Canada is addicted to oil. Like all addictions, ours is debilitating. It has erased the line between state and private industry (thin as that line is in most countries), stifles our politics, and is holding back local, provincial and national preparations for a world without fossil fuels. Curing our addiction to oil and gas will take time and money, and historic levels of Indigenous–federal–provincial co-operation. But it absolutely has to happen—starting now.
Notwithstanding discussions and concerns about recent provincial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) test scores, or the importance of always looking for improvement, Manitoba has a high quality public school system that is the envy of most other jurisdictions around the world.
First published by CBC online May 11, 2019 Getting ahead is becoming virtually impossible for people in severe financial need who want to go back to school and turn their life around. Last year the Manitoba government terminated 210 Provincial Access Bursaries valued at $1.5 million dollars. Access students who need financial support the most to finish up their degrees are now not receiving it. In addition, the Access program was cut by an additional $1 million.
First published in the Winnipeg Free Press May 7, 2019 In January, Manitoba’s education minister Kelvin Goertzen announced the creation of a commission to review the provincial school system and propose a ‘“renewed vision for kindergarten to Grade 12 education," to "ignite change" to existing systems, structures and programs’. The impetus appears to be concern that the province’s students were “falling behind those in the rest of the country,” particularly in math, science and literacy. And so, according to the minister: “Nothing is off the table.”
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Google (Alphabet), Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. They are among the world's most valuable and most trusted companies, but increasingly the most scrutinized for their data-hoarding practices, monopolist tendencies, poor treatment of workers and willingness to bend or even break privacy laws in the pursuit of growth. More data gives these and other tech firms a more accurate picture of individual tastes and broader societal trends.
First published in the Winnipeg Free Press Thursday April 4, 2019
School trustees are consulting with parents and stakeholders for this upcoming year’s school budgets while they seem to be under attack by the provincial government. Education Minister Goertzen had a heated exchange with Winnipeg school trustees on twitter earlier this month regarding education funding and taxes.
Original graph by Jordan Brennan for Maclean's magazine.
Photo by Spencer Tweedy (Flickr Creative Commons) Ontario’s back-to-school season is going to be especially disruptive for families later this year. Those of us with an interest in the state of our schools, and the well-being of children and the people who help support them, need to get ready—and get to work.