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Is It Time To Replace Teachers With Technology?

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I’m done.  I’m fed up.  I’ve had enough.

Yes, there are bigger problems in the world, but if our planet has a future, education has to be a critical cornerstone for its survival.

We have to declare a war on ignorance.

Good education is a vital first step.

In Ontario, elementary teachers have been the on a ‘work to rule’ campaign (using ‘work’ loosely here, as most teachers aren’t working at all) for basically a year.  I’ve witnessed a much lengthier dedication to laziness, but I’ll keep that out for now.

I used to be on their side.  I cared about teachers.  I’d suggest that they have to take care of our kids while the rest of us are out earning incomes.

Now, it just seems like we’re toiling away earning their very posh and lush salaries, extended vacation breaks, ‘PD days’, sick leave, pensions and other benefits that are the envy of the vast majority of the world.

In other words, we work so they don’t have to.

So, in my view, public school teaching as we know it should come to an end.

I live in Ontario and I’m a parent of one child.  He’s made it to Grade 6 with us asking a few questions, but now that he’s almost through the elementary program, so am I.

I am asking the questions now, starting with the most basic:  ‘why can’t I expect a decent education for my child?’

I am fed up with the attitude of teachers.  Kathleen Wynne is right to hold the line with teachers and not cave to their demands for even more from the Ontario public.

I think we should go a step further:  let’s start replacing teachers with technology and move Ontario into the future.

Some good old competition would smarten these people up and finally force them to accept that they can’t keep using our kids as weapons in their war against good financial management.

Our kids have already grown up with screens.  Why should their classrooms be any different?

I propose that we use a publicly-owned broadcaster (eg. TVO) and convert part of it to a massive recording studio for class curricula.  All recordings would be available to all parents, available for online discussion and chat, sample tests, feedback and student participation, private or public.

The recordings would be slick, entertaining and top-dollar.  They could include celebrities, animation and interactive game elements instead of photocopied pages from 1970s manuals on how to bore your students.

Imagine a mashup of a MOOC and Facebook.

And then, we kick it up another notch by firing the lot of the teachers and replacing them with younger apprentices or tutorial assistants that are fulfilling part of their university education at a fraction of the cost as part of class supervision.

Imagine the billions in savings we’d have EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  We’d be the wealthiest jurisdiction in the world and our kids would be all the better for it.

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Read it and weep: full text of TPP

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The full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been revealed.

How badly will Canada lose out as a result of this deal?

VERY badly.

More details to follow, but enjoy this light read and weep for our future.

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Day One.

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It’s been a LONG time since I’ve felt such an overwhelming sense of naive optimism.

The crushing oppression and emotional heartbreak that came to the world on September 11, 2001 seemed to survive through the first decade of global politics and stifled any sense of joy to be had with the future of human kind.

Shortly after that momentous occasion, I wanted to write something called ‘Day One’.  It was to have been an open look at what could be after such an incredible gut-wrenching disaster.  I tried to imagine a world without George Bush, invasions of countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, an end to justification of tracking the activities of everyone around the globe and the suppression of an ever-blossoming budget on military, surveillance, mercenary hires and control of our lives.

What would have happened if we spent that money on solving the world’s problems, going green and ending the strangle-hold that oil, military spending and corporations have on our lives?

Despite the effort to see the ‘glass half full’, my sense of dread persisted concerning the Canadian political climate.  ‘Old stock Canada’ didn’t seem ready to accept that the world is capable of change and shoved its head further into the sand to ignore and obfuscate what we as a species must do if we’re going to survive the coming decades of climate change, war, violence, racism and fear.

Canadians took much longer to change after the Bush years and we still have a LOT to do.

It’s been the essence of inspiration for most of my blogging over the last ten years.  I feel like the rebels after blowing up the Death Star or Batman losing the Joker.

Today’s swearing in of our 23rd Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has opened up a new sense of (again, naive) optimism for Canada and our place in the world and, more importantly, our ability to influence and shape the direction we take.

So … today is ‘Day One’ for me.  I’m feeling more light, more joyous and more receptive to change and hope than I have in a very long time and I have Canada to thank for it.

Justin Trudeau’s simple response to the obtuse question about female cabinet appointments – coming from a female news reporter – reinforced my new-found sense of appreciation for what has happened.

‘It’s 2015′, he said calmly, as if to say ‘Duh.  Half the audience out there is female and we’re moving forward and why are you even asking such a question’.

I would love to go on, but this isn’t a JT love-fest.  It’s just a simple admission that I feel better.  I feel relieved.  I feel optimistic.

Don’t take that away from me, OK?

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The Ghosts of Harper’s Cons Will Haunt the Halls of Parliament for Years to Come

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A LOT of promises were made by Justin Trudeau in the run-up to the election last week.

I think we’re already collectively starting to cushion ourselves for the breaking of many of these promises.

However, Justin will have an excuse:  the ghosts of Stephen Harper’s Reign of Error will haunt the halls of Parliament, Ottawa and beyond and they will all actively prevent the new government from making any kind of significant progress.

Over the last 10 years, patronage appointments, especially for losers, has become something of a traditional for Stephen Harper:

The result is more than a STAGGERING 1,000-1,500 estimated patronage appointments that will block, obscure, delete and destroy evidence of Conservative manipulations of Canadian government since Stephen Harper took charge.

So … while it wasn’t a promise per se, Justin Trudeau should take a long look at the Conservative rats that will poison the efforts of any new Liberals that take charge and start humiliating Harper Conservatives until they leave or simply fire them as quickly and quietly as possible.

Justin Trudeau needs to decide that the days of playing the ‘blame game’ are over.  We NEED to move ahead in Canada.

Therefore, he should act quickly on two components of a swift and important change in Ottawa:

  • Enact or expand on legislation making it illegal to delete, remove, destroy or hide any public files, including those of the Prime Minister (yes, we saw you moving out your files, you sneaky fool, you)
  • Focus on the idea that this is not a war of attrition, but a need for something more serious like just going nuclear on all of these trolls because the longer they’re around, the longer they’ll poison the well.

And then act on some of his promises.

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Thoughts on 24 Sussex

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I’ve taken a nice break from blogging over the past 10 days or so and I’m very pleased to say I’m, well, happy.  I had no greater fear than ‘he who shall not be named’ winning last week and he didn’t.

Moving on …

The prime minister's residenceat 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not renovate it because of the cost. (CNS-HOMES-WALK-SCORE--OTTAWA, ON: AUGUST 14, 2007 -- An aerial view of the Prime Minister's residence, 24 Sussex Drive, is shown in this August 14, 2007 file photo. When it comes to walkability, Barack Obama’s Washington digs beat out Gordon Brown’s home at 10 Downing Street. Both famous residences scored far higher than Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s stone mansion at 24 Sussex Drive.  (MIKE CARROCCETTO / Ottawa Citizen)          FOR CANWEST HOMES PACKAGE, JAN. 26, 2010 ORG XMIT: POS2013082712034133)

My suggestion?

In a symbolic gesture, Justin and crew should bring it to the ground and start from scratch.

Rebuild instead of doing endless patchwork jobs.

Use only green and advanced technology, making the entire estate ‘off grid’ and a model of home building for all of Canada.  Solar, wind and geothermal would be just a start to making the new residence state of the art and a model of what everyone across the country should try to achieve.  Asbestos-free, metal roofs, R-40 insulation, etc etc etc.  A vegetable garden as part of the landscaping.

And yes, put your mark on it.  Build in little ‘funky’ elements like hidden rooms, a ‘Justin Bustin dance hall’ and so on.

Apply this approach to the entirety of Canadian politics and the need to start from scratch.

Yes, I’m sure there will be bits and pieces that will remain in place, but making a fresh start is so, well, refreshing.

And if you’re stuck for ideas?  Get the CBC (ie. the new one once you replace all of the Conservative deadwood) to do a ‘reality’ show about the whole effort.

Have some fun with it.

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Thank you, Canada!

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Well done last night, Canada!  Well done!

Well, at least urban Canada.  And Eastern Canada.

While there were minor (and I mean minor splits in the west), voting in Canada still remains a split between east and west and urban and rural.

I’m so relieved though that Canadians came en masse and put a stop to our little tin-pot dictator who I never have to talk about again.  My personal opinion is that so many people didn’t trust ‘the machine’ that they held back when asked for their opinion.  They refused to trickle any clues to the Conservative marketing machine that they were going to eliminate the incumbents in a BIG WAY.

That said, if I had therapy sessions to cancel, I’d do so this morning, thinking of this as a brand new day for Canada.

But the work doesn’t stop with a landslide win for Justin Trudeau.

We need to act to make sure that Canada moves forward, in some places at a lightning pace, because we need to correct the wrongs of the last 10 years.

Canada is Canadian and is for Canadians once again.


But Justin still supports Bill C-51, C-7 and said the TPP is OK, even though no one has been able to see the actual agreement.

Will Justin purge Ottawa of the ranks of Conservatives that are still clutching to power in the halls of Departments and Crown Corporations?

Will he bring about electoral reform or just ‘talk about it’ and do nothing?

Will the new government investigate some of the more egregious wrongs of the last government, exposing their corruption for all to see at last?

Time will tell, but I’m just so happy this morning that he’s got a lot of breathing space to pull Canada together again.

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If I Hear One More Lazy-Assed Journalist Complain About How Long the Campaign Has Been …

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If I hear one more lazy-assed journalist complain about the length of Election 42, I’m going to scream.

Many countries – think of the US – have substantially longer campaigns and they celebrate – gasp! – celebrate the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

So screw you, mainstream media!  Stop bitching about how long this campaign has been.  I know it’s not your normal bowl of oatmeal served up by corporate press releases that you just narrate, but put on your f-ing thinking caps and start reporting and doing the f-ing job you’re supposed to love doing.

And stop being shills for the Cons.

So … yes, the day has come.  Stop with the empty-headed ‘analysis’ of ‘well, Quebec might be an important province for determining the outcome, and so can Ontario and yes, as you look west, Alberta and BC will be important as well’.

We’re ALL f-ing important, so stop patronizing us with this simpleton look at Canadian politics.


But hey, this pain in the ass long election will be over tomorrow and with any luck and a LOT of effort, we’ll finally be rid of Harper.

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Thoughts on the Last Days of Stephen Harper

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Today and tomorrow will be the last we’ll have to hear about Stephen Harper as leader of Canada.  On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Canada will become Canada again and the dark days will fade.  I am optimistic because of what I’ve seen in the last 3 months of #elxn42.

Why am I so confident?  Why do I feel like the sun is shining and a brand new day is emerging?

Canadians Loathe Stephen Harper

I’ve seen more Canadians than ever rally against Stephen Harper.  It’s heartwarming and reminds me that there are moments of hope and vision for Canada.  Organizations like LeadNow and StrategicVoting have helped Canadians understand that it’s ALL OF US against a very few, twisted people that want to continue to deform and ruin Canada.  People have become vocal on their Facebook and Twitter pages.  Everyday citizens are saying ‘this is not my Canada’.

We want a Canada that we can be proud of.

Stephen Harper is a Failed Economist

Economic manipulation will hopefully be a thing of the past with Stephen Harper.

No more ‘bait and switch’ budgets, no more years of extravagant spending while pretending to be prudent, no more deficits positioned as surpluses.

No more failed economy.  We will once again start a phase of Canadian growth, success and prosperity.

Stephen Harper’s Coalition Will Fall Apart

Stephen Harper claims that coalitions are bad for Canada, but Canadians need to remind themselves that the ‘Conservatives’ are a twisted blend of racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigration religious zealots that are supported by losers like Rob Ford, Jeb Bush and other political has-beens.

As Canadians bring about more fair elections – a mandate of ALL of the progressive parties in Canada – the the Conservative Party of Canada coalition will fail.

This coalition – a mutation – of the Progressive Conservatives, the Alliance Party and the Reform Party will fall apart, having killed the host and ‘Conservatives’ will be no longer.

Stephen Harper is a Liar and We Want Him Investigated

The Harper Conservatives have manipulated Canadians into believing that they are good managers of the economy (they are not) and that they can do no wrong.

We have suffered through 10 years of failure to lead and guide Canada into a brighter future.  In the new days after the election, I will add my voice to a growing chorus of Canadians who will insist that the misdeeds of Stephen Harper be broken down into offenses that can and should be investigated.

This WILL be with the help of Stephen Harper’s enforcers, including the CRA, the RCMP, CSIS and other Canadian institutions that once made us all proud.

If you think I’m full of vitriol, look at this and tell me that even Stephen Harper isn’t bailing on Stephen Harper. He’s packing and shredding just like Conrad Black was in his darker days.  Who’s stopping him?  No one.  Yet.

Maybe we’ll even find out if these kind of rumours are true and discover the real reason why he’s giving Canadian money away to extreme right wing organizations in places like the Ukraine.

Our Mainstream Media Must Go

I’m disgusted with the voice of the mainstream media in Canada.  This includes the CBC.

These ‘institutions’ have failed Canadians.

In the twilight hours of Stephen Harper’s reign of madness, companies like the Globe and Mail or (the non-Canadian) Postmedia have tried to fuel the ‘confusion’ over who to pick in this election.  They have sold themselves out to the Conservatives and they must be punished for their sins against Canada.

If you subscribe to any of the Postmedia publications or the Globe and Mail, cancel your subscription immediately.  They are shameful, greedy organizations that could care less about the future of this country.

Also, join me in declaring that the management team of the CBC must be fired before we fund the CBC again.

One Last Plea … Please

Even though I’m confident by what I’ve seen in the last few weeks, I still fear that Stephen Harper still has a couple of tricks up his sleeve and will do everything he can to steal this election from Canadians.





We need our voices to be louder than ever and we need to win Canada back from the clutches of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

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Editorial endorsements: Beyond worthless? But still frightening?

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From the ‘not good enough for my bird to shit on’ department.  This is great example of how mainstream media has ‘jumped the shark’ and is no longer useful to society at large.

Today, the Edmonton Journal – a subsidiary of Postmedia Network, which is itself a subsidiary of a US private equity firmendorsed Stephen Harper.

Over the last 10 years, I’d be willing to bet that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to Postmedia for ‘advertising’.  Of course, we’ll probably know an exact number for sure.

Given the inability to be objective, the inherent conflict of interest and the potential breach of Canadian election laws (remember, we’re not allowed to be influenced by foreigners), I’d suggest that the Edmonton Journal and all other rags that are part of the Postmedia chain go stuff themselves.

For the record, here’s a full list of other mass media publications owned by Postmedia that shouldn’t be trusted with their ‘opinion’ and that you should ignore:



Broadsheet Dailies
Tabloid Dailies
Free Dailies
Community Newspapers

Postmedia owns newspapers that serve smaller communities across Canada, including:




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Why The Entire Management Team of the CBC Should Be Fired

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In the last few hours of Canada’s longest election in recent history, I’m going to wind down with some articles that have brought me the most frustration in this campaign.

This first piece argues that the entire management team of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation should be fired immediately on October 20.

They have failed Canada and Canadians who think the CBC is something worth saving.

Let’s look at a very small collection of offenses:

  • They have been obsessed with the niqab, a symbol that will potentially shatter the very fabric of what Canada is all about:  tolerance and respect for all people’s beliefs, creeds or traditions, regardless of what ‘old stock Canadians’ think about it.
  • They have failed to report on one of the biggest stories in the last 48 hours:  Lynton Crosby aborting the Harper campaign, like a rat jumping from a sinking ship.
  • Continuous failure to address critical personnel issues when they were less ‘public’ and inability to deal with these issues properly once the public discovered the stories.  Examples:  Evan Solomon and Jian Ghomeshi on one side and Rex Murphy, Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang on the other.
  • ‘Baiting’ Canadians with articles like this: ‘Ads claiming Trudeau supports brothels target ethnic social conservatives‘.  This seems to suggest that it’s OK to regurgitate the Conservative meme like it’s news or that they think the ethnic social conservative voter is an idiot.  Which is it?
  • Poor business planning, particularly with respect to losing the NHL and Olympics to private consortiums, losing millions in ad revenue.
  • Not doing enough to ensure that there was a proper NATIONAL debate broadcast and micro-cast (via social media) to the public of Canada.
  • Collecting most of their ‘news’ from private sources, especially Canadian Newswire, which is now owned by PR Newswire, an American company.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love the CBC.  When it works.  In fact, I’ve shared lots of ideas in the past about how the CBC can be converted into one of the world’s leading media and communications companies.

However, I don’t love the CBC right now.  It’s a monstrous shell of a FrankenSteve invention that needs serious change in order to survive and earn back the goodwill of the Canadian public.

I’m hopeful that October 20 will be a new day for Canada and that a short time will lapse before the management of the CBC finds something else to do with their time.

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