Opening Statement

Monday 29 April 2013

My Teacher Ontario Budget Week Blog

This promises to be an exciting week! Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's minority Liberal government [OLP] will introduce it's 2013-14 budget at Queens Park [QP] on Thursday May 2nd. It will need a confidence vote which could come as early as May 8, but we will leave that for later. Provincial Conservative [PC] opposition leader Tim Hudak has made it clear already that his party will not be supporting the budget. New Democratic Party [NDP] Party leader Andrea Horwath has made a shopping list demanding key items she says the NDP need to see in the budget to support it. She clearly then holds the balance of power in determining if we will be looking at an Ontario spring election which could be held as early as May 30th.

Here's my 2 bits minus twenty cents! Have your say using the Comment link below!

The outcome will be especially important for our teacher unions! If a spring election is called we face some very difficult considerations. The OLP has imposed a highly controversial provincial contract on us that will expire August 30 2014. OECTA [Ontario English catholic Teachers Association] + OSSTF [Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation] have ratified agreements until then. ETFO [Elementary Teacher Federation of Ontario] is still in talks with the Ministry of Education [MOE]. All three parties have confirmed they are "collaborating" with the Liberal MOE in setting up a collective bargain process for the next contract with the OLP. The bargaining process, or lack thereof to date, has been very controversial at best and has seriously undermined the strong relationships the unions have had with the OLP since we first helped them defeat the PC government in the 2003 election.

Tim Hudak's PC have threatened so called American style Right to Work legislation and other strongly anti union reforms should they be elected.  Considering the very difficult times our teacher unions + organized labour had with the previous Harris + Eves PC governments before their 2003 defeat, there is no reason to doubt the PC's ill intentions.

Andrea Horwath's NDP has spoken out + voted against the OLP's imposition of the 2013-14 contract terms upon the teacher unions, especially with Bill 115, which overrode and altered the Ontario Labour Relations Act on Jan.1st 2013. As a third party the NDP have supported the teacher unions in word, which comes without immediate cost or proof. Like both the OLP + PC's the party has been known to attack our union collective bargaining + agreement process when in government. It should be noted that was during the early 1990's NDP Rae government. Since then they have been so far remained in 3rd party position at QP.

Bill 115 has been repealed, and Ontario has had a new OLP Premier and Education Minister since after the Jan. 2013 OLP Leadership Convention. Although the Wynne government has attempted to re-establish their relationship with the teacher unions it is very doubtful how much the members, if not the leadership, will want to endorse or support the OLP candidates should we have a spring election. Although some modifications of the imposed teacher contract terms were made, the OLP has not significantly changed them under the Wynne government.

Our teacher unions could well face some very difficult decisions in the week and month ahead. If an election results because of a non confidence vote at QP over the budget, who will we then support? Besides the usual party allegiance disputes we are now faced with a very difficult, if perhaps insurmountable strategic dilemma, to protect our interests.

The polling numbers have suggested everything from a dead heat to a continuing very volatile election scenario. In Ontario we have a first past the post election process. Although a party might have the largest number of voters, or popular support, that does not necessarily translate into the same percentage of seat wins at QP.

Should the teachers on principle refuse to endorse or support any OLP candidates we could as a result enable a PC election win. It remains unlikely at present that the NDP could win enough seats at QP to hold off a Conservative minority or majority government, let alone win one of their own.

However in supporting the OLP our teachers would be endorsing the party which turned on us in an attack on our union rights, based upon a promise and a hope for better relations ahead. Complicate that with possible widespread member disillusionment, apathy +/or dissent it also becomes questionable how or even if the leadership of our affiliate unions will be able to rally our member support to follow their lead, should this be the track they wish to take.

We will watch with great interest the developments over the next week! In principle it would seem clear to me that we should support the NDP. However, one fears that we could end up in a dire situation like during the 1995 provincial election when the anti teacher PC Harris party formed a majority government and held onto power with much grief for us for the next 7 years. If you will recall, our teacher unions withheld support for the NDP, helping to lead to their defeat, and hence delivered our members into the hands of a very hostile PC government. How ironic if in spring 2013 we should do the same again due to our without doubt well deserved distaste for the OLP instead. What to do?

My best case scenario would be for the budget to pass, with the NDP clauses included, so that all three parties will need to try to make the current minority government situation work. A minority government, although unusual in Ontario, is often a routine arrangement in many other parliamentary democracies such as ours.

Perhaps without a clear mandate, the parties might find it hard to rule as they would often like. However we would have a sense of parliamentary balance; a give and take, that is often lacking in a winner take all win situation. We face very difficult decisions and times in Ontario. Given time hopefully more reason will prevail. The course of parliamentary events will continue to unfold. Our, as well as all of Ontarios decision on which party candiates to vote for will be more clear and easier to make.

Latest Pre Budget News

Latest Forum Poll shows PC's and now OLP tied at 36%, the NDP slipping at 24%. Last weeks Ipso Reid Poll [see my April Digest 3 blog] showed the PC's leap ahead of the pack with a significant 9% lead. The OLP has tied them again, at the cost of an NDP drop in the latest poll. 55% of the 1133 polled don't want an election. The projected seat count as quoted, would be OLP at 59 seats, the PC's at 38, and the NDP with 10. Musical chairs anyone? The poll is considered accurate 19 times out of 20 times. See @ Forum Poll

Toronto Star to the OLP's rescue? 3 big stories today!

Wynne's budget gambit: The OLP is slowly releasing budget details ahead of May 2 to build consensus and perhaps put Andrea on the spot if she won't support it @ Gamble?

The big name pundits gaze into the crystal budget ball @ Tell us Swami! What do you see???

OLP seem ready to "target "insurance cut of 15% in budget to appease NDP, but will it be enough @ rather vague?

The budget leaks continue to sprout with support 4 the arts @ Leak or a flood?

The OLP Toronto Star Machine salivates for Wynne: The party gets three lead stories today. Here the focus is on women in leadership via the Council of Women. In a twist on the kissing babies routine Wynne gushes over a little girl who wants to grow up to be premier some day. Course Andrea's a woman leader too but no mention. See @ Wynne on Council

Early PC non confidence "gas plant" votes? The PC's are playing politics with a non confidence vote ahead of the budget that they have all ready said they won't support without even seeing it. Wynne's face gets rubbed in the scandal to remind everyone of the McGuinty years, while Andrea is accused of "supporting corruption". Here's one article @ Tim Bits

Some major gas pains: Wynne is on the hearing committee hot seat @ OLP pain in the butt

Toronto Star shows "balance" by giving Wynne's testimony on the gas plant committee hearing a thumbs down @ Leadership?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford + his right wing city council brother + minions speak out some something they are expert at, being disgusting, as they join in the PC chorus denouncing the gas plant scandal @

Liberal loss of moral authority lamented by Mr. Say + Do Anything to win PC party leader Tim Hudak @ OLP Debacle

The NDP's Andrea Horwath has been awfully quiet this week. I am not providing relevant news links 4 lack of trying. Still let's hope she's storing up all her political gun powder for the budget fight ahead rather than wasting it on all this dumb pre budget political posturing ... 

Also see my April Digest 3 below for news links to these + other current stories for now! I'll start a new digest later this week.


Thursday 25 April 2013

NOTICE: Wynne Protest Rally Now May 3rd!

My updated teacher news links follow below!

I've just learned Friday 3:45 pm's protest rally outside of Premier Wynne's constituency office at 785 Elglinton Ave East Unit 101 has been rescheduled to Friday May 3, same time, same place. Please let everyone know!

The upside to the delay is that we all have more time to organize + get our flags and more members out. Wouldn't it be great if we can present an united all affiliate teacher demonstration of dedication + strength to remind the Premier + Education Minister that we are still here. We are not going away!

ETFO stands alone in not having signed a deal. They need our support now more than ever. It can be very discouraging after one rallies for the teacher cause + gets everybody up and out. Then many members fizzle out. BTAIM OSSTF + ETFO have politicized their members. You will be ready if [when?] we go to war with the Torys in the weeks or months ahead. Always, in such protest movements as we have seen over the past year, there will be a new hardened group of protester activists who will carry on the fight, even after everyone else has seems to have gone home, or as in OECTA's case, most of the members, with some notable exceptions, didn't come out at all.

We are the important + necesary vanguard that marches on through thick and thin because of our unflinching belief in the principles of our teacher union movement. My blog has many readers from around the world. In many if not most countries they are surprised at how much we have accomplished as Ontario teacher unionists, as disheartening as it has sometimes been for us over the years. Our fight must go on, even if there are only a small handful of dedicated protesters,to remind Premier Wynne + the OLP that our fight is not over. If everybody can bring out a contingent of their school + union colleagues, all the better. Either way it is necessary work!

I look forward to seeing you all there. Besides protesting, I hope to get some good photos + a blog story to send out to my many readers, reminding everybody that our struggle is not over. We are here! We will not be going away or backing down regardless of what happens or everybody else does. Make no mistake, the good fight will carry on!

In Solidarity!

David Chiarelli

Monday 22 April 2013

April All Affiliate Teacher News Digest 3

Time for another news digest! My Acronym list is on the January 13th blog. My decision not to run again in the OECTA TSU election is here. My blog + reader Comments on the OSSTF ratification vote is here. My Blog Directory is below this blog column. And so ...

Toronto from the International Space Station at night. You can't see me waving coz' it's dark. Commander Hadfield explains how he takes his space shots "In Other News" below.

URGENT: This Friday's Wynne protest has been rescheduled for Friday May 3 at 3:45 pm outside her constituency office. Details in blog above + @ We Are Still Here!


ETFO stands alone! OECTA CUPE + OSSTF have now all signed deals. Haven't seen a whole lot of columns + opinions or other announcements in the media. Everything seems awfully quiet. Stay tuned for news updates here.

CPC-ML Ontario Political Forum considers how the MOE is gloating over the affiliate deals, and trying to claim everything is okay now, even though they have just stripped our collective agreements. Teachers are encouraged to discredit the governments disinformation program which presents dictate as legitimate and even positive under the guise of its austerity agenda. Of course it's hard when so many of our leaders are willing to "collaborate" + encourage the membership accordingly. Read @ Everything is not OK Now

Premier Wynnes big pre budget week interview on the front page of the Toronto Star. Her first 100 days? A milestone or an epitaph @ Wynne or lose?

OFL's press release for The Day of Mourning 4 those hurt or killed in workplace injuries also contains links 4 lots of great resources @ Safety First!!!

PC Hudak eyes teacher + public sector pensions to balance budget. He will try to negotiate before he legislates. Hudak also wants to raise the retirement age. No can do? See his recent polling numbers in "Party Politics" The article is @ Retiring?

Jan Wong'sToronto Life article provides a decent overview of how the OLP destroyed it's excellent relationship with teachers, grabbed the money + ran. She's quite frank about Premier Wynne not changing anything either. She's portrayed as just trying to mop up the mess. Little focus is given to the union split or the NDP + PC's. With the goodwill squandered, Jan sees a big fight ahead over our next contract talks. See @ OLP on self destruct

Schooling in Ontario: Iz everybody happy?

Public school principal won't allow use of the words "gay" or "pregnant" in School Yearbook references to Premier Wynne + Kate Middleton out of fear the students will question what they mean [?!?]. Gee. Dunno about you but I am happiest when my students do ask questions, even hard ones too!! How about you? I think it's called "teaching". Oh, and Bill 115 is banned too, because it's not "happy news". Happy news?!? Will somebody check the Wellbutrin dosages in our school water fountains please!? See @ Sh-h-h-h-h!

ETFO posts it's 12 page Stewards' Mailing online.  OH NO! Yeeooow!!! We can read it !!! ... and ... and they encourage members to share it!!! OECTA Provincial take note: The silence is still deafening! Are there more deep dark union secrets to hide or is it just a Catholic silence cult tradition the union now buys into like the church + school boards? Do you even know there are still grassroot members out here? Remember how the Kremlin fell? Big, silent, + seemingly impenetrable until it collapsed from within under it own sheer weight + inertia. Enuff of the Pravda News routine! Join the communications revolution + share the info too or perish. The real enemy is from within.The real devil is always within the hidden details. See @ Check it out

Meanwhile, OECTA TSU has come up with a great idea. Members can go to our website to be put on the email list for all the notices sent to the staff reps + schools.It's a popular service for our dedicated union members who want to always be "in the know" about everything that's going on and get the news, notices, + reminders right away. Bravo!

Remember: CBC Radio 6 presents a live town hall debate April 23 at 7pm on "Labour Pains: Do unions still matter?" It will be broadcast across most of the province. You can call in to have your say. Info @ Join the Radio Call In Debate!

Download the [Ed] Broadbent Institute report on "Union Communities, Healthy Communities: The New Attacks on Unions + It's Threat to Shared Prosperity in Canada" 22 pages of info + insights @ here!

CAW preparing for federal + provincial governments with Right to Work 4 less showdown @ Not taking any chances! 

Teacher college applications down considerably, as are job prospects for new teachers. I dunno. There seems to be boom and bust cycle here over the years for open positions. One wonders how many senior teachers are going to retire with the 85 factor now that the situation in our profession has gone so sour? Suppose somebody choosing a career wouldn't want to gamble on that though. See the report @ No jobs

Sudbury Rainbow Public Board blames teacher labour unrest 4 job cuts. Local Sudbury OSSTF president disputes claims. Maybe board should blame Bill 115 instead? Also, student enrolment decline is consistent with years past trend except for possible blip. See @ Enrollment figures?

Durham OSSTF teachers ratify local deal @ Sans Bill 115!

New tripartite Federal + Provincial MOU promises Northern Ontario First nation teachers, parents + support workers more control over curriculum while improving safety conditions and student living arrangements.  First Nation signees remain very concerned about funding + government intentions. See @ Mixed Reaction

Ogoki is a First Nations owned + operated company that develops language applications. Learn about the Ojibway Language + People with this Ipad/ Iphone app @ Free download code!

North of Superior: There are school boards covering areas the size of large European countries. Regretfully my blog does not provide nearly enough coverage if not usually any at all. Can anyone please forward me any good news link sources?!?

Are low tech/ no tech teachers in danger of becoming irrelevant? Maybe but there is also, IMHO, a serious lack of other basic student skills being taught, for example spelling, cursive writing, oratory + math calculations without a calculator or computer, that our Brave New Technological Worldies are often oblivious to. Anyhow, see @ Irrelevant?

The Art of Manliness site reminds us that walking is the world's most democratic activity. It's also a basic survival skill + form of transportation. Then there are the "walking reveres" of insight + inspiration, not to mention it's good for your health, while improving your memory + attention. It truly is often a lost art. Time to get our sedentary students out walking again, or even ourselves outside of the regular school day, for simple peace + clarity of mind? An excellent read @ Walkin'

Be well: the lost art of walking ...

Oh grave new world with so many idiots in it ....

More from back in the bad old days: an 1918 instruction manual on how to improve ones concentration with 12 self simple exercises that don't require a Masters or PHD in Education to figure out or cost a single dime @ How to learn concentration?

Even more: a teenage daily exercise book from 1883! Bad old days! Bad! Bad! It's much better now that the youth can sit on their butts all day playing computer + t.v. games with their fingers! Or see @ Simple Daily Exercises Anyone?

Yup! Everythings a lot better now: Oakville student arrested with multiple weapons in his back back at school, is released with a promise from his parents that he will show up at court, for crying out loud! Safe schools my @$#%!!! [Repeat to myself: I won't have a tirade! I won't have a tirade ... ]See @ A promise?!?

Guess what?!? Computers + t.v. are not great 4 for young peoples health. Duh. See @ Zonked

Here's some yay arguments for the use of social media in the classroom. My argument here? Are the students going to necessarily all be a twittering, facebooking + texting about the lesson? Or will they just be off doing their own thing? Suppose depends upon the class? I'm being a crudge mudgeon but I think there was something to be said for the good ol' in person lectures, note taking + discussions without all the high tech stuff. Teaching as a conserving activity? See @ Social media in class

"Pedagogy before Technology" holds my feet to the fire on that argument. Okay, but my school is full of old junker computers and few of the students can afford Ipads, so is this not class based then? See @ Ipurpose B4 Ipads

Tch. Tch. Am I being too negative? Not my intention; I mean I am a obviously a social media guy myself, but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. The traditional non electronic teaching methods are still vital, and always will be IMHO. I want to acknowledge that there is a lot of great social media teaching being done by our teachers at OECTA TSU, Robert D'Addario being a case in point. We are always flying by the seat of the pants at our board, especially for high tech media on a shoe string, no string budget. See Rob's news site @ Yes Tech

Guess what 2: Most Canadian young people no longer know how to cook a meal from scratch.  Most think it comes from a bag, box + is cooked in a microwave. I'll admit it, I am an adult + one of the worst. There is now a call for a return of Home Economics classes. It could also help fight obesity. Duh @ Back to Home Ec? 

From chalk, pencils + pens to calculators, computers + smart boards only. From zero tolerance to zero consequences. The education pendulum continually swings from one extreme to another. After 26 years in teaching I am totally exasperated at the sheer madness of it all. Will we ever find a reasonable equilibrium? I think not. Thankfully a new generation of classroom teachers is now stepping up to take their best shot at it too. Good luck!

And so it goes + on + on + on ...

Is there hope yet? Edmonton Public Board reverses "no zero grades" policy after teacher fired for giving a student their real grade @ 0=0 not 25%

Meanwhile .....

Read about the ECE [Early Childhood Educators] shortage in London @ FDK crisis

School music programs feeling budget cuts across Ontario. See @ music cut!

Music program cuts are class warfare: Well off students get music lessons anyway, the poor and disadvantaged don't, especially in Northern Ontario @ Class

Secondary school "Destreaming" debate is back. Look. It might sound great in theory but when we went through it in the 1990's and it turned out to be a total horror show to all level of mix  students together in classes. Proceed with caution @ Hint: No.

London Free Press must be hard up for news copy. Here they are questioning if it's a bonus for teachers not to have to go to work on our unpaid days off? A pretty costly perk for us if you ask me. Vote in their poll @ Weird

Here's a very interesting read on the "joys" of standardized testing from an infuriated colleague in the United States @ Standardized Nonsense

Follow EQANO site 4 the teacher concerns about EQAO @ click here!

PC readers: How to kill creativity at school? See @ Why Creativity?

Art 4 arts sake: Rolling Stones guitarist + painter Ronnie Wood explains why the arts can be such a rewarding expressive personal experience. Not everyone will become famous, far from it, but art is valuable in and of itself, and is certainly not a frill. See @ Art 4 Arts Sake

Over my teaching career I've watched one government after another, of all political stripes, come to save the education system, and then turn around to knock it down. This time it's even more serious though. The very future of our hard built + fought for teacher union movement + collective bargaining rights are being successfully gutted right before our very eyes. Our teachers cannot give up the good fight regardless of what our leadership + the MOE does. Is the new generation of teachers ready to assume the union mantle? Hopefully our students this year were well educated on how important protecting everybodies democratic rights is + will also carry on the fight during the years ahead.

Meanwhile ...

Whew! The MOE has promised all the affiliates we can talk about the CB  process first next time around! I feel better all ready!!! =8-[

BC Liberals considering new 10 year Collective Agreement 4 teachers. Ho boy!
What did the OLP promise about next time? Oh yeah. We can talk about it. See @ Coming soon: 10 year CA?

Has the Province of Alberta pioneered a non-legislated zero zero zero Collective Bargaining ban? Read all about it @ Alberta Bound

More on the Catholic Schools issue @ The Catholic Schools Debate

All is not going well 4 our Ontario teacher unions either. You might want to hang onto this in case things go terribly wrong next provincial election. Our laws are different but Labour Notes explains how some Michigan teacher unions coped when they knew Right to Work 4 Less was about to be imposed @ Be ready in case!

Rustbelt US Right to Work 4 Less effect to spillover into Hamilton Ontario? See @ Rust out

This fall's Ontario fashions should PC's win a spring election?

Creeping Right to Work 4 Less spreading out across Canada + of course Ontario. Now if the Cons can only find a real reason 4 it @ RTW 4 Less

Download the Broadbent Institute report on Union Communities, Healthy Communities as mentioned in my last digest if you haven't all ready. Required reading for concerned unionists! Find @ Download

CCPA reminds us to thank unions 4 workplace safety @ Oh yay! Safety ...

Bottoms up! Ontario might go dry May 17th if the LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario] union goes on strike! At issue is improved workplace safety + better part time wages. See @ Stock up now 4 May Victoria Day weekend?

CTF denounces anti-teacher message in Conservative attack ads against Trudeau @ More Attack Ad Challenges!

A Peter Kormos Memorial Bursary for Labour Studies has been set up at Brock University. Click and go to donate button top right screen @ Donate here

How will you acknowledge or celebrate workers around the world on May Day May 1st!?! There's always a May Pole Dance but maybe you can consider something else if you don't have a May Poll .... See: May Day?


Latest Ipsos Reid Poll gives Hudak PC's a commanding lead @ 37%/ NDP=29%/ OLP=28%. 66% believe it's time for a change in government. 1360 Ontarians were polled between April 12-17. 17% were undecided. As for who would be the best premier: Hudak + Wynne are tied @ 32%, Horwath had 30%. The survey is considered accurate within 3%. See results @ Ipso Reid

Panic time? No.This is certainly not good news but so far it's a blip in the polls. If it keeps showing up in various other polls we have a very bad problem in our hands should there be a spring election after the May 2nd budget. Remember though, the OLP + PC numbers are returning close to where they where before the 2011 election. Anything can still happen but should we be worried? You bet!

Ipsos Reid polling guru John Wright comments on the numbers. He thinks the PC's have a soft lead. Anything can happen in an election, but get this; he thinks the NDP are the best bet to form a minority or majority government. Read @ NDP Dark Horse?

Threehundredeight site breaks down the aggregate numbers now that the Ipso Reid poll is in, and sees the PC's with a huge lead in the popularity vote @ 308

ETFO's QP weekly report projects PC minority government if current Ipsos Reid numbers hold. At 38% one enters majority territory. Pollster Eric Greniers aggregate poll shows PC = 35.4%/ OLP =  29.6%/ NDP = 27.9%/ Greens 5.9%. We still haven't seen the seat projections based upon these latest polling numbers. Read the weekly report @ QP Weekly

Global News examines the leadership numbers @ ratings

Sun News salivating all over the latest results @ Sunny Outlook More on Sun news below ...

Let's face it! This increasingly doesn't look good. Prepare 4 the worst + hope 4 the best.

Just 4 fun: Who would you vote for Canada's next Prime Minster? Harper currently leads! Go to vote here!

Contrast Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's response to the Boston Bombing with PM Harpers. Very telling @ Mind set?

Another contrast profile @ Justin vs Steve!

Are the Federal Conservatives about to send out this mail card out to constituents using tax payer dollars? How low can they go???

Parody of Harper highlights questionable use of taxpayer dollars for attack ad cards @ $$$$$ [don't ask!] seeks donations to show this Harper ad during the NHL playoffs @ Harper did it!

Harper; "I grew up in a small town in Toronto" is from a speech during one of his recent more genuine moments. I bumped into him once sitting alone on the Toronto Island Ferry. We actually had a nice chat. He went to school just down the street from where I lived at the time. He knew the neighbourhood quite well, in small detail. See speech @ Leaside

Justin Trudeau responds to the Federal Conservative attack ads with a pro teacher reply. Watch @ Charm on the offensive

Drama teachers voice concerns over both Conservative + Liberal Trudeau ads @ Drama put downs

Premier Wynne is interviewed on TVO Agenda on whether female style politics is different then that practiced by men. Was Tim watching?!? See @ Premier Wynne

Dumped OLP Cabinet Minister Margaret Best still MIA at QP. See: Not at her best?

False claim + photo of Margaret Best vacationing in Mexico during her current medical leave has been retracted by the Toronto Star. For shame! I'd think the damage has been done @ Very damaging

National Post reports on Finance Minister Sousa's May 2nd Ontario budget announcement @ Post

The provincial deficit numbers have been downsized again to $9.8 billion, partially in thanks to the teachers. The Toronto Star reports @ Star

Check the QP pulse rate the day after the budget date is announced. Lot's bubbling under the surface about to explode @ Here we go!

The Globe + Mail considers how the OLP will appeal to the NDP 4 support of the budget @ Globe 

TVO Agenda's Steve Paikin gives us a detailed "you are there report" with lots of background details on Sousa's speech and a hint that both the OLP + the NDP might actually be gunning for an election @ TVO Agenda

NDP's Andrea Horwath plays budget hard ball + the waiting game. If she supports Wynne's budget she needs to be careful the NDP brand doesn't get blurred @ Cohn

NDP moves for 5 day home care guarantee + cap CEO salaries at hospitals. See @ NDP + homecare

Premier Wynne is getting into a big snit that Andrea is underwhelmed with her budget overtures @ Grrrrr!

Wynne: And you can dance with me .... and you can dance with me and ...... hey! I said I wanted to do a budget dance!!!

Wynne's efforts to woo Horwath with budget concessions hits + misses mark @ Dance tickets

Get a taste of Sun News as they pit bull interview NDP Gilles Bisson on whether the party will "prop up corruption". Brutal but Gilles holds his own @ Sun News Accusations

Online scuttlebutt: If a budget motion was voted upon May 8th and defeated we could be looking at a May 30th provincial election. That would seem to be the earliest date. The motion could be voted upon up to May 30 with a June 27 election date.

McGuinty OLP veteran strategist Don Guy passes on running Wynne campaign team. Tom Allison expected to step up. Andrew Bevan + David Herle thought to be on side too @ OLP Campaign Planning

Premier Wynne promises continued support for the ELA [Experimental Lakes Area] environmental research project @ Back on

Wynne announces infrastructure funding to rural, small town + northern Ontario communities @ Infrastructure

Sun News reports PC's are, of course, sceptical the OLP can balance the budget by 2017-18. They can do it by 2016-17. Sure. One year or so earlier? Slash! Slash! Slash! Hurt! Anger! Pain! Is this your vision of how things work in Ontario for the common good? See @ Sun

Deb + Tim: Just happy or have they got gas?

The plot thickens: PC Hudaks wife + Harris back room plotter Deb Hutton worked for one of the gas plant developers. Even NDP think this is too low to go + veto investigation. Doesn't surprise me though. Is it possible that at QP everyone's thick as thieves, despite all the political posturing? Hutton once worked for Ontario Power Corp, the home site of the PC Eve's government hydro hijinks. Story @ Big Stink Spreads

Meanwhile the PC's might go 4 a non confidence vote on the gas plant scandal. More info @ This week!

PC's seek signatures for a petition supporting their non confidence vote @ See petition here

PC non confidence vote unlikely to bring down the Wynne government but could put the NDP into a tight spot @ big stink

Tim Hudak: Thatcher Ontario redux?!? Read @ Herburn

One way or another are we headed for a spring election? Stay tuned ...

The People's Paper outlines the desperate need for better health care for the homeless. It's a truly heart wrenching + moving story about a terrible need @ Health care?

For a good time call Mayor Rob Ford @ ..... for shame Rob! See below:

Another scandal: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford publicly gives out his home phone number + asks any women who want to "know how politics works" to give him a call. This from the man who was recently accused of drunkenly grabbing a female mayoral contenders "butt " [as she says] + being thrown out of a benefit for our wounded Canadian Armed Forces soldiers?!? Rob's complete offer + phone number is @  Mr. Helpful?

Our part time Play Boy mayor is pulling down the city along with him. No!? Really????Are they kidding us @ the Star?

New municipal player: Toronto Taxpayers Coalition: how far right is right? You decide @ Respect?

Worst Bad Idea of the Week? The new "Queens Park" web serial is on it's way! A "family man" Premier has a secret weakness for "hood chicks". Looks like it goes downhill from there. He tries to hide his love child by giving him a job at the "Ministry of Dysfunction". Apparently this new show will look at "real life political issues" + show how "cut throat" government can be ....

Here's the cast on set @ Oh no!

What's a "hood chick"? Do you really want to know?!? Note my language + image advisory but if you need to know @ OMG!

Queens Park: The Web Series: Nope, I don't think this is a joke ... But enquiring minds want to know, will it be nominated for a Juno .... ?!? Maybe it will be so bad it's good !?! =8-0


Canuck ISS [International Space Station] Commander Chris Hadfield explains how he takes his amazing space photos, the cameras, lens + techniques etc @ Video!

Ask Chris! Here's his FAQ @ Questions?

24/7 live real time video link to the ISS @ Flyin' high!

Gmail woes?!? Here's a handy keyboard cheat sheet @ What to do?

Fish + Chip stocks take a Friday dive on the TSX with Lent + Easter over for Catholic teachers .... Just kidding! ;-)

Very disturbing news: Rita MacNeil family claim she died from a hospital virus after surgery.  [ie the given reason for death was "complications after surgery"] 250,000 Canadians catch the bugs each year. 8,000 - 12,000 die same way each year, more than from breast cancer. See @ danger!

Do the Harper Conservatives have a Canadian Foreign Policy? What is foreign? What is policy? Don't ask he or Foreign Minister John Baird @ What foreign policy?

Federal Foreign Minister Baird: Yup! Our CF-18 jets are armed with bombs this big!

Videos + tweets reflect wide ranging news + views of the alleged Toronto terrorist's court date on Tuesday at home + abroad @Oh Oh Canada?.

Terrorism in Canada? A "Me too! Me too!" complex? After the Boston Bombings, and as Ottawa attempts to pass another all encompassing anti terrorism Bill, an alleged Al- Qaeda plot to bomb Via Rail in Toronto is uncovered! The masterminds are allegedly in Iran. Should Canada bomb Iran? Don't talk to loud lest Baird hear you @ Bomb Iran?!?

Here's page one of the charges against our Toronto terrorist suspect @ Charges 1  Here's page 2 @ Charges 2

Harper slight of hand goes unnoticed during Toronto terrorism hysteria! Read how it was done. Amazing article @ Fooled us again!

Mayor Rob Ford is to speak his pickled mind on the Toronto terrorist threat later today! No kidding!!! I feel better all ready!!! Maybe Toronto will bomb Iran?!? ;-) Stay tuned!!!

Rob cops out: Our cops are tops but he can't say anything more. It's a big secret! His handlers must've been on top of the boss for a change! See @ brilliant insight!

Iran remains an enigma 4 most of us. Iranian Canadian writer, artist, activist Sima Sahar Zerehi speaks of the alleged Iran connection on Metromorning @ CBC

Coming soon: Michael Coran welcomes you to publically funded Sun "Fox News North!?

Sun News CRTC application criticized for sense of "entitlement" to public funding @ Fox North

Sun News awaits the CRTC's decision on whether they can mandatorily charge you on your basic cable t.v. bill to automatically receive their right wing news network in your living room @ Sun News

It's still not too late to sign the petition to stop Sun "Fox News North" @ Sign + share!

Are oldsters offensive? Would you like some Foo-Foo with your Too-Too Sir? No way!!! Baby boomers verses the contemporary hip restaurant scene @ So Hip It Hurts

Conservative control over the means of communication is seriously threatened by the new social media. Communications is no longer just filtered + directed one way. This is a US article but I wouldn't doubt the same is true here too. Do you think the CBC, CTV, Sun, Star or Globe are truly leftie? Ha. See @ Social media

How did the Beatles win the Cold War? This is a very interesting article. I recall we had a friend who use to visit the University of Moscow + we were always sending our fellow students over there Beatles tapes. In Cuba, we had to hide in the classroom at night and we'd teach them the words to the songs. They all loved the Beatles. Did the Fab 4 save the day? See @ Beatles save world!

Juno Host + Canuck crooner Michael Buble joins long list of New York subway surprise serenaders. Hey, why not the Toronto TTC? See @ "Bub"ling over!

Serena Ryder arrested by RCMP... Ooops! No. Sorry! She won a Juno!

Young stars take on the Canadian legends at this years Juno Awards. OK. I recognize Serena Ryder + Carley Ray Jepsen + Metric. Can still get excited about Rush. k.d. Lang + Leonard Cohen. Here are the full results, all genres @ 2013 Juno Winners

k.d. Lang's Juno Hall of Fame acceptance speech reminds everyone its okay to be different. Love her references to Ann Murray, "freak flags" and "quirkmeisters". Now there's two new phrases for my blog! :-) Inspiration @ k.d.

"Nice work if you can get it" or "Oh to be young again!" My niece Katrina graduated from Algonquin teachers college last spring after doing her practicums in Toronto + got a contract to teach in London England from where she enjoys school holiday trips in Europe ...... Sigh. Grandpa would be so proud of her. She's the third generation teacher in our family. Here's Katie in Monte Carlo. Most new teachers are not so fortunate though [see "Teacher + Unions" above]

Hi Katie! Love ya!

Aaaah! Spring is sprung. The hormones are flowing. Love is in the air. 10 tips on adult dating 4 singles. I should think @ avoid dating hell.

But ... but ...mon cherie! Feeling Jaded? Let Leonard Cohen cheer you up [!?] @ Lucky in love?

Bonus track 4 those of you who read this far: Canuck Ms "High School Confidential" agent provocateur Carole Pope is still going "Viral". Hear the track free @ Yay Carole!


Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

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

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

Help! I Have No Arms!

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

I can't find my underwear!.

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

Weee! I can fly!

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

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

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

I have an ugly baby!

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

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

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

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

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

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

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

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

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