My responses to Toronto Social Planning

This is a screen shot of the first couple of my responses to questions in the questionnaire sent to all TDSB Trustee candidates from Toronto Social planning.

Social planning my summary

The full set of responses can be seen here

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Support BC Teachers

BCTFI support teachers

Teachers in British Columbia could be on strike this Thursday and if they are, they will not be getting any strike pay. Union funds have been depleted over the past few years in making court challenges to the BC government’s attempt to curtail collective bargaining, particularly over the right of the teachers’ union to negotiate for lower class sizes. Here is their case as presented by the British Columbia Federation of Teachers.

Post election blues

hangover Canned Heat election Blues

So my last post was titled “a choice from: austerity-lite, austerity, or austerity on steroids.” I imagine that most readers of this blog are relieved that “austerity on steroids” got soundly defeated on June 12. But we’re still left with plain, old, bald faced austerity – in the form of what is on offer from the majority Wynne government. Any government that plans to balance the budget, given the current economic climate, is on a course of cuts and confrontation with public sector unions.

Ari Altstedter of Bloomberg.net, a week before the election, commented as follows: “Wynne’s own budget documents show this year’s spending surge will be followed by the deepest freeze in two decades. After boosting program spending by C$3 billion ($2.8 billion) this year, the Liberal Party leader plans to hold the line the next three years in a bid to eliminate the deficit. Given population growth, a 2017 Liberal government would drop spending by the most per person since former Premier Mike Harris won election on deficit elimination in 1995.

“She’s not talking about war with the public sector unions, but that’s what those numbers imply to me,” said Bryne Purchase, a professor of policy studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and former deputy minister of finance during the Harris years. “I think the reality is a lot of strikes in the public sector.”

The full Bloomberg article is here

Education & the Provincial Election – a choice from: austerity-lite, austerity, or austerity on steroids

Politics& Edu

From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Unfortunately, in this election, the discussion (on education) was superficial at best.

The single largest challenge facing our education system is the funding formula. The McGuinty government inherited a formula that is deeply flawed. As a result, funding gaps for core services are filled by redirecting dollars from dwindling grants that are intended for additional services and high-need students. Inadequately funded full-day kindergarten has exacerbated the problem — the funds provided have not matched the true cost of implementation, which means more borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

The Liberal government committed in 2009 to fix the funding formula, but it has yet to fulfill this promise. So it’s no wonder Ontarians regularly encounter news stories like this, particularly in the spring, when school boards make exceedingly tough choices in an effort to balance their budgets, or face the province stepping in and making those choices for them.

And it’s not like revenue-generation is an option: Mike Harris took away school boards’ power to levy their own taxes. Boards are now merely the custodians of a fiscal mess they are accountable for but constrained from truly fixing.

All three parties did make some gestures in this election campaign to attempt to win over education-minded voters, but none of them even hint at correcting the core problem – likely because what we have on offer is austerity-lite, austerity, or austerity on steroids.

None of the parties appears brave enough right now to actually steer a course correction away from austerity, which is what addressing the education funding formula would require.

– Jennifer Story, CCPA-Ontario Communications Director

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And these are my own thoughts on this election, particularly on the vexed question of strategic voting

make-ur-vote-count

 

Stop the Stink

stop the stink

“Parents protest west-end school’s ‘toxic’ tar roofing.” Read story and watch news video
The concern is that TDSB is trying to save money by moving some maintenance work like roof repairs to take place during the school day, in order to save paying workers overtime. It is totally unacceptable to penny pinch in this way by putting in jeopardy the health of students and teachers/support staff who are at the school.