Halloween cancelled in parts of Quebec, maybe Ontario
Halloween is going to be a wet one this year. Torrential rain is expected throughout the country, complicating the plans of families everywhere. As well as this, snow is expected throughout southern Ontario and some parts of Quebec.
Due to the volume of the expected rainfall, five Quebec municipalities have asked parents to delay their children trick-or-treating until Friday, dampening celebrations. So far, the city of Montreal has not yet asked parents to delay Halloween in Quebec’s largest city.
The Ontario teachers strike has been going on for a while, and the teachers’ unions continue to escalate the situation.
Ontario’s four largest teachers’ unions will be staging a one-day strike across the province on Feb. 21 if there is not an agreement reached with the provincial government. The four teachers unions involved in the strike are the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens.
Rotating strikes have been going on in my neighbourhood in the past few weeks. I have driven by these demonstrations.
Some people honk their horns or cheer to show support for the teachers. I do not honk my horn or cheer. I roll down the window of the vehicle I am in and make some blunt comments.
“Quit complaining!” I shout at the crowds of teachers. “You have the best part-time jobs in the world!”
Ontario’s teachers should not be striking, because they already have amazing jobs.
Ontario’s teachers receive fantastic health and dental insurance. This health and dental insurance allows teachers to avoid paying certain health care costs.
The ETFO Benefits Plan Guide says Ontario’s public elementary school teachers receive health insurance that includes up to $12,000 for fertility drugs per lifetime, two pairs of custom orthopedic shoes per benefit year, and up to $1,000 for massage therapy if a doctor’s note is provided. Their dental insurance covers 100 percent of dental check ups, x-rays, and fillings, 100 percent of root canals and related services, and 50 percent of child and adult orthodontics.
Vacation time is abundant for Ontario’s teachers. They have eight weeks off for summer vacation, two weeks for winter break, and one week for March break.
This vacation time applies to new employees. Can you name any other jobs that receive 11 weeks of vacation time when employees first start?
One reason why Ontario’s teachers are striking is salary. The Ontario government hopes to provide a one percent pay raise per year for the next three years, but teachers want two percent. Teachers should not be complaining, because they already make a substantive amount of money.
The Toronto District School Board’s salary grid shows that effective August 31, 2019, more experienced teachers can make $73,071 to $100,034 per year.
A poll done by Campaign Research found that the majority of Ontarians are opposed to giving teachers a two percent pay raise.
Ontario’s teachers have a pension. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) said that teachers are eligible to retire with an unreduced pension when their age and qualifying years equal 85 years old or when they turn 65 years old. This means that a teacher who started working at 25 could retire by 55 if they work for 30 years.
Statistics Canada reported that the average age of retirees in Canada in 2019 was 64.3 years old, so teachers can afford to retire earlier than most people.
Their pensions are cushiony. The OTPP said that until a teacher turns 65 years old, his or her pension is calculated by multiplying two percent, the amount of years worked, and the average salary of their best five years. A teacher who worked for 30 years and earned an average of $85,000 in their best five years would earn a pension of $51,000 per year.
There are teachers who claim that they are striking to help students. However, if these teachers are passionate about supporting students, why were they not striking during the summer?
Premier Doug Ford was right when he said that there is a pattern when the teachers go on strike.
“They went on strike under Bob Rae, they went on strike under Mike Harris, they went on strike under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne,” said Ford at a press conference in April 2019. “They strike under every single government that’s in there.”
Ontario’s teachers and students belong in the classroom. Striking is unproductive and selfish–it’s not for the kids.
Bombardier has lost US$1.6 billion according to a report of 2019. The Quebec-based aerospace company announced on Thursday that it will be leaving the commercial aviation business.
This comes after years of government subsidies in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and the blocking of disclosure of how much they’re actually receiving in taxpayer money, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.
Bombardier is attempting to pay back a multi-billion dollar debt by reorganizing its business. One such change was to sell its remaining stake in the A220 program (formally known as the C series) to Airbus. The commercial jet program is now 75 percent owned by Airbus with the Quebec owning the other 25 percent, although they won’t be putting any new money into the program, according to CBC.
Airbus will pay $591 million to Bombardier to acquire the work package production capabilities for the A220 and A330 projects. This will relinquish Bombardier from having to make the $700 million investment into the commercial jet program.
Airbus claims the new deal will secure a total of 3,300 jobs in Quebec, including a three-year guarantee of employment for the 360 people who currently work at Bombardier’s plant in Ville Saint-Laurent. Those employees are responsible for constructing the plant’s cockpits and will be transferred to Mirabel, Quebec, after said time period.
Quebec’s $1.3 billion investment in the project back in 2016 wasn’t enough to save them, as planes sales were initially slow, forcing Bombardier to sell a controlling stake of the program to Airbus in 2018 for $1.
“They have cashed out of the C series,” analyst Alexander Robert Medd of Bucephalus Research said of the company, “and now it appears the train business is up for sale. Alstom may be the only bidder.”
French multinational rail transportation company, Alstom, announced they are preparing to make an offer to acquire Bombardier Transportation, which includes their business of making rail and subway cars according to French TV station BFM.
Alstom is rumoured to value the deal around $7.6 billion, however Alstom has yet to confirm this figure.
Most Ontarians are not for the government raising teachers’ salaries by 2 percent according to a poll formulated by The Star. Most people, however, do agree with the education unions on things like the number of students in a classroom and e-learning.
The opt-in poll was made by Campaign Research and included 1,536 people. It ran from Feb 6 to 9.
Nick Kouvalis, the principal strategist at Campaign Research said that most people “do not want to give the teachers a more than 1 percent raise,” and added, “but teachers should be encouraged that the public is still with them during these rotating strikes.”
The poll shows that 45 percent of people disagree with the teachers’ request of a 2 percent salary increase—opposing the 1 percent cap set in place by the government. Only 35 percent of people agree with teachers while 13 percent do not support either side and 8 percent are unsure.
Just 12 percent of people believe that teachers should not receive any pay increase while 32 percent support a 1 percent increase. Another 9 percent of the public believe that the teachers should receive an increase of more than 2 percent.
The public does not disagree with teachers on all issues though. While the government wants 2 of the 30 classes required by high school students to be taken online, teachers believe that the 30 classes should all be taken in the school classroom. The poll shows that 52 percent of the public agree with teachers on this issue while 28 percent disagree.
The public also agrees with teachers that the number of students per classroom should not be raised. The government wants to raise the amount of students per class to raise from 22.5 to 25. The poll finds that 52 percent of the public also agrees with teachers on this subject while 36 percent agree with Ontario’s government.
Cannabis loungers or weed cafes are potentially going to be opening up in Ontario as the province continues to push for an open cannabis market, according to City News Toronto.
The Ford government says that its ultimate goal is for an open market approach to cannabis. For now, however, the PCs say a supply shortage forced the government to start off using a lottery system for limited retail licences. There are no expected changes to the cannabis framework at this time, however the Progressive Conservatives said that the most recent consultation is to understand potential decisions to create an open market in the future.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has confirmed that it has already received more than 700 applications for retail operator licences which has prompted the provincial government to consider the possibility of “consumption venues” in addition to permits for special occasions such as concerts or outdoor festivals.
Ontario is dedicated to giving the private sector the freedom to build a safe and convenient retail system said Attorney General Doug Downey in a press release. This is an attempt to hopefully combat the illegal market.