Opening Statement

Friday 22 February 2013

February Teachers Union News Digest 3

This week's latest updated news links are here!

Updated Friday Feb. 24 1:45 pm. More news at top + throughout!

Regular updated news links will continue to be posted below + throughout for this week. My acronym guide can be found at: Blog Acronyms

QP subway station

Blog Housekeeping:

This week's Teacher News Digest has been moved forward to Friday for easy reference. The blog reports on the Throne Speech, Question Period, the Gas Plant scandal etc. have been moved down according to their chronological date. There's more party politics than usual since the 40th legislature has just begun. Hope this helps!

News Flash!

See my: Union Deals: Life With The Lions blog. Seems some of you have got your lion trainers sending you all an email. Kindly forward one to post on my blog so we can all see. BTW, what's to eat???

OSSTF Local Unit Presidents to vote on bringing back EC's today! See: EC's?!?

Yes! It's official. OSSTF will be recommending it's members do EC's again. Here's Kathleen's press release. It says she's glad the teachers agree. Do they? See: Wynne

Here's Premier's Wynne's announcement on Youtube: Wynne Clip

Here's the OSSTF media relaseOSSTF Agrees

MOE Liz Sandal's + possibly OSSTF's Ken Coran will hold a media conference live on CP24 at 5:45 PM. Hmmm. Now it seems it will be Wynne but she is running late because of the snow. Try here to stream: Wynne Media

Wynne says in live media meet that the good will is about process + relationship in re-establishing dialogue. MOE is having same "collaborative" discussion with ETFO. Liz is with her, not Ken. Wynne believes majority of teachers will return to EC's. Say's they are voluntary + OSSTF can only recommend it to members. She hopes ETFO sees the good will + is influenced accordingly.

Coran expects only 20% will resist. There's much speculation on what the deal breaker has been. The Toronto Star claims this will bring great pressure on ETFO to resume EC's the same. See: 20%?

Globe + Mail article claims there isn't anything concrete the leaders are bringing back. This is just a good will gesture. See: Nothing concrete?

OSSTF Press Conference is Monday morning 9:30 am at the Essex Ballroom in the Sheraton Centre Queen St. Toronto across from City Hall. 

ETFO meets MOE next Wednesday.

ETFO's Sam Hammond tweets members: "You are amazing! For a year you have stood strong & you had my back. Just know we are in this together & I have your back!"

President Hammond reassures members "I have your back." My understanding is members will get to vote before any decisions are made! If so I take off my hat! Meanwhile ETFO receives solidarity letters from across Canada + North America! See: Whither too ETFO?

Neo Con Canada's SUN TV has made application to the CRTC [Canadian Radio Television Commission] for Rogers + Bell to be forced to carry it as a part of their TV package, and of course, you will be charged for it. Just think, rabid right wing rants 24 hours a day! You will foot the bill, as they go after unions + lefties + try to remake Canada into Wisconsin North. The link I am providing allows you to vote against it before a decision is made. You can do it online! Please share this link anywhere in Canada as rapidly and widely as you can. There are only 3 days left! Visit: No way!

 Bad for the old ego or what? Folks prefer PC's hate Tim!

Forum Polling reversal: PC= 36%/ OLP= 29%/ NDP= 28%/ Greens=5%. However look at the leaders numbers: Horwath: 49% /Wynne: 36%/Hudak: 27% McGuinty last polled at  21%. Only 34% want an election. Results would now add up to a PC minority. And if there is an NDP split vote? Poll was taken Wednesday 2 days after the Throne Speech. 1053 people across Ontario were polled. Suggest to me everything is in great flux. A total roller coaster ride. Will be interesting to see the polling aggregate numbers. Or even another poll in about 2 weeks. Read the tea leaves for yourself: Forum Poll

Teacher Union News

OSSTF meets with local presidents today for MOE update. EC's on the table along with promises of an improved negotiation process. Rumours the MOE might toss teachers another sick day or 2 from the olive branch. See: More olives? More EC's?

ETFO WTR Ruling? Much ado about nothing I am afraid, except for what board arrogance this story shows us. Upper Canada has released a statement that they are expecting a ruling this week, while still claiming they are teaching the unions a lesson + trying to help the students. Oh yes, and the way it's worded they still seems to think they represent the  teachers not the teacher unions!? See: Board Statement 

OLRB: Serious business!

Don't know what hearing they where at but Chair Fishbein was very clear at the end that he would of course making a ruling but he did not know when. He also said that at the OECTA MOU OLRB hearing. Neither case seemed so clear cut as to assume anything about which way the ruling would go with such certainty. In both cases the teachers made a very strong case for themselves relating to the specific cases. I'm not so sure that was the same with the school boards or OECTA Provincial. You can see my accounts of these hearings at:



There is much speculation now on when Fishbein will release his ruling. He has up to six month. Some think he is holding back. See: Speculation?

Are Wynne + the MOE going to try to find a political solution in the current meetings with ETFO + OSSTF? Is that why Fishbein hasn't released it yet? Here's the Toronto Star report that seems to have sparked the rumours. See: Wynne + MOE?

Cottage Country Now is all over this story! ;-) Enquiring cottagers need to know! Now! See: Cottage Country Now!

Kim Zarzour points out that that Bill 115, WTR + EC's has helped politicize students. They demand to be heard too. See: Student Voice!

Tory's to table bill requiring teacher EC's and an end to seniority hiring requirements on Opposition Motion Day Feb 26. Extremely unlikely to pass but this is exactly what teachers went through during the Harris Eves years. A good reminder that "Tim is him". Luckily Tim seems to be set for self destruct for now, but that's why us older teachers remain forever vigilant. A Tory is a Tory is a Tory. See: Tim is him!

OK Tim! We know you did this! :-)

School boards being urged to find low cost ways to accommodate full day kindergarten to help fund construction costs. Parents not pleased as children and school boundaries are moved around. See: $Full day Kindergarten$

ETFO Lambton Kent meeting regularly with board + MOE for the past two weeks. As per ETFO PE has pledged everything up to March 1st is under review including EC's. Unclear what's being discussed in Lambton Kent but President Ron Rivait pleased to see Wynne - Sandals team back in action, after past successesFrequently meet

CTF reminds us teaching isn't just about literacy + numeracy. We need to learn social justice to become well rounded caring citizens who are concerned about the common good. Nice! Every teacher should get a copy of this in their mailbox at school. The educational times have changednot always for the best. See: Social Justice Now!

Action Canada study "Real Testing or Illusion of Success" calls for a review of standardized testing. Very to the point title eh?  You can get a copy of the document here: Standardized Tests?

This opinion piece argues teachers should earn more not less. We undervalue and show disrespect for teachers in Canada. You get what you pay for. Treat us like the professionals we are or see the best teachers look elsewhere for work. Read: Teacher Professionals Underpaid

Wynne's keen to restart EC's without tearing up contracts + with no more money to put on the table for educationETFO + OSSTF met with Wynne's office last week, with more meetings planned for this week. Education is a make or break issue for Wynne. Let's see if there is anything of substance in the Throne Speech rather than the usual platitudes. See: Education?

Hey kids! Want to see Mickey Mouse? Surprise! You're not going! ha! Ha! ha ....  er .... er ...

Windsor teachers play mean prank + then record it for laughs. Ouch! Don't try this in class! See: What?!? 

Judge the top 5 Canadian Labour Congress' "One minute message" video submission. Which best expresses the 'union advantage"? See: Labour Video Contest

KPR "I am ETFO" t-shirt ban? Reported to date no follow up as threatened on Friday [see News Digest 2]. Principal's hesitant. Board worried about media coverage? Tres cool. If anyone has any photos from there send me a jpeg for my blog so we can all see + share in your struggle! Reminder continues: If anyone hears about similar moves at other boards let me know asap!

BTW: I still wear mostly black from the Harris Years so I totally get your point! :-) That was also the last time I ever wore a tie. Don't like no rope around my neck. Nope! I got a new pair of John Lennon glasses and grew my hair back down to butt again. However I eventually had to cut it once I went gray and started looking like the 1000 year old hippie.

The free flow of teacher news + views is a primary goal of my blog. Also check out the cross Canada's CTF's Canadian Teachers Daily  atMore teacher news

Canadian government faces discrimination accusations before Human Rights Tribunal for First Nation's childcare. Brings bad connotations of residential school treatment for many First Nation's people. First Nations are Canadians too. We can't ignore them while being outraged about human right abuses around the world. Maybe this is a wake up call? See: Residential Schools Nightmare

TDSB needs to hire more male + more minority group teachers to achieve balance. See: Equity

Remember Harris? Tim Hudak's PC's: Pathways to where?!?

US study find harassment + assaults on teachers is widespread. Up to 80% of the teachers surveyed reported being victimized last year. Would survey results here be any different? I teach in the Jane Finch corridor in Toronto and am going to say no. Read carefully + decide for yourself: Teacher Crisis!

This article is from the Montreal Gazette but it is also a little addressed concern here in Ontario too. What to do about incompetent administrators? A "bad" teacher will be called on the carpet but a nincompoop administrator can get away with murder. They are rarely removed. Sad but very true. I'm sure many of us can think of one in the course of our career who just continues to hang on or get switched from school to school creating a toxic work and learning environment. I sure can. Nothing is ever done. See: Bad Administrators?

Unionized Labour in Ontario is available as a download. Nice + succinctly explains why we all benefit. Full colour spread with photos + graphics. See at: Why do we need unions?

Polling Punditry Anyone?

Polling punditry ahead! See the info graph link below + join in the fun on my Comments bar!'s aggregate survey of the recent polls show an election now might not be a good idea for any of the three parties right now. They are virtually in a dead heat with the OLP on an upswing, the PC's on a down slide + the NDP holding their own. The situation is quite volatile and then there's the question of seat count. See: Polling

Infograph breaks down the polling results using some easy to follow pie graphs. Read the polling "tea leaves" for some fascinating political punditry fun ahead: Pie anyone?

Negative reaction to Hudak's White Paper on Education perhaps in part explains why his party remains stuck in the polls under the weight of all his half thought out neo con appeals. He hasn't been getting much if any traction off them so far. Whew! Thank God! It would be a complete nightmare for teachers + students, not to mention our 2 publicly funded school systems! See: PC Cons

My Comment Bar is at the bottom of this blog ...

Party Politics

CPC-ML Ontario Political Forum sees Wynne as same old same old just with a new OLP face. See: New face OLP same old same old?

Day 4 of the new legislature + Hudak wants an election asap. Is moving forward with EC + wage freeze motions. "Bold" or just plain "big mis-steps" that will cost him as he sits out the Kathleen + Andrea show grabbing all the news headlines? See: An election now?

Ditto. Hudak says he will vote against the budget before he's even read it. Scott Stinson at the National Post seems to think he is onto something, even though Tim's been getting very bad reviews all week. See: Great Scott!

More Gas Plant documents released by OLP on Thursday. NDP's Andrea Horwath takes Wynne to task. This story continues to linger from the swearing in ceremony, the Throne peech, + Question Period. It's not about to go away. See and hear Andrea in action: Big Stink!

Here's Premier Wynne on TVO talking about the big stink: Wynne Spin

Ontario Power Authority takes responsibility for the missing documents. I've heard they are pretty dry reading of little interest but let's see.  See the CTV news video: Ontario Power

Election 2011 Scandal? Much gas + hot air!

See my blog on the big scandal: Gas Plant Politics

OK OK dear readers! I know. I've been meaning to catch up this story but don't plan to linger, no pun intended. It's just to cover all our background political cases. Not much if any teacher interest except we have bigger fish to fry. Only in Canada eh? A Gas Plant Scandal?!? Why can't it be something more titillating??? Sheesh!

PC Hudak continues to marginalize himself by opposing everything under the sun. (So far he hasn't mentioned my blog tho! ;-) Martin Regg Cohn notes he's missing a big opportunity in his further shift to the right by leaving the centre ground of Ontario politics for the OLP + NDP to duke it out. Hmm. I've discussed this too in my Throne Speech + Question Period blogs. Hudak's losing influence. He's still fighting yesterday's battles. Outside of declaring himself "bold" while promising fuzzy changes what viable alternatives do the PC's present? See: Missed Opportunities

Party Politics: The Throne Speech

See my Throne Speech blog for more reports + analysis. News + info links below:

Here's the text of the Throne Speech: Text You can download it as a file with the cover here: Download

NDP will pass the Throne Speech but not necessarily the budget. The PC's will vote to defeat the Throne Speech. Full details on my Throne Speech blog.

The new OLP front bench.

Toronto Star editorial says Wynne understands how Minority government works. Allow me to editorialize a bit: Few seem to realize in Ontario or for that matter in Canada that minority government is quite common in other parliamentary systems like ours+ can even have it's advantages opposed to the winner takes all horror shows we often end up with.See: Kudos 4 Wynne!

The National Post's Scott Stinson points out that the big news story was when the NDP's Andrea Horwarh "drew a line in the sand" with her budget demands after begrudgingly agreeing to approve the Throne Speech: Line in the sand

Toronto Star claims the NDP  are okay with the speech. We will get an OLP + NDP budget. It seems the teacher union leaders were quite pleased. See: OLP + NDP

The Globe + Mail reports that despite some Tory concessions on spending restraints + the balanced budget Tim Hudak is not appeased. See: Hudak mad

PC Tim Hudak [centre] signals no to the Throne Speech from the Conservative benches.

The Toronto Sun's Christina Blizzard blasts the Throne speech for the OLP's shift to the left. She gloats that now leaves the Ontario right wide open for Hudak. Good luck there Tim. See: Sun Mad

The Toronto Star's Regg Hart views the Throne Speeches emphasis on a belated effort to find "common ground" with the other parties as an attempt to buy time for the OLP before the next provincial election. See: Buying time

The NDP benches: Andrea Horwath [centre] listens intently to the Throne Speech. 

Here's the NDP's Andrea Horwath's website response seeking results not promises: Results?

ETFO press release states they like the respectful inclusive tone of the speech: ETFO

OSSTF press release summarizes main points they like: OSSTF

Nothing from OECTA unless it is in the "Secret members Only" area of the website, in which case I can't be bothered. I feel like I belong to a cult group as a member. The quietness seems deafening + offensive once again, but let's wait to see. Hopefully.

Earlier: Pre-Throne Speech: Basic Info + News Links

OSSTF's Coran is 3 rows from front in floor gallery. ETFO's Sam Hammond is in the upper gallery. Fred Hahn is present. I would assume OECTA President Kevin O'Dwyer too, but I have not heard any reference to him yet.

The Throne Speech was 17 pages long. The Education section of the Throne Speech does not seem to offer anything new. I am covering the Throne Speech on a separate blog for now. Useful links will follow.

The Globe + Mail's Adam Radwanski speculates on the Throne Speeches tripartisian appeal to the PC + the NDP when it is given at 3pm Monday [today]: Throne Speech

The Toronto Stars Robert Benzie reports on Wynne's efforts to find "Common Ground" for a "Fair Society" in the upcoming Throne Speech, and how the opposition party's might react. See: More Throne Speech

Wynne: "Beam me up Scotty! Please .... "

Global News gives a rough outline on what to expect in the speech. Don't see anything on education in this expose. However, Global's gets more specific on how Wynne will be tossing out bones to the PC's + NDP. See: 

Wynne sent the PC's + NDP a few early Valentine Day messages since being sworn in. Do Tim + Andrea "feel the love"? See: Happy Valentines?

In Other News

Austerity is an ideological not an economic argument being foisted on the many for the select few. This guest editorial opinion piece is the Toronto Star. See: Austerity? For whom? Why?

Colourful former Federal Agriculture Minister Eugene Whelan dies from stroke complications at age 88. Known for his straight talk + big green stetson hat Eugene also wisely befriended Soviet Premier Gorbachev at the height of the Cold War before the Soviet Union collapsed. RIP. See: RIP Eugene Whelan

RIP: Eugene in his big green stetson. Mr. Straight Talk has died age 88.

A new report on the Canada's "Indian" Residential Schools set up to "civilize" aboriginal students from the 1870's to 1990's uncovers 3000 confirmed deaths from disease and abuse, with many more still expected to be discovered by going through files. Many aboriginals consider their treatment to be a part of a "silent holocaust" in Canada. See: Residential Schools

Premier Wynne greets former First Nations Assembly Chief Phil Fontaine at the Throne Speech.

There's a strong spiritual side of the aboriginal "Idle No More" movement. A Faith Exchange Panel explains: Spiritual Beliefs + Values

Oh Oh Canada! Have we left anybody out? Yup! You bet!

ETFO calls for Inquiry into the documented disappearance or murder of over 852 Aboriginal women. Let's face it -if they were white everybody would be totally freaking out. Download the petition here + please share: Petition

It's official: Mississippi bans slavery! Our US brothers + sisters stateside never fail to amaze! ;-)  Lotsa ugly little secrets in both our pasts eh? See: Slavery banned!

Stoned Russian Crows play on snow covered car."Off!", I say, "Off! Off!" Watch: Stone the Crows

The Top secret X37B Space Plane!

Tres cool! I want one! Unmanned US X37B test space plane spends 2 months in outer space on it's 3rd test flight. It can carry about the equivalent of about a van load of goodies into space. Will be manned/womaned once tests done. Why all the secrecy?!? See: Secret Space Plane in Orbit

Last word: Frank Bruno send us this quote for the week: Socrates

BTW if anyone has an especially appropriate each week one please send it to me for the blog! If you don't want to be named just tell me.

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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!

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Have you seen them!

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Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

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

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Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

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Temples + Snakes!

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The Snake!

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It runs the length of the ball field!