Opening Statement



Monday, 3 February 2014

Teacher February News + Views!


Welcome to this month's edition! My routine remains the same. I will keep adding stories under each header below. My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here!


TEACHER + UNION

Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak claims he is renouncing Right 2 Work 4 Less [R2W4L]. Apparently it's no longer a part of his economic plan if he is elected. Listen! The man is a snake in the grass. He got his butt kicked by the unions on the R2W4L issue during the recent Ontario by election in Niagara Falls. He is eyeing a quite likely spring provincial election. He will without doubt form a neo con cabinet if he wins. His MPP caucus and party movers + shakers are predominantly neo con. Don't doubt all deals will be off once he fools enough people to get elected and form the next government! You can read the latest from Timbo @ No R2W4L?

The OFL [Ontario Federation of Labour] makes it quite clear they will not be stepping down from their campaign. Hudak is not to be trusted or believed. He is only trying to further hiding his agenda from voters in anticipation of the election campaign ahead. Sid Ryan's statement + more @ OFL Speaks!

Good News! The OFL will be continuing it's Rights at Work campaign with meetings across the province in the weeks ahead. A schedule along with more info, documentationhandouts and other download able materials are available @ Rights at Work!



The OFL repudiates Hudaks statement in no uncertain terms!

The news report + some early reactions @ Toronto Star

This story has been moved to a new blog where it can be dealt with at much greater length @ Hudak: No R2W4L?!?

End of February Forum Poll indicates 42% of Ontarians approve of R2W4L laws, 40% are opposed, and 18% are undecided. 62% disapprove of the Rand formula, 24% approve, and 13% don't know. Make no mistake! We still have a lot of educating to do! Results @ Toronto Star

The Free Speech News has been carrying links to my Canadian blogsite quite a bit lately. Hi everybody in the USA! We are all teachers/ unionists! Here's a link to a US site which carries a wide variety of news links for our Canadian erudition @ GoPublicSchools.com

It's One Minute Video time again! Here's a good submission on What is A Union? @ Youtube

Our teacher colleagues in the UK are having it out with a hostile neo con government that makes our problems seem like a Sunday picnic. I am retweeting some links to highlight what's happening for those of you who follow me on Twitter [#davidchiarelli]. Here's a grassroots point of view [POV] that just tells it straight which I always like best. Sound familiar to the Harris Years or what eh? Blog post @ Hey Miss Smith!


UK teachers mobilizing against government attacks on them + their schools!

Here's a list of points that can help us better understand the attack on education our teacher colleagues are up against in the UK @ Solidarity!

UK Tory government considers tightening balloting rules to cut back on strikes @ Merry England?

BCTF [British Columbia Teacher Federation] is calling a strike vote on strips to class size limits, composition, a reduction in speciality teachers + wage freeze @ Strike?!

So the OLP has been speaking nice to teachers since Wynne became premier eh? Lots of comforting words, warm reassuring platitudes + the like? Well, yesterday they made a surprise announcement out of the blue without any consultation on changes to the OPSEU pension fund! We aren't out of the woods yet folks! Don't be deceived! Let's see how our teacher unions respond. Meantime, visit the OPSEU webpage for more info. @ Pension attacks!

The OFL is organizing a union canvas for NDP candidate Wayne Gates on Saturday Feb 8th! Details @ By election time!

Wayne Gates Website is @ NDP

A look inside Canada's controversial first Africentric High school @ Toronto Star



Feb 26th is Pink Shirt Day again as many Ontario schools, businesses + concerned citizens fight homophobia + bullying.

OFL is hosting a meeting to discuss union strategy to stop Tim Hudak + his R2W4L agenda on Feb 27. All unions and locals are invited. Details are @ Here!

Warning! Warning! Sun News warns the "big unions" are going after Tim Hudak! OK but is this a chicken or egg issue? I mean, what do they expect us to do? Run + hide? Do nothing? Well, that would help Timbo, and god knows he needs help .... Here's where it gets really bizarre: The big unions are also driving our Ontario economy to ruin by collecting membership dues. Oh! so it has nothing to do with the worldwide economic crisis eh? Whew! That's a relief to know. They must be pretty durn smart down at the Sun offices to figure this all out. Probably over their morning beer? Read this for a good laugh @ Fun in the Sun!

A Halifax rally protests the criminalization of people with special needs. Three defendants in a recent trial all have significant cognitive disabilities. This is a tricky issue. IMHO, criminal behaviour can't be justified away or ignored when the safety of others is at risk, but a disproportionate number of convicts in jail have special need disabilities. We can't just keep locking them up either. So what to do? Hmmm. Simar Sahar Zerechi covers the rally on her Facebook page @ Sped


In related news, an initiative at the Peel board plans to make the flawed special education funding formula in Ontario an election issue @ Sped

March 7 is to be another unpaid day for TDSB teachers + those in many other boards across the province @ Don't go in!

OSSTF Collective Bargaining Bulletin suggests things might start hopping again soon! I'm sure it's no coincidence the MOE has been dragging it's heals in getting down to business considering the possibility of a spring election + it's low polling numbers. Want to bet they are going to try to play us again somehow? Read @ CB?

BTW I've heard all 3 affiliates [OECTA, OSSTF + ETFO] have met with the MOE to discuss Bill 122 [the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act 2013]. The standing committee hearings begin Feb 26th. It will be tweaked during the spring legislature before any contract negotiations can begin, if there isn't an election first. IMHO? How do you spell BS? We are being played.

OSSTF's committee presentation on Bill 122 is @ Download

ETFO made it's recommendations @ ETFO
You can download ETFO's submission from it's site Download

OPSBA [Ontario Public School Boards Association] submission isDownload

A summary of OSSTF + ETFO submissions on Bill 122 today. The concerns? Centralized decision making in the hands of a strengthened Education Minister with little local autonomy between units + boards @ Globe + Mail

You can download the OECTA submission @ Download

[PS I'm looking for the OCSTA submission hoping to God thy aren't being kept under wraps of the Catholic Code of Silence. C'mon! We are finally beyond that now! Right?!]

Ontario nurses step up to ask Premier to raise minimum wage to help low income workers @ Effects of Poverty!

So just why the heck are the Canadian Council of Chief Executive CEO's braying about the need for teacher merit pay anyway?!? Are they in any position to do so at all? Probably not! See @ CEO BS

UNIFOR President challenges PC Party Leader Tim Hudak to a public debate on his RTW4L [Right to Work 4 Less] issue so we can finally get it out in the open for all to see. Looks like Timbo's a chicken shit though @ Tim won't debate!

PC Hudak's US style RTW4L policy would hit some serious legal problems in Ontario due to the Rand formula. If Tim can tie in his plan as a credible solution for the economic crisis he might be able to create a wedge issue out of it in the next provincial election. However it would be best to keep details on the "new law" he would need to pass as vague as possible. Also, would Ontarians want all the hassles + labour strife RTW4L would create? Story @ Rand

RTW4L: Who wants to roll back working conditions in Ontario to 1946?!? Tim Hudak's PC's do! Hooooray! [Not!] Consider this Press Progress

Here is Doorey's Law of Work blog with a legal perspective on Right to Work in Ontario @ RTW4L?


February is Black History Month! I like this promo. It emphasizes our union solidarity regardless of race in our very diverse multicultural country.

PC Hudak's latest is that he wants to contract out a number of government services. His numbers don't seem to add up though when it comes to the supposed savings @ Timbo strikes again! 

Latest Parliamentary Office Budget report debunks Conservative Federal Treasury Board President Tony Clements claim that public service sector workers are abusing their sick day plans. The Tory numbers are WAY off @ False + Misleading!


Tony Clement: Oh? My numbers are wrong?!? Me Bad!

Ottawa Citizen article nails Tony Clements but good on creating a sick day crisis where it doesn't exist. Well of course, Tony was a Harrasite! They did that a lot when Mike Harris was Premier of Ontario. Remember "manufacturing a crisis in education"?!? The Tory Education Minister of the day John Snoebelen even got caught saying he was going to do that on videotape. Anyway, the article goes on to also nail the Federal Conservatives for a double standard with their own sick days at the House Of Commons. Required reading @ Manufacturing crisis

All but 2 of the non Catholic boards in Ontario are refusing to honour CUPE's MOU Me too clause with the sick day plan. 8 Catholic boards are refusing to comply too. See last months Teacher January News + Views for more details. Anyway, CUPE is taking on the Niagara Public board now in it's ongoing series of protests @ CUPE

This OECTA flyer is encouraging public school workers to vote against one school system motion at the OSSTF AMPA next month, raising eyebrows among members.



OSSTF has since sent out a flyer responding to OECTA's above @ Here!

PARTY POLITICS

Martin Regg Cohn critiques Hudak's Right to Work policy. It wasn't well thought out and could've easily been picked apart in an election politically, economically and legally. He explains @ Toronto Star

Seems Timbo's on a roll! He's removed 2 major obstacles to getting elected now! Surprise Surprise: Doug Ford regretfully announces that he won't be running provincially for the PC's in a spring election after a long talk with party leader Tim Hudak! Apparently he had to tell Tim that his first responsibility between now and November is helping his brother Rob get reelected as mayor. At the Toronto city hall scrum, I am watching live on CP24, Rob notes its too bad because Doug would have been on cabinet and will be party leader some day! The media keeps asking him if Hudak wanted him to run. No straight answer, but Rob notes both he and Doug will be too busy to even help Tim. Hudak must be breathing a sign of relief!



Doug Ford + Tim Hudak: Had a nice long chat! You bet!

The Globe + Mail delves into some of the machinations @ Here

Hudak had a Ford addiction until things turned real ugly @Disaster bound!



Score one for Tim Hudak: he's dodged a bullet!

It will definitely help Hudak rejig his election campaign now that the Ford stigma is gone. Read more @ Toronto's Now Magazine!

Queens Park legislature resumes on Tuesday. Will there be a spring provincial election? Everybody is reading the tea leaves from the by elections @ CTV

Ontario legislature opens with a rocky start. Is an election imminent? Wynne says she isn't interested in playing "Let's Make A deal?", and we know how Timbo feels @ QP

The NDP's Andrea Horwath might seem to be threatening an election by saying she won't support any tax increases for the middle class @ CBC

Andrea's latest letter to the premier [read media releaseoutlines her new middle class focus @ Dear Kathleen ...


What do Andrea Horwath, Tim Hudak [+ for that matter Rob Ford] have in common?!? All 3 claim to love everyday people. All 3 support more public transit. All 3 refuse any tax hikes to pay for it. Here's the crux of the biscuit. It obviously doesn't add up and we are looking at some huge upcoming costs. Story @ Toronto Star

NDP opposition to new taxes comes at an undesirable cost @ Public transit?

Latest Ipso Reid Poll taken a week before the by elections show the PC's with a small lead, but the numbers keep bouncing up and down like a rubber ball never quite entering majority government territory for them or the OLP. The OLP/ NDP tie is something new though. The numbers are PC=34%/ OLP=31%/ NDP=31% You can crunch them yourself @ CTV

Here's the 308 aggregate average of all the recent polls:




And any or all of these dodo's want a provincial election???You can crunch the 308 numbers @ 308!

PS: The new Forum Polling results came out today! I will feature these on my Teachers March News + Views blog since this is the last day of February. Also, it would be interesting to see these numbers added to the 308 aggregate to put them into a better perspective. Still, we are not looking at any major changes in the outcome if there is to be a spring provincial election. By seat count the PC's would form a very tight minority government [PC=48/ OLP=42/ NDP=17 seats] if it were called today. Some of the of the polling results on Right 2 Work 4 Less are interesting too. I have added these above, for now, under the Teacher + Union news! You can take a gander of the latest Forum poll results @ Toronto Star

NDP take Niagara! PC's hold onto Thornhill! You can check out the complete result's @ The Elections Ontario Website

Here's my analysis of the party leaders media scrums on Feb 15th. Also my proposal for an endorsement strategy if we are soon into a spring election. Feel free to comment below this blog @ The Mourning After

Here's one way of looking at the seat results in term of losses or gains: NDP +1/ PC 0/ OLP -1

My coverage of election night is @ Feb 13 By Election Results

Martin Regg Cohn comments on the NDP strategy + results, and how it reflects on Tim Hudak @ TVO Agenda



NDP has a new middle class focus

Cohn claims Andrea Horwath is doing a makeover on the NDP. It is now populist and orientated towards middle class issues @ Toronto Star

Yes, but helping middle class families is not enough @ Rabble.ca

OLP goes after the new populist NDP. Must be scared? Who's the bigger threat: the PC's or the NDP? Hmmm. Read @ Focus?

Is now the time for Andrea Horath to roll the dice on a spring election? Point of View [POV] @ Kinsella

Horwath is playing down the possibility. Of course we haven't even seen the budget yet. Story @ NDP go for it?

For Hudak to blame the "big unions" for his parties by election defeat in Niagara is a red herring to draw attention away from his own weaknesses + mistakes @ Bad Loser


Tim Hudak: A concerned middle class focus?

Hudak's interference in endorsing an Aurora New Market PC riding candidate might not go over well with the local party members @ PC Lawn Mower Candidate

Premier Kathleen Wynne marks the first 1 year anniversary of winning office after the OLP leadership convention @ Won!

Is she acting out of desperation to hang onto power? This article claims there doesn't exactly seem to be a plethora of new ideas to inspire and provide direction. Story @ Running on empty?

Regarding NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath's virtual silence on the minimum wage issue: You'd think this would be big for the NDP. Maybe it's a question of the politics of avoidance? More @ Globe + Mail

Global news reports on the NDP's "bob + weave" on budget issues + the minimum wage these daysVideo

The Ontario budget dance begins. Premier Wynne asks opposition parties for their input but everybody is playing their cards close to the chest until the by elections are over at least. If they don't support the budget, the government of course will fall @ Spring Provincial Election?


Looking for a miracle? Hail Mary Full of Grace ....

The big Ontario "party politics" story this month is the Feb 13 provincial by elections in Niagara + Thornhill. I have a special blog providing coverage @ Feb 13!

A rare moment of 3 party consent! OLP, NDP + PC's agree gay pride flag should be raised at the legislature in protest during the Sochi Winter Olympics. Its getting kind of late but better late then never, like if Mayor Rob Ford gets his way at Toronto City Hall! Story @ Unlike Ford

Seems like its all for nought! Gay pride flag won't fly at QP because its against the rules @ Its a No Go!

It's going up! It's coming down! Which is it?!? With 5 days left in the Sochi Winter Olympics it's now been decided it is in fact going up at Queens Park @ CTV

Why the minimum wage issue isn't going to go away @ Here!

Is the Wynne government about to back down on defined pension benefits with it's new Ontario Pension Plan? Story @ Election gamble?

IN OTHER NEWS




2014 Toronto Mayoral Race: Chow, Ford + Tory?

John Tory announces he will run in the Oct 27th Toronto mayoral race against Rob Ford. Make no mistake, John Tory is a corporate Tory, but also a red Tory. His socially progressive ideas and inclusive managerial style, along with just being a polite, decent guy will make for an interesting contrast with Ford. Still, one wonders what NDP'er Olivia Chow will do now, and what effect her entry could have on the race? John Tory's announcement is @ Tory

Doug Ford divisively pits the race as one between Toronto's blue collar and blue blood interests. Rob Ford might claim to be "just plain folks", but in fact we have two millionaires running against each other @ Negative campaigning



Kiev: Situation not good! Might be about to get a lot worse!

The Ukraine in flames! A temporary truce has been called in the bloody clashes in the streets of Kiev. The government, police and opposition supporters are virtually in a state of civil war over a decision to bail out of the sinking EEC and move back into the Russian sphere of economic interest. Russia paid off their debt of some $13 billion and it seems like a done deal as far as the government is concerned. Dozens have been killed and no end seems in sight @ Street fighting

Pro Russian Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovytch has fled Kiev and is in hiding. The Russians have announced military manoeuvres on their western border as pro and anti Russian demonstrators duke it out in the Crimea region @ They wouldn't, would they?!?



Upward + onward: I remember the moon landings!

If you are a baby boomer like me you might fondly remember the Apollo moon landings during the early 1970's. I always figured it gave humankind something greater to aim for. Well, NASA has got a concrete plan for a trip to Mars on the drawing board now, with the steps + time lines needed all sketched out. Take a gander Mars Bound!?

Real scary! Uganda passes another bill outlawing homosexuality. A popular tabloid newspaper publishes a list of the countries Top 100 Homosexuals, "outing" many of the individuals under the blazing headline "Exposed!" @ Top 100



Surprise Vatican invite: Liberation Theologist founder Reverend Gustavo Guitierrez

Latin American inspired Catholic Liberation Theology, which Vatican conservatives have long denounced as a "Marxist call for armed rebellion" by advocating for the poor is being rehabilitated under Pope Francis @ Liberation Theology

Son of PET: Justin Trudeau hosts his first Federal Liberal Policy Convention in Montreal this weekend as party leader. For any + all this will be a Federal political junkies must see, love the guy or not. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government is in very choppy waters while the Liberals have the polling wind in the sails. For an extra element of intrigue, the nasty Harper Conservatives are expected to send in some infiltrators to cause mischief on the floor. Here's 5 things to watch out for in the TV/ news coverage @ Trudeau

Will John Tory +/ or Olivia Chow enter the Torono mayoral race against Rob Ford? Here's an interview with Olivia @ Olivia Chow



Alex + Frederic Bilodeau

Two brothers: Hearts of Gold! Days after his gold medal win Canadian skier Alex Bilodeau and his disabled brother Frederick, who he says is his inspiration, continue to go viral around the world. Story @ Reuters

I had originally posted my report on the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony and related Olympic links here. They have been moved to a separate Feb 7 blog. See there.


Lake Erie Winter 2014! On the beach!

What a winter it's been! After months of harsh snow storms + record cold weather, huge ice caves have formed along the coast of Lake Erie. The frozen ice over the lake also makes it look like a ice swept ice snow field. Check out the photos @ New Ice Age?!



Lake Erie: the view from the beach!

Welcome to Ontario! This is for my foreign readers in warmer climes! We live in the land of the ice and snow, during winter anyway. This year has been particularly cold. Today is the last day of February. Southern Ontario is being hit by snow blizzards and white out driving conditions! It's resulted in what has now been confirmed as a 96 vehicle pile up on Highway 400 just north of Toronto. Breaking story @ White Out Conditions!



96 vehicle pile up north of Toronto: sudden white out driving conditions = big crash!

Meanwhile out in British Columbia Canada 2000 university students at UBC have a snowball fight! That can be jolly good fun. Then so can making snow angels, snow men and ...  and ... and .... Check out the video of the snowball action at the University of British Columbia @ Snowball fight!

Hmmm. I don't allow commercial advertisements to be posted on this blog for profit, so I am undecided about this one. However, it's for a way to deal with your frustration over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, rather than go stark raving mad! This is @ Squeeze Ford Toy!

KULTURE KULT INK


Yes, it was a baby boomer moment once again to see the two remaining Beatles Paul McCartney + Ringo Starr reunited at the Ed Sullivan Theatre 50 years to the night of the band's big North American premier on Feb 9 1964. The Beatles never got to play Sargeant Pepper live, so to see Paul kick it off and then have Ringo join him on cue for With A Little Help From My Fiends just like on the album, well, it was tres kool for me. I suppose my other highlight was John Mayer + Keith Urban's rockin' version of Lennon's Don't Let Me Down. They truly nailed the song. The guitars were right on. Here's a review of the show with who played what and so on and so forth. By the way, the actual reunion show was recorded right after the Grammy's but saved for the anniversary date. More @ 50 Years

Allow me a senior moment. Here's my blog on what I was doing that night in 1964 @ When they were Fab [4]!

50 years of Beatlemania: the Beatles first North American TV appearance was on Feb 9 1964: Yes, they were a teeny bop bad boy band, at the time. No, they weren't anything like Justin Bieber. There was a major difference. This remembrance is really interesting @ Blizzard


Whats new in rock? Try the Strypes @ Blue Collar Jane

Crackbird: Rob Ford meets the Beatles @ Video


More winter! The prognosis might not be good ...

The Groundhog Day reports keep rolling in! What's the prognosis? 6 more weeks of winter: yes or no?! Story @ The groundhogs know! [Maybe ... ]

Here's a review for an interesting new anthology of a punk Zine, Scene Point Blank self published during the 1990's. Zines were "do it yourself" [DIY] alt media print magazines that were very underground and different at the time. A lot more can be done online in the same vein nowadays but in some ways we might consider the Zines a template for a lot of the blogs, websites and maybe even the Facebook or My Space pages that have since followed. I mentioned before that Kulture Kult Ink was the name of my zine back then. It was more focused and regular than what I post here on my blogsite nowadays, and it wasn't about punk rock, like the one in the new anthology. Still, once there was a time. I found all my original Zine masters and artwork in a box way back in a closet not too long ago and now have to figure out what to do with it. Anyway I found this rather interesting, maybe you will too @ Zines


Happy Valentines Day! Love on Mars? Check out the interesting [loving?! ;-] Martian landforms in these NASA photos. A coincidence or .....?! Link @ Here!

Here's the US Superbowl commercials we didn't get to see in Canada. According to the critics this year's batch were pretty much clunkers. Somehow I didn't think Bob Dylan would ever shill 2 minutes of mock Americana for the Italian owned GM carmakers in Detroit, or anybody else, but our times they are a changin' it seems @ Hard Rain Fallin'

No more good ship lollipop! 20th Century icon, Hollywood child actress + US ambassador dies at age 85 @ Shirley Temple RIP!


Different times ...

Shirley Temple in "Candy Land" @ Youtube

Also in "Poor Little Rich Girl" [1936] @ Complete Movie!

Watch and listen to the Handsome Family's haunting opening theme for True Detectives. This is definitely my favourite Woody Harrelson screener since Natural Born Killers. There are some subtle similarities on the theme of evil; the devil incarnate too. Wow. @ Sunday nights 10pm!

Did you know that in the US Costco once sold wholesale barrels of Jack Daniels Whisky? How much? $8499.99! Not anymore though. They rotate their partnerships with the various alcohol companies. Can't do that in Canada though. Verboten! More @ Cheap Costco Booze?!


Costco's barrel sized whiskey! How to get it home though???

Home sweet home in 2030: What will the future bring? Well, some of us will be sitting in wheelchairs wearing an adult diaper n' droolin'. Others will still be teaching to pay for the pensions. Then there will others of us doing god knows what. But here's what we will all see when we have to go to the loo: Waterless toilets? A "Doctor Bathroom" Mirror? A printer that can make toilet paper? O brave new world @ Hello Tomorrow!

Only in Canada! Ever kissed a beaver? Y'know, the furry lil' critters with the flat tails, big teeth who build dams? Heh heh .... er ..... Ottawa is out to prove that it is, in fact, a fun place to be with a new "get nipped" promo campaign involving drinking whiskey + kissing beavers. Yup. Yahoo! More @ Ottawa is fun, eh? 



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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!