Friday, January 11th Commentary
This is what is referred to as a SNAFU, the acronym for Situation Normal, All ... beeped ... up!
There's a hectic scramble to get public elementary schools across Ontario opened this morning, and school buses operating, crossing guards working.
Many boards had the schools closed to students because of the planned day of protest by teachers but just before 4 this morning, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled the action to be "unlawful" and immediately the head of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario announced he would comply with the ruling and instructed teachers to report for work this morning.
For the last two hours, the school boards have been going beserk but most are now saying the schools will be open. NewsTalk 1010's in-depth coverage starts with the very latest on the schools. Here's Amber Gero.
The Labour Board ruling against the walkout didn't give the government all it wanted, but certainly enough to declare victory. Education minister Laurel Broten has issued a statement which reads in part, "I know this has been a difficult time for parents, students and teachers. I know there has been confusion and that there still is. But the OLRB's decision clears up some of that confusion and misinformation." SHe thanks the school boards for making best efforts to open the schools.
You can see more information about the teachers throwing in the towel on our website: newstalk 1010-dot-com.
Now, who should we be screaming at:
Dalton McGuinty for allowing this to unfold the way it has, but the brunt of your vitriol should go directly to Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. It was Hammond and his team that made the decision on Wednesday to walk off the job two days later. They could have just as easily done what the high school union did and put it off until the middle of next week. That gives the government time to go to the Labour Relations Board, get a hearing, get a ruling and give the school boards time to adjust accordingly.
I have no doubt that what Hammond and his people did was deliberate, to sow this mass confusion, to drive parents round the bend, to make some parents lose a days pay because they figured they'd have to stay home with their kids, not able to find a babysitter.
Hammond has the gall throughout the whole ordeal to sort of apologize for the inconvenience this has imposed on parents. Absolute horse turd!
This is the kind of crap that makes so many people despise unions, the crap that could ultimately lead to the demise of unions and Sam Hammond you're on the list of those who should carry the blame.
It was last year when Toronto city council gave Mayor Rob Ford is first political pounding by essentially rejecting his proposed city operating budget, adding millions in spending.
Several councillors were furious that Ford would not listen to them so they forced the reinstatement of some items on his chopping block.
This year, the Ford team was ready. Led by the Mayor, the executive committee yesterday recommended this year's planned operating budget be increased by $6.8-million so we can hire more firefighters and fire prevention officers, more paramedics, give more money to the student nutrition program and the library system, and lets put the leaf collection system back in play at an extra half-a-million a year.
The plan here was to attract the mushy middle on council, at least enough centrist councillors to hold back the lefties, as Ford calls them.
But lefties such as Gord Perks are making it clear that when the budget comes to council next week he'll push for more spending for public transit, the homeless and public housing. He thinks he can get the money by increasing the planned 2 percent boost in residential property taxes or dipping into the new found surplus, which the Mayor wants stuffed into the reserve fund.
Budget chief Mike Del Grande doesn't sound too thrilled that the Mayor increased spending by nearly $7-million because he says the lefties are going to try to spend even more anyway.
As much as I dump on Rob Ford for some of the monumentally stupid things he does, I must say that his attempt to consult with some councillors, his attempt to finally listen to some of them, that's a good sign. Unless of course you want to be a cynic and say it's a sign of desperation by a man who may be on his last legs at City Hall.