Opening Statement

Friday 2 October 2015

Teacher Free Speech Oct News + Views!

Welcome to the October Edition! I'm pretty much back home in Toronto from the lake now, so it's business as usual. Later news and views additions will be added in large type set. My blogsite acronym guide is @ Here! 


PC's request an audit of the teacher union CB expenses and $800,000 in donations to the OLP. Copies of the new contracts show that the savings, to cover the payments comes, for example, from savings from cuts to the teacher members' sick day banks @ Globe

Wynne says she now wants receipts for the union expenses. Nothing about receipts for the trustees expenses is mentioned. OECTA breaks it's code of silence to insist it's not partisan to the OLP, a claim reputed by the Globe based upon their election ads @ Receipts

Read OECTA's denial in it's statement @ Partisanship?

OSSTF President Paul Elliott promises to provide receipts. OECTA's Ann Hawkins says it's "no problem". OSSTF notes it provided more money in donations to the provincial NDP rather than the provincial Liberals. Neither provincial teacher union office proposes just giving the Liberals their money back, now that the terms seem to have changed, with the demand for receipts. Unlike MOE Sandals, both Elliott and Hawkins deny the deals are "net zero". The Star only mentions the OPSBA and OCSTA $4.6 million payment in the final paragraph of it's story, but no questions about, nor call for receipts is made. Nor do they mention that ETFO will not accept any such payments @ Star

North Bay Nugget provides the information on trustee payments while the big news boys and girls, especially in Toronto, remain silent/ complicit on the issue or lack thereof among all the ongoing teacher bashing @ Nuggets

School board bargaining agents receive $4,572,632 in CB payments for 2014-15 alone! Download and share @ Memo

My coverage of the Wynne ultimatum has been moved to and continues with a new dedicated blog @ HERE!

One surmises there will be a lot of chaos, bullying and intimidation going on when school boards admit they don't know how to dock pay in the contract disputes @ Greater Essex

OSSTF President Paul Elliott discusses pending Toronto local job actions and the MOE "payments" @ CP24

No not really but in solidarity; we should ALL consider ourselves ETFO + CUPE!

ETFO solidarity rallies continue across the province. I attended the Peel one again this week, met OSSTF D19 Prez Mike Bettiol, whom surprise, I knew from the ENO Lounge [anyone else remember?!] back in the Harris years! Betcha didn't know he's also a top notch poet, during his downtime, [if he still has any ....] one of my local faves .... Great grass root verse written with heart. Anyway, see the latest photos as they are added to my slideshow top left screen!

The media teacher bashing frenzy has reached a feverish pitch over union CB payments. They are frothing at the mouth down The Sun

Support teacher free speech ...

Volunteer or else you won't get paid?!?! Premier Wynne issues November 1st ultimatum for ETFO, OSSTF + CUPE to stop WTR withdrawal from voluntary activities. It's in response to a OPSBA/ OCSTA school, board letter! Pay will be docked effective Nov 1st if no deal is reached! 

ETFO had decided to escalate WTR to include all extra curricular activities to try to compel the MOE and OPSBA to return to the CB table! How ironic! The MOE is now demanding ETFO and CUPE reach a deal under the gun, when they have been refusing to negotiate with them, and have been absent from the ETFO CB table since Thanksgiving @ Phase 3

Details of the new OSSTF contract, and it's attachments, appendices etc. are leaked by the Globe and Mail. The MOE will pick up the negotiations tab. Monies above "zero gain" are to be paid for by leftover funds from the secondary program enhancement program and anticipated savings from the voluntary payout deal. MOE Sandals defends the payment. Says CB is more intensive/ expensive under the new system @ Globe

ETFO will NOT ACCEPT a similar payment as a part of any contract deal @ Globe

MOE Sandals defends the payments on the grounds that extra expenses were incurred due to procedural problems with the new CB system, which "didn't work" @ CBC and @ Star

ETFO points out that MOE Sandals seems outside of the loop on whats happening at the ETFO bargaining table, as "Wynne Wednesdays" and WTR continue @ ETFO

CUPE WTR news coverage gets the short end of the stick because of the Canadian federal election @ Intelligencer

Meanwhile, ETFO has also filed a second OLRB bad faith bargaining complaint, this time against the OPSBA @ CTV

Sam Hammond denounces OPSBA for negotiating in public rather than responding directly to ETFO's latest proposals at the bargaining table @ ETFO

Here is the OPSBA media release, listing the issues they agree and differ onCNW

ETFO had provided the MOE and OPSBA time to review a revised proposal which was put on the bargaining table midnight Friday @ ETFO

OPSBA then announced that they'd reached agreement with ETFO on most of their outstanding CB issues except sick days and the benefits plan. ETFO plans to launch an OLRB complaint claiming the media statement is hostile and OPSBA is engaging in bad faith bargaining again. OPSBA's Mike Barrett claims the trustees are just "putting things in perspective" @ Toronto Star

Now ETFO is reconsidering when to commence it's one day rotating strikes in light of the OPSBA's actions. Hammond claims there are no more guarantees @ Globe

Wynne weighs in. CUPE's WTR remains in force. AEFO votes on their tentative deal this week @ More

Meanwhile in Quebec ...

Rotating Strikes? 115,000 teacher and civil servants close 7 school boards in Montreal and Laval. Can ETFO y CUPE be far behind, here in Ontario, with the OLP, OPSBA, OCSTA attacks, intransigence and BS? @ Strike!

TDSB has to decide how to fill the trustee vacancy left by former Chair Shawn Chen's federal Liberal election win in Scarborough North @ Star

News Flash/ or/ Killing two birds with one stone: the TCDSB hires temporary Library teckies to replace the teacher librarian positions they eliminated to "balance the budget" last spring!!! Since they are temporary, it also sly allows them to circumvent the CUPE WTR sanctions currently in place. Who did they nefariously hire? In some cases, desperate, unemployed beginning teachers fresh out of teachers' college, who would be afraid to say boo! What will/ can OECTA and CUPE do?!? Read my new blog @ Link!

Also: Here are my blogs on the TCDSB spring deficit scandal, in which many of these board teacher librarian positions, especially at the elementary level were eliminated without any proper semblance of union consultation, board "promises" to the contrary @ Here! and @ There!

CUPE Ontario's executive board endorses Fred Hahn for National President after current prez Paul Moist's surprise announcement that he won't be running again at the upcoming convention. Hmm. Well, I suppose that rules him out for a run at the OFL presidency [see below]. Maybe it's time to draft TYLC's John Cartwright .... Eh? What's the use? .... UNIFOR's sheer numbers will pretty much decide who wins the presidential election anyway??? Bigger is better?!? Hmmmm. IMHO the verdicts still out on this one, at least as far as one big teacher union are concerned, as fascinating as the notion might be .... More on the story @ Fred Hahn!

OFL President Sid Ryan decides not to seek re-election, noting the prospect had become "too devisive". Well, I guess OPSEU's Smokey Thompson will be pleased, with Sid gone @ Sid Ryan

CUPE'S complete Phase 2 WTR sanctions for custodians, educational assistants, library technicians, instructors and clerical staff are @ Doc

ETFO + MOE complete 2 days of resumed talks. Sandals notes they have been "slowly moving forward". The scheduled rotating strikes are unofficially on pause. However, ETFO doesn't seem to be otherwise playing footsies with Liz: Wynne Wednesdays and the other WTR measures continue, business as usual or not, but for how long? @ ETFO

ETFO Rocks the MOE!

Workload: School safety issues .... oooooh, let's pick one from our schools, which are troubled at the best of times anyway .... like say; over whom should be responsible for buzzing in visitors through the school doors, up to a hundred times a day. The issue remains unresolved in Hamilton where the principals aren't about to step in to do it during the WTR. But shouldn't this be in the secretaries' job description anyway?!? Or if not, then okay, who's official duty is it ....?!? Who's got the time??? Who's getting paid for it?!? .... CUPE sure has it's work cut out for it with these negotiations. More @ Hamilton

Wages: Neo Libs would have us believe that by boosting salaries and wages the whole Canadian economy will go to hell in a rubber raft. OECTA and OSSTF "leadership" seemed happy to oblige by encouraging the membership to settle for 1.5%, even though that's well below the COLA! However, its not "far left nonsense" that pay raises actually help boost long term economic growth! Not just raises for us as teacher professionals either, but also for all workers. Even for the long range profit margin of tho$e busine$$ intere$t$ who are not too greedy to admit it, rather than just go for the $hort term $$$ gain @

Alas! Word has it that OPSEU has been involved in some concession bargaining with the provincial government, giving up their termination pay for a 1% lump payment and 1.4% raise in their new contract @ For Shame!

The horror! The horror! Toronto Sun teacher bashing reaches a feverish pitch in the GTA just as ETFO and MOE negotiations are finally set to resume! Forget that the government walked away from the CB table. ETFO's efforts to defend the province's elementary students right to teacher face time! Or their advocacy for safer schools! And that they refuse to take the money and run! Our "Sunny" self styled vanguard ludicrously tries to lead an editorial charge for the ETFO members to "dump your ETFO leaders" now! 

Why?!? According to the Sun, the complete destruction of public regard for our profession is at stake! Much is made of the pizza lunches and school breakfast programs temporarily on hold with WTR. Then there's vague talk of alleged and unfounded demands for a $$$ raise. 

The winner? And for what? The envelope please ...... Kulture Kult Inks trophy for "New Heights in New Lows" in biased and unreasonable "news reporting" goes to the laughing stock of our local media! Taaa daaa! @ The Toronto Sun

This mainstream opinion piece explains the actual role of WTR in the CB talks and explains how the government really has got all the power, for those who otherwise get their "news" from the angry, old, white guys at Tim Horton's @ Star

An ETFO member most effectively takes the Barrie Examiner directly to task for it's otherwise unchallenged teacher bashing, as we all must! Otherwise the Neo Cons get away with manufacturing consent among the unsuspecting public who are led to believe that we are actually the bad guys/ gals! Your homework? See how it's done, for next time @ Barrie

The Edmonton Catholic School Board has agreed to first reading of a policy on LGBTQ after receiving a human rights complaint. Hurry up puleeeze!!! The little child has to go to the washroom!!! @ Alberta Bound


Here's an expose of the OLP's role, behind the scenes, in the federal Liberal landslide. Remember; an Ontario Liberal landslide did not work well to our advantage as the province's teachers, not at all! More @ Cohn!

Both the NDP and the PC's have announced their shadow cabinets for the new legislative season. NDP education critic is Lisa Gretzky. The PC's, as previously reported, is party leader Pat Brown. For your easy reference of who's who this fall: a complete list of cabinet ministers and opposition critics is QP

Meanwhile, what else do the provincial PC's and NDP share in common?!? Both are criticizing MOE Sandals for "playing games" too, this time with the welfare of our province's children, in the current rounds of ETFO and CUPE CB talks. As for ETFO? They've launched an OLRB complaint that the MOE is bargaining in bad faith! Seems the hypocrisy of their fiery claim that ETFO members should dump their leaders is lost on the Neo Con cheer leading team. No big editorial for this news story @ Toronto Sun

Much more to come ....


Terrorism: very hard to sort the good guys out from the bad ....

Just how fictional is Clare Dane's new season of  "Homeland" when it comes to CIA involvement with terrorists in Iraq and Syria? ISIS leaders recently arrested in Iraq confess to receiving intelligence and logistical support from the US @ Global Research

Raul 2 Obama: Let's danza?!?

US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro meet and shake hands at the 70th period of sessions for the UN General Assembly in New York. Both agree on the need for normalizing the strained relations between the two countries, with Raul insisting that the hypocritical 50 year plus US economic embargo of Cuba must be lifted. Here's who's who on the two teams at the historic meeting @ Granma

But will the US Congress actually agree to lift the embargo? President Obama is adamant that it should @ NY Times

US tourists lead the charge: Seems the US and Cuba are now close to resuming regular flights between the two countries. Beware: Canucks can expect a crush of curious US tourists seeking a cheap holiday deal, to send resort package prices soaring. Money talks, but how loud? @ Flying

Hmmmmm .....?

Trudeau landslide! NDP orange crash! Steve Heaved! Complete coverage y links @ HERE!

CUPE reminds our public service sector workers that with Harper gone it's time to take on Trudeau and hold him to his promises. Home mail delivery is mentioned for starters. CUPE remains eternally vigilant @ CUPE STTP

Trudeau keeps a promise. Hope this becomes a pattern. In his first phone call with Obama he tells him Canada is withdrawing our CF-18 jet fighters from Syria. US officials speculate on the Keystone Pipeline, and environmentalists on green house emissions. Other world attention has focused on his celebrity youth and charisma, and of course he is as the Son of PET. Press conference @ Obama

Trudeau faces at least 5 major Canadian Foreign Policy issues that he will need to address el pronto. Plus there are lots of upcoming important world conferences @ Huffpost

Trudeau will announce his cabinet on November 4th @ Huffpost

Election Post Script: MLPC's "Develop an Independent Politics of the Working Class" looks at creating an alternative to our Neo Lib political system @ Update.

Democracy Watch insists the legalization of pot will now require an ethics watchdog to avoid conflicts of interest in formulating regulatory policy considering the big bucks soon to be made by various business interests @ Sun

NDP party leader Thomas Mulcair plans to refocus our Canadian foreign policy on peacekeeping, which was once a long, well respected Canadian tradition at the UN. As well, he wants to beef up search and rescue operations along our world's longest Canadian Atlantic - Pacific - Arctic coastline. It's a much more independent "Made in Canada" vision than anything the Liberals, let alone the Harper PC's seemingly have in mind, as they work to continue supporting a US's style, dubious "War against Terrorism" here at home and abroad. More @ CBC

587 Canadian academics sign an open letter criticizing the Harper Conservatives election tactics @ In Due Course 

Harper's PC win the award for the most sleezy campaign @ Star

Harper: Come to Canada! Create jobs for us! Please.

Harper's exploitation of the "Muslim Question" is downright insidious @ The National Post

This remains Harper's election "Year of Fear" with Bill C-51 overriding our basic constitutional rights roughshod to fight a most convenient and often incredulous terrorist enemy threat from abroad. [See my blog @ Here!] However, we have seen the real enemy! Alas, he comes from within our own establishment ranks! Take, for example, Harper's fear mongering over the issue of Muslim niqabs and his misogynist approach to crucial women's services @ Barbarism?

While creating an election "Year of Fear", Mr. Harper is also feeding the fires of hate towards these same new Canadians, the women in particular. Sadly, it might just be working, as the PCs and Liberals remain in a dead heat according to most of the recent polls, if they are to be trusted. A ray of hope? The polls have had a very poor track record for accuracy in the past few Canadian federal and provincial elections, but I digress .... More on the PC strategy @ Globe

Smile + say cheesy! Steven with his Toronto buddies the Fords!

Harper PC's reach an all time low campaigning with the notorious Ford Brothers in Toronto days before the federal election. Harper who is against the legalization of marijuana was flanked on stage at a key, final rally in the vote rich GTA rally surrounded by Rob, a known crackhead, and Doug, a suspected high school dealer. "Ford Nation" might rally to the cause, but it was humiliating for other more traditional PC's in Toronto and across the country. Forget the mainstream family values appeal too @ Fords

Seig Steve? Canadian Council of Canadian Muslims [NCCM] has released a statement expressing their deep disappointment in Prime Minister Harper's refusal to condemn a rash of Islamophobic incidents during the election campaign @ Remember Germany -the 30's!

Strong, proud and dumb?!? Harper signs the controversial "Trans Pacific Partnership" trade deal mid way through the federal election. He has no mandate for this, right now especially. However, if he's hoping it's a timely game changer, it seems it's too nuanced a "deal" to win him many voter brownie points @ Trade Deal 

Young Canadians continue to fall farther and father behind under the Harper government. But will they give him 4 more years, or for that matter, even vote at all?!? @ Star

Younger Canadians are heavily engaged through the social media with a lot of the value issues in the 2015 federal election. They could pose a serious threat to the older, more staid conservative vote that Steven Harper is counting on to win. That is IF they vote @ Vote?!?

Remember on Oct 19th, to "Heave Steve" ...

CUPE's "Volunteer in the Campaign to Bring Change to Ottawa -2015 Federal Election" is posted Youtube

The Devil Weed?!? The right has been using it for decades to criminalize, prosecute and attack the poor and disenfranchised, as well as any lefty progressives who get in their way. Now Trudeau will legalize it. Mulcair will decriminalize it, and then legalize it. Harper will keep it illegal except for prescription medical marijuana. Are drinkers more fun?!? And how to best regulate it for minors short of arresting them? More @ Pot?

Legalizing marijuana could be the biggest tax grab in modern history. The profits will go into the same establishment hands who have up until now been only too glad to prosecute. Decriminalizing it could allow folks to grow their own, hydroponically or otherwise, but where's the big corporate profit$ in that?!? My concerns are explained further @ Canuck Reefer Madness!


A kultural kompendium ....

Justin Trudeau is elected Canada's 23 Prime Minister in a surprise landslide Liberal win. Son of the old "Fuddle Duddle" [PET] is celebrated in song @ The Justin Trudeau Song!

Then there's also the Canadian Beaver Band's Trudeau Trudeaujuana Weed Song @ Pot!

Seems everybody is getting in on the act, including the Yung Liberalz @ Stoners 4 Justin!

Canada's indie bands have started their own "Heave Steve" campaign during the federal election. "Yukon Blonde" and "Hey Rosetta" have released videos of new songs about our Prime Minister @ Toronto Star 

International Canuck country/ roots/ rockers Blue Rodeo's "Stealin' All My Dreams" is perhaps best known of these @ Link

Rock the vote .....


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