At the risk of offending all the teachers and educational support workers I know, I am wondering why they think they are so special. Although the current strike on the front page of the news here in Ontario is organized by support workers and not the teachers they assist, teachers are directly affected. Ontario schools were forced to close their doors for two days when CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) workers walked off the job last Friday in response to the province’s decision to remove their right to challenge their contract or to strike.
What About Other Unions?
Everyone wants more money, especially with the cost of living rising and the economy tanking. The problem is just that, teachers and support staff are not unique. Other unions, such as those that healthcare, carpentry, and construction workers belong to, have been limited to minor increases in their recent requests for more money. Each of these unions represents essential workers. If you weren’t aware of their importance to society prior to the pandemic, hopefully you learned something since then. None of them could work from home. In fact, many worked extra hours and shifts to compensate for the extra stress in their respective workplaces.
CUPE was asking for 11.7%!! Tell that to the other unions. The government (last) offered 6%, unheard of these days.
It’s All About the Kids, Isn’t it?
Throughout the pandemic, most teachers and parents agreed that their children’s mental health was of utmost importance. Why, now that things have (somewhat) returned to normal and kids are back to in-person school, do these professionals think the time is right to strike? Do they think the students (especially the younger ones) know why their mental health is not being considered?
Teachers’ propensity to strike every few years can not help but affect their support workers. Perhaps both groups (teachers and support workers) should be included in the list of “essential services” and not permitted (or fined if they do) to strike.
Do Canadian Teachers Make More Money than Other Countries?
In Canada, education is governed by provincial politicians. That is why there is a variation between provinces in curriculum and salaries. For example, within provinces considered to be more affluent, salaries will be greater.
Canadian teachers in general are listed as number 4 in the world for their salaries. Compared to their American counterparts though, Canadian teachers and support workers pay more taxes, and most experience a more expensive cost of living.
Are Support Workers Underpaid?
Just because teachers in Ontario are paid well doesn’t mean their support workers are. Although often behind the scenes, they provide important services. In fact, without them schools often (as is the case here) find it necessary to shut down.
The Latest on Support Workers’ Strike
The latest news has Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier,promising to rescind the legislation, known as Bill 28, and the “notwithstanding clause” if the workers return to the job. What does that mean? Back to the negotiating table to find a compromise.
I’m sure you’ve noticed, we are now four (!!) months into a pandemic. Although lots of things have changed in these past 4 months, many others are slipping back into our lives now that we (some of us) are into the (many) stages of reopening. Stage three began here in Ontario last week. While many of us welcome the reinstated freedoms, many others are still feeling uneasy. With spikes in our provincial “numbers” that unease can only get worse.
I realized one of these slippery slopes at the grocery store recently, the third time in one week, although I wore a mask each time. In recent months I restricted my outings to a grocery store once a week or even once every ten days. As well as the grocery store, I (gasp) went to a few other stores last week too. I won’t however, be going to any (indoor) restaurants or bars any time soon, will stick to ordering online and pickups.
To say it has been a rough four months for many people and businesses, is quite the understatement. My own business, although more of a hobby than a salary dependent business, has slowed down considerably. The heat wave played a part in that, but the slowdown is mainly due to the fact that lots of clients decided to do their own gardening while they were stuck at home.
The silver lining in a reduced workload permitted me to spend more time in my own gardens that I now refer to as Gardens4me. Another consolation has been the ability to spend more time at our family cottage. My daughter-in-law is on maternity leave, so we have been heading up there with her two children while our men folk go to work, then meet us there on the weekends. Tough job, I know. The heatwave (so far) this summer has encouraged these extra cottage visits.
Now that we are permitted to, I also am using any extra moments to spend time with my five precious grandchildren. This picture was taken at one grandson’s (far right, on grandpa’s lap) 1st birthday celebration…
As you can see, I have fully embraced my gray Sliter roots, pun intended. My dad was totally white by the age of 30 as were many of his siblings and my own. My children and their cousins are now sprouting grays too.
I saw this on Facebook this morning and thought it was quite well written, explaining the importance of the Alberta energy sector for Canada in general.
On the eve of our Canadian Federal Election, I feel it is prudent to share with our fellow Canadians in the East how pivotal this election is for our Country. I recognize a strong disconnect between the regions and believe I have a responsibility to share our feelings, perceptions, and fears with the men and women of these provinces. It is no secret that the election is decided before the first vote is counted in Manitoba. 199 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons are held by your two provinces. Your votes decide our election. This is why I am appealing to you. The fate of Canada and our incredible province of Alberta rests in your hands. We’ve had a rough couple years out here. Since 2015 unemployment has soared, the price of our most valued resource has plummeted, and our access to foreign and domestic markets has been blocked by federal Liberals. While this industry thrives south of the border in the US, Canada’s energy sector has been plunged into a ‘Legislated Recession’ thanks in part to the cancellation of 2 crucial pipelines and the poorly handled expansion of a third. These projects are crucial, allowing access to foreign and domestic markets and closing the gap between the price of Canada’s oil and the oil produced elsewhere in the world. The newly passed Bill C-69 makes new interprovincial projects nearly impossible to complete, and Bill C-48 restricts domestic tanker traffic on Canada’s West coast, while US tanker traffic navigates the same waters unimpeded. We’ve been put in a box, and the lid is slowly closing. Our Federal Liberal government is the architect of this disaster. You may ask why this should matter to you? It is simply a matter of economics. According to the Alberta government and World Bank websites, Alberta’s economy accounts for 20% of our Nation’s GDP. In this province of 4.7 million, it means that 11% of Canada’s population produces 20% of our GDP. From 2000-2014, we contributed $200 Billion to equalization, all of it travelling East. On its own, Alberta is the 7th strongest economy on the planet. We’re the core of this country’s economic engine. We’re being told our money is OK, but the oil, our largest economic driver is not. Hell, we can’t even wear our T-shirts on Parliament Hill. Alberta’s oil is Canada’s oil, and there are a few facts I would like to share with you about it. We are at the forefront of the sector’s clean technology and everyone in this country should be proud of this industry and the highest environmental standards in the world. During this election I’m sure you’ve heard about O&G subsidies and how everyone intends on stopping them, so I feel it is important to break that down. Last year, there were $1.4 Billion dollars given to clean tech by our government. O&G received 75% of that. Rightfully so. That money has been used to increase efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of production significantly. A recent study showed that if every country around the world produced their resources to the same standard as Canada, the carbon intensity of production would drop 26% worldwide. Suncor, Canada’s largest producer, just announced a co-gen project that will reduce their carbon footprint by a further 30%, and we’ve championed cutting-edge carbon capture and storage technology. We would love to displace dirty foreign oil in the East, but we are told there is no social acceptability for a pipeline. We would love to know why there is social acceptability for Saudi tankers in your waters, but none for us? Last I checked, Saudi didn’t contribute to equalization. The environment has been a big topic in this election, and there have been some strong assertions from the parties, some of which may be a little out of reach. 30% reduction in GHG, 60% reduction in GHG. The backbone of these reductions focuses on shutting Alberta’s economy down. There seems to be a huge target on Alberta’s back, and little red dots are starting to dance around the bullseye. Canada contributes1.6% to the world’s total GHG emissions. China contributes 27.2%, US 14.6%. A 30-60% reduction in Canada equates to a 1.8-3.6% reduction in China and a 3.5-7 % reduction in the US. Al Gore once said that CO2 knows no borders, so rather than shut down the economic engine of our nation, why wouldn’t we export the clean energy and technology to the countries that need it the most, boosting our economy and helping everyone on this planet reach these targets? What we do as Canadians to reduce emissions means nothing on the grand world scale. It is these heavy emitting countries that could benefit from Canada’s LNG to replace coal, and clean tech to further drive down emissions. It’s a win-win-win for Canada, the environment, and our economy. The Conservatives have proposed this and it has been highly criticized as ‘not enough’. This is the most viable solution and environmental policy for everyone in this country, and it doesn’t include plunging the entire country into debt and recession. It is ironic that the one country (US) that pulled out of the Paris Agreement has made the most progress reaching that agreement’s targets. How? By doing exactly what the Conservatives have proposed to help us and other nations achieve: transitioning coal to significantly cleaner natural gas power generation. -There is another sentiment out here that likely resonates with our fellow Canadians from Quebec. If you asked the average Albertan if they would support separation 2 years ago, you’d be laughed at. Today it is no laughing matter. At the time of the provincial election only a few months ago, it was estimated that 50% of Albertans were open to separation. A poll of 6000+ Albertans only a week ago yielded the same results. We’ve been beaten into submission by the federal Liberals, and we continue to get kicked. Terms like ‘Western Alienation’, ‘Republic of Alberta’ and ‘Wexit’ have become very common. All too often you see ‘Liberal on Oct 21, Separatist on Oct 22’. This movement is real. I mean, REAL. If another Liberal government is elected, even worse a Liberal minority with the Green or NDP propping it up, Alberta’s energy sector will just board up the windows and go elsewhere. It will be crippling for the entire nation. It is ALREADY crippling for Alberta. We can’t take any more of this. We are the victims of a current Legislated Recession and it will only get worse. Half of us want to leave now. More will want to leave if we continue to be exploited for our revenue and vilified for our industry. Alberta separation would be a crushing blow to this country and its economy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Albertans are resilient, wholesome, hard-working people that have been happy to help our fellow Canadian citizens maintain a high standard of living. We’re only asking for reciprocation. We don’t want hand-outs, tax revenue, or power. We want the right and ability to do what we’ve been doing all along, without having fellow Canadians standing in our way. We’re a part of the solution, not the problem. Fellow Canadians, please consider this when casting your ballot. There’s a lot at stake for everyone. There is a fragility in this nation that could be fractured with stroke of a pen, and the power rests firmly in the hands of your provinces. Vote wisely. Vote Canadian.
I was at a dinner party this past weekend where the topic of discussion turned (unfortunately) to the bitter and controversial political battle our country is embroiled in. The guests and hosts of this evening are all good friends, so it was especially frustrating to see the discord amongst them when discussing our political leaders, parties, and platforms, including the Alberta energy sector. Thank heavens our campaign only lasts 40 days!
The most disturbing comment (for me) was someone defending the SNC Lavalin issue as “that’s the way business is done. To be competitive globally, Canadian companies have to do anything they can to get contracts. Everyone does it” Yet, conversely, when it was pointed out (as does the letter writer above) that Canada contributes very little to the world’s carbon emissions this same person said, “well, we have to set an example to the rest of the world.”
I am all about setting a good example, but think we should be consistent. Ethical business practices, effective climate change solutions, and compassion for our fellow Canadians. The reason this country is so wonderful is because of its diversity, not just in the people, but the assets and resources each province contributes to the nation. The Alberta energy sector appealing to the rest of Canada is a great example of why diversity is something to be proud of.
As I said before, get out and vote, but do your research first, especially regarding the importance of the Alberta energy sector for the rest of Canada.
Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift? Check out this Facebook page for Classy Glass Upcycles! Select a beautiful creation to enhance your Mom’s garden, yard, or indoor location. Indulge in one for yourself too!
These awesome creations are lovingly handcrafted in Cornwall, Ontario by a family friend. Each item is unique, (re)using the beautiful glass found in so many vintage vases and bowls. What an fantastic idea; I love the idea of upcycling these exquisite treasures from yesteryear.
Visit the page to check out the posted creations currently available. Or commission one (or two) in the color, shape and size of your choice.
Does anyone else think the Francophone vs Anglophone battle in Ontario (and the rest of Canada) is getting (literally and figuratively) old? The number of ethnicities populating Canada reported on censuses rose from just 20 in 1871 to 250 in 2016! Thanks to the massive increase in immigration since the mid-80s, the population of allophones (mother tongue is neither French nor English) doubled to 20% in 2006 and is projected to be a whopping 30% in 2030.
Francophones (French being their mother tongue) now make up less than 20 percent of our nation. Anglophones (English as a mother tongue) have dropped from 62% to 58%. So what makes the Francophone population so special and more important than any others in Canada? Why are they demanding their own universities and hospitals within Ontario? Why has this issue invaded our provincial politics? Have we not got more important things to worry about than the francophone vs anglophone issue?
Canada has always been known for its acceptance of all ethnicities and I hope we continue to carry and own that reputation. My maternal grandfather was named Beaudette; you can’t get much more French than that. His parents immigrated from France shortly before he was born in 1904. I am very proud of my own French heritage, but not to the exclusion of the other parts of my ancestry,
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontariocelebrated homecoming this past weekend. The problem is the celebrations get out of hand each year when idiots resort to vandalizing anything they get their hands on. This year our car was one of the unfortunate targets of this rampant vandalism.
Our son had taken the car to Kingston for the weekend to spend time with some of his high school buddies that currently attend Queen’s. We had instructed him to park the car in his friend’s driveway when he got there and leave it parked for the weekend (ie no drinking and driving). He did what we told him to, sort of. There was no parking spot available in the driveway when he arrived on Friday, so he parked on the street. When he went to check on the car Saturday, he was dismayed to see that it had been a victim of the rampant vandalism. The roof was caved in, front and back hoods dented, brake light on the spoiler kicked in, almost every inch of the car covered in scratches and beer stains, as well as the Toyota emblem torn off the front.
It saddens and sickens me that these so-called intelligent students resort to this disgustingly destructive behaviour. How and why do they feel this rampant vandalism is acceptable? How do they get away with it? To all the people standing around watching (apparently there were lots of pictures and a video posted on social media) it happen, WTF were you thinking?
I realize the car in question is old (2003) with lots of mileage. We planned to keep the car for our youngest son to drive (he’s 21 now) while he still lives at home. The costs to repair the vandalism will most likely be higher than what the car is worth. Then the insurance deductible will eat up the measly amount we will receive as compensation, but that’s not the point. The car is our possession, it is incomprehensible how some idiotic kids can damage other peoples’ property with no remorse.
I can promise you any pictures I find of our damaged car on social media will be forwarded to the police to supplement the original report. Hopefully, authorities will find the culprits that thought this was funny and penalize these idiots accordingly. I am hoping the power of social media will bite them in the butt.
If you recognize any of these students, please let me know!
Today was a beautiful sunny day here in Ottawa Ontario, a perfect day to start my GARDENS4Useason. Although 6C (43F) is still a bit cool and the ground is still frozen in some spots, I was able to get some things done. Here is a list of garden chores that can be done as soon as the snow is gone:
cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches from the ground
cut off any broken, misshapen or unwanted branches on trees and shrubs. Before the leaves come out on the trees the shape or framework of the branches is easier to see.
cut back any overgrown shrubs that flower in summer. Even if you do not want to reduce the size of the shrub, old wood that no longer flowers can be removed now
cut out old wood that no longer flowers on early spring blooming shrubs back to the ground. You can tell the old wood from the new wood by its color. The old wood is usually duller in color and thicker in diameter
trim, shape or prune evergreen shrubs
cut back group 3 (summer or fall blooming) clematis to 1 foot from ground
rake leaves out of garden
remove winter covers from shrubs and trees
treat lawns with a fertilizer and pre-emergent weed preventer combination
rake lawn hard, but be sure to wait until it is no longer spongy to walk on
As the end of my gardening season approaches here in Ontario, I have begun to clean out my van and perform an inventory on my gardening tools. This is also the time of the year when I realize just how bad my memory is when the number of gardening tools has dwindled and I have no idea where the missing ones are. I tend to misplace several pairs of calipers (or hand clippers) a season. Even though their handles are usually a bright red or orange, I manage to lose them in the gardens I work in. I’m sure I have accidentally thrown some out in lawn waste bags. This year I am disappointed to find that I have also managed to misplace my favourite edger and a handy short shovel…
I will have to send out an email to my clients begging them to check their tool sheds and gardens to see if my tools are hanging out with theirs.
This dog strangling vine is one of the vines I was telling you about in a recent post that are very invasive, but also dangerous…
I have seen lots of these vines in my fall cleanups of gardens here in Kanata, Ontario. The leaves of the dog strangling vine are unremarkable, blending in with others in your gardens. The seed pods are more distinctive; they look like yellow string beans, making it easy to recognize the vine this time of year. If you encounter this vine in your gardens, pull out the vine by the roots before the seed pods burst spreading seeds everywhere. Be sure to discard the vine, its roots and seed pods into your yard waste; do not add them to your compost bin.
I haven’t seen or heard of this vine strangling any dogs, but I have seen it strangle the life out of a fully mature tree, so beware!
Yesterday, as we drove from Ottawa to our cottage In Ompah, Ontario we hit several snow squalls. We drove through sunny skies and storm clouds and snow squalls. The first squall hit us in Carleton Place…
When we reached the cottage, the lawn and trees were snow covered and the island offshore was barely visible…
then, a mere ten minutes later, the sun was out again…