Opening Statement

Saturday 29 June 2013

OSSTF President Ken Coran to run for OLP London West!

Liz: Kenneth dearie! Please! Let's stop squabbling + make a deal!

OSSTF President Ken Coran will be parachuted in as the sole OLP candidate for London West in the upcoming by election! The riding association has announced he will be acclaimed next Tuesday. Only one name was put forward. Coran is well known for having reached a controversial MOE MOU with the Liberal government after leading his public secondary school teachers union teachers through a year long plus protest + rotating strike. He has even claimed responsibility for bringing down former OLP Premier Dalton McGuinty, and even having a hand in the recent resignations. He praises Premier Wynne for drawing him into politics with her sense of collaboration, openness and honesty. Collaboration Ken? Indeed!

OSSTF announces President Coran will retire on June 30 @ done here!

Global News reports Ken will be acclaimed the OLP candidate for London West on June 2. Boy, he's not wasting any time! See @ Ken Coran OLP

News Talk 1290 claims there are rumours he was hand picked for the position by Premier Wynne @ The Chosen One?

The Toronto Sun is salivating at teachers "jumping in bed" with the OLP @ Wake up sunshine!

Toronto Star editorial links OSSTF D12 January campaign donations to OLP leadership candidates with Ken's recent move into an argument against the teacher protest movement @ Cynical

The OSSTF announcement is supposed to be posted at this link which is Not Accessible!

Ken Koran has lived in London for 40 years. He is a member of the London West Provincial Liberal Riding Association. The former MPP was Chris Bentley @ Some background.

Liberal strategists consider August 1st by election date. Possibly all 5 could be on the same day. Maybe, maybe not @ By elections dates?

Hi! I'm Ken! Vote for me!

The Globe + Mail reports on Coran's "about face" @ About face

Ken Coran: From nemesis to nominee. The PC's and NDP are expected to have a field day with this @  London Free Press

The Globe + Mail claims Ken Coran has been brought back into the fold to help the Wynne Liberal government re-establish it's connections with teachers. Hmmm. Read @ Ahhh, Collaboration?!!

Hudak's PC Tories can't believe their good luck! Read the reactions @ [Tory] Fun Fun Fun!

Thames Valley OSSTF endorses Ken Coran. Phone calls are made for members to come out to help him. However a grassroots rebellion is brewing. A teacher protest is planned outside his campaign office on July 23. More news @ Official Local Union Support


Friday 28 June 2013

Schools Out For Summer!

Scroll down for my regular blog features below!

School is out for summer! It's been quite a year. Make sure you have a great holiday, whatever else you do. We earned it.

Mrs Chiarelli is no longer a political widow. Janet was always a great help + my numbero uno supporter. We will go celebrate my retirement in London + Paris. More on our plans later.

I am retiring from active teaching, but once a teacher always a teacher, I figure. My blogs will continue. I will be on reduced hours during the summer, but I will still be here. There will be teacher union news links, most of your regular features, and some other fun summer things too. Come fall I will be back on line with you. However I look especially forward to sleeping in on the first day back to school for the first time in over 26 years. Ha.

I invited our OECTA TSU union executive circle to come to my retirement bash. In my own way, I love them all! Course they might not have often known it! ;-)

My retirement activities over the past few weeks as I wrapped things up at the union office and school were quite interesting. As I`ve said before, I have been away on a leave.  OECTA TSU has a big party to honour our retirees at Fantasy Farm each year. All the retirees wear a Hawaiian lay. So in effect you get laid at Fantasy Farm ... hmmm. Anyway, no prizes or awards for me. Ha. I did win the first and probably only Grand Poohbah award at a small executive party we had later on at Mikamodo`s restaurant up at Highway 7 and Weston. The venue was my choice .... all you can eat Chinese and Japanese food. Very tasty. Reasonable. Table service. No hurry. Nice space.

I dropped into school this week and cleaned out my office. Finally, everything, out into the garbage! Well there were some things I passed on, like my 3 hole punch. It was such a relief. I`ve always wanted to do that. Quite frankly the situation at my school has been unacceptable for far too long now. It was very empowering to reach my 85 factor and say Arrivederci!

Sparky + I: Retirement rocks! At OECTA TSU members get a lay when you retire. Sort of a Catholic way of getting "laid" ... ;-)

It was genuinely touching to say goodbye to all my friends and the staff at McGuigan from over my 21 years at the school. It is the good memories that sustain me. In time the bad stuff quickly becomes moot. I don`t carry that with me. It`s like a cancer that just eats away at you from within, if you do. Same with my union friends and foes past and present. I live. I learn. Life goes on. Anyway I ramble. My final words, speech: a quote from the immortal Dr. Martin Luther King; 

                  Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty I am free at last!

And those of you who remain, go on fighting just the same! Hey! It`s summer! You can relax! Let the little lovelies parents have them for a while. People scoff at our grief in handling a full class of them, now the shoes on the other foot. `However, they only have to deal with one or two usually, their own. It`s time for some parent student bonding. Indeed!

Other Related Posts:

Summer Holidays @ Home Considering Time!

Teacher Summer Holidays? More @ Take no BS! Feel no guilt!

Finishing School @ My Life Pt. 3

Stay tuned!

Pax/ Solidarity!

David Chiarelli

Sunday 23 June 2013

Former Education Minister Laurel Broten Resigns!

Scroll down for my updated teacher news links blog. Here is a link to the acronym guide for my blogsite @ ACRONYMS

Under construction:

Education Minister Laurel Broten angered even her long committed Liberal teacher supporters with the OECTA MOU + Bill 115!

Former Education Minister laurel Broten has announced her resignation as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Women's issues and as the OLP MPP for the past ten years in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore. The notice was released prior to the Sunday evening announcement of the ETFO MOU voting results. Whether that was co-incidental or not is uncertain. However, the joint timing of both certainly ends a very difficult year and a half of strife between the provinces teachers and the Ontario government in which Ms Broten was often the flash point of conflict.

It was Ms. Broten who introduced the MOU contract stripping terms at the PDT table + reached an early MOU deal with the OECTA Provincial Executive. She remained under heavy attack by the public school teachers from then on, especially after Bill 115 was enacted, through until Kathleen Wynne's election on January 25th. Premier Wynne replaced her by appointing Liz Sandals as the Education Minister. Sandals has now closed separate MOU deals with both the OSSTF and ETFO teachers. An era in Ontario educational politics has reached an end with much uncertainty about what comes next.

I worked for OECTA TSU PAC on Laurel Broten's riding association from 2001 until  winter 2012 when the harsh PDT terms were announced by Laurel as the Education Minister. Until then she had often been much liked by the teachers and a very popular local MPP. She was well known for knocking on her constituents doors year round inbetween elections to discuss their concerns. She was also instrumental in setting up a very successful women's shelter program in the riding. She worked with OECTA on the favourable full day kindergarten and early childhood educator programs among other issues and was often a conduct for us to the McGuinty cabinet.

All of us were quite surprised + even shocked when Laurel Broten changed drastically after the 2011 Provincial election. My best guess would be that she threw her lot in with the OLP's right wing for reasons unknown. Her political roots date back to when Federal Liberal MP Allan Rock was the Justice Minister in Ottawa under Prime Minister Jean Chretien during the 1990's. Broten had been a Bay St. lawyer until her run in the 2003 election, although I was never too sure just what the connection was. Her arm was twisted to support former Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatief's unsuccessful Federal election attempt starting with when he was first parachuted into Etobicoke Lakeshore from Harvard as the riding's Federal candidate for MPP.

During this winter's OLP party leadership race she supported Sandra Pupatello. She gambled + lost again. Her endorsement was a surprise, as she had been good friends with Kathleen Wynne. They often campaigned together up until then. I'm not sure that her apparent demotion from the MOE was a big factor in her resignation, as it was to be expected. She seemed to be laying low for awhile in her new smaller portfolios which would've made good political sense after all she'd been through.

Possibly Ms Broten realized that her strong teacher support in the last three provincial elections had been lost. I don't doubt she'd heard that all three affiliates were planning to target her specifically in the next election. The controversial scrapping of one of the gas plants which was to be built in her riding would've posed a problem for her re-election chances as well. It is also significant that her campaign manager, Tom Allison, who had helped engineer her last three very successful election wins had gone on to become Wynne's campaign manager in her successful party leadership win. He is now a higher up in the premiers office. It would seem highly unlikely that he would be there helping Laurel out next time either.

So what happened? Politics is a blood sport. Laurel took some pretty big gambles in throwing her support behind the OLP affront on the provinces teachers. Then in backing Bay Street legal and business favourite Sandra Pupatello to pick up where Premier Dalton McGuinty had left off after he resigned. These were bad moves. I believe she saw the writing on the wall. She has now left by her own choice. It was probably her best way out.

Here are the news links:

Former OLP MOE Laurel Broten resigns effective July 2! Statement @ RESIGNS!

Here's Premier Wynne's statement on Broten's resignation. Note that Teresa Piruzza will take over the Women's Issue portfolio. Wynne will take on Intergovernmental Affairs @ Wynne

CP24 report notes a by election in her Etobicoke Lakeshore riding must be held within 6 months. She's the 4th to quit under Wynne. Furthermore she's moving to Halifax! Read @ Halifax?

The Toronto Star notes the teachers would be after her in the next election. Also one of the scrapped gas plants was in her riding. It seems she's ostensibly following her husband Paul to Halifax as he has some business opportunities there in the energy sector @ Why?

Here's your Queen's Park brief from the morning after @ By elections + speculation

During his Monday morning media scrum at QP PC party leader Tim Hudak said it's unlikely Broten quit at the same time the ETFO MOU ratification vote results were announced. Broten allegedly was "thrown under the bus" by Premier Wynne because the "big union leaders" were upset. ETFO was even rewarded with a 2% raise.  Hudak claims the Liberals will never be able to balance the budget with all this reckless spending. Blah blah blah ... Of course he leaves out the part where the 2% "raise" is a catch up to put the members on par with the salaries of their counterparts across the province. He doesn't mention that it also doesn't take effect until the next 2014 contract is signed.

Follow up: Locals from Laurel Broten's riding discuss her contributions to the community. Very interesting: She denies she's leaving because of the teachers. She doesn't rule out a return to politics. Hmmm. I wonder if she's in touch with the Liberal Party in Nova Scotia, provincial or federal? Just a thought. Read @ Good bye?

OLP shops around for a new candidate in Etobicoke Lakeshore. Some names seem unlikely to me: TCDSB Chair Andrachuk?!? Read more @ Help Wanted!

Wednesday 19 June 2013

June Teacher News Digest 2

Latest news updates are printed large!


Summer holidays are nearly here!!!

Dear reader: There are important stories happening on a number of news fronts. I will provide updates when pertinent here on my news digest. However, to follow the stories in more depth please see:

Former OLP MOE Laurel Broten resigns effective July 2! Statement @ RESIGNS!

[This news story has been removed + continues in my latest blog above.]

ETFO ratifies MOU by 91% vote! Details @ RESULTS!

[This news story has been moved to my ETFO blog @ Ratified ]

The Globe + Mail reports on both ETFO + the Broten resignation @ Changes

Here's your Queen's Park briefing from the morning after @ By elections + speculation For the OSSTF protest @ OSSTF!

For the Rob Ford Follies find them @ Cracked!

And so ...

TDSB teacher absences soared under new sick day plan. Use them or lose them! Read @ Absent!

Schools [almost] out! Hey! Did you get a mug? More on this yearly student ritual @ Bye Sir/Ms!

TCDSB denies Rob Ford claim that Premier Wynne had him banned as a football coach in the Toronto Catholic schools @ Pure Ford B.S.

ETFO's Positive Space provides a 10 step plan for making your school community more inclusive for our LGBT students. You know, LGBT teachers are also a big often unaddressed issue, especially in the Catholic schools. See the ETFO plan Resource Document

OCAP: Fight back not protest against!

Is it time for more action less words? OCAP [Ontario Coalition Against Poverty] says its not enough to "protest against" austerity + the other pressing social justice issues of our day. We need to "fight back!"
OCAP have posted a series of posters by artist Paul Kelljand with the theme "Fighting Back Works" that you can download @ Fighting Back Works!

The latest Doug Little Report is now posted on line. It's required reading on teachers, education workers + the "war on wages". Big business is freaking out and wants to drive them down. However, in doing so they reduce the very peoples spending power needed to stimulate the next upward economic cycle. Doug includes some interesting insights on how McGuinty, Hudak + Wynne fit in here too. Also on teachers as the new labour vanguard @ Read this!

Worker envy will ironically undermine the important advances that our unions have made to benefit us all, such as pensions, medicare and a living wage. Weekends too. This is a big tool in the provinces + big businesses attack on our unions, to divide, conquer and discredit us to get the job done @ Thomas Walkom

ETFO President Sam Hammond speaks on the affiliates protest strategy + negotiation process over the past year or so @ ETFO

Here's a real big pet peeve of mine: Today's students have lost the skill and art of cursive writing. It's been a basic skill for thousands of years. It teachers hand co-rdination and focus. It's an excellent and the most basic way to write and draw. The high tech revolution has been great in so many ways. Our schools are letting down present + future generations terribly by dropping this as we race to jump on the techie bandwagon. We are all mindlessly becoming slaves to our computers. For shame @ Cursive writing?

Do we really want to be this dependent on a computer? Now that cursive writing has been dropped from the curriculum many students can't even write their own names! See @ No more!

Catholic Life! Jesus: "Hello?? MOE?? Why aren't you doing something????"

Here's a news story that isn't going to upset anybody but the Catholic teachers at 1st brush. Still, it shows you can't make a deal with the devil. The TCDSB Catholic School Board has told the local OECTA units that they will not be honouring the "Me Too" clauses included in the controversial OECTA MOU signed last July 5th. They have told the units that they are not accepting any of the enhancements from the OSSTF or ETFO Mou's unless they are forced to do so by government regulation. The MOE B12 memo has stipulated that 2 to 6 days of school board discussions with each bargaining unit must be set up by June 28 to discuss the OSSTF + ETFO enhancements + their implementation. However, the OECTA locals were told last week by the Toronto Catholic board that no such meetings will be scheduled. Whether you are an OECTA member or not one would be advised to watch this story carefully + with great interest. If the MOE allows these flagrant violations of the OECTA MOU, what do you think yours are worth?!? Or any of the affiliates agreements based upon the 2013-14 PDT talks to follow next year?!?

More of the story to watch for: The TCDSB and perhaps other Catholic school boards are not keen on impartial adjudication or standard return to work accommodation practices. That's why the 3rd party adjudicator was included in the OECTA MOU terms for the 120 sick day plan. That language isn't in either the OSSTF or the ETFO MOU's. The Catholic board is now biting at the bit to get rid of this clause too. Once again in OECTA's case that violates the terms of our MOU. The decision is being made unilaterally by the school board. What is the MOE going to do about the situation? So far nothing!!! Nada!!! What a joke!!! All these MOU agreements are based upon trusting the government, which should mean they'd enforce the agreed upon terms. It seems not!!! All the affiliates have now agreed to an MOU. Let's see just what exactly that means!!! Are just the Catholic school boards exempt from accepting the terms of the MOU or ..... ?!?

The things he didn't say. ..... include  .... There sure is a lot of confusion here!

PS: Yes I know: OECTA Provincial shouldn't have signed the July 5th MOU on our members behalf. That has been the position here on my blog all year. Not only was solidarity broken with the other affiliates to very ill effect, but our school boards are now also exempt from the terms. The Catholic trustees walked out of the PDT talks. Now the Toronto Catholic District School Board can cherry pick the terms as they like. Must be nice. They are being publicly funded to do so too!

Here's an interesting look at how socio economic factors can affect student graduation rates @ Pass/ Fail?

MOE Liz Sandals announces an increased provincial fund is available to provide cameras and door buzzers in our provinces elementary schools to enhance their security. Suppose its different with the elementary schools but outsiders will get in if they really want to. I remember we use to have a locked down campus at the secondary school where I teach in Toronto during the early 1990's. When the drug dealers couldn't get in they'd have someone pull the fire alarm to empty the school outside where they could do business. Still, it was better than having them try to walk into your classroom to sell drugs. Anyway, watch @ Safe Schools?

TDSB trustees are advised to sell off $162 million in downtown school properties in order to pay for building and repairing its other schools. That's prime real estate. There must be a lot of developers smacking their lips. Long term it will probably be worth even much more than it is today. There are also claims that the board is in a deficit situation of the provinces making. See @ prime chops!

TDSB trustees decide to sell downtown lands and severe or cut up sections off the school grounds to balance their budget. Short term gain for long time pain? Wait til enrolment increases again to see @ Axe time!

Province to conduct financial audit, upon request, of troubled TDSB for the period when Chris Spense was the director @ board audit

Will door buzzers + security cameras keep school safe?

Could the fair hire clause in the MOU's hamper efforts to promote equity in the teaching staff at our schools? The Peel Public board is arguing yes @ equity hiring?

E-Race accuses the Peel Board of discriminatory hiring practices. Seems the Catholic boards aren't the only ones who don't practice fair hire @ Not fair?

A move is a foot at the Waterloo public board to encourage more men teachers in the elementary schools where 81% of the staff are female @ Reverse discrimination?

The Ottawa Carleton Public board's fair hire process is accused by applicants of sometimes excluding Occasional Teachers who were previously on the long term list. Read @ Not fair?

Ottawa parents are suing the Catholic school board + a teacher. Their son died cutting a metal barrel to make a BBQ for a class project. The used barrel had previously had peppermint oil in it and a flammable cleaner had been used to remove it. It exploded and the student suffered a horrific death from skull fractures + other head injuries. The Ontario labour board is also laying charges + launching an investigation. The outcome looks very bleak for those charged. Bill 168: The Health + Safety Act is not something to be ignored or taken lightly. It applies in our schools, just like any other work place. The notion seems to be very slow in catching on. Read @ Better safe than sorry!

A new study blames parents driving their kids to school and wherever else for making them fat + lazy @ Ever heard of walking?

TDSB student trustee considers what students learnt this year: to get politically involved and not depend on the school to volunteer to do everything for you @ Important lessons!

1st wave of teacher strikes rock UK!

Here they go: Thousands of UK teachers join the first wave of strike actions with a one day walk out effecting over 3000 schools. Pay + work conditions cited @ UK teacher strikes begin!

Is the drinking water in the TDSB's Toronto schools safe? Depends on who you talk too. If they are anything like the TCDSB schools the health and safety conditions are abhorrent. God knows the unions push and push for the proper standards to be met but without much success. It's like talking to a brick wall. Without doubt funding problems and budget cuts complicate repairs. Nobody ever seems to say much publicly though. The drinking water is just the tip of the iceberg. Are students and teachers safe in our older, deteriorating Toronto schools "period" ? That's the question that should be asked. @ For shame!

Class photos are becoming very tricky @ Inclusivity?

An unregistered career college aka "programming boot camp" is being investigated @ legit?

After many ups and downs a deal has been reached in the elevator worker strike Deal!

Don't try this in class: A BC teacher is reprimanded for offering three student chatter boxes an option: they can tape their mouths shut for 20 minutes or go to the principal's office. She's been teaching 20 years and is apparently quite popular with her students. Nobody complained until the students picture turned up on Facebook. I know this is considered extreme these days but the non stop talkers do disrupt and waste a heck of a lot of valuable class time. Still the focus is on protecting their feelings + rights. We must always be nice at a very high cost for everyone else who is there to learn + teach. Oh, we are supposed to be "progressive" + "creative"! Practically speaking this namby pamby psycho-babble has always royally p.o'ed me. It's incredibly wasteful, counter productive + unfair for everyone else. C'mon, let's face it; it's major b.s. ... Ooops! I forgot! That's politically incorrect! Nobody is supposed to admit it at school!!! Now that could be BIG trouble!!! OMG!!! See @ Sounds of silence

Chatter boxes? Make sure you always respect their right to "express themselves" in class!

Here's how we raise graduation rates in Ontario now: Students can't fail. The lowest mark they can get is 25% or "I" for "insufficient evidence". Then they can complete the work they missed to collect assignment marks like bottle caps to win the prize. So much for the pedagogy of A leads to B leads to C. Just hand in the work in if and when you like! Hmmm. Can the teachers then also just hand in their course outlines, reports, evaluations, + annual learning plans etc. etc. etc. whenever too?!? What BS! Unfortunately this has been common practice at the TCDSB for our students and it has always struck me as just plain wrong. Can't failure teach us to work + try harder to succeed??? Applied classes might be different in some cases, but I consider the very principle downright unprofessional, unethical + an all time low in "educational thinking". And I use that term lightly! Anyhow, now the Waterloo boards are jumping on the band wagon. Read all about it @ The latest greatest stupid theory in education!

The United Federation of Teachers are poised to get involved in the New York mayoral race. In the US their contracts are a lot more municipally based. Seems their actions are very controversial, though it's okay for the pro business lobby or other right wing groups to do the same. The teachers are planning a strategy so their support is focused to produce winning results. Maybe we should send a delegation down to give them a hand? Well, we might have our own hands full come the next provincial election. See @ Land of the free

UK Education secretary plans to deregulate school days, hours + teacher duties. My niece is teaching in London. Their school year is different than ours all ready. She expects major strikes + protests by the end of June @ UK Teacher Strike?

Seems Liberal Arts studies are booming around the world in the seemingly most unlikely of places except here. Why is China interested in the Liberal Arts? Read @ Changes

Chinese education reforms are moving away from test scores, the opposite of over here. Asian schooling in general can be highly regimented with much emphasis on rote learning and very high test scores. Seems to me there's never a happy balance anywhere. Anyway, meanwhile check out what's happening in China @ less testing!

There's big changes in course selections around the world but not in Canada!

How a good History teacher turned this students life around. It's a bitter sweet story too. Read this @ Hooray History!

Why it's not a good idea to email your students and try to be cool! Duh @ Look at me I'm a teenager too!

Canadian Education systems continue to receive top international grades. From whom and by what criteria? Read @ Tops!


McGuinty gas plant legacy pushes OLP down 2 points in latest Forum Research poll. Horwath leads Wynne in best leader dept. once again. Read @ Honeymoon over? 

Donate $25 or more to the Ontario NDP election war chest and be entered in a draw to win a sit down lunch with party leader Andrea Horwath. It's for a good cause and could prove very interesting. If you win please let us know what you asked and what she said! ;-) @ Lunch with Andrea

5th By Election required as OLP MPP Margaret Best  [Scarborough Guildwood] resigns too. She had been away on a medical leave since being demoted from cabinet in February. No reason is given for her resignation.The riding was a hard fought teacher win against a strong Tory incumbent in 2003 for retired OLP MPP Mary Ann Chambers. More @ 5th Resignation

Here's Premier Wynne's official statement @ Resigned

Yes! Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will march in this year's Gay Pride Parade! Umm ... Kinda! Sorta!

Premier Wynne will become our first premier to march down Yonge St. in the annual Gay Pride Parade Sunday June 30th @ Gay Pride

Premier Wynnes real Pride Week announcement not to be confused with the one below ;-) @ Pride Week

Gavin Crawford's political lampoon of Kathleen Wynne welcoming everyone to the 2013 Toronto Gay Parade is absolutely hilarious. Nobody is spared any quarter so don't take it too seriously @ Hey! He's not Wynne!

Here's NDP leader Andrea Horwath's statement on Gay Pride LGBT

Here`s an NDP invitation to march with them in the Sunday Gay Pride Parade Invitation

This years Toronto Gay Pride Parade marches all the way down Yonge St. to Dundas Square!

Federal Liberal MPP + past itinerant leader Bob Rae resigns, again. You will recall he was once our Ontario Provincial NDP Premier too. What to think? Bob Rae: a great Canadian or a putz?!? Read his statement @ Resignation

Here's Federal Opposition Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's official statement @ Media release

Here's the reactions from Queens Park: NDP's Gilles Bisson spares Rae no quarter @ What next?

The NDP's Gilles Bisson has been on a roll lately. Read more below ...

Is Bob Rae gone from politics for good? Never say never @ Mr. Morph!

Will ex OLP MPP + mayorial candidate George Smitherman run for Bob Raes Federal riding in the Toronto Centre "gaybourhoud", as Extra magazine puts it? He's a pit bull, a real political scrapper when the going gets rough. See @ Furious George

The ETFO Voice blog reviews the past session at QP.  Prospectus? Wynne seems to have turned the OLP fortunes around. The by elections could be tight. A provincial election seems unlikely before next springs budget vote @ Schools out for summer!

Can the OLP hold onto McGuinty's Ottawa riding now that he has resigned + a by election must be called? You can bet the PC's are going to throw their whole weight into winning this one. You can also bet the OLP will pull out all the stops so that doesn't happen. What a black eye that would be! See @ PC Win?

Global TV has a one on one wrap up interview with Premier Wynne about the spring legislature @ 1 on 1

Wynne says she will not lose touch with the people of Ontario, ostensibly to avoid the disconnect that happened with Dalton McGuinty @ A Disconnect?

The Gas Plant Stink: There's been a big Ruckus in the OLP cabinet at QP. Sounds like it's the worst yet. Here's some interesting insights into how Wynne runs cabinet @ 2 much?

Comrade Wynne: Winning the fight? Or fighting a loosing battle? Time will decide ...

The Green Party of Ontario's position on public funding for the Catholic schools? One Ontario, one school system @ Green's Policy 

Premier Kathleen Wynne claims the province needs to have a public discussion on legalizing euthanasia. Ageing + ailing baby boomers might want to eventually have this option. She recognizes it will be an important, unavoidable, ethical debate. Read @ Death + taxes

The Timmins News is glad Premier Wynne has actually visited Northern Ontario for her "conversation" on the privatization of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission's assets. An editorial notes if McGuinty had visited he would've discovered there are actually people up that way, not just woodland caribou. Of course! But we all know that in Southern Ontario anyway, eh? Er.... what's a woodland caribou though?!? Do they look in your window or bite??? ;-) Read @ Editorial

Seems like Wynnes everywhere making news these days. She says she has no intention of calling a provincial election. She wants to govern. So far so good, then she mentions future educational reforms. She's just speculating mind you, but every time I hear that I fear more grief at school. Are we are headed for another latest greatest plan to save the Ontario education system? I wish the politicos would just leave us alone to teach. Read @ Education Reforms

The Sun's Christie Blatchford interviews Kathleen Wynne about her new girlie summer fashion look. Apparently the outfits empathize her best physical attributes, her arms + legs. Christie recommends she dump the horn rimmed glasses too. A lot of folk are very upset about this article. Did we use to also analyze our male premier's fashion sense? I think not. Harris was a frump. Remember Frank Miller? Maybe folks would chuckle that he was "eccentric" + not because he resembled a poor man's version of Don Cherry. I dunno about the glasses though ;-] @ Premier's Fashions

In case you missed this one: After sidelining his party by refusing to even read the OLP budget, PC Hudak blames the NDP for helping pass it. Blames them?! For the budget?! The NDP's Gille Bisson is quick to retort that Hudaks party just wanted an election so they could dump him as their party leader after they lose. Some PC's consider Hudak an albatross around the parties neck. He's holding them back in the polls with his extremist, US style, neo con views. Ha. He didn't wear the criticism well + seemed very uncomfortably afterwards sitting in the legislature. Gilles must've hit a raw nerve @ Go Tim Go!

PC's launch a negative ad campaign against Wynne. Hudak and Harper must've gotten together again recently. This type of politicking is becoming very aggravating. It's obvious Hudak has had a permanent political hard on for Dalton McGuinty that he hasn't been able to satisfy since the 1990's. Now come 2013 when he sees Wynne, he sees him. Well, she's definitely not interested, and has been staking out the higher ground. More @ Attack Ads

You can see the ad on the Conservative website @ PC's say nothing has changed

Here's an interesting Pathway Group think piece on the PC attack ad strategy: Dalton campaigned successfully against "Harris- Eves" in 2003. Will "McGuinty-Wynne" work for Hudak now? Maybe not @ Traction?

A PC communication loyalist + strategist considers what's wrong with the Wynne attack ad @ K.I.S.S.

Just what's gone wrong with the Energy profile anyway? This article tracks the problems from the Harris-Eves years, through McGuinty to Wynne @ Ontario Energy Debacle

Hudak laments a supposed "OLP + NDP coalition" as he puts it. Apparently the NDP are just keeping the OLP in power for the freebies. It's like getting "candy from a thief." Then he evokes homespun tails about his daughter. Just what are kids learning from all this? Blah. Blah. Blah. He's really scrapping the bottom of the barrel here for a news story. Sun News has jumped on it of course. You can tell it's all b.s. His budget balancing plan with the vicious cuts will only mean it's balanced one year earlier than the OLP plan. See @ Bad one Tim!

Province funding cuts to urban centres will put Toronto back in a deficit situation. Are we looking at a 6% tax increase, or more public service cuts? See @ Cuts hurt

Your QP morning brief: Yes the legislature is finished until Sept 9 but the business of the house continues! Is Premier Wynne extending an olive branch to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Why? This site also lists the party leaders visits + events each day across the province. I always find it useful to go see the party leaders in person, when possible, to get a better measure of what they are like and where they are at. Of course they are putting on a show, but try it out sometime and read between the lines. Stay tuned at the site for details of the MPP's BBQ circuit this summer too. All this and more at @ QP

The woman charged in the Rob Ford "slushie assault" plans to vigorously defend herself against the charges. She is working on her Masters Degree in Education at U. of T. and is not known by friends to be violent. You can follow the Rob Ford Story on my blog below but meanwhile see @ Not guilty?

Taxes! Taxes! Who's going to raise the taxes? QP Briefing provides links to the latest Rob Ford kerfuffle, this time at QP. See @ You! No you!

How will the OPP [Ontario provincial Police] deal with the new style Idle No More protests? Hopefully not the same way as Mike Harris at Ipperwash! Remember that? More @ OPP


John F. Kennedy in Berlin: 50 years ago this month!

US President Barrack Obama commemorates JFK's 1961 visit to the Brandenburg Gate along the former Berlin wall. He demonstrates his self depreciating wit by noting he knows he doesn't look like the other US and German leaders who have visited before. He proposes the US + Russia reduce their nuclear stockpiles to 1000 bombs each, I guess in case it still becomes necessary to attack each other and blow up the world to bits. Hmmm. I thought the Cold War was long over, no? Read his speech @ He is a Berliner too

Blast from the Past: See + hear Kennedy's June 26 1961 " Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in Berlin @JFK

The Guardian Express reports that Nelson Mandela has died at age 94 @ South Africa

BBC reports news of Mandela's demise is somewhat exaggerated. He seems to still be bravely hanging on for now @ Guardian wrong

Remember the Vietnam War? The senseless one before all those other senseless wars when it was still a pretty big deal? The Cold War Commies were plotting to take over the world or something like that. A baby boomer vet sure remembers. He's decided to release some pretty amazing photos of a "fire fight" where the US troops threw everything they had at a Viet Cong sniper, to "win hearts + minds". Either that or because he was royally ticking them off. Looks like they probably got him @ 'Nam Vet tells all!

'Nam: "A sniper?!? I think we got him!!!"

Half of Canada's status First Nations' children live in abject poverty, even more in some provinces. We can lament social justice inequalities around the world, but do we care about whats happening in our own backyard? For shame @ 50% +

The world's wealthiest are getting wealthier! Whew! Suppose that's a relief for them but not the rest of us. What was the title of that Supertramp album in the 70's?  .... oh yeah: "Crisis? What Crisis" ... Read about this @ Big surprise?!

Ontario earns a failing grade on it's annual child poverty reduction report card @ Falling behind!

'Nam: "Holy @#$%! Hey! I saw that!!!"  [See above a bit ... ]

Where you in debt during the great recession? Top banker thanks you for helping to save our economy! Clap ... clap ...clap .... Oh, and guess what? Weeee! Interest rates will stay low @Money Troubles

The Canadian dollar is in free fall as commodity prices drop. Both gold + oil are at a 2 1/2 year low. The Toronto Stock Exchange suffered a big rout. Some US analysis are predicting a looney collapse of sorts. Hope you stocked up on US dollars for any foreign travels when the dollar was at par! See @ More money troubles.

Sunrise Propane Company is found quilty of violating workplace safety and environmental laws in 2008 mega blast. One of the companies inner city gas tanks exploded in a huge fireball, the shock waves blowing out windows, cracking walls, foundations and roofs for blocks around. A worker was also killed. It was near our OECTA TSU office, where the windows were miraculously okay but it did cause damage to the building structure. A big gas storage facility inside a large city?!? How stupid can you get? What will they think of next?!? Read about the court verdict. It's interesting to see how they tried to weasel out of it by blaming the untrained worker who died. It's @ Guilty as charged! 

FYI: Here's the hoops the neo right Sun Media has to jump through to be a licensed part of the mandatory t.v. channels you need to pay for with every cable package in Canada. I still haven't heard a CRTC decision. Have I missed something? If you know please advise. See @ CRTC Terms


Actor James Gandolfini [Mafioso Tony Soprano] dead at age 51 while vacationing in Italy. A heart attack is suspected. Yeah, sure. An "Italian heart attack"?!? That explains it! Ha @ Badda Bing!

Cat Women from the Moon: Serious business! Then there's the Cat Queen! See below:

UK politico claims he has sex four times a year with an alien from outer space. The "Cat Queen" is 9 feet tall with 8 fingers. Aliens first contacted him when he was still in the womb to tell him he was the chosen one. He has even fathered an alien love child named "Zarka". His earth wife is not pleased and the situation is putting a lot of stress on their marriage. Uh huh. OK. What's this guy smoking?!? @ Extraterrestrial love

Seriously, I don't want this site to seem too much like "Law + Order: Special Victims Unit" [Yay Olivia!] but this is wild: China is marketing new "anti rape hairy leg stockings" for the modern young lady who's worried about her safety. Besides hopefully turning off their sex-o-meter it also electrically shocks the perverts to keep them away. The hairy stockings come complete with a built in GPS device which sends coordinates + alerts to her parents and friends too. Dunno if they will catch on in Canada, well Toronto anyways, but see @ New: anti-pervert hairy stockings!

The India Times tells all @ Hairy situation!

Hairy stockings: Buy some for your daughter today!

LGBT [LMNOP ... QRS ... ] Film Festival favourite "Peaches" teams up with electronic duo #ENTERTAINMENT to present a new video you can dance the latest moves to. In the case of baby boomers such as myself, its okay to just sort of slowly shuffle your feet + shake your torso. It's @ I'm Bored of Rob Ford!

Another lost Mayan stone age city has found in the Mexican jungle! Up to 80 new sites have been discovered in all. This one comes complete with pyramids, ball courts, a plaza + lots of monuments. They have not been vandalized + pillaged unlike many of the long known sites. I've heard of at least one other city that's been found underground + is being excavated not too far from Chitzen Itza. Janet and I have visited Chitzen Itza twice. It's incredibly interesting socially, historically culturally, architecturally or politically; whichever way you want to look at it. See some of our photos below this blog column! Find out more @ Lost Cities!

Look! Another lost city!!!! Just what the heck happened?!?!? More photos below blogs ...

Oh Canada: Call me old fashioned but it has often distressed me to no end to see a dirty, tattered Canadian flag out front of our school flying at half mast because somebody hasn't put it up right or it's been forgotten about for ages. Here's 20 tips on how it should be displayed with pride and dignity in advance of Canada day. Also 25 reasons why Canada rocks @ Canada

Are the great outdoors really all that wonderful? Seems not! This shocking expose shows that bug bites can result in all sorts of horrific things happening to you. At least in the city we only have to worry about road rage, street gangs + things like that. Up north? Ha! Take a gander. The photos will make your eyes pop out of your head for sure @ This!

Deer ticks: Serious business! Check out the slide show at the link above to see why!!!

The AGO [Art Gallery of Toronto] will be holding a David Bowie exhibit this fall. The gallery claims he was a pioneering musician, artist and style icon. Dunno, but I liked his "Ziggy Stardust + The Spider from Mars" act when I was a high school student. Ok. ok. I still do. He was always re-inventing himself + never stuck with any one persona too long. Here's the ad:

David Bowie circa 1973: Aladdin Sane ...

Here's some vintage video of Ziggy Stardust + the Spiders from Mars playing "Jean Genie" in 1973 @ Bowie

The AGO is also a great summer rainy day outing. My friend Ed and I spent one just walking about checking it out according to our whim + then visited the cool art gallery cafe. I look forward to doing it again. More info on the present + upcoming shows at the AGO can be found @ Art Gallery of Ontario

Leonard Cohen: Some greatly exaggerated tales of his demise ...

Top Canada Day Song play list: Any additions? Deletes? See @ Huffington

New York Times kills off Canadian songster + bard Leonard Cohen; kinda sorta @ Sill alive + well!

Canuckster anti diva Carole Pope back in the day ...

Free Carol Pope outdoor concert at 9pm this Friday on the Bud Light stage at Church St. just north of Carleton. Carol, of course, had a number of big new wave hits in the 1970's + 80's ["High School Confidential", "Birds of a Feather", "Avoid Freud" etc. etc. etc.]. She's still making some great leading edge underground sounds today. Yes, it's a part of Gay Pride Week in Toronto. No. Janet + I have gone to see Carol before during Pride Week, and nobody but nobody ever gave us a difficult time, quite the opposite. Eh?!? ... No. Of course nobody tried to engage in sexual relations with us ..... Nope! Janet did not have to shave her head and dress like a biker guy .... I wasn't forced to wear a tutu and crawl around on all fours going "Arf! Arf!" either. Get over it :-) Details @  Carol Pope Rocks Toronto!  And @ Here!

BONUS: For those of you who've managed to read this far! Here's a 15 minute concert by the Savages: Live on KEXP. The Savages are a new all girl alt rock band that has been making big waves in the UK. Think of a post punked up Sonic Youth or Siouxsie + the Banchees meets Talking Heads playing with a new 2013 sound + style. Their name was inspired by "Lord of the Flies" @ KEXP 

Seems the rock + roll Savages paid attention in English class ...

BTW if you like you can download their first album directly from the band's own website @ Savages


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!