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Ontario gets a new sex-ed curriculum

The Ontario Curriculum Grade 1-8: Health and Physical Education (2015)

New Ontario sex-ed curriculum ready for September, CBC News, Feb 23, 2015

Ontario has updated its sexual-education curriculum for the first time in nearly two decades and it will be rolled out across the province this fall.

Education Minister Liz Sandals unveiled the new curriculum at a news conference Monday, saying the government won’t back down in the face of criticism as it did in 2010 when religious groups complained about proposed revisions.

Sandals said she anticipates some criticism, but the new lessons are key to keeping children safe.

Out of the dark ages, Ontario emerges with a new “touchy” subject that’s like a hot potato that teaches don’t want to touch. It’s an uncomfortable topic for a lot of Canadians and when they start talking about it they feel a shame and a guilt about it. Originating from a Puritanical society can be damaging to progressive values, because by definition puritan is conservative in it’s progress.

While I may not be a sexual person in nature I don’t really have much problem talking about that, especially with my students (although it can be quite awkward). Why would I be comfortable teaching this health and sexual education curriculum? Well because holding a veil of obscurity in front of children for “conservative values” doesn’t benefit them in the long run. Where knowing something might make them more curious, it’s not any more curious than they are already. Proper education on the subject just removes the shame or the guilt associated with it.

For instance, on this same interview a sexual education assistant educator talked about poignant issues like masterbation and consent on national televisions and to be completely honest it made me jump a little. I mean, did they just say that on national television? It made me think, well it’s not wrong and they are having a mature conversation about it in a public forum without being grotesque or inappropriate. It’s a model of what future societies should be.

A funny moment came when they were discussing to “too much too soon” approach which I don’t think is true. I really do think that children are bombarded with conflicting messages about sexuality and need to learn about them and the options later in life. If nothing else the knowledge can empower them to make more valued decisions about their own actions and beliefs. “Why don’t we wait for them to ask us?” one parent poignantly asks. Well for starters they might never ask and therefore not ever get the conversation going.

In my experience as an educator, a large number of parents aren’t filling the appropriate role that they are put into: a parent. They might provide shelter, and love, and nourishment, but lack a unity with teacher about learning. Too often the parents are pitted against teachers which is confusing for children and doesn’t benefit them in the long run. Too much responsibility has been transferred from parenting to teaching and now parents are upset about it because they haven’t empowered themselves to retain a stronger role.

As someone that grew up not having any sort of conversation with my parents about that, I can see the negative results. I’m lucky in that I’m a bright human being that is curious and informs myself by doing a lot of research on topics , but other children don’t have the access or the know-how of doing the same as me. I believe that if conversations about positive and healthy relationships and sexuality happened growing up, I think I might have had a much more positive outlook on it and have been better prepared for things that came.

But here I sit as a bitter, pre-30 spinster that doesn’t have positive experiences with sex education or experience with positive relationships regardless of their type. I guess that’s what happens when you’re raised by conservative parents that keep the veil over the eyes of their child. 😐

Commentary on political affairs

Although I don’t generally make political commentary, I was reading some online articles this morning while drinking my hot chocolate and I came across an article about the current Canadian parliamentary scandal involving Member of Parliament Ms. Bev Oda. Essentially the entire story has been developing over a few weeks and involves by-hand alterations of parliamentary documents regarding funding. Many things have been said but the below quote from the Globe and Mail strikes a cord with me:

When pressed by The Canadian Press on whether that was enough after misleading the House of Commons, Mr. Kenney [Minister of Immigration] shot back: “The CBC lies all the time. What media are you with?”

– John Ibbitson, The Globe and Mail, 02/16/2011 22:09

Such commentary about the CBC is very irritating, especially given the current trends and motions proposed by the CRTC. Why make such a blasphemous commentary about a federally funded media bureau, that in my opinion, displays news in an relatively unbiased fashion? Pooh pooh on you Mr. Kenney, and I have yet to reserve “pooh pooh” judgement on Ms. Oda…

Pedestrian Fatalities in Toronto… sick

Toronto area pedestrian deaths up to 14 this month
CBC – 01/25/2010

A woman was struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle Monday as she crossed an intersection in Toronto’s west end while a man who was injured after being hit by a streetcar this weekend has also died.

The woman, 38, was hit by a Dodge Durango at the intersection of Davenport Road and Symington Avenue at around 6:30 p.m., Toronto police told CBC News.

The driver was travelling northbound on Symington and attempted to make a left turn onto Davenport as the woman crossed, Sgt. Tim Burrows said.

“We’re still talking to witnesses, but our understanding is that … [the vehicle and the pedestrian] were both travelling with the green light.”

The woman was pinned under the car and died at the scene, Burrows said. The driver of the Durango is co-operating with police, he added.

The intersection was closed Monday night as authorities investigated.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old man who suffered severe head injuries after being struck by a streetcar in the city’s east end died in hospital on Monday, Burrows said.

The pedestrian was hit while crossing from the south side of Queen Street to the north near Broadview Avenue just after midnight on Saturday.

No charges have been laid in either case.

Fourteen pedestrians in the Greater Toronto Area have died in as many days.

As a pedestrian, it sickens me that people in cars neglect to notice anything. In half of the instances in the last 14 days, the pedestrian has had the legal right of way, and the neglect of the driver has resulted in their death.

Toronto Civic Workers Strike 2009

Garbage - Amil Niazi

Photo submitted to CBC by Amil Niazi

Toronto strike enters week 2
CBC News, 29.06/2009

The strike by Toronto’s municipal workers has entered its second week, and although all sides are still talking, some residents are showing their frustration with the most visible sign of the labour dispute: the mounting piles of garbage.
Children play at Sunday’s protest against the use of Christie Pits as a temporary dump. Children play at Sunday’s protest against the use of Christie Pits as a temporary dump. (Contributed by Monica Gupta)

About 24,000 city workers walked off the job on June 22 to back their demands for a new contract.

Two Canadian Union of Public Employees locals are on strike — Local 416, which represents outside workers, and Local 79, which mostly represents inside workers.

The union and management negotiating teams continue to meet, but no details have been released on the progress of the talks.

A sticking point in the negotiations is said to be the city’s insistence on removing a number of benefits from the existing collective agreements, including the ability of some union members to bank sick-leave days.

“We’re not any closer to resolving this issue,” CUPE spokesperson Pat Daley said.

A number of municipal services have been cancelled, including city-run daycares, parks and recreation programs, city-sponsored day camps, and many Canada Day celebrations.

What’s affected

* Garbage, recycling and compost pickup
* City-run daycare centres
* Water and sewer work
* Swimming pools
* Summer camps
* Community recreation centres
* Museums and galleries
* Toronto Islands ferries
* Some libraries

To try to deal with the garbage mess, the city has asked residents to take their own garbage to any of 26 dump sites in Toronto — 19 of them temporary sites located mostly in city parks.

At at least one location, people are complaining, loudly, about the measure.

About 100 people showed up at a park in the city’s west end on Sunday evening to protest.

Monica Gupta, of Friends of Christie Pits Park, said in an email to CBC News that the demonstration was held so people could show their “collective disappointment over the new temporary dump site in the park.”

Canada Day cancellations

* Amesbury Canada Day, Amesbury Park
* Ashbridges Bay Fireworks
* Canada Day Event, Earlscourt Park
* Somali-Canada Day, Earl Bales Park
* Ontario Australian Football Championships, Colonel Samuel Smith Park
* Peanut Town Festival, Oriole Park North
* East York Toronto Canada Day, Stan Wadlow Park
* MPP Canada Day Event — Don Valley West MPP, Flemingdon Park
* Shomoy Mela, Detonia Park
* Canada Day Celebrations, Thompson Memorial Park/Milliken District Park
* Canada Day Celebration, St. James Park
* New Country Canada Day Jam, Woodbine Park
* 16th Annual Neighbours Together, Riverdale Park East
* Canada Day Festival, Kew Gardens
* Canada Day, Mel Lastman Square

The park has a dump on the concrete surface of its outdoor hockey rink.

Although the temporary site has only been open since Friday, already half the surface of the rink is filled with green garbage bags up to the top of the boards.

Nearby residents say the dump is starting to have an impact on people’s lives. The smell from the refuse, they say, is starting to creep across the park and into the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Edward Kuszelewski held his shirt over his face when he arrived early Monday morning to take part in a “boot camp” exercise program being held in the park.

In spite of the obvious displeasure from the odour, he was philosophical about the problem.

“The workout will make you [sick] before the garbage does, I’ll tell you that much,” he said.

But Mariko Timiki, who was also arriving to participate in the early-morning class, said it was a “nasty” trek downhill to the workout spot.

“Upwind, I saw some lady walking her dog who was about to be sick,” Timiki said.

The class’s instructor said she intends to move to another part of the park until the strike is over.

Sunday’s protesters want the city to move the garbage out of the park and to pick another temporary garbage site.

But others in the neighbourhood say at least the garbage is being contained inside the hockey rink and isn’t on the grass.

I think that this has become so much more of a problem than people realise or want to admit. It’s true that I live in Newmarket, a northern suburb, but this affects me too as I’m forced to pass through Toronto on my way to work. I can understand the frustrations of people and how they aren’t happy about what’s going on, but this is getting ridiculous. The dump sites are over-flowing, and there is rubbish everywhere in suburbs because people in the city are jealous that our workers aren’t on strike, so they take it out on us. Why is it that each house in Toronto generates 10x more rubbish than the larger homes in the suburbs? We have been on 2 bag restrictions for a few years, and our pickup is once every two weeks. That’s literally cutting the rubbish in half for York Region.

This article also raises the points about how it’s not only rubbish collection that is affected. What about the summer jobs that students find to help pay for their education (that is also overpriced)? Nothing, they are simply out of jobs? What are kids supposd to do with all the community closures? What about day care? What about the people that aren’t affected? It’s simply selfish and pathetic that the city workers are asking for more money. I wonder how they would laugh at me trying to survive with the wages I make?

I live in Newmarket, a North-Eastern suburb of Toronto, I work in Mississauga, a South-Western suburb of Toronto that borders Etobicoke. I use York Region Transit, TTC, Mississauga Transit, or York Region Transit, GO Transit, and Mississauga transit to get to work each day and back. Each pass is upwards of $90, and that’s 3 so it’s roughy $300 plus taxes. After my wages, I’m left with not even enough to live in a subsidised housing complex. What about food? What about everything? Sure I get a tax-credit for public transit (next year) but right now how am I expected to live? Those workers, and students, and parents are all in the same position o getting paid too little or what they need. Get over yourselves and get back to work like the rest of the bloody country. You wonder why we are irritated and sick of your ranting and immaturity.

I guess I finally have an actually reason to think Toronto is a dump, becasue now it  quite literally is!

Mount Allison University #1 !!

Mount Allison, Acadia top Maclean’s list in undergrad category
CBC – 08/11/2007

Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., has tied with Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., for the number one spot in the primarily undergraduate category of Maclean’s magazine annual rankings.

Forty-seven universities were examined in the category.

St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., was third while the University of Northern British Columbia and Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., tied in the fourth spot.

The University of Victoria took the overall top place spot in the comprehensive category, up from its third place ranking in 2006.

Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., moved up two spots to second place while the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont., in fell to third place.

Last year’s top-ranked university, the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ont., has been ranked fourth in the category for 2007.
Continue Article

In the medical doctoral category, Montreal’s McGill University retained its first place holding while the Vancouver-based University of British Columbia and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., tied for second.

The University of Toronto placed fourth, slipping from the third spot last year and after holding the top spot in this category from 1994 to 2005.

Who knew that this would have happend? Actually it’s quite understandable to be expected. So that’s right everyone who reads this. Be jealous that I go to the best undergraduate university in the country and I’m graduating with the most well respected degree humanly possible; and that’s just about that.

[End of gloating ;)]