Cuban School's Project director, to any sources of educational or solidarity grants that might be helpful under the circumstances, please let me know. I can be reached at the email address on the top of my blog screen, or via the "Comment" button at the bottom of this blog, for more information on the CSP.

As teachers we can make a difference, not only here at home, but also in the less fortunate places around the world. We are one.


Here is last summers dance class. The students are hoping to put on a show where they can help support their families by playing at the nearby resorts.

More news to follow. In the meantime:

For a good news report see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/hurricane-sandy-cuba_n_2019099.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada

For more background info on Santiago de Cuba also see my blog: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2011/08/santiago-de-cuba-faded-glory-lost-in.html

For more info on the Cuban School Project please see: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2011/08/csp-cuba-school-project-story.html

For a report on last summers trip to visit the Cuban schools see: http://tsu3rdvp.blogspot.ca/2012/08/santiago-de-cuba-school-diary-2012.html

There area also photos on the right lower side column of my blog.


The civil defence authorities ae seen here distributing much needed emergency relief supplies.

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
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Youtube Bar: Afrika Bambaataa!

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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!