Friday miscellany…

… snowy December day edition…

Good article in the Citizen{yes, I used good and Citizen in the same phrase} yesterday about the ridiculousness of our quad education system in Ontario.

The issue of the wastefulness of our quadruplicated system of education seems to pop its head above the water twice a year or so. An article is written, get’s picked up on Twitter, arguments are made for and against the current system, then it fades back into the background.

But with the news that the provincial deficit is poised to be ONE BILLION smackeroos higher than anticipated due to slow economic growth, I think that the time is ripe to take a serious and sober look at our current model of 4 systems.

Education and health are the two giants in the provincial budget, consuming a large majority of all spending. This year, roughly $20 billion flowed from Queen’s Park to the province’s school boards.

That money was divided among 72 school boards. They don’t duplicate services. They quadruplicate them. Everywhere you go, from Windsor to Wawa, four separate education administrations oversee four separate school systems.

$20 billion. Surely hundreds of millions could be saved by amalgamating the public and separate Boards. There would be millions saved in bussing alone, one would think. Overcrowding issues might not go away, but there would be more flexibility because there would be more schools run by one Board!  I can see a case for a French language public Board, where numbers warrant it. But faith-based education is costly and discriminatory.

Publicly-funded sectarian school systems were terminated in Manitoba in 1890, Newfoundland in 1997 and Quebec in 1998. Why not Ontario? The Ontario Legislature could send a request to the federal Parliament in Ottawa to end this at any time. No other province would stand in the way of a Constitutional amendment allowing Ontario to move forward.

Yeah, I know that in reality that it is unlikely that any politician will take the risk of alienating a good segment of the voting population by championing this. But I can hope…

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Picture of  hot air balloon trying to kill itself after realising that it had a giant Sun logo splashed across it. I would do likewise.

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Gee. What a surprise. Another Con Minister caught in a lie.

Of course, it won’t matter. The Minister won’t answer any questions posed to him in the House. Excuses will be given. The media will get blamed. Blah, blah, blah… same old…

And oh yeah… the Cons are playing dirty pool in Montréal too…

OTTAWA — The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s resignation and a pending byelection.

But while the party says it was not breaking any rules, political analysts say the tactic crosses a line and will harm not only voters’ trust in the system, but perhaps even the Conservatives themselves.

“It’s disgusting,” said Queen’s University professor Ned Franks. “Politics is a blood sport but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to dirty blows.”

Numerous constituents in Cotler’s Mount Royal riding have complained of receiving calls in recent weeks from a marketing research company insinuating he has resigned and asking them to support the Conservatives in an upcoming byelection.

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So maybe we Canadians aren’t as stupid as I thought re: the “love affair” with Don “Blowhard Mouth Breather” Cherry.

The Brioux Report, a blog on Toronto.com, trumpeted: “Cherry continues to be ratings gold at CBC, with Hockey Night in Canada storming back to 2.4 million viewers last Saturday night.” One of the voices promulgating the idea of Cherry as must-see TV has occasionally been Mr. Cherry himself.

But recent TV numbers don’t seem to support the notion that Cherry is leading HNIC’s ratings anywhere. There is a considerable drop in viewers the instant game action ends and the theme music for Coach’s Corner begins. For example, ratings during the first period of last Saturday’s HNIC peaked at about 2.2 million viewers at 7:45 p.m. ET. But ratings show that by 7:58, that figure had plummeted by almost 800,000 to about 1.4 million during the first intermission of the show, precisely when Cherry is in mid-jeremiad.

The week before, first-period numbers peaked around 2.5 million viewers. By the time Cherry was on, almost a million people had found something else to do, as the number dipped to around 1.5 million. The numbers from this season have consistently shown such peaks during the action to more modest figures during the first intermission.

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The snow is on its way, sooner or later. If fact, it’s snowing right now. And O-dot will once again claim its throne as the world’s second coldest Capital city in the world. But this wonderfully unseasonably warm and dry weather has me giddy! Every day without snow and minus 20 temps is one day less that I have to bundle up.

And skiers? Quit complaining and fly out to B.C. or something! I’m a-talking to YOU, Hai!

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Speaking of giddy, Ottawa is primed for the opening of the new IKEA store out in the west end… Canada’s largest! And man, it IS huge! From the Queensway, it looks the size of the Oakville GM plant!

I think I’ll avoid it until after the holidays (and Barbados). And, as the O-dot reports, this IKEA has some new features:

Ottawa- When the nation’s largest Ikea store opens next Wednesday December 7th, customers will have the unique option to assemble their furniture while they wait in the massive check-out line ups. With the usual wait times in a typical Ikea check out line being approximately 38 minutes, shoppers can now use that lengthy time to assemble the furniture they have in their carts.

Good thinking! THAT is why the stores are so popular! Innovative thinking, man. Innovative thinking.

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It has been a week of bans!

First – bullying has been banned by the Ontario government – good thing.

Second – Lululemon pants have been banned by an Ottawa Catholic school – stupid thing.

Third – Christmas has been banned by an Ottawa area school. – WTF were they thinking thing.

Fourth – I have been banned from eating hot peppers and pickled eggs before bed – patently UNFAIR thing!

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Finally… in honour of Harper’s pledge to dump Kyoto…

 

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