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Staffroom Confidential: BC Teacher strike – Lessons learned

On the evening of the vote results, I found myself, with great difficulty, repeating the tried and true advice: “Don’t mourn, organize.” Because it is correct. There is much to do. And there are always setbacks and disappointments on the way to a better world.

That said, it is also worth some analysis on the strike to guide the future. Here are my thoughts.

Longest teacher strike in BC history

Despite the outcome, perhaps the most incredible thing about this strike was the resolve of teachers. Although long strikes are more common in the private sector, for a public (Read more…)

Left Over: Back Door Justice on a Friday Afternoon….

NDP forces Commons debate on murdered, missing indigenous women Conservative-controlled committee didn’t recommend public inquiry but NDP seized debate opportunity

By Kady O’Malley, CBC News Posted: Sep 19, 2014 2:44 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014 5:12 PM ET

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/09/the-ndp-forces-debate-on-missing-and.html

Ffinally, the NDP comes through in a wonderfully calculated move that both highlighted the need for a public inquiry, and beat the Cons at their own game..timing is everything.

Anyone who thinks that the NDP isn’t ready for Prime Time better think again…

Probably your best blog to date, Simon..I feel exactly as you do.. (Read more…)

Left Over: The Emperor’s (ap)Prentice Magically Transforms First Nations Support

Jim Prentice says many Alberta First Nations are behind new pipeline projects ‘Amongst the strongest allies that Alberta has at the table are the First Nations of this province’

CBC News Posted: Sep 16, 2014 9:25 PM MT Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014 6:20 AM MT

 

Great that you have First Nations behind the Cons and Chinese in Alberta (I don’t believe it, but whatever…) Another reason to keep all that filthy bitumen in-Province..why not build a refinery right there, on a supportive rez? Still think you’d have First Nations support?

“Art Sterritt, executive director of British Columbia’s (Read more…)

Staffroom Confidential: Will the Education Fund improve classroom conditions?

The tentative agreement negotiated this week includes an Education Fund which replaces the Learning Improvment Fund (LIF). Will this improve classroom conditions? Not much, if at all.

The BCTF did an excellent analysis of the failure of the LIF, which I won’t repeat here. But suffice it to say there are four main problems with the LIF:

1. it is about 1/4 of the funding needed for class sizes that match our previous language2. some of the funding is spent on non-teacher resources3. there is no method for fair allocation4. there is no change in how classes (Read more…)

Staffroom Confidential: Class composition: a human rights perspective

Christy Clark enraged teachers and surprised many when she tweeted that class composition was one of her primary concerns. Those of us working in schools who have for twelve long years been trying to bring this issue into the public discourse thought: well, it’s about time.

It was over twenty years ago that Charter rights guaranteed students with disabilities an education in mainstream classrooms. No longer would students be relegated to special schools or special classrooms. They were legally entitled to be in class with all other students and to experience the equivalent educational opportunities.

The integration of students with (Read more…)

Staffroom Confidential: Class size and composition – a short visual history

I put this table together today to share with parents and community members at our information forum this evening, but please feel free to share.

It is a slight simplification as it doesn’t deal with exempted classes like music, classes in distributed learning, special education class, the “fudge factor” allowing overages in special circumstances and so forth.

But if you want to know the basics of how class size and composition have changed over the last twelve years through three rounds of legislation, this is an overview.

It is based on the Greater Victoria collective agreement.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should Welfare Recipients Try Harder to Find Work?

This morning the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation released a new report about “motivational interviewing” for welfare recipients. The link to the full report is here, and the link to the executive summary is here.

Authored by Reuben Ford, Jenn Dixon, Shek-wai Hui, Isaac Kwakye and Danielle Patry, the study reports on a recent randomized controlled trial done on long-term recipients of social assistance in British Columbia. The research took place between September 2012 and March 2013. There were a total of 154 research participants; 76 of the individuals were in the “treatment group,” while 78 were in (Read more…)

Left Over: SuperCrusty and the Lazy Opposition Don’t Come to Blows

B.C. teachers’ strike: Union rejects premier’s demand to suspend strike Union says government remains entrenched, inflexibile and unwilling to bargain.

CBC News Posted: Sep 03, 2014 10:51 AM PT Last Updated: Sep 04, 2014 7:58 AM PT

All of you 5 cent a comment Liberal trolls can say and think what you like, but here are the facts..and how do I know? Because the gov’t tactics mirror those of almost any organization out there with a union that has had enough…ignore them for months at a time, refuse to set any dates for bargaining until a week before (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Will Enbridge’s pipeline ever get built?

You have to wonder why the Harper government bothered with process at all. It’s like there was never any doubt that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would get approved. But historians may look back on this moment as the beginning of the end of pipeline politics.

Opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is BC’s largest social movement. A large majority of British Columbians are opposed to the pipeline. BC First Nations, who hold the ultimate trump card – the constitutionality of their rights and title, have said no means no. Thousands testified to the Joint Review Panel (and its arguably limited (Read more…)

Left Over: Chretien’s Lesson for the Harper at the Gate(way)

Northern Gateway decision holds no easy political options for Harper On the controversial B.C. pipeline, PM can say yes, no or not yet, but all answers come with a cost

By Max Paris, CBC News Posted: Jun 16, 2014 6:02 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014 11:13 PM ET

All this bleating about Harper having such a tough decision is nonsense..and, to cap it off, he will have, in one action, guaranteed himself a chance for re-election by not approving it..just like Christy Clark did by denying support without meeting some tough conditions… Let’s get real (Read more…)

eaves.ca: Government Procurement Failure: BC Ministry of Education Case Study

Apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been in business mode – both helping a number of organizations I’m proud of and working on my own business. For those interested in a frightening tale of inept procurement, poor judgement and downright dirty tactics when it comes to software procurement and government, there is a wonderfully […]

Left Over: Dirty Oil Wars…..This is Just the Beginning

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/05/stephen-harper-and-final-battle-for.html

 

Here in BC, we appreciate any and all support for this issue..but where is the rest of the country on all the damage this MonsterCon has caused? They can’t all be the drooling knuckle-draggers of Ford Nation, but I have to wonder if it isn’t already too late…the people of Canada, in general, seem so passive that they come across as catatonic.. Where is the energy to fight? I remember back in the 70′s hitting the bricks on a regular basis to fight Trudeau’s price and wage controls, to protest war, to stop the (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: Pondering a palatable pipeline…

I guest-hosted TWiE podcast episode 137 a few days ago, an episode devoted to the Alberta oil sands / tar sands. If you ask me (and I realize none of you have ) it’s well worth a listen!

The week’s guest was US energy analyst Robert Rapier, who had visited Fort McMurray on a Canadian government junket for journalists. He came back with a five-part essay on his experience, and some valuable, contextualizing factoids.

Shockingly, he showed data suggesting that the Alberta tar sands are now only slightly more greenhouse gas-intensive than “average” petroleum. (In other words, the emissions (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Don’t believe the (LNG) hype

Today we released a new report, Path to Prosperity? A Closer Look at British Columbia’s Natural Gas Royalties and Proposed LNG Income Tax, about liquefied natural gas (LNG ) development in BC, and the public revenues that might be expected. So far, LNG has lacked a real public debate. On one side, we have the drumbeat of the business press with coverage of the deals in the works (which, after a couple years, have yet to come to a final investment decision by any interested party). On the other, we have what can only be called propaganda coming from (Read more…)

Left Over: Opposition to a Pipeline, any Pipeline? Say it Ain’t So…

Pipeline push-back: What’s behind the rising opposition to Canada’s big oil pipelines Climate change debate behind animosity toward Northern Gateway and Keystone XL

By Janet Davison, CBC News Posted: Apr 29, 2014 5:00 AM ET

This headline is profoundly stupid..it is blatantly obvious to anyone with half a brain why we are opposed..just like our jobs are being sold to the lowest bidder, so are our resources, and to hell with the environment.. Now David Black (what an aptly named fellow!) is pushing for a refinery at the edge of our Province to take all that filth (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Conservative MP Celebrates Anti-Bullying Day By Threatening Violence

Yesterday was Pink Shirt Day, it’s a day dedicated to ending bullying. Now if you didn’t wear a pink shirt, don’t feel too bad, because unless you spent the day threatening someone with violence and having to be physically restrained, you’re still one up on Conservative MP Ron Cannan.

Because it was on Pink Shirt Day that this backbencher MP chose to make a brave stand for bullies everywhere. Now he didn’t ask Parliament why we don’t have a national day for bullies, Camoflage Tank-Top Day if you will, he did one better; he brought the bullying to the House (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Where’s the tax in BC’s carbon tax?

British Columbia’s carbon tax has been getting some high praise lately. A recent article in the Atlantic called it “the crown jewel of North American climate policy”. Such assessments need some tempering. BC’s carbon tax can tell us important things about the limits of fiscal policy today, which in turn questions the potential it has for fostering significant environmental change.

Tales of the tax’s effectiveness focus on its environmental impacts. Almost six years since its introduction, it is indisputable that the carbon tax has had some impact on resource use and emissions. This is clearly a good thing. There is (Read more…)

Left Over: Mikey Doesn’t Like It…

 

Former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt quits NDP Harcourt let membership lapse over many issues including the party’s opposition to carbon tax

CBC News Posted: Apr 01, 2014 8:10 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 01, 2014 8:10 AM PT

 

Have to agree with Mike, in principle, although my membership lapsed years ago, and though I vote for the NDP in spite of the things they do that I don’t like (the alternatives are unthinkable) I am, like so many BCers, leaning towards the Greens..I can’t speak for other Provinces , but here on the West Coast, (Read more…)

The Scott Ross: Success Defeated Alison Redford

Alison Redford was defeated because her party is too successful. And there’s proof.

In politics there wouldn’t be many opportunities to test such a theory; to really know if it was the success of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives that caused Redford to resign. Luckily for this experiment there just happens to be a control group next door, it even comes with its own Alison Redford.

BC’s Christy Clark has a lot in common with Redford. Both were seen as outsiders. Both ran for leadership with little caucus support, each having only one other MLA supporting them. Both became leader of a (Read more…)

Terahertz: Religion as a dirty word

Any headline in the form of a question can be dismissed with the simplest answer (which is also typically no).

Case in point, a Victoria Times-Columnist blog asks “Has religion become a dirty word?“

It argues that Victoria, BC, with a non-religious population of 51% according to Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey and potentially as high as 64% from the 2013 BCHA poll, has become anti-religious. Such is the secular identity that the religious are made to feel “sheepish” and ashamed of their habit.

Yet without citing any specific evidence of wide-spread anti-religious hate crimes* or (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: British Columbia hits 1,000 EV’s (and gov’t drops support)

image of Tesla Model S’s at a rally, from Consumer Reports

 

British Columbians have now purchased more than 1,000 plug-in electric vehicles. Add in low-speed neighbourhood electric vehicles and owner conversions, and the number will be a bit higher.

As of Jan 31, 2014 Polk research (now a division of IHS) had tracked 912 plug-in electric vehicle registrations in BC, representing about 1/6 of all PHEV registrations in Canada to date. British Columbia has about 1/8 of Canada’s population, so the numbers are largely in line with what we’d expect from the demographics.

Polk’s data doesn’t include the Toyota (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has so permeated Canadian politics that our political class cannot see beyond the lure of resource revenues to pay for essential services. Bad fiscal policy and bad environmental policy, not even good policy in terms of job creation, but seemingly good politics in the Age of (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun:

Is LNG B.C.’s big favour? It’s unlikely exports will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions

Is British Columbia “doing the world a favour,” as Premier Christy Clark put it, by developing a liquefied natural gas export industry? Or is this just wishful thinking (Read more…)

Left Over: Take the Wrong Way Home…

$109 fine for new driver taking drunk dad home 18-year-old novice driver Evan Godo received a $109 fine for not displaying the ‘N’ sign

CBC News Posted: Dec 27, 2013 8:37 PM PT

Here in BC, as elsewhere in Canada, the rules are flexible and depend on your status…

But this kid got caught in the hypocritical cross fire that has highlighted BC drinking and driving laws of late…while our provincial Lieberals talk about loosening up the liquor laws to allow such brave new world concepts as wineries selling their product at farmer’s markets, woe betide anyone who dares to (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: PMO: Anger Betrayal Deception; Oil

Our lying Prime Minister felt betrayed and angry, and … deceived?

The scheme only became public after a CTV news report on the evening of May 14.

The next morning, said Harper, he met with Wright, the successful Toronto financier he had brought to Ottawa in 2010 to be his right-hand man.

“He told me what he had done,” said Harper.

“I think, to be frank, my first series of reactions were probably in the realm of more stunned and disbelief.

“I, for the life of me, still can’t figure out – I don’t think anybody can figure out – (Read more…)