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Category: politics

Cliff Cullen should stop writing cheques with his mouth that he can’t cash

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The problem with making bold statements is that at some point you’re going to have to cash the cheque that your mouth writes. In Manitoba, it feels a lot like the cheques being written by our leaders are bouncing.

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling rather frustrated by the inability of political representatives to answer direct questions posed by media, constituents in formal emails or informal online forums. There is a lot of redirecting and deflecting going on, and ridiculously, blocking.

As elected representatives there is a responsibility to the public for transparency and honesty and neither of these things seem to be in the playbook written by Coach Pally and his team.

My specific experience has been one of hostility and buck passing, and of late, lack of ANY response- not even the stock, party written answers that are a waste of my good time and efforts.

I have to say that it sort feels as though the plan is to just pass off each inquiry rather than answer it, and force someone to repeatedly contact their representatives with honest questions about many concerning actions of this government in a time of unprecedented uncertainty- until we are gaslighted into believing that we are just being bothersome.

Personally, I don’t care if they are annoyed by me. I am as relentless as a dog with a bone. As a citizen who cares about her community and the well being of everyone, I will continue to be relentless in my inquiries until someone-ANYONE- in this government is able to be accountable to me for the words coming out of their mouths and the claims they are making.

At the moment, in light of Bill 64 and all of the abominable commentary by the Minister of Education in his recent guest column in the Winnipeg Sun, I am trying to figure out how this government can insist that they have reduced poverty rates in this province in the last four years by 25%. I want to understand how this was measured, what factors were considered and how they studied the varaibles. And IF (big if) this statement is true, how was it achieved? Wouldn’t the government be so proud of this amazing work that they would want to share their programs and policies with other provinces so that they would be able to achieve the same results?

I have many doubts about truth of this matter. I figure that if this statistic is not made up, the information to prove it and back it up would be readily available.

I have reached out several times to the Minister of Education by email. I wrote him directly, and also to my local MLA, who promised to forward my concerns and request information be sent to me. No response.

I phoned Minister Cullen’s office and provided my contact information. No response.

I was informed by a friend that she had been redirected to the Minister of Families to request this same information. I will not hold my breath for a response, but here is my letter to Minister Squires. If you are so inspired, feel free to copy and paste the text of the inquiry and initiate your own contact. They can’t ignore all of us, can they?

Good Morning,
Thank you for taking my call this morning.  
To follow up, I am requesting information regarding the claims of a 25% reduction in the poverty rate in the Province of Manitoba. Specifically, I would like to receive the studies/peer reviewed research indicating this change in poverty statistics. Ideally, I’d like to understand what outcomes were measured, in what populations, who performed the research and what the study designs were.
One would assume that a 25% reduction in poverty would translate to a significant and observed impact in local communities in terms of income level, employment rates (specific to the impoverished communities), access to resources, reduced use of food banks or shelters, improvement of health, and drastically improved educational outcomes. 
In addition, I would like to be sent information about how these outcomes were achieved, specifically what programs were developed and implemented/introduced.  A 25% reduction in child poverty is substantial achievement, and I would think the strategies used to get there should be shared with all who have a vested interest in helping those in need. 
I look forward to hearing back, and would be open to scheduling a meeting to further discuss the subject.”

Dear Manitoba, start enforcing restrictions or STFU

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Fuck restrictions.

Honestly. Closing retail spaces and restaurants and gyms again isn’t going to do anything further unless a few other things happen.

  1. Close the borders for real. Redefine what essential is and make sure that you monitor it. Yes, the variants are already here but adding new sources of infection is just plain dumb.
  2. Go to remote learning, at least for high school. Stop allowing team sports to practice. This is one of the fastest growing age groups spreading infection, and the data showing limited spread in schools no longer applies as variants are changing the game.
  3. Vaccinate everyone who works in a manufacturing or factory setting. These people are essential to supply chains and work in small, poorly ventilated environments and have a high proportion of new Canadians or folks living in multi-generational homes. This immediately makes close contact numbers high, exposes those more vulnerable, and continues to put at risk those that have no other alternatives for income, no sick benefits and do not have the option of working from home.
  4. Mandate anyone who is able to work from home to WORK.FROM.HOME.
  5. Vaccinate teachers.
  6. Vaccinate bus drivers and taxi drivers.

And here’s the big one:

It really does not matter one bit what restrictions you impose if people refuse to follow the rules. Increasing the restriction levels does nothing but further punish those who are already doing their best: wearing masks, limiting contacts, only seeing people outside their household outdoors, limiting non-essential activities. The people who aren’t doing this and are organizing anti-mask rallies, or spreading mis-information online, having personal gatherings, and basically anything else to effectively thumb their fucking noses at public health officers will continue to do so no matter what rule you make.

They are LAUGHING at you.

To be honest, we all are. You sound like a bunch of idiots. Nobody trusts that you know what you are doing or are prepared to actually back up these rules.

Until this government gets out there and actually enforces the rules they are making, not one of these anti mask “BUTMYRIGHTS” wads from a rancid dickhole is going to give a shit.

As we speak, there is an anti mask rally happening at the Forks. No cops, no bylaw officers in sight. Not one ticket being handed out, not one arrest being made. THEY.ARE.LAUGHING.AT.YOU.

If the Manitoba government wants people to take their Covid actions seriously, they need to get serious about them. Ticket every fucker who breaks the rules. They don’t pay the ticket? They can sit in jail until the 14 day quarantine period is over.

And I don’t want to hear anymore about how they are worried about people lying to contract tracers for fear of being fined. They are lying ANYWAY. If you had your shit together, you could easily investigate this.

Get your shit together, Manitoba. Or we are about to be Ontario, Part Deux.

A rage post dedicated to Brian Pallister

You know, I have been trying to write these nicely balanced articles full of good points that are blunt without hearing about the language I use, but I am pretty much over that today.

This is a rage piece, so if you aren’t here for that, I won’t take it personally. If you are a pearl clutcher, know that I will continue to use grown up words in a grown up place and you can either put on your big girl panties or complain about it to someone who isn’t me.

Manitoba is fucking bullshit right now.

I am so sick and tired of a government that is so clearly gaslighting people and vote pandering with their “keeping our promises” posts and throwing out some seemingly really terrific bones that seem to always come with conditions that end up bending you over and assaulting your back door.

It wouldn’t feel half as insulting or half as terrible if Brian Pallister would just seriously shut the FUCK up. Every time that guy opens his smug, arrogant mouth, teachers and health care workers everywhere both alive and dead collectively vomit into their own mouths or roll over twice in their graves asking Jesus to just rain down Armageddon already.

Look Brian. I get it. It’s been a real shit time to be in charge of anything. Someone is always going to be pissed off at you. But right now, TODAY, even the people who fucking like you think you are an absolute piece of shit.

Exhibit A: Today a reporter asked you “Does it bother you that teachers have to pay out of their own pockets for supplies?”

To which you replied “It doesn’t bother me at all…..I’ve watched teachers invest their own money out of their own pocket for decades now and I just think this is a good fair incentive to encourage other teachers to do the same.”

Once I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I wondered if you had ANY idea how enraged people- not just teachers- were going to be about those words?

And really, the answer is zero. You are so fully out of touch with the people of this province and such an arrogant fool that you couldn’t even muster up the foresight to imagine how ignorant this statement was.

Your government claims it will be investing record funding into education with this budget, and yet not two months ago a 1.6% cut was announced, which is forcing school divisions to slash their budgets. This will not only leave them chronically understaffed, but programs that provide the little bit of equity that is attainable like milk programs are on the chopping block. Teachers have been in contract negotiations since 2018, and I would bet my ass that Bill 64 will undermine the collective bargaining abilities from divisions once they cease to exist. Education support staff are heroes that are having their wages frozen while you and your gang will enjoy an increase that is retroactive to April 2020.

NO. Teachers should not be paying for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. If they do, I think the rebate you meant to offer is 100% reimbursement, not 15% of up to 1000$. It is a public system. They are not private contractors. Offering a tax refund so you have yet another reason to underfund the system is a dick move and you know that. And just because it has been happening for decades doesn’t make it right. It continues to create more inequity in the system.

There is so much contradiction in everything you do and say. You continually fuck things up and then act like a dick about it in press conferences to deflect from your deficiencies as a leader. You love to call people by their first names while we must address you by your title, MR. PREMIER, in order to try and diminish their status or credibility and don’t think for one second it doesn’t go unnoticed.

The last time a Conservative government treated healthcare workers and teachers like absolute shit it was the beginning of their own demise. 17 years of NDP governance followed-because that’s how long it took to people to forget.

We have two years until the next election cycle, Brian, and trust me, we won’t forget. Your legacy will ultimately be the downfall of you own party and you will be nothing but a series of bitchy memes people use to make fun of terrible leaders.

PS: take a warm bath and have a fucking drink or something. You always look like you just got electrocuted.

Surprise, surprise, the vaccination process is a mess too.

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SOMEONE has to help me understand this ridiculous dumpster fire of a vaccination rollout.

As with everything in this province introduced by this poorly prepared, short sighted and self congratulatory, Trumpesque government, the delivery of vaccines has fallen somewhere between an inconsistent process and a total mess.

All over social media we are hearing that some people are in and out in 30 minutes, while others wait in hours long lineups snaking through super centres and all the way across city blocks outdoors.

I keep reading that those who are visiting pop up sites in smaller communities like Morden are having positive experiences (thank god!) while those who are booking their appointments here in the city are absolutely not. Anyone with some reasonable vision could see from the beginning of the organization of such large scale vaccination sites were going to be a nightmare and they were better off with smaller scale, local community sites that served smaller populations.

Hey! Wait! Local administration works better than a large centralized one? Sounds familiiar-*throat clears* Bill 64– but that is a different post.

So my Dad had his appointment yesterday in the late afternoon. He arrived 20 minutes prior to his appointment to be sure he had time to check in. When he got there, the lineup outside the Convention Centre was a couple blocks long. In 80 km/hr wind gusts. It took about 30 minutes just to get inside the building. For the next hour he gradually moved along like one bull in a cattle herd up and around all levels, until he finally reached the space where the vaccinations took place.

His comments: The amount of space dedicated for vaccine spots were only about half full. There about 4 times the amount of volunteers on crowd control then people available to administer the vaccines, which seemed useless because the paths were clearly marked. While the online booking system was seamless, the actual logistics of the site was poorly organized and managed, they booked way too many appointments for what they could realistically manage and in his words “whoever is responsible for the logistical design and process of the site should be fired”.

So, this is 5 days after the supposed “scheduling glitch” occurred and Dr. Reimer has assured us it had been rectified, with wait times back down to 10-20 minutes. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I suppose we could always decide to drive 3 hours round trip to Morden for a more positive experience. I mean, a smooth, well run operation designed to serve the local population, right there in the political base of the governing party? You don’t say.

I also enjoyed the Minister of Health’s video post over the weekend telling us what a great job she was doing getting Manitobans vaccinated. Really? We have more vaccines in storage than you can get into arms, we are about to lose the race against the variants, and you want us all to pat you on the back and say job well done? While you scream about Justin Trudeau and lack of vaccine supply? Last week we had received about 248K doses of vaccine, with about 157K administered. With ANOTHER 123K arriving this week? Over the weekend you managed to vaccinate something around 3000 people in total. Does that sound like we have a supply issue?

I’d argue that we have a competence issue, but that’s just me.

You want to figure out how to get as many people in and out in the shortest amount of time while keeping them happy? Someone get an Olive Garden Manager and a team of hosts in there and this problem will be cleared up before you can say Hospitaliano! (sarcasm- mostly)

Once you have emptied your freezers and have people waiting to book appointments, cry about supply as loud as you need to, and I’ll even cry with you . Otherwise, I’d suggest closing your mouth and fixing this latest mess.

If we could just get some accountability, some transparency or maybe even a little truth from our leaders right now, a lot of us would be a little less angry.

Don’t you guys care about us? Don’t answer that.

Throwing shade at parents who can’t afford to “make sacrifices” to do a School Trustee’s job for free is Pallister’s latest gross thing

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“A great many Manitoba parents who are heroic in their behaviour make the decision to back their kids in their pursuit of a better life through education…….made sacrifices to make sure they were involved in their children’s education, read to their children, made the sacrifice of learning themselves…..”

These are the words our Premier chose to use when asked about how parents facing various social barriers to becoming members of school councils are going to have equitable voices with the proposed changes of Bill 64. As Dougald Lamont so eloquently pointed out, many parents don’t speak English, or work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet, and the reality is that communities lower on the socio-economic scale will be disproportionately challenged to find enough parent resources to take on the new responsibilities proposed in Bill 64.

The statement above is insulting at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the struggles of many people in this province. Coming from a place of extreme privilege and refusing to see this Province through anything other than is his narrow field of vision, the Premier seems to be only capable of speaking from his own life of comfort without expressing any empathy or understanding for those who do not.

The average price of a house in Winnipeg is almost $300,000 and the average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment in Winnipeg is almost $1,300/ month. Minimum wage is $11.90. From my calculations, if you work 40 hours a week, your gross income is about $1,900/ month. Even if there are two parents in the home, working full time you are grossing $3,800. BEFORE tax.

Let’s assume that the parents have 2 children. According to http://www.numbeo.com, the average cost of living per person in Winnipeg NOT INCLUDING RENT is $1,137.22. Multiply that by 4, and add in rent, and you get $5,848.

Tell me, Mr. Premier, which part of their well being should the parents “sacrifice” so that they can do the job of trained professionals for free, because you think that we are all just lazy fools who don’t love our children? Should one parent quit their job to “back their children” and either forgo food, shelter, heat, clothing or transportation?

Tell me again, Mr. Premier how two parents working multiple jobs in order to just be able to scrape by are supposed to sacrifice anything else than they already have to prove your ideals?

On a personal level, I have struggled with being a working parent. My particular field of work involves almost exclusively annual contracts that are not protected by labour laws and have no guarantee on renewal depending on individual clients, the economic climate and funding. I acknowledge that this comes with the advantage of being able to decide how much work to take on and being able to schedule ( to a small extent) around my husbands rotating shift work. But it also means I have no sick time and any work I do not complete has to be made up or refunded. We were extremely fortunate to have incredibly supportive family (parents and chosen) that minimized our childcare costs, but most people are not that fortunate.

And you know what? We still struggled financially at times, even with both of us earning decent livings. We still made sacrifices. I worked a part time job on the weekends as a bartender just to help things along. Doesn’t leave much time for developing public school curriculum and disciplining teachers for poor performance, despite my efforts to be a “heroic” parent and do it all.

And even though I said a million times that I would have loved the opportunity to stay home with our kids, there was absolutely no way that was financially viable without tossing us into a situation where we couldn’t pay what is considered a very modest mortgage and living expenses.

We are now middle class, hard working parents, live full and busy lives, give our children every opportunity we can afford, and the AUDACITY of this Premier to insinuate that we aren’t prepared to make enough sacrifices to enable our children’s ability to thrive by doing the work of paid experts for free is absolutely ABSURD.

Some of us can’t afford to turn down a shift, or not accept a new client, or take an unpaid day off to do the job of a public education trustee or superintendent because our premier wants to throw ignorant insults at us. For the kids who are not thriving in the system, it isn’t because their parents aren’t willing to make sacrifices for them, it’s because we live in a province where our Premier is actively stacking more barriers in front of them. All while he insults their commitment as parents and gives the same old “family values, pull up your bootstraps” speech every right winger likes to throw at anyone who has ever struggled with something other than deciding which Caribbean Island to buy a vacation home on .

This has got to stop, Mr. Premier. You are way out of line, and should be ashamed of yourself and your absolute arrogance on topics you seem to know little about.

A step by step review about the Better-Education-Starts-Today report: It mostly sucks, but has some valid points

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So, after reading through the “Better Education Starts Today” report I have a few comments. This whole thing has really chapped my ass if I’m being really honest, and I’m fairly sure I have only scratched the surface of the details. Not all of the changes are as fucking terrible as I thought they’d be, and a few actually make a bit of sense. Others are terrific conversation starters.

Really, that’s what this report should have been. A conversation starter. Instead, we have a Premier with an agenda that seems to include dismantling and privatizing a whole bunch of things before he retires. The scary thing is that for someone who we know is not actively seeking re-election and has a majority government, there is little accountability and those of us in opposition feel like we have no leverage to inspire a better way.

There is a lot to unpack here, but here are a few of the things in the report that stood out to me:

“With 37 different governing bodies it was difficult to be agile and respond quickly, yet that is what Manitobans
expected and needed.”
(during Covid)

Excuse me, but teachers, parents and school administrators cried, begged for, screamed for and deserved real direction from the province about how to address the lockdowns, school reopening, lack of resources, lack of space, lack of unity, lack of competency and apparent lack of fucks given by our provincial government over the course of the pandemic. They literally just threw their hands in the air and told the divisions to figure out their shit, which left them scrambling and likely compromised safety for students and staff. But it was obviously because there were 37 divisions. WHAT SHIT.

“Parents and caregivers played an important role during COVID-19, yet they struggled to access information
about changes and to inform and influence decisions.”

We lacked access to information because our government didn’t provide what we needed. It constantly changed and contradicted itself and was confusing. The government had months to get their shit together and just did not do their job.

“COVID-19 affected student engagement and learning differently, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work
now or for the future.”

Well, interestingly enough, that seems to be exactly what the government wants to do. Standardize every classroom. Standard test, standard methods. They want everyone to play the same game with the same amount of skill and talent, but some of kids are on astro-turf, some are on wet grass, some are in a fucking mud puddle and a whole bunch of others are almost underwater.

“Retain two boards to oversee the delivery of education: a newly created Provincial Education Authority
(appointed members)”

I am all for a provincial education board as long as the representatives are education professionals that are NOT appointed by the governing political party, but rather nominated by the Manitoba Teacher’s Society and elected by them AND have specific terms of service.

“Manitoba needs a fair and sustainable funding model. We are the only province to set taxes at the school division
level. This means some divisions collect more revenue than others. Since education property taxes comprise 42%
of all education funding it leads to disparities in funding for schools and outcomes for students.”

This is so fucking stupid and such an easy fix. Taxes in general are collected on a rate level, either a portion of your income or according to property values. Continue to collect taxes in the same manner, but divide it equitably among the divisions. Meaning that (CLUTCHING PEARLS) those who are more well off will be supporting those who aren’t, levelling the playing field. Part of the price of living in a nicer, bigger house is that you will have to help to care for the well being of others less fortunate. All in the name of standardized education.

“To improve student outcomes, the Commission recommended focusing on deep implementation of the existing
K to 12 curriculum, including a focus on foundational knowledge, skills and abilities students should have when
they finish high school”

Ok so, this is a terrific goal. EVERYBODY wants the kids to succeed and improve. You know what helps kids learn? Not being hungry, or sad or scared or hurt. Anyone who has ever worked with children should understand that children who don’t have their basic needs addressed will struggle no matter how many curriculum meetings you have or how often you discipline a teacher. Address the poverty, address the social issues, and the children will have a better chance to succeed.

Not only that, but find creative ways to teach the same concepts and skills and help kids develop good learning behaviours. Make music study a priority in early years to support literacy and numeracy while giving children the ability to focus and develop consistent work habits. Help them WANT to come to school.

“Learning environments for Indigenous students must infuse culturally and evidence-informed strategies that
embed Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Students need to see themselves reflected in the space
and in the texts they interact with by incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and being in classrooms. “

This is one part of the report I mostly agree with. I would argue that this education needs to be included in all curriculum to create empathy and understanding of Indigenous issues so that we can begin to change the perception and see the value in the culture and traditions of our Indigenous peers.

“Establish a taskforce, in connection to the Poverty Reduction Strategy, to examine the linkages between
poverty and education and support the implementation of strategies to improve engagement and outcomes
for all students.”

THIS. Nothing should really be moving forward until this happens and there are clear goals and plans in place to reduce poverty in this province. Otherwise we will chase our tails for the rest of ever.

“Build a provincial system of remote learning”

Well they’ve finally seen the light have they? There are many situations where a child may need to be out of school for a while, a parent may not be equipped to homeschool and they need education support. This should have been in place in September 2020, but what the fuck do I know? I’m just a a lowly potential candidate for a community council….

“In recognition of the importance of local voice in education, Bill 64 incorporates a number of changes to increase
parental and community engagement by replacing informal parent councils with a School Community Council
(SCC) for every school. The role of the School Community Council is to advise the school principal on school
matters, including the needs of the community it serves and strategies for improving student achievement and
well-being. All parents and caregivers of that school community will be members and they will elect an executive
to work with the principal on matters impacting the school community. This will require a renewed emphasis on
engaging parents and communities so that they are reflective of the diversity of schools.”

You guys, I just don’t know about this. I believe parents should have a voice, but I find it completely inappropriate to give parents this kind of leverage over the school. We should be able to trust the educators and the professionals to take care of our children the way they always have. And unfortunately this will not be the same opportunity across all communities. Parents who work shift work or single parents with young children will find it difficult to serve on these boards. Communities that have a lot of housing instability could potentially struggle with inconsistent representation and inability to make the commitments needed for these boards to be effective. It means that schools in highly privileged and wealthy areas will thrive in terms of their voice, and those who are already marginalized will not have a strong voice. It sounds like an enormous responsibility, the work is unpaid and the folks getting involved won’t necessarily know anything about classroom dynamics, structure or needs. And the thought of parents being able to discipline a teacher gives me the fucking willies. It’s inappropriate and foolish. A parent’s voice is important, but should not carry more weight than the professionals who dedicate their lives to our kids. What a joke.

Do better, Cliff. It’s a shit start with some actual potential. Hear what the critics are saying instead of what your puppet master is demanding.

A rant about the new Education Bill in Manitoba. {SPOILER} It’s not going to make anything better.

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Pardon me for not feeling like I can trust this government any more than than you could could trust me to leave the last shot of tequila for you, but this new education bill stinks to high Heaven.

In the guise of creating better educational outcomes for students in this province, and reallocating resources to the “front line” the province is going to create a centralized system that gives you little to no representation at the local level, other than a volunteer Community Council of parents who can have all the say in the world they want, but no voting power on issues that affect them individually.

Look, I am all for eliminating redundancies at the top and not paying 6 figure salaries to a bunch of people who have also failed to solve any of the short term or long term issues plaguing our educational system. That’s cool. Let’s stop talking about shit and actually go in and implement things and invest in the system.

But getting rid of elected representation in favour of a bunch of appointees who will probably have coincidentally contributed major funding to the political party in power is scary.

I kinda don’t give a shit what the report says. If they really want to know why the kids are “falling behind” go and spend a fucking week, a day, or an hour in some of our core area schools and you might get a real understanding of the social issues and barriers the kids face to getting a good education. If we continue to ignore that teaching the WHOLE CHILD is paramount to impacting their academic outcomes, we will continue to fail.

In Manitoba, where in some populations over 60% of children live in poverty, teaching the whole child includes feeding them, clothing them, and loving them. A child doesn’t give a fuck about learning to read when they wear sandals to school in -30C weather and haven’t had a decent meal in a million years. Unstable housing and food insecurity are problems that need solving before you can even hope to get their attention.

Once you do, you have to give them enough confidence to TRY.

Manitoba students rank the lowest in math and second lowest in reading. Meanwhile, a lot core schools don’t have enough funding to feed the kids AND provide arts programming. And you know what is one of the best precursors to numeric and phonetic awareness? MUSIC. And what is always the FIRST thing to be cut? Music.

This province needs to pull it’s head out its ass and think outside the proverbial box. Go ahead, cut the top salaries, but don’t start telling me that the representatives are going to be appointed by the government and any parent or school is going to have a real advocate. Don’t pretend for one second that I, as a parent, am going to have the same kind of access to have my concerns addressed trying to get in touch with the Minister of Education, rather than my local school trustee.

I fear that centralizing the system will allow those who are marginalized to shrink further and further into the background, while the kids with stable homes and parents who are available to advocate for their needs will be heard loud and clear. I fear that the kids who already have nothing will just drop out.

I fear that creating more standardized testing creates a situation where we are “judging a fish’s ability to climb a tree”, rather than nurturing relevant educational goals in specific communities.

I fear that the kids who learn atypically will suffer further losses to their support systems. I fear that this will be a total fucking disaster, while the government gives themselves three cheers for saving 40 million dollars in salaries, and hires a few more teachers for show.

Until I hear specific plans outlining HOW this is going to make it better rather than “we’ll save money” I’ll just assume that the whole idea is fucking bureaucratic nonsense.

BY THE WAY, saying “we estimate to save 40 MILLION DOLLARS” doesn’t sound like you intend to reinvest that money to front lines at all, CLIFF.

Apparently, Diva Cups and tampons ain’t got nothing on USB sticks in Manitoba

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Is anyone else confused about the statements made by the Hon. Cathy Cox when Uzoma Asagwara asked her whether or not the Conservative government would commit to making menstrual products accessible for all students in Manitoba Schools? The question was direct, but the answer seemed to be speaking about a completely different topic. Minister Cox rambled on about providing funding for USB data blockers to ensure safety while charging their computers or phones. As far as I know, no young woman has attempted to use a USB stick or a laptop as a substitute for a feminine hygiene product, and I am absolutely dumbfounded by the answer that was given.

Was this simply an avoidance tactic regarding a topic she had no satisfactory answer to, or does Minister Cox not know the difference between a vagina and a charging port? C’mon, honey….one is between your legs and the other is generally on top of a workspace. Unless…nevermind.

I mean, yes, they both have a few common characteristics. Both are holes that from time to time, need filling. One is typically smaller and more appropriate for the workplace. One is usually safe to play with in water, while the other may pose an unnecessary risk when wet.

Does anyone else feel a tad concerned that the Minister of “……and the Status of Women” was asked about the accessibility of menstrual products for students in our province, and she talked about keeping women safe from online dangers? Is it because of lockdown? Are the rules so strict that even Aunt Flo had to do virtual visits and Minister Cox is worried about women being conned by hackers?

Or am I missing the latest? I mean, is there some information available out there regarding the absorbency of USB sticks? Do they come in different sizes? Is there an applicator? Are they biodegradable? Can I safely use a data blocker on heavy flow days without worrying about leaks or embarrassing accidents? Will my IPhone help prevent toxic shock syndrome when safely charged?

Alternatively, perhaps Minister Cox felt uncomfortable with the topic. Perhaps she felt ashamed of menstrual cycles or didn’t want to offend any men in the room with period talk. Maybe the word vagina has been stricken from allowed language in the Legislature.

Or, maybe a tad more likely, there was an unwillingness by our government to address real concerns that are limiting to women, particularly those in challenging economic situations. Perhaps they forget that education is the best tool we have in preventing poverty cycles and that if young girls and women are having to miss school because they have their periods one week out of four, then in the spirit of equity we should support the solution- which is to make them available at school.

It really wasn’t a hard question, and the either ignorant or intentional avoidance of a conversation that should have been so obviously easy was fucking ridiculous.

DO BETTER.

Covid has made it super obvious that our leaders have it all backwards.

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If there are two things the pandemic has highlighted for me, it is that the lack of personal and professional accountability is literally a disease in itself, and that our system of political representation is fucking broken..

Humans are selfish by nature, but from the anti-mask protests to the inexcusable behaviour of elected officials and lack of transparency from them, it has been made really clear to me that we have entered into the Golden Age of ME ME ME and POWER POWER POWER.

Don’t get me wrong, I also think that this whole thing has brought out some beautiful philanthropy, spirit of community and willingness to adapt from many people, but like everything in this world lately, the way we have responded personally to this pandemic is as polarized as North and South.

I have been hugely disappointed in my elected representatives and their arrogance, personal conduct and lack of direct honesty. It got me thinking: Are they all just a bunch of total assholes who walk around with their dicks in their hand try to remind you how important they are? Are they reminding us that they hold all the cards and the rest of us are just minions, here to just eat shit while they do whatever they want? OR are they just trying to hide their own ineptitudes and shortcomings by putting up this brave front that includes verbally abusing media and constituents and trying to avoid answering questions by discrediting the questioner?

Honestly, I think it’s all of those things.

We have a problem here. The people in charge have it all backwards.

The spirit of democracy is that communities vote to have someone represent them, to be their voice, to listen. We are supposed to elect people to represent our unique needs and advocate for us. We are supposed to elect people that will hear us, and empathize, and try to be fair. We have a right to expect honesty, transparency, and the ability to account for mistakes openly. We expect mutual respect and an ability to compromise what they might personally believe because they were elected to represent the WHOLE community, not their own interests.

Unfortunately, it just isn’t working that way.

What appears to be happening, is that the political party’s are representing THEIR actions and policies to US. They make decisions that are based on their values and desires, and then spend their time justifying them to US. They break their own rules and won’t apologize, account or even acknowledge them. They block our ability to communicate with them. They try to discredit the people who ask tough questions because they either don’t have the answers and are to proud to admit it, or simply don’t have the integrity to deal in truths.

No wonder they are so pissed off all the time. Constantly trying to justify things that aren’t justifyable is bloody exhausting.

If we truly want to fix this, we need to get back to the spirit of what democracy is about. Level the playing field, so that anyone selected as a candidate gets funded equally to campaign. Give grassroots people and communities equal power and opportunity to best represent what their community actually needs.

Abolish the party system.

Have separate votes for specific cabinet portfolios such as Health, Education, Justice, Arts, that would create an opportunity for specialists in those fields to spearhead departments that are based on expertise and who have a hot fucking clue what they are in charge of. Create a Cabinet that isn’t rooted in maintaining party lines, but in well informed humans having to discuss and to compromise and learn from each other in an effort to actually solve a few things in our society.

WHAT IF, this all became less about power and money and actually became a group of leaders who were finally leading people and inspiring them as they were meant to be doing, rather than trying to manage things according to their priorities and “ruling” us?

WHAT IF we could make this better?

WHAT IF, indeed.

If not being a c%^t makes me a radical leftist, I’m okay with that.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

”I love that you’re a socialist now”-words uttered at my kitchen table by my bestie last night over our own little wine and cheese party for two.

She was teasing me of course, because in today’s world there seems to be no in between anymore on the political spectrum and I’m pretty sure that was a tongue in cheek comment on that very thing.

The political landscape these days is pretty fucking polarized, in case any of you have been living under a rock or getting by with your heads firmly implanted in the sand.

The conservative side of things is no longer the right side of decades past. What we are seeing is a political point of view that seems firmly rooted in bigotry, extreme religious views that leave no respect or room for other faiths, continued exploitation of the vulnerable, and the growth of a wealth gap so wide that soon everyone but the extremely wealthy will tumble in.

Contrary to that, believing in a true living wage, the protection of vulnerable people, supporting the well being of all and leveling the playing field for everyone regardless of the socio-economic status of their families is suddenly considered radical views that support government control over every aspect of our lives and the inability to achieve higher levels of wealth.

Well, if believing that our responsibilities as humans include taking care of the basic needs of all the people in our society makes me a ”radical leftist”, than I guess I just jumped onto that wagon.

Personally, I truly believe that if we continue to constantly throw tax deductable charity dollars at the symptoms of everything wrong with the structure of our society, instead of eliminating the reason we need to do so, things will never, ever change.

I’d be willing to bet that the majority of crimes are perpetuated by trauma and poverty, and the cycles that occur between generations of things like abuse, neglect, and addiction. People who don’t have to worry about shelter, food, safety and love don’t generally decide that they would like to grow up and be a professional asshole.

So sure, folks to the right of center believe the answer is to write a few checks a year for meal programs in schools and increasing the police presence in neighbourhoods with higher crime rates. After all, they are the ones who cough up more charity dollars than us radical leftists, right?

But what if the answer is really to guarantee that every single person who works a full time job is able to have a houses/apartment AND food AND heat? And if they aren’t capable of doing so for a multitude of reasons, like caring for medically fragile children or parents, having a disability, or mental health problems for example, they still get to have all of those necessities.

I firmly believe that we will never, ever EVER solve any of the problems with crime unless we eliminate poverty. If we eliminate the reasons for desperation, people generally feel less desperate. If you are constantly consumed by the worry of paying your rent and whether you can feed yourself, you generally have a lot less time to further your marketable skills or education or deal with your emotional bullshit. People in survival mode do just that- they survive and there is not generally room for much beyond that.

My capitalist/conservative friends would exclaim that what they want is for EVERYONE to have the opportunity to make a six figure salary and that countries with socialized medicine/education/systems rely on controlling heir citizens and preventing them from achieving things.

That argument just simply doesn’t make any sense to me. True capitalism relies on the exploitation of SOMEONE, usually a vulnerable community, in order to succeed, and a bag of believable lies that they want everyone to succeed when what they really mean is the ”right kind” of people”.

It just simply doesn’t work that way.

So yes.

I fucking believe that everyone should have a guarantee that they have the basics in life. A house. Food in their fridge. An education. Health care. Counselling.

If that means that the guy making ten bajillion dollars a year has to contribute nine of those ten bajillion dollars to make sure that every single human in this country has food to eat and a warm place to live, I am cool with that too.

And if being a decent human being makes me a radical fucking leftist, then I am cool with that too.

And if it makes you hate me that I will advocate forever for us to protect, love and heal the vulnerable people of this earth which means that you or someone else might have to be a little LESS rich, I am also cool with that.

Mark 10:25 ”It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

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