Saturday, February 28, 2009

Поднимите обода на победу! RRRoll up the Rim to Win!®

It's that time of year to head to your Timmy's coffee house to get a donut and a RRRoll up the Rim to Win® coffee cup.

In a few weeks, Tim Hortons may post notices in their coffee houses stating that prices will go up and Timmy's will apologize. Tim Hortons did this last year during the contest period.

Will the customers care if the prices go up? Not while the contest is running.

Поднимите обода на победу.
Dérrroule le rebord pour gagner!®
RRRoll up the Rim to Win!®

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Pink Shirt Day!

For those who oppose bullying in our schools, workplaces, and communities, one could have worn a pink shirt today. A couple of years ago, some grade-twelve students in Nova Scotia got their friends to wear pink T-shirts to school in order to support younger student who was bullied by some older students for wearing a pink shirt.

Vancouver's CKNW radio host, Christy Clark, is promoting the wearing of pink shirts today. Note: the day is almost done on my end of the country.

If you don't have a pink shirt, wash a white shirt and red towel together in hot water.

Happy Pink Shirt Day!

H/T Sandy Crux. I don't agree with her on many issues. This one, I do.

Catherine Swift of C-FIB doesn't like teachers

Maybe Catharine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) likes teachers. She just doesn't like teachers from the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). She doesn't like the framework agreement reached among ETFO, the Ontario Public School Boards Association, and the provincial government.

Mme. Swift writes, "CFIB's latest Wage Watch study shows that public sector education workers in Ontario receive on average nine percent more in annual salary and benefits than their counterparts in matching positions in the private sector. In fact, this is a very conservative estimate based on 2006 Census data and the difference is much higher in the larger cities in the province."

Translation: private school teachers make nine percent less in salaries and benefits than public school teachers.

My translation: private school teachers are worth nine percent more than they actually make in salaries and benefits. They're being ripped off. If public school teachers made nine percent less, Swift and company would still be complaining that teachers make too much money.

Some advocates of private education believe that teachers should be paid based on their merit. An excellent teacher should be paid more than a poorly performing teacher. I do believe that teachers in private schools perform as best as they can. Unfortunately by Mme. Swift's logic, private school teachers don't measure up compared to teachers in the public schools. They merit nine percent less pay than public school teachers. If some parents send their children to private schools because they believe that private schools are better than public schools, then private school teachers deserve to be paid nine percent more than public school teachers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Here's a link to a Chinese article from about the British Columbia Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) system.

Readers may also click a link to a Google translation including a brief comment by Panxiaolong (Bruce Krayenhoff) from BC.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Agents Skinny and Dipper escort Obama to Beavertails

I don't have any new video of the wonderfully toxic Agents Skinny and Dipper escorting the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to BeaverTails in the Byward Market in Ottawa. I did hear that they were extremely pleased with the honour, especially after they were originally taken off the duty to protect Prime Minister Harper from all predators--opposition MPs and the Canadian media.

If you are ever in Ottawa in the winter time, take a skate along the beautiful Rideau Canal, then stop for a bite into a delicious BeaverTail.

Thanks to LeDaro for noting my talent in suggesting a few great places for Obama to visit in Ottawa.

Here's a link to an old video of Agents Skinny and Dipper waiting for Harper on the outskirts of Toronto.

H/T: LeDaro.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Canadian Citizenship Day!

On February 16, 1947, the British subjects living in Canada became Canadian citizens.

I do want to wish everyone a belated Happy Flag Day when Canada received its red and white maple leaf flag on February 15, 1965.

To my American friends, Happy President's Day! It's the first time in a long time that this day is worth celebrating. Anyway, have fun shopping.

To my Lituanian friends (actually, I do not have any), Happy Independence Day (1918)!

Let me not forget tomorrow. I want to wish myself a Happy Birthday! I'll be 29 again!

I think Canadians who do have the day off should celebrate Canadian Heritage Day when we can celebrate (but not go cookoo over) the Canadian flag and becoming Canadian citizens. Families can still celebrate together and it has more meaning than Family Day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's not a real Canadian name?

Here's a comment I wrote on Dawg's Blawg about names that may not be really Canadian:

"I'm up for the challenge for determining what is a real Canadian name or not.

Let's go to the Oder-Neisse rivers between Germany and Poland. Anything west of Görlitz (without the umlaut), Germany might pass as real Canadian. Anything east of Zgorzelec, Poland is not really Canadian. Zbigniew Brzenski is not a real Canadian name. Too many weird consonant blends. The W is pronounced like a V or F. Bnai Brith is not really Canadian for the same reason. No BN's please.

Dillon is fine. Dhillon is unacceptable.

Any name from the Islamohindusikh religion is not kosher Canadian. I mean Canadian kosher, not Jewish kosher. Abdullah, Jagdeep, and Manpreet don't pass as real Canadian.

I remember a Sister Kuntz at UWO. That's fine. I also remember a Dr. De'ath at Laurier. That is unacceptable.

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon are fine with their real Canadian last name. Mr. and Mrs. Dixit are in trouble. They may come from Indipakabanglalanka where they may also be known as Mr. and Mrs. Dikshit.

Chinese-Canadians like to pretend sometimes that they are real Canadians. Wu Feng-shui may pretend she's Sarah Wu. Mao Ze-dong tries to pass as Chris Mao when he leaves the Pacific Mall in Markham. This won't work for Yu An-mei. Chinese-Canadians can't pretend that they have real Canadian names.

Black names are not real Canadian names. The exception is Conrad Black who has a real Canadian name even though he is no longer a real Canadian. Names like Shaquane and Shaniqua are too black. Therefore, they are not real Canadian names.

French names are OK if they are pronounced the real Canadian way. Bomb-a-deer is real Canadian name--not Bom-bar-dee-ay. Benoit should be pronounced Be-noyt, not like the ben-wa balls. Thankfully, real Benoit Canadians who live in Chicago, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan can always correct us.

Aboriginals are the first original real Canadians. However, their names are not really Canadian if they contain the name of an animal. Becky Bear and Sarah Deer are not real Canadian names. Neither is John Deer unless the name is found on the side of a green agri-business tractor. Bomb-a-deer is fine; Sarah Deer is not. Names that contain a Q without an accompanying U are unacceptable. Iqaluit is tolerable because real Canadians can pronounce the Q like a K. Iqaluit is a short name. Kujjuaqjuakimuatiqqakuumaqukaq is definitely not real Canadian!

Basically, a name is really Canadian if it can be found on a novelty bicycle licence plate at a gift shop.

'We need more BORT plates! We're running out of BORT plates!' said a store-clerk on The Simpsons. (Bart Simpson complained about not seeing his name.)

As for convicted criminal real Canadian non-Canadian Conrad Black, I'd be thrilled to accept him back into Canada if the United States can keep Céline Dion forever."

Added thought:

I feel as if I am writing like some Blogging Tory. I feel awful. Anyway, I did have fun writing this comment on Dawg's Blawg.

All Catholic and public school students are equal. I think?

Here is a comment I left on Crux's blog:
Technically, [the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario] ETFO legally negotiates with the school boards.

Correct me if I am wrong, but Kathleen Wynne’s threat to reduce salary raises from three to two percent is really an empty threat because school boards are funded for each student enrolled, not for salary differentials among the public, separate, and two French boards. There may be different allocated funding for northern students, those with special needs, English Language Learners, and for other reasons. While there is the framework agreement, individual boards and the union may negotiate different agreements within the framework.

In the end, it won’t look good for Mme. Wynne and the Ontario Liberals if the public finds out that Catholic school students are getting more funding per student than public school students living in the same area [because ETFO wouldn't agree to the original framework proposal by the Ontario Public School Boards Association and the government].

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ETFO and Reg. 298

ETFO president, David Clegg. is telling the truth about teachers in some of the French public and separate Catholic schools having to be in their classes 15 minutes before school starts to meet the students.

From ETFO:

This week we received the following excerpt from a newsletter sent home to parents from the French Board in Peel: "Beginning Jan 5, we will use new procedures for morning entry. Students will go directly to their classrooms after leaving the bus. Teachers will be in their classrooms from 9:05 to welcome students so they are ready to work when the bell goes at 9:20."

From an École élémentaire Carrefour des jeunes newsletter in Brampton:

"Notre premier changement pour 2009 a consisté à faire entrer les élèves dès leur arrivée à l’école le matin. En effet, dorénavant tous les élèves entrent à l’intérieur à 9h05 et de cette façon nous débutons la journée dès la première cloche soit à 9h20."

Google Translation:

"Our first change for 2009 was to bring the students when they arrive at school in the morning. Indeed, now all students entering inside at 9.05 am and this way we begin the day from the first bell is at 9:20."

There is no guarantee that ETFO translated this particular message from the school mentioned above, the gist is that this school has changed its entry procedure which now requires its teachers to supervise their students 15 minutes before the school day starts. ETFO is correct in asserting that French and Catholic teachers' unions which settled with their boards a few months ago are now required to supervise their students up to an extra 100 minutes per week (15 minutes before school starts in the morning and five minutes before afternoon classes commence).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Toronto Sun: Teachers' unions, smarten up

To the Toronto Sun:

Bite me!

In today's Toronto Sun, there is an editorial which tells the public school elementary teachers to essentially shut up and accept the Ontario government's generous offer of now two percent for the next two years. The former offer of three percent for four years was not generous because the government and school boards were offering an extra 50 minutes per week of administration directed preparation time in which the administration could decide what teachers must do during that time. The government and boards also want teachers to be in the classroom (not just in the school) in order to supervise students 15 minutes before the start of the school day in the morning and five minutes before afternoon classes start. That's 100 minutes per week extra of supervision that public school elementary teachers would be required to perform. No thanks. I would rather work under the existing but expired contract than under the government and boards' proposal. Better yet, I would rather be treated equally with a secondary school teacher.

I don't know how negotiations are going between the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the school boards. If they don't go well, I would be willing to favour "Yes" in a strike vote. I hope it doesn't come to that. I cannot imagine the teachers striking right away. Work-to-rule might happen where teachers work strictly according to their contracts. No extra work or duties will be performed by teachers on behalf of the administration.

I cannot see the teachers going on strike before the school boards lock-out the teachers. I believe the boards do not want a work-to-rule campaign to interfere in any way with the EQAO grades-three and six standardized tests. I predict that the boards will lock-out the teachers so that the government can legislate us back to work. Barring any legal reasons, I cannot see a lock-out lasting any longer than one week. A lock-out could take place well before the EQAO tests. The government through the legislature can order the teachers back to work just in time for the EQAO tests to be administered. You see, if teachers do not prepare their students for the EQAO tests--how to do them--the students will not perform as well. Knowledge of the curriculum is not enough for students to perform well on the standardized tests.

If the public elementary school teachers end up with an unacceptable two-year contract, I will be upset. However, teachers can start negotiating in less than two years for an excellent contract so that we can teach our students well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Belleisle ES will play O Canada

In New Brunswick, Belleisle Elementary School will start playing O Canada at the beginning of the day.

As a supply teacher, what does O Canada mean to me? It's the moment where students attempt to challenge my authority. They do this by not standing next to their tables during the playing of the anthem, by talking to their friends, moving around the class, swinging their hips, tying their shoes, flipping through their books and papers, searching through their desks, and playing with contraband toys. If I do not successfully order them to stop, my day is sunk. O Canada is not a moment of celebration of our great country; it's the Lord of the Flies characters ready to pounce on the wild boar--moi.

After O Canada, there is about 20 seconds for a moment of reflection where everyone is to remain silent. I believe the original purpose of the moment of reflection was to replace The Lord's Prayer. In theory, any student can recite a prayer in his/her head. So far, I haven't seen anyone do it. At about 10 seconds, this is my monent to tell everyone, "I expect everyone to listen to the announcements!"

During the announcements, I have to make sure that no one is moving, flipping through books, or talking to their friends. Again, it's one versus the mob. Who is going to win?

If all goes well during O Canada and the announcements, I thank the students for their good behaviour and listening skills. If not, I give the class my third degree speech on my expectations on how they will behave!

In some schools, O Canada and the announcements are played just before recess. This means that early in the morning, I have to get the students sitting at their seats or on the carpet (for primary classes) about five minutes after the bell rings for entry.

I have visited a couple of schools overseas where the schools do not have their students sing or listen to their anthems. Instead, the students are expected to stand by their desks when the teacher arrives. They sit only when the teacher gives them permission.

O Canada is a beautiful anthem. Some may complain about a couple of words. I try to take a poetic or figurative interpretation of the words. I don't think of "native" as meaning Aboriginal or Canadian-born. Rather, I think of it as meaning we all belong and that Canada is our home. "In all thy sons command" signifies that on behalf of God/The Great Creator/mother nature, we are in charge and are responsible for the well-being of the great country of ours. And finally, "God keep our land" sounds more poetic than "Let's keep our land." The latter sounds more like an old Ontario licence plate slogan--"Keep it beautiful." If we wish to change some of the words, let's hope that we don't destroy the poetry of our anthem.

If we choose to keep playing O Canada in our schools, let us hope that it is because we want to listen to and sing it rather than have it being used just for crowd control or classroom management.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

She can always take her octuplets to the zoo

I hope that Oprah and others don't give any money to the woman who gave birth to octuplets. Instead, that woman can always give her puppies to a zoo.

May the gods love Manjula and Apu.