I'm sure all our sincerest sympathies, sorrow, thoughts + and prayers go out to our readers + the people of Boston in the wake of the horrific bombing yesterday!
Live online coverage of the investigation + follow up is @ this link.
April often seems to be the cruelest month for our American neighbours. See@ April
I can hear the honk and flapping wings of the Canadian Geese outside my kitchen window as they return from down south to the Humber River Valley. It is always a firm reminder that spring is here, even if the weather so far would not suggest it ...
RIP Canadian singer Rita MacNeil. Report below In Other News. See + hear her song: Working Man
Rita is remembered for a luncheon visit with the challenged adults from L'Arche. Wonderful! See @ L'Arche
Also visit my Rita MacNeil Videobar below the blogs!
TEACHER + UNION
A top ten video collection of the best union songs. Are any missing? See @ Union songs
April showers?!? Try "freezing rain" ...
You will notice I have a definite bias against the OSSTF deal, as I do against the OECTA MOU. I requested guest blogs on this weeks vote. Both were well considered and against the deal. Perhaps that's because this is basically a dissident teacher blog? Still, I know I have a wide range of readers who visit here for info to make up your own minds on our teacher + union issues regardless of whether you agree with my own bias and commentary or not. I totally appreciate and respect that.
Anyway, to provide balance to my coverage, please check out this pretty nifty "OSSTF Deal: Yay or Nay?" chart @ A Question of Balance
Voting closes Thursday April 18 at 4pm!
Jason Kunin argues members need to vote no against the OSSTF agreement. All 3 parties have bought into the corporate austerity agenda. Why give up the fight for your democratic rights and free collective bargaining like OECTA did? Is it time for civil disobedience? Personally I'd have rather gone down fighting but you decide. Read: The Bullet Blog
CPC-ML Political Forum provides an indepth critical look at the OSSTF MOU deal. Click link + scroll to the bottom @ Discussion of MOU
CTF speaks out against poverty's effect upon Canadian families in Ottawa @ advocate!
Sign CUPE's "Enough is enough" petition to support its campaign to raise the issue of potable water 4 our aboriginal people @ safe drinking water?
FDK one big mess in need of a fix @ Star Editorial
Post secondary teacher threatened he + his family will be killed if he doesn't bump up a students grade! Student arrested + charged. Fortunately it wasn't at one of our secondary schools! My bet? The teacher would probably be told to give him straight A's + apologize 4 hurting his feelings of self worth + self esteem. P'shaw, no good marks just because he didn't earn a good grade? .... No?!?!? Can't happen here? Oh.....!! That's right!!! The student might also get a darn good warning that if he keeps not talking nicely like that a lot the admin might possibly get rather perturbed in time too! Then a voluntary healing circle might [or might not] be arranged! .... Ok, Ok. This is just my weekly rant but colour me fed up with all the discipline b.s. in our schools nowadays @ Death threats
Whew! Well, that felt good to say. It's a definite advantage to having your own blog: no editor to say "Cut that out!!!" Heh heh ... er ... er ..... in other teacher + union news ....
US blogger + English teacher Randy Turner has gone viral: low or no student standards + constant teacher put downs + abuse? He's warning young people not to become a teacher! IMHO very tragic that it's come to this. Like many of you I'd suppose, I have always tried to encourage and help any of my students who have shown interest and ability over the years with some very happy results. Still I can see his point @ Don't become a teacher?
My all affiliate readers often find it hard to understand why many OECTA teachers welcomed the "fair hire" clause even though they did not support the MOU. Here's a little snapshot of what it's like at the TCDSB according to some of the OT's working there @ Workhard Posts
An alternate EQAO test will be rescheduled later this spring for those who couldn't write due to the inclement weather. See: EQAO?
You can read the text of the ruling for yourself @ OLRB
The Toronto Star reports @ Precedent setting?
The Globe + Mail reports @ Globe
ETFO replies to "interim OLRB" ruling with reference to the charter challenge and the goodwill of course needed if teachers are to volunteer for EC's. ETFO will adhere with todays decision. See @ Reply
ETFO provides news link to local coverage of the OLRB story across the province, 10 newspapers in all @ Local reports
TVO Agenda interviews lawyer Mark Geiger on ETFO + OSSTF EC's + the law. Watch @ Legally speaking?
EC's slowly start to return at Toronto elementary schools @ EC's Toronto
The Looking Up Blog considers the futures of EC's with some very direct + to the point questions @ ECs?
Resuming EC's is like trying to force toothpaste back in the tube. What a mess! Here's a great breakdown of the issues + the questions that have now arisen @ Toothpaste?
Be true to your school!
Toronto Star heralds new "precedent" against teacher unions using students as "pawns" in labour disputes. OK, let me see if I got this right. Our OLRA has been arbitrarily changed, previous contracts stripped and new ones imposed. Now we can't encourage our members to use any effective means of protest? Geez even Harris couldn't pull this off! Have our union CB rights been gutted? Read + weep @ ... and don't complain!
The OLRB EC ruling? The $100,000 question @ mucho dollars!
Here is a copy of the ETFO Charter challenge, more important now than ever @ download text
Wednesday April 17 marks the 31st anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights + Freedom. Site includes download links for copies, also the Constitution Act + various resource materials. A+. Go to Oh Canada!
Justin Trudeau speaks to the Federal Liberal Caucus about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was his father PET's perhaps most significant achievement. More below. Video @ Charter Rights
Seems like it takes an expert to tell us a key to prevent bullying is to teach empathy. Duh. See @ Empathy
ETFO's Pride 2013 kit is available online for your perusal @ Inclusive
Body imagining is an important often overlooked issue!
ETFO is convening a Body Image Research + Review Committee. It's for their members only of course, but what a great idea! The deadline to apply is April 26th. We look forward to learning the results of this important often overlooked issue. There is no doubt a big self esteem + bullying aspect to it. See @ body image?
Hamilton-Wentworth board employee diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder while removing asbestos fired. Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario [HRTO] awards her 9 years in back pay in landmark settlement. See @ Health + Safety
Ministry of Labour issues video on illegal pay deductions for workers. It's a growing problem! See @ stealing workers money
Ann Murray, K.D. Lang + Gun + Roses drummer to the social media defence against TDSB music program cuts. What a mixed crew eh? What do they do 4 fun?!? ;-) Bravo! See @ musically speaking
TDSB declares music teachers surplus ... I suppose to Math + English test scores. What a drab future we are preparing our young people for! Whatever happened to the well rounded individual with a social conscience? See @ Music surplus
OECTA provided $9,500 in contributions to the PC's in 2011, 2012, + 2013. I have sat on OECTA Provincial PAC in years past. PC contributions covered attending and monitoring their conferences + events. It is controversial. It is also important to know what the PC's are up to and maintain communications with all 3 main political parties. I'm not sure this isn't a fairly common practice. It certainly isn't an endorsement of the party. IMHO it also made everyone, even at OECTA Provincial feel very uncomfortable, but it's necessary to do. Just my 2 bits. See @ $PC$
London District Catholic School Board spending $100,000 for a marketing consultant for a PR [Public Relations] campaign to promote Catholic education. Recently the Upper Thames Public board spent $150,000 on a PR campaign to promote it's schools.
Read more @ PR Campaigns
Windsor Catholic retirees Mary + Dick Fox have had their health benefits cut off.
Loss of medical benefits a major "kick in the teeth" for this 71 year old school board worker retiree @ Benefit cuts!
Provincial supervision of the Windsor Catholic Board may be near end. This is the school board that was willing to rely on a teachers strike to balance it's budget! Read the Hartman report @ likes strikes
MOE Liz Sandals says controversial conclusions of the Hartman report on the Windsor Catholic Board are a result of "capitol + operations deficits", in short "over funding". Hartman says that includes the Collective Agreement where he says the board has consciously overspent on "front line services"; teachers, OT's EA's, Department Heads etc. where most of the deficits occur. Sandals claims he has proposed some "practical solutions". Cost breakdown starts on pg. 12 "Ensuring Continued Success" followed by reams of pages of suggestions that will need to be perused in depth. A link to the report is included. See @ Windsor Hartman
On Tuesday April 16th CTF leaders are set to speak out for "supporting Canadian families" on Parliament Hill in Ottawa @ CTF
Nice day for a province wide EQAO test eh? Not! But then what ...
April ice storm throws province wide EQAO test day into a state of chaos. The York Catholic has announced there is no bus service and the tests are postponed. Mixed reports are coming in from boards across the province. So how do you guarantee a fair province wide test with students writing it on different days? IMHO we should just stop the stupid tests altogether however .... Links to follow.
The TDSB is considering expanding its controversial Afro-centric education program @ TDSB
Educate for Good blog replies to PC Sherman's reference to "labour terrorism". On a personal note, shouldn't Sherman be asked for an apology and a retraction? See the blog @ terrorism?!?
Labour terrorism?!? Here's a thoughtful and well reasoned reply @ Read this!
Here's ETFO's advice for members on workplace accommodations + the law. This will become an increasingly important issue with any changes to all our sick day plans + with school boards who basically don't provide "accommodations". See @ The law
A CBC video on whether unions still matter to young people today is @ See here
TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival] Kids Fest is featuring 117 films from around the world to inspire + empower a young generation of film makers. It runs until April 21st. Details @ TIFF Kids
History teacher Nathan Tidridge warns MOE approved curriculum + especially the civic textbooks contain many glaring mistakes that are being taught across the provinces as facts! IE: An elected senate?!? No mention of the Constitution?!? Good Lord! What next?!? Check this out @ Civics?
Would you like some fries with that B.A? Grads today are lining up for jobs in the service sector. Maybe university isn't 4 everyone? That's why a lot of parents want their kids to do so well in high school. We sure are passing most all of them these days, handing out A's and B's like candy to make them feel good + meet the province's political agenda. What's wrong here? See the article: B.A's?
But will the students get what they need ... ?
As Mick Jagger sings: "You can't always get what you want". If sonny boy or girl likes legos maybe they can become an engineer? Instead, how about a high paid skilled trade?!? There's a big shortage! Hey remember when we had trade schools? Oh yeah, we got rid of them, no? Am I being over simplistic? Colour me cynical @ trade $kill$?
Maybe we need to think more in terms of lifelong learning? See @ lifelong?
7 Canadian trade + industrial unions threaten to pull $1 Billion in pension investments from the RBC [Royal Bank of Canada] if it proceeds with plans to outsource 45 IT [Information Technology] jobs outside of Canada. Bravo @ Hitting them where it hurts!
Latest Ekos Poll: PCs = 31.7% / OLP = 30.8% / NDP = 25.5% @ April 3-10
PC Hudak spoiling 4 a public service sector pension fight @ Pension again!
Hudak claims OLP + NDP are two sides of the same coin @ Coin toss?
Ontario Projections Blog predicts a seat count resulting in a PC majority and an NDP opposition. Hmmm. Careful! We haven't seen these numbers before @ PC Majority?
Ontario Predictions explains it's methodology + provides a riding by riding breakdown @ Numbers crunch
The Election Predictions Project has been over 90% right on the last 3 Ontario elections. This is one I like to follow. Sound methodology. Calls ridings "Too Close" or "Unknown" when there is a reasonable doubt. The running commentary is quite fascinating too if you are a political junkie [ie. totally hooked] like me. It's score varies quite a bit from Ontario Predictions. Read the tea leaves yourself @ Election Predictions
Threehundredeight.com covers polling results + trends across Canada and of course you will find Ontario in there too. Lots of charts, graphs + very indepth. See @ 308
Will Tim Hudak roll the dice on a spring election? When the numbers are this tight it might all come down to who can get their voters out on voting day. This opinion piece speculates that could give the PC's an 11% advantage because of it's older more reliable voter base. On the other hand, Tim hits rock bottom in all the leader polls. I wonder how his Mr.Nasty Show will go over once he takes it on the election trail against those two nice + quite popular lady party leaders who've been trying to work things out together at QP? It's a whole new twist in Ontario politics! Will the angry man win? Budget Day 2013 will be very interesting indeed! See: Worth a gamble?
Budget Day: De rolling of de stones????
Try as she will, Wynne can't get rid of the smell from McGuinty gas plant stink. It will all depend upon the NDP come budget day, as to whether we face a spring election or not. See @ Whatta stink!
OLP prepare for snap election @ Spring election?
PC's prepare 4 snap election by hiring very own temporary foreign worker @ Hired Gun
Party insiders continue to worry Hudak is not stick handling his lack of popularity well @ Failure to launch?
Hudak goes back to the future by channelling his inner Harris + thinks he would make a great minority government leader if it comes to that @ PC Minority?
All 36 PC MPP's release the same press release as their own. If you'd like a whiff of scandal to go along with the stupidity check out the links here. NDP Gilles Bisson reprimanded Rick Nicholls 4 this comment last year. Video 2 @ in a squeeze
QP video of NDP's Cheri DiNovo speaks out on PC's proposed attacks on unions+ workers rights. Links OLP in too 4 attacks on our Collectrive Agreements. Watch @ Right to Work 4 less?
ETFO provides an overview of the week ending April 12 at Queens Park. See: Main Highlights
ETFO provides an overview of the week ending April 19th at Queens Park. See: Main Highlights
OFL releases it's Peoples Budget. Still no date for when the provincial one will be forthcoming. Speculation is not this week, maybe not next either. Find @ Peoples Budget
Don't like the OLP anymore? Don't like the NDP? What to do? Be careful! See Tim's PC vision for Ontario @ Neo Con
Mulcair: No! We are not becoming the new Liberals, it works like this ...
Federal NDP overwhelming vote in support of removing references to "socialism" in the constitution by 960 to 188 @ Socialism no more?
Socialist chair warns the NDP are moving too close to the political centre, and are becoming another version of the Liberal Party. This is very typical: The motion was moved to the end of the agenda and quickly dispensed with towards the end of the weekend conference when delegates were keen to get home. Result: big decision, little lively debate. See @ New Liberals?
CBC reports new language refers to "social democracy" + "democratic socialism traditions". Much ado about nothing? Well, the party is not 1st and foremost defined as socialist anymore. Hmmmm. See @ social democracy + traditions
Federal NDP Socialist caucus stopped from protesting "Stop Obama's Drone Wars" at NDP weekend conference in Montreal. Some US Democratic speakers have been invited to attend. Sunday there is a vote to remove any references to "socialism" from the NDP constitution. See: Wither too the NDP?
Read the language that might be changed + consider the implications at @ here!
Here's a good overview of the NDP right + left wing struggle at the convention. My concern would be that if the NDP water down"socialism" then we no longer have a distinct major 3rd party option in Canadian federal politics anymore. Will the provincial NDP do the same? See@ Wither too socialism?
The Twitter hashtag for the NDP convention is #MtlQc13 if you would like to follow developments over the weekend. The live website, if you'd like to watch is @ NDP
Learn more about the NDP and it's radical roots @ Rabble.ca
Rick Salutin Column: Abandoning socialism at this time leaves Canadians with any real alternative @ Bad move?
The Doug Little Report crunches recent provincial polling numbers + seat counts, then points out how PC Hudak is blowing it. Bad for him good for us! Doug's views on the "misogyny" perspective of the PC platform is especially interesting. See @ Tim + the boys?
Creepiest moment of the Federal Liberal leadership race?
Justin Trudeau wins Federal Liberal leadership race by 80% on the first ballot. Speaks of ending party splits. Won't fight dirty like Harper Conservatives. Story @ Trudeau redux?
Federal Conservative attack ads against Trudeau begin immediately. No surprise. This one is in especially bad taste + perhaps very poor judgement too. Will it backfire? See + read about it @ Huffington
Some insights into the scenes being used in the attack ad + Trudeaus celebrity luster @ Celebrity + a Charity Event
"Political Attack Ads + The Enemy Within" provides an insight into the whole issue of negative advertising and draws some fascinating links with the Boston Bombing this week. See: Bionic Liberal Blog
Attack ads create widespread public cynicism about the democratic process, which is bad 4 everybody @ Bad Idea!
Globe + Mail presents a strategists' insiders" debate on the "dark art" of political campaigning @ Strategy
Parody of Trudeau attack ad in rather risque but quite funny, especially if you are married. See @ 4 years of Trudeau?
OLP introduces new legislation to replace controversial "G20 secret law" exercised against protesters at the Toronto G20 summit. See @ G20 secret law
Should Ontario move to online voting? See @ More voters?
IN OTHER NEWS
First Stompin' Tom, now Rita MacNeil.
Iconic Canadian singer + Cape Breton Nova Scotia's "1st lady of song" Rita MacNeil dead at age 68! RIP @ Peoples singer
Rita McNeil's greatest hits @ Her songs
I remember a summer spent in Halifax during the early 1980's. Rita packed the harbour bars + clubs every night. On a small stage, she talked + laughed with her fans, belting out her songs like there was no tomorrow. Her song themes were pointedly social justice + dealt with working + equality issues a lot. These were different times. RIP!
Vote for the greatest Canadian group or musician of all time! I voted 4 the Guess Who twice by mistake @ #1?
Live updates on the suspected Boston Bombers manhunt @ Live updates
Here's a timeline of the FBI + Police manhunt for the suspected Boston Bombers @ Timeline
Here's a slide show of the manhunt @ BBC
Here's a primer on Chechnya where the young suspects were born before they came to the US @ Primer
Did internet chatter help or hinder the search? See@ Online
Meanwhile 136 killed, 5500 injured in earthquake in China! Which is the bigger story? Which gets the most coverage?Why? See @ China Earthquake
A pilot tells all! What really goes on in the cockpit? Are cellphones dangerous on an airplane? Fascinating especially if you like to fly off on vacation a lot like me! See @ Flying high!
Prime Minister Harper off to London. Maggie Thatcher was the big kahuna of Canadian Conservatives. Read the story + check who's in the background of the photos @ Who's that?!
British Labour MP Glenda Jackson denounces the Reagan -Thatcher years during the tribute to Thatcher in British House of Commons @ Reality fix
Reefer madness? 28% of Canadians age 11,13 +15 have smoked marijuana during the last year, placing them @ #1 in an UNICEF survey. Put this in your pipe + smoke it: in countries with more liberal laws the rate was considerably lower: Holland at 17.05% and Portugal at 10.05%. Forbidden fruit? See @ Higher than a kite!
PM Harper speaks how legal marijuana could never be a respectable business!? See him wiggle + squirm through a rather odd argument @ Drug problem explained by an idiot!
Saturday in Dundas Square Toronto
When we came out of the subway at downtown Dundas Square Toronto Saturday, there was a huge "Legalize Marijuana Rally. I thought maybe I was having a flashback to the day. Smoke hung thick in the air, while rock music played, and a fellow in a big marijuana leaf costume danced around handing out leaflets while he smoked a joint. It claimed one way to balance the budget would be to legalize weed. Janet wondered where the police where? I wondered if maybe it's about time. Dunno, what do you think?
420 marijuana rally's held across Canada on Saturday @ 420
Toronto Sun reports on the Dundas Square rally @ Toronto protest
Why not just launch a pre-emptive military strike and blast Bad Boy Un's North Korea to bits? It's a question of volume + location. Check out his war toys. Badly outdated but .... @ Conventional Inventory
Dressed to kill? North Korean female soldiers sport the fetching olive flare pants, matching jackets + pill box hats. Still they don't look too happy. Perhaps it won't be easy to carry a gun and stomp out imperialist aggressors in high heels? Tres cool, all politics aside? See my "Introduction to Socialist Art + Fashion" below. News article @ Off to war?
War is hell especially in high heels!
US Secretary of State claims China is trying to reel in North Korea which they consider a dangerous joke. Chinese perceptions of the western military powers + their allies in the region include some great one liners. An interesting perspective! See @ The China card!
Here's a free online link to ELLE 4 my Chinese readers @ China Today!