May is here! Spring is in the air. Everything's getting better every day, as far as I am concerned, because summer is on the way! I look forward to holidays + travel, probably London, Paris + Cuba, all things permitting. I've reached my 85 factor. Whatever else I announce later this month about my own plans, my blog will continue. Some news to watch out for this month? The Ontario budget and a possible spring election call! What next for our teacher unions and the Ontario education system? Much excitement!
My report on the teacher protest outside Premier Wynne's constituency office after school on Friday has been posted on a separate blog. I understand there was another outside PC Hudak's office too, but no news link yet. The reader comments below my Wynne protest blog are interesting to read.
All's quiet for now ~too quiet! 2 questions:
1] Where is the text of the ratified OSSTF agreement? Must be the biggest most well kept secret in the province. If anybody knows of a link please forward it here, so we can discuss + compare it with the OECTA MOU? Why all the secrecy? Even the MOU was available to publicly read!
Answer: See my latest blog from May 5. It has been posted online elsewhere, it just seems hard to find. Millions have seen the actual text. Most of us no. So here it is. I will be adding support documents, charts etc., a study guide of sorts, as I did for the last two MOU's. Hope this helps. There is some very interesting items in it you don't hear a lot about.
2] What's happening with the ETFO talks?
Answer: An ETFO update on the government discussions: There is a respectful + positive tone but clearly more time is needed to resolve key issues. Sounds prudent to me. I'm glad one leadership is not in any hurry over the OLP MOE's offer to kiss and make nice @ ETFO
Coming soon: A federal conservative revision of Canadian History! It will focus on conservative values, perspectives and issues and sooner or later be reflected in our school texts. That's one of the perks of power, you get to rewrite history. Right now we still have a pretty Liberal one. See @ Historical Revisionism
Ontario Nursing Week stars Monday May 5. Media release @ Union Celebration!
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield leads across Canada student singalong from the International Space Station. Is this guy cool or what? Remember when The Beatles did a an "All You Need is Love" world satellite singalong in 1967? Now @ Space Oddity
TDSB dispute: How much of the boards funding for poor and ESL students is being used as intended? Numbers vary quiet considerably @ TD$B
Alberta is phasing out province wide standardized tests! A new plan is being put in place starting next year. Read all about it @ De-Standardized?
Another case to make my point from before that teaching still is also a conserving [as opposed to conservative] activity. Read why we need school libraries @ basic pillar not a fad
Canadian Foreign Temporary Worker program results in job scams + exploitation for cheap labour to keep costs down @ Jobs in Canada Scam
Over 700 Bangladesh workers die in factories producing manufactured goods including Loblaws Canada's Joe Fresh clothing label. We think about ethical investment. What about safety standards in the foreign workplaces we do business with? This has been a horrific event, and probably just the tip of the problem in many that are making goods for multinational companies teachers invest in. Hmmm. Info @ Over 700 die!
OSSTF + other unions voice support for workers + families in Bangladesh @ Solidarity!
Unofficial OECTA TSU election news: Nominations are closed. All the executive officer positions are acclaimed except for 1st VP. Mr. Frank Bruno will be running against incumbent Dave Szollosy. Otherwise Ms. Bianka Hudek steps up into my vacated 3rd VP position. Mr. Michael Nicolaidis now joins as one of the three councilors. Congratulations + good luck!
I will not be making any election endorsement this year. However I plan to invite both candidates to either write a guest blog or be interviewed for a separate posting on my site. As you will recall the same offer was extended to the OECTA Provincial Executive candidates this year. They seemed to find it a very good way to let their views be known in an open manner. My readership at TSU is quite extensive, moreso than the unit newsletter, website or quite likely the number of members who will attend the UAGM to hear the candidates speak. I hope this can help the membership best make the right choice for themselves, while informing + enlightening us on the democratic process. Submissions must be free of attacks on the character or integrity of each contender or the other executive members + focus on the issues, strengths and views of each candidate. I will not comment on nor assign any bias whatsoever to either submission, should the candidates choose to avail themselves of the opportunity.
If you have a question you would like both of the candidates to answer, please forward it to me at my blogsite using the Comment link below. Once again it must be respectfully asked + issue orientated to be published.
OECTA TSU Human Right Committee presents EGALE [Equality For Gay and Lesbians Everywhere] workshop + discussion group on GSA's, [Gay straight Alliances] + LGBTQ's [the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered + Queer community]. Issue of LGBTQ teachers rights, protection + union support were also discussed. These remain controversial denominational verses civil right issues that will need to be examined in greater depth on my blog. It also poses a ticking time bomb in the public eye + political realm. Most of the TCDSB [Toronto Catholic District School Board] schools represented did not have a GSA. EGALE has a website with many resources for students, teachers + parents etc. @ mygsa.ca
Much, much more to come ....
Chins up! Soon the school year will be over + summer holidays will be here!
OSSTF awards Ottawa Citizen report Matthew Pearson for most balanced coverage of the teacher labour crisis @ balanced
York University projects focus' on youth "culture of low expectations" in troubled Jane/ Finch corridor in Toronto @ Jane/ Finch dilemma
OSSTF provides resources for teen mental health @ good to have
Is it time for an OLP + NDP coalition or accord? Should the two parties split the Ontario political centre vote, Hudak wins an election by default + can start to slash + burn @ Stop Tim?
Horwath body checks Hudak, maybe Wynne too! The budget needs to provide public accountability and rebuild public trust. Media release @ NDP shoots! Scores?
Cabinet Minister Takhar steps down from cabinet due to health concerns result in mini OLP cabinet shuffle. MPP John Milloy in now as Government Services Minister. See @ Chest pains!
May 3 Forum Poll: PC= 35% /OLP= 35% /NDP= 25% /Green= 4%. The seat count suggests a Liberal majority = 59 /PC= 36% /NDP = 12, due to support distribution. Horwath comes out on top in leadership popularity = 49% /Wynne= 42% /Hudak = 27%. 55% do not want an election, while 41% do. 48% want the NDP to support the budget, 36% are opposed, while 16% have no opinion. 869 people were polled by interactive voice response phone calls. The poll is considered accurate within 3%, 19 out of 20 times, or so they claim. See results @ Forum Poll
Moe Sandals reaffirms OLP support for Catholic schools in OCSTA trustees association speech @ Catholic trustees
The budget announcement was at 4pm today at Queens Park. All eyes will be on the NDP's Andrea Horwath afterwards. The earliest that a confidence motion can be called would be May 8th, with a June 8th election to follow.The latest would be a May 30th non confidence vote with an election at the end of June.
You can watch a video of Finance Minister Sousa's budget speech @ Click here!
The Government website: You can read the whole budget or see their key points @ Click here!
NDP leader Andrea Horwath's official response is here @ Click here!
Where did all the good budget ideas come from Andrea?!?
So what do you think? Apparently the NDP can't decide whether to support the budget or not until they carry out this survey. One reporter quipped during the media launch this morning why not have an election to see? Seriously speaking I don't think this is very reliable so what's it really all about? Buying time + public support? Link 4 the NDP's "Have your Say" on the budget is @ Click here
CCPA's 2013 budget analysis "Four More Years of Austerity" @ Canadian Council of Policy Alternatives
Welfare breaks in the new budget: Wynne, Horwath + Francis Lankin hash it out @ Poverty
PC Leader Tim Hudak's official statement is here @ Click here!
Hudak's blanket "no" to even looking at the budget means Horwath holds all the election cards, and perhaps his fate in her hands. All he can do now is look mad all the time and go on about McGuinty + corruption. Zzzzzz. True or not, how long has he been acting out that script now? @ Tim trumped!
Sun New's Christina Blizzard calls it a "losers budget" + "horror show" @ Sun News
Sun News "budget highlights" and anti budget graphics are @ Sun tells all
Budget chart shows Hudak's Right to Work 4 less job creation numbers don't add up @ Wrong again!
First + Foremost of interest 4 us: The Education Spending breakdown includes little new funding but enough to keep flags ship initiatives afloat: FDK roll out, "30 off" tuition,. Small increases are included for summer school for at risk students + aboriginal achievement . There are some ominous undertones about future cuts due to declining enrolment + the OLP goal of long term sustainability. Apparently there will be consultations first. Hmmm. See @ Education Budget
ETFO's Sam Hammond praises budget help for our most vulnerable Ontarians @ need help
National Post's "Everything you need to know about the Ontario budget" broken down into bite sized pieces @ Word bites + graphs
Toronto Star's top ten budget highlights @ Top 10
Scott Stinson ponders what Andrea will do next @ Spring Election?
Northern Ontarians concerned about lack of reference to funding Ring of Fire mining area around James Bay @ Northern Ontario?
Finance Minister Sousa: C'mon! Tell me! Whoz yer Daddy?!?
Globe + Mail: the language of a fair society instead of the austerity mantra @ Radwanski
According to CTV's Paul Bliss the budget gets a fixed total of 8 hours debate in the house. Each opposition party gets one amendment motion each. A vote must be held within 12 sessional days. I haven't had a chance to confirm/ qualify his numbers.
Are we looking at a spring election battle or a phony war? Martin Regg Cohn figures it's an NDP budget Horwath will find hard to defeat after getting so many significant NDP concessions. However, there remains a massive deficit for Hudak to gnaw at, and few corporate tax rate changes requiring them to throw more money into the balanced budget pot @ Which way will it go?
The NDP is sitting pretty, the polls are volatile, why rock the boat? Then there's the Windsor by-election coming up. Teachers get ready? See @ NDP Balance of Power
Also see my Pre Budget blog @ Click here!
Here's today's QP lowdown according to the Toronto Star. The gas plant scandal is tied into it @ The big day
Here's four big questions about budget day + the aftermath from the CBC. Live online coverage also begins streaming from here at 4:00pm. See @ CBC coverage
Don Drummond by stealth: He's still the OLP's main man.
Behind the scenes: Don Drummond says the OLP has quietly acted on half of his recommendations, and so far only rejected about 12. Sneaky, sneaky! See @ Drummond Report Half Implemented
IN OTHER NEWS
Most regretfully when I am no longer able to get free news links from the Globe + Mail, I am not about to pay to get their links to send to you who will need to pay to see them too. Phooey on that! As I have said before I will continue to seek out new alternative news sources as well as use the other regular mainstream providers, besides the Globe + Mail. I hope they reconsider their policy. Meanwhile, I'll need to boycott the Globe + Mail after the 20 free links each month. I suggest you do too!
Controversial OISIE education guru etc., Michael Fulton who has been behind a lot of the key changes in our schools in Ontario, and also the UK is off to California to help provide an alternative to the US "No Child Left Behind" educational debacle down stateside way. The blogger also provides a download link to Fulton's report on "Choosing the Right Drive". Worth a gander, especially for my US readers. See @ download here
Here's a Top Ten list of lesson planning Ipad apps @ Ipad Apps
Psychology Today article debunks US conservative clams their education system is going down the toilet based upon test scores @ Standardized myths
The Politics of Poverty: A video about the residents of St. Jamestown, Toronto's inner city housing project/ ghetto. There's also Jane/Finch and the Jungle near Lawrence + the Allan Expressway, modernist post war tower communities are spread across Canada and the US. This documentary was filmed by an international student studying here in Toronto, and you get to hear from the citizens themselves @ Jamestown
Will the Canadian dollar fall to the 90 to 92 US cents range by the end of the year? Seems so according to a lot of economists but we have heard this one before. Last I looked its back to hovering around parity. See @ loonie tunes!
And now, a new feature, I think ....
KULTURE KULT INC: Life + Times
Yes, the world is changing, in more ways than we might think!
Imperial map projections: Our school + other maps are originally based upon a euro centric projection of what the world looks like but actually it can be viewed in a many different ways, that can even alter the relative size and shape of the continents, oceans + seas. Real interesting! See @ Rethinking the World!
Wooooooo! Twight Zone time ....
Possible Beatle Re-union? Since two of the Fab 4 are dead [Monsieur John Lennon + George Harrison], the "Twotles" [Sir Paul McCartney + one Ringo Starr] had hopes of recruiting Canuck guitarist + Prime Minister "Rockin" Steve Harper as guitarist to re-record their best selling Abbey Road album. It was certainly hoped Mr. Harper could've added some extra star power + personality to the new combo. Here Mr. Steven Harper + family are seen practicing for a photo shoot of the new Abbey Road album cover, in London England ....
Unfortunately [?!] the"Threetles" [Paul, Ringo + Steve] reunion plans had to be scuttled when "Steve" was told by Mr.Starr that no plaid shirts would be allowed on stage during any subsequent photos shoots or world tour. "No way," Harper is alleged to have told Ringo, "Plaid is real cool with the kids! I know! You are just going to have to get hip with the times!"
Steve is shown back home now playing guitar by himself. His Beatles career at an end, Steve is expected to continue with his other career in politics. "Harumph! Well at least everybody here in Canada gets plaid and likes me!," he has been alleged to have recently said, "Justin Trudeau beware!".
And if you believe that can I interest you in buying some private property in Cuba? ;-)
No kidding: Birdwatcher beats up brown bear with his bare fists. Actually, more people die from dog rather than bear attacks. Read more @ Beating up bears
Metallic orbs are discovered underground in the pre Colombian Teotihuacan Temple of the Feathered Serpents. Hmmmm. Chariot of the gods revisited?!? Janet have trekked down a few times to explore the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, but never here. My photos above. Story below @ Mystery orbs
Juno award winning Canuck activist songstress Carole Pope back on the road to promote her new "Landfall" album. I bought it: very, very good. Classic Pope. Rough Tradish but comtemp. I fondly recall her afternoon matinees during the mid seventies upstairs at the Chimney on Yonge St: a small packed bar, quart beers + Carole Pope live! Hope she plays Toronto again soon. "Joe's Garage" sounds kinda far away [?!] @ Carole makes landfall!
You can support the Canadian indie market by buying Carole's new cd directly from her here for $12 @ Buy direct
Lives of the rich + infamous:
Life can so real hard when you are rich + infamous! Reese Witherspoon tells off + threatens cop when she is arrested 4 being drunk and disorderly. Ouch! Can she sing Rehab? Hmmmm. Didn't seem to do Amy Winehouse much good. Sob. Watch @ Very embarrassing
Reese: Well. My little doggie is real smart! He'll know what to do!