1.25.2010

Political Football

Focus on the Family's plan to air an "It's a Wonderful Life" style commercial starring Florida Gator QB Tim Tebow and his mother Pam, both evangelical Christians, during the Feb. 7 Superbowl (at a cost of over $2.5 million for a 30 second spot) has women's groups and other civil rights advocates concerned. (CBC)

Whaaat? Some People In The Green Party Want Elizabeth May Gone?

Really? Are you serious? Seriously serious? (Leader-Post)

May delivered what, 10 per cent of the Canadian vote last election? Ditch her and the party's dead. Stupid, stupid, eco-creatures!

UPDATE: Here are some actual, real numbers. The Green party received 6.8 per cent of the popular vote in the fall 2008 election. Almost seven out of every 100 Canadian voters cast a ballot for the Greens. And the party has seen its support increase since then--according to a Jan. 14 EKOS poll they had the support of 11.9 per cent of voters (CBC). This party would have members in the house of commons if it wasn't for Canada's rigged electoral system.

Fix First Nations University Now

So here's the deal: the auditor who "left" the university last fall (and is suing for wrongful dismissal, which is not what one normally does when they leave a position voluntarily), penned an alarm-filled report--that was leaked to media last week--saying the university improperly paid out thousands of dollars to administrators.

Now the provincial education minister has called an emergency meeting with the University of Regina--which grants FNUniv degrees--to discuss the situation.

My take? Ultimatum time. Norris, the University of Regina and the federal government, all need to demand 1.) the recommendations of the All Chiefs Report on the Future of First Nations university--a report co-chaired by Del Anaquod and Harry Lafond and presented to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations in 2005--be fully implemented by, oh let's say May 1, or provincial funding should be frozen for the fall. And 2.) The current top administrators need to go.

And maybe it's time for the Association of Universities And Colleges of Canada put FNUniv on probation again. (The university was on probation but the AUCC went soft and lifted it. Ironically, FNUniv fired its academic vice-president, Shauneen Pete, shortly after the probation, which most mostly in response to political interference in University affairs--was lifted. Which in term was probably karma for a report Pete wrote in 2004 saying the AUCC should butt-out of First Nations University affairs. (Yes, this has been a long, winding and complicated story.))

Saskatchewan's First Nations students deserve a first-rate school. They do NOT deserve this mismanaged fiasco. Time to fix it.

And now, your moment of Zen ...

Courtesy prairie dog/Planet S magazine, 29 July 2005 ...

If one of the stated reasons for firing Wes Stevenson was that he had too much control over spending at the university, which led to corruption, then why would the board (FNUC board of governors) provide even more spending powers to the next guy who comes in?

Still waiting (CBC Sask) for the answer (L-P) ...

Snowy Six For The Afternoon














1 WE CAN HAZ SNOW? Yes we can. Too much snow actually. Oh noes! (infantile language courtesy the pernicious LOLcats meme, and yes, I haz been infected, and no, dere iz no cure.) (CBC)

2 ANTI-ROGUE Lots and lots of Canadians protested against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's pestilent prorogue this weekend. This story estimates Regina's rally had 200 people; I'd guess 250-300 but I'm no expert on crowd counts. (There's between 40-50 faces in that picture so, if that's a quarter of the crowd, which it could be, then yes it'd be about 200 people. I suppose.) (CBC

3 PROROGUE PRECEDENT HAS BEEN SET Political journalist Chantal H├ębert reviews the Prime Minister's three prorogues and writes about what they mean for the future. (Toronto Star)

4 500,000 UNEMPLOYED CANADIANS RUNNING OUT OF TIME Employment Insurance benefits are set to expire for half a million Canadians but the job market hasn't recovered. This could be discussed in the House Of Commons and maybe urgent action could be taken but, oh yeah, Stephen Harper prorogued government. (Canadian Press/Winnipeg Free Press)

5 CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF PUNISHING WHISTLE-BLOWER Richard Colvin, the diplomat who says Ottawa ignored his warnings that Canadian-captured prisoners would be tortured by Afghanistan security, says he's been punished for speaking out. The Afghanistan detainee scandal is believed to be the main reason the Conservatives prorogued government earlier this this month. (Globe And Mail)

6 MORE TROUBLE AT FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY Saskatchewan's education minister wants to meet with University of Regina officials to talk about the First Nations University of Canada, which supposedly paid out thousands to administrators inappropriately. Check out the L-P story here. More on Dog Blog this afternoon, and of course in Thursday's prairie dog. (Leader-Post)

It's a Snow Day!

The city is buried under a blanket of thick, white snow. You'll be better off getting around on skis than trying to drive anywhere. According to the CBC, city buses are running but aren't on schedule at all -- no one can find out more details than that.

Classes at the University of Regina and SIAST are cancelled. Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools buses are not running but their schools are open.

This would all be rather exciting but now that I work from home, some of the snow day excitement is lost on me. Maybe I'll go outside and try to get stuck in a drift or something?

Note: the photo above is not a mistake, it is an actual shot of the view out my window. If you look closely you can just make out the back end of a polar bear.

Pick of the Day: Talkin' About School & Society

You get two shots at checking out this discussion series hosted by the University of Regina's Faculty of Education. Today from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the Education Auditorium, University of Ottawa Professor Joel Westheimer will speak on the subject No Child Left Thinking: Democracy at Risk in Canadian Schools. Then from 7-9 p.m. at LaBodega Restaurant (2228 Albert) Westheimer will reprise his afternoon presentation with additional input from U of R professor Jennifer Tupper. As always, people who attend, be they professional educators or just members of the general public, are encouraged to offer their own thoughts on the topics being touched on.

As we move increasingly to a knowledge-based economy, access to quality public education is hugely important for children, especially those from marginalized communities who typically don't have a lot of family resources to draw on. In Saskatchewan's First Nations and Metis community, for instance, education is regarded as "the new buffalo" that will help sustain and nourish Aboriginal youth as the herds of bison that used to roam the prairies once did. But plenty of factors are in play in our society, from spending restrictions imposed by conservative governments to the growth of privately-operated Christian schools, that are hindering society's ability to provide schools and teachers with the resources they need to meet the challenge of ensuring that children and families get the support they require to succeed.
Issues like these, plus much more, I'm sure, will be touched on in these provocative presentations. Check them out if you get the chance.
Addendum: According to organizers, both events are a go for today despite all the snow we received.