Opening Statement

Monday 4 March 2013

March Teacher Union News Links Digest 1

This weekend will be OECTA AGM 2013. Many readers will know I am am an OECTA member + TSU 3rd VP. However, my independent blog spot provides all affiliates news + views. I need to deal with a preponderance of OECTA issues this week. I'm adamantly opposed to the OECTA MOU. Also the big unaddressed issues for me include transparency, representation, democratic rights + contract stripping. I've been waiting, as have many of our members with great succour for this weekend to finally arrive. Wish us well!

Whatever happens could be of importance to all of us, regardless of your affiliate. Please know that I'll continue with my all affiliate and party politics coverage too. You can refer to this week's digest + my regular special reports and news flashes. After this weekend's AGM is over I'll return to my regular inclusive format as usual. In solidarity!

BTW: My blog description on top below the title has been changed. Improved I think!


57th Session of the UNCSW [United Nations Commission on the Status of Women] begins March 4th. Women unionists from around the world gather for the prevention + elimination of all violence against women + girls. More info at: UNCSW 57!


Pink slips go out to hundreds of TDSB teachers + staff after trustees approve $28 million budget cut! See: TDSB lay offs!

TDSB chair explains on CP24 why 234 secondary school positions are being axed: TDSB Axes 234

TDSB laid off EA's [Educational Assistants]  to be provided opportunity to become ECE's [Early Childhood Workers]: EA layoffs

What's really going on?!? Political manoeuvring, fear mongering + numbers games? Retirements + enrolment could still alter actual lay-off numbers. Final budget numbers too. The province should be on the hook for FDK [Full Day Kindergarten] costs as promised. Little assurance I know! Those on the chopping block include VP's, guidance councillors. librarians, secretaries, 115 secondary school teachers + Special Education staff. Some more info here: Numbers game

Earlier: TDSB trustees vote tonight to lay off hundreds of public school teacher. FDK [Full Day Kindergarten] + class size caps cited. See: TDSB vote

Teacher Pension talks? A Globe Business article claims advance discussions on a big deal is in the works not only to remove guaranteed inflation protection, but also to introduce a contribution freeze plan that would reduce future benefits by 20%.We'd be well advised to start asking our affiliates questions about this one now, rather than be surprised! See: 20% Teacher Pension Cuts?

Ahhh yes! The teacher's pension ...

Latest OTF Pension Communique attempts to reassure us that:

"You may have seen an article in today's Globe + Mail suggesting that OTF and the Government has reached an agreement that would freeze the Government's contributions to the Teachers' Pension Plan. Please be advised that no such agreement has been signed yet."

Bold emphasis is theirs .... Gee! I feel better all ready! [Not!] Isn't that final part what Kevin at OECTA told us in June when Sam Hammond leaked the OECTA MOU details just before we left for summer holidays?!? Almost if not verbatim? Everything else is once again just "speculation" too ...

Here's a link to the OFL Communique: Not yet

The Greater Essex Director decides volunteers should run extracurriculars. Windsor Star editorial  provides a cheering section and declares the teachers have "lost" their fight. Now the director needs trustee approval, and let's see .... security checks .... insurance .....  volunteers .... permits .... keys .... first aid training .... permission forms ....  and .... and .... let's just add volunteers again?!? Not all volunteers are equal. Can  just "anybody" do EC's + will they stick at it for free? This is not "Leave It To Beaver" + Ward + June Cleaver would be way in over their heads even if it were. Ever try to organize a cub pack outside of school? Sure, "everybody else" in the community thinks "somebody else" should go do it. "Somebody else" lacks any supervisory or leadership skills for working with groups of young people who can + will hurt themselves, each other, + don't  just do what they are told because you said so, let alone be polite + nice about it, out of appreciation for everything "somebody" is doing for them. Meanwhile "everybody else" would rather just stay at home to whine + complain, while "somebody else" discovers they have no idea of the time commitment, patience + management skills it takes, nor does most anybody else, who you can get for free. Why else is it that we as trained, licensed professional teachers always end up doing the EC's out of the goodness of our heart? Not quite so simple is it?!? I hope the teacher locals can set Greater Essex straight, or that they fall flat on their face.  For shame, not to mention the legal costs, if a student gets hurt! I get so fed up with all the stupidity out there sometimes I just want to SCREAM!!!

OSSTF teacher Jeff Kanter's "Writing From the Blackboard" blog explains "Extracurriculars + Fiction" much more succinctly than I do. See: EC Fictions

Ahem ...

MOE Liz Sandals to speak at OECTA AGM 2013. Let's not sing "Solidarity Forever" after the Education Minister leaves again eh! Seems like bad luck. Ouch it still hurts after last year!!!

Just an OECTA joke .... Anyway ....


Premier Kathleen Wynne to speak at OECTA AGM 2013 this weekend. It is a tradition to invite the Premier but I am wondering if it is appropriate this year ... ? Just me speaking ....

Here is a link to the candidates in next weekend's 2013 OECTA AGM Provincial election. Included is how each member + our COP presidents voted on the MOU: OECTA Election Info

OECTA Provincial Election candidates James Ryan + Chris Karuhanga reply to "School Edition's Blog The Vote" MOU, Solidarity + other pressing election questions. One above. One below. So far one regret. No more replies yet. I will rearrange the replies with direct links to each so they are easy to find this weekend. I'm sure our membership appreciates you being upfront enough to speak directly with us minus the usual filters via the social media before our delegates head out to vote. No rude reader comments will be posted. All candidate replies will be posted without bias or editorial commentary. So far the response has been great! Many thanks from all of us!


Local 272 of the Maintenance + Trade Staff VP Phil Kelly @ the Ottawa Catholic School Board emails to say hello + that he follows my blog. Welcome aboard Phil and everybody at Local 272! We stand in solidarity! Keep up to date at their website: Local 272 Rocks!

Complete the Rank + File Education Workers of Toronto all affiliate survey on EC's + the teacher protest movement! Too hard line? Way too soft? Have your say + let's see the results: Teacher Protest Survey!

OSSTF D12  teacher activist Tim Heffernan is running from the floor for Provincial Council Officer @ AMPA 13 [OSSTF's AGM]. Tim's contribution to the grassroots teacher struggle has often been highlighted in the Rank + File Education Workers reports on my blog. See his Facebook Page for more info: Tim 4 OSSTF

Here's a download link for Tim's platform. He's taking a hard line against soft lining + not sparing any punches: Tims AMPA 13 Platform

Rank + File Tim Heffernan's OSSTF AMPA13 election platform download link above! strongly + credibly disputesToronto Star's Martin Regg Cohen's claim that the ETFO leadership is "bamboozling" it's members into boycotting EC's. If I might add my bit, if anything most of the affiliates aren't being radical hard line enough for our members! See: Bamboozled?!? 

Cohn is lambasting "tough tweeting teachers" on Twitter as I write.Claims ETFO demonized OECTA + OSSTF. The tired old "union boss" argument again. Teacher professionals can't think 4 ourselves?!? Here is his questionable column which started the kerfuffle: Cohn's ETFO Column

Hear ETFO's Sam Hammond speaks about the outstanding issues on CBC Monday Metro Morning: Sam Hammond speaks

Colin Mackay "An Abuse of Rights" A++ Colin rises to the top of the class! A Great piece: When contracts are forced upon teachers + their ability to strike removed, withholding EC's becomes the only option left.  OLP + media hoopla over EC's is a red herring directing public attention away from the real issues. Required reading! See: EC Red Herring labour reporter Lori Theresa Waller summarizes what 's apparently on the ETFO MOE table, the 20% verses 80% debate + also the Tory attacks last week at QP. There are some good summaries but I question her info on teacher support for EC's. Whether it is 80% or not, most indicators are that the opposition runs very deep. See:

An OLP Event Calendar in case you are looking for somewhere to picket near you! It is updated regularly. See: A Protest Anyone?

OECTA Presidential Candidate James Ryan speak on Solidarity + the MOU in blog below!

TCDSB Don Bosco CSS staff + admin speak out about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's self serving negative news comments about their school. Bosco has been working very hard to create a strong vibrant inner city school environment. Ford portrays it as a ghetto if it weren't for him coaching football there. Letter sent to theToronto Sun [!?]. School board asked to investigate. I am very confused. My understanding from folks I personally know at the school is that he isn't the coach of the football team. Bosco has it's own coaches. Ford is a "booster" with the scandal ridden football foundation he has set up as a result of a DUI/ drug conviction some years ago. His foul language and inappropriate behaviour has gotten him + his "foundation" kicked out of another high school before. See: Ford Coach at Bosco?

Another school lock down this time at Thistletown Collegiate in Toronto: 4 armed men in hoodies enter classroom, hold gun to student's head + steal her headphone. Another student surrenders his cellphone in hallway. A third runs outside where he is chased and a gun is shot missing him but hitting a parked car. Live on CP24 as I write. News link to follow.

Ho boy! Somebody call the mounties + I'll feel safer at school! Maybe they can arrest Ford too? This is getting to be b.s. And just when everyone thought it was safe to get back in the pool ....


Wynne OLP tied in dead heat with Hudak PC's 32% eachNDP at 3rd place 29%. OLP would form a minority government with 53 seatsPC's @ 37 NDP @ 18. Poll conducted last Wednesday + Thursday is accurate 2% 19 times out of 20. As far as leaders go Horwath at 44%Wynne at 34%Hudak at 24%. Wynnes OSSTF deal popular, as is Horwath's car insurance rate cuts. These polls have been bouncing up + down like a rubber ball in recent weeks with the only constant being that it could be real close. Read the tea leaves for yourself: Forum Poll breaks down the numbers with graphs for recent  Ontario, Federal + BC polling results + trends. Easier to read + much more scope. A political junkies delight! See: 308 rocks!

The Toronto Star's Martin Regg Cohn considers how the implication of the new polling numbers for each of the parties: NDP, OLP + PC

Premier Wynne cancels 9 am Wednesday public high school event .... hmmmmm.

Would Wynne roll the dice on a spring election? Didn't work well for Peterson. Would this be what the politicians, perhaps from all 3 parties, or the average voter want. Sun Poll seems to show the public is begging for one. See: Yay or Nay?

NDP MPP Catherine Fife to introduce Bill restricting government for using prorogation for political purposes. See: Prorogation

Minister of Colleges + Universities Brad DuGuid faces stiff CFS [Canadian Federation of Students] opposition to any fee hikes. Students request 30% cut over 3 years + are in "mood" to protest. See: Brad not doing good?

Students: Something in the air? Take a sniff at what's happening in Montreal!

Take note Brad: 53 students arrested in Montreal student protest tuition riot. News shots: Police helicopters, riot squads, batons, sirens + broken glass! Provincial government had been trying to tell everyone everything was okay with the students. Anybody remember that Thunderclap Newman song from 1969 "Something in the Air"? Hmmm. See: Montreal student struggle riot!

Tim Hudak continues to attack teachers for all that ails. Now "union bosses" [is he a "political boss"?!] are responsible for property tax increases. See: Scap goating

Hudak's PC's introduce new Bill in legislature to eliminate the roll over of unused sick days titled "Sick Days Are For Sick People [2013]". Isn't that why we are being allowed to use them the next year; if we get really sick? Then there's the 120 days at 90%. Guess Tim's too thick to think that one through. The OLP too? Some day they will wish they'd just let things stay the way they were. Cheaper. Easier. Fair. See: PC Sick Day Bill

Tea Party Tim: Will his hard shift to the right work in Ontario? How about his work law changes? Here's an interesting round table discussion: Tory axe man John Snobelen, the NDP's Howard hampton + the OLP's Heshell Ezrin. Open + click: Tea With Tim?

Enver Villimazer provides an interesting overview of "What are the Conservatives up to?" on the Ontario Political Forum. His mentions how the Tory teacher attacks try to divide + conquer by claiming the union leaders + the front line teachers aren't in solidarity.  Shows just how disingenuous Hudak's b.s. can be! Is it because the union leaders are too hard or too soft on EC's etc for the members?!? Hmmm. Maybe Tim hasn't quite figured out that one right yet? Read: Tory attack strategy

Hmmm. Doesn't look like any "union bosses" are forcing the teachers to protest to me!

NDP's Andrea Horwath is adamant that if the OLP does not include a 15% car insurance rate cut in the upcoming budget the NDP will not support it. See: Spring Election?

Legislated EC's raise more questions they answer. Gosh I get so sick of this! We went through the same concerns with Harris + eventually even he gave up on it! I wish somebody would dig up all those Hansards and house committee reports then dump them on Tim's desk. Meanwhile see Doug's "Off Record" blog for a good straightforward reply: Dougs Blog

MOE Liz Sandals talks about her new job on TVO Agenda. Can't recall if I posted this before ... ? See: Making Peace?

Here is a reference link to who's who in the Wynne cabinet: Wynne Cabinet

Add this to your resource links too: Links for the website, email address + bios 4 everyone in the OLP caucus: OLP Caucus bios + links


Art of Manliness provides some very helpful tips for improving our conversational skills over the March Break be you at AGM, AMPA or just socializing at a house party or on the beach. This is primarily for us dudes, but the gals might find it of interest too. Anyway etiquette pretty much went out the window years ago. It does however oil the social mechanism when we want or need to mix with others to make things run a lot more smoothly for us all. So, I reprint these links for our erudition: 

An overview on the: Art of Conversation !
Some additional tips from: Lord Chesterfield !
How to makeSmall Talk ?
How to avoid: Conversatonal Narcissism ?


The Stompin' Tom mobile on one of his many big cross Canada tours!

Lower the school flags to half mast!!! Canadian Country Legend Stompin' Tom Connors dies at age 77! See my March 7 blog. Meanwhile up in outer space .....

Chris saves ISS! Get the man a beer? No such luck?  Maple fudge ..... !?

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield safely catches the malfunctioning supply capsule headed straight towards the ISS [International Space Station] with the Canada Arm. Attabe Chris! Did you know they didn't stock him with any Molson Canadian up there but sent lots of Maple Fudge candy instead?!? Blech! What's a real bonafide Canuck astro man to do, eh?!? Well ... Check out his excellent photos of planet earth. Truly stunning! See: Canada in Orbit

Visiting Canada for the 1st time? Some helpful advice:

How do you figure out what Canadian tax bracket you are in? Now as tax time approaches? With your next grid increase? If you are retiring? Here's a rough guide: Tax?

Preparing for any severe winter emergency: lots of great advice + Environment Canada links covering everything that can + does go wrong. See: Brrrrrr!

Canadian travelers! Is our loonie headed towards 90-95 cents US? I always transfer Canadian$ to US$ dollars when it goes above par for future travels just in case it's down when I leave Canada. Just a thought. See for links: Loonie dunk?

For better or worse, there is a free-book from Huffington Post available on the life + times of Justin Trudeau: Son of PET 

Did former Prime Minister PET [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] choose death from cancer rather than dementia? New e-book claims so. See: PET


Homeland! Meanwhile back in America, no wait .... I mean Iraq .....

Bravo begins showing the 1st season of the terrorism psychological thriller "Homeland" on Wednesday night. It's even worth watching again because there are secret clues at the beginning that you probably didn't catch onto first time around! If you haven't seen Homeland it is quite exciting. Basically the CIA gets an unconfirmed tip about an impending terrorist attack by someone somewhere in the USA. Possibly a returning POW. Critics have argued that it stereotypes Middle Easterners but in time you will see that even the good guys are bad, perhaps even more so + nothing is as it might seem. Or is it?!? I won't ruin it but there will be terrorist attacks + assassinations, so rest assured the story line won't be shooting blanks. Stars Claire Danes ["My So Called life"] as a brilliant but erratic bipolar CIA agent who's whole life + every action is totally, obsessively enmeshed into playing her rogue part to catch the evil do-er. Seriously, IMHO it's great! Lotsa adjectives here eh? Time shift with your recorder if need be. A+

Is Sun News digging up dirt based upon speculation + innuendo to discredit the CBC while pressing for a special "mandatory" cable t.v. subscription status which Canadians t.v. viewers  would be forced to pay? See: Diggin' dirt?

CUPE offers a free screening of "We Are Wisconsin" 7pm this Friday @ the Sheraton Centre Toronto. Yes, we are Ontario, but not if Tim Hudak has his way. Learn more! Details here: CUPE

Education Reform: Like re-arranging the chairs on the 19th Century Titantic? This article is international in scope + provides a lot of food for thought. See:
Deck Chair Anyone?

Smokey Robinson + the Miracle's singer + songwriter Bobby Rogers dies at age 73 after protracted illness. With Smokey, Bobby co-wrote the Temptation's " Way You Do The Things You Do" , the Contour's "First I Look At The Purse" + the Miracle's "Going to a Go Go" besides singing harmony on all the Miracles big hits such as "You've Really Got a Hold On Me", "Tracks of My Tears", "I Second that Emotion", Tears of a Clown" etc. etc. etc. He also sang on Marvin Gay's smash hit "What's Going On". Motown loses a great! We all do! RIP. See: Bobby Rogers

Comment Link Below:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OECTA Liberal sycophants cower under Kathleen's skirt at OECTA's AGM. Fuckin sad dude.

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