Friday, March 1st Commentary
HIGH SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT
Imagine this. Your son or daughter comes home from high school with an assignment to complete. It's a hand out, a long one filled with more than a hundred one-line jokes about sexual violence, racism and dead babies. 7 pages of jokes.
The Toronto Star says a drama teacher at Toronto's Oakwood Collegiate has been put on home assignment by the public school board while it investigates this homework.
It quotes parents of some of the kids in Grade 9 and 10 as saying they were told to pick five of these one-liners and prepare a comedy skit about them.
A Grade 12 student says the assignment has been around for years and the administration at Oakwood has been well aware of it.
I realize it takes some creative thinking to engage high school kids but on the face of it, this teacher sounds like he has gone too far, as in, is there something wrong with you, jokes about gang bangs, dead babies. I hope there is some sane rationale to this story but of course the school board refuses to talk about it because its a "personnel matter."
ROB FORD ET AL
A follow-up to yesterday's big story about how Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has resumed sending out letters soliciting donations to his football charity from some city hall lobbyists.
Ford's chief-of-staff, Mark Towhey says the Foundation "makes every attempt to remove registered lobbyists from its mass mailing lists" and "if errors were made, they were inadvertent." It is "Foundation policy to return such donations if they were to be received in error."
There is no doubt in my mind that at least one city councillor will ask for an investigation by the city Integrity Commissioner and with any luck at all, the Commissioner will urge the Mayor to distance himself from his charity at least while he is holding public office. Let someone else run it while Ford takes care of things at City Hall.
Goodness knows there are a lot of things to take care of, not the least of which is getting on with the expansion of public transit, not only in the city but across the Greater Toronto Area.
Some of the GTA mayors got together last night to discuss transit. Mayor Ford is in Florida so he wasn't there. NewsTalk 1010's John Tory was part of the conversation in his role as chair of CivicAction. There's concern that because Mayor Ford is opposed to road tolls and higher taxes for transit expansion that the other GTA cities and towns will get slapped with more than their fair share. John Tory thinks the public is ahead of the Mayor on this issue.