Transcript: Show #189 "Classroom Battleground" | Mar 19, 2000

The opening sequence rolls.
Music plays as clips of politicians and demonstrations appear on an animated number 4.

Steve says THIS WEEK ON 4th
READING, QUIET STAND-OFF.
JANET ECKER TALKS TO
TEACHERS, BUT THEY'RE NOT
TALKING BACK.

Steve, Ruth, Richard, Gina and 2 guests sit around a table in the shape of a number 4.

Steve is in his mid-thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a light green jacket over a purple shirt.

Steve says HOPE YOU'VE HAVING A NICE
WEEKEND, EVERYBODY.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
THANKS FOR JOINING
US ON
4th READING.
ANYONE WITH KIDS IN THE
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN
ONTARIO IS ALL TOO AWARE OF
HOW TESTY RELATIONS HAVE
BEEN BETWEEN THE MIKE
HARRIS GOVERNMENT AND THE
TEACHER UNIONS.
THIS PAST WEEK FEATURED A
MOST UNUSUAL EXCHANGE IN
THAT CONTINUING DRAMA.
THE EDUCATION MINISTER,
JANET ECKER, WENT TO MEET
ONTARIO SECONDARY
SCHOOLTEACHERS, THE
RECEPTION SHE GOT IS
PERHAPS UNLIKE ANY THAT
ANY EDUCATION MINISTER
HAS EVER RECEIVED.

A clip plays.

Janet Ecker is in her mid-forties with short blond hair and bangs.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Janet Ecker. Education Minister."

Janet stands behind a lectern and says I CAME WITH THE USUAL
PREPARED TEXT, BUT I'VE
WATCHED THE MEDIA COVERAGE
THIS WEEKEND, I'VE
LISTENED TO YOUR PRESIDENT
ON A COUPLE OF MEDIA
INTERVIEWS, AND THERE APPEAR
TO BE A NUMBER OF ISSUES
THAT I THINK WE
NEED TO TALK ABOUT.
I NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU, AND
YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM ME,
SO LET'S TALK.
THERE'S MICROPHONES, AND
I'D LIKE TO HAVE THE
FIRST QUESTION, PLEASE.
AND I WON'T TAKE THE
SILENCE AS AGREEMENT.

She looks at the people in the audience but they remain silent.

Janet continues I'VE NEVER KNOWN THIS GROUP
TO BE AT A LOSS FOR WORDS.
She drinks a glass of water and continues NEVER KNOWN THIS GROUP TO BE
SHY ABOUT EXPRESSING THEIR
OPINIONS, EITHER.
AND I THINK IT'S A GOOD
OPPORTUNITY TO TALK.

Stephen Lawton sits in a red sofa. He’s in his sixties, clean-shaven with receding dark hair.

Stephen says WE'RE SEEING
THE PUBLIC STAGE.
WE'RE SEEING DRAMA.
AND IT'S PART OF A
STRICT THAT IS ABOUT
COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS.

The caption changes to "Stephen Lawton. University of Ontario."

Stephen continues EVEN THOUGH UNDER THE
LEGISLATION COLLECTIVE
BARGAINING IS AT THE LOCAL
LEVEL, THE FACT OF THE
MATTER IS THERE'S A GHOST
AT THE TABLE, AND THAT
GHOST IS THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.
Laughing, he continues AND THAT GHOST WAS THERE AND
THEY TREATED THE GHOST IN
AN APPROPRIATE
MANNER, THEY THOUGHT.

At another meeting, Janet says I'M RELEASING THE DETAILS OF
STUDENT-FOCUSSED FUNDING.

Steve says WHEN THE TORIES WENT
TO PICKERING LAST WEEK TO
ANNOUNCE THEIR SPENDING
PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR,
THEY SPARKED A RENEWED
BATTLE WITH TEACHERS.
THE GOVERNMENT VOWING TO GET
TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM MORE.
THE TEACHERS WERE ON HAND
TO LISTEN TO THE MINISTER,
BUT THEY DIDN'T LIKE
WHAT THEY HEARD.

The caption changes to "Earl Manners. Ontario Secondary School Teachers." He’s in his mid-fifties with a beard and white hair.

Earl says WELL, I'M HOPING THAT WE'RE
SUCCESSFUL IN MAINTAINING
THE TEACHING AND LEARNING
CONDITIONS OF OUR SCHOOLS
AND CLASSROOMS.
I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE'RE GOING
TO BE ABLE TO NEGOTIATE SOME
REASONABLE WAGE INCREASES
TO ATTRACT THE BEST QUALITY
PEOPLE TO TEACHING AND TO
THE SUPPORT SERVICES THAT
ARE PROVIDED TO STUDENTS.
IF WE'RE ABLE TO DO THAT,
THEN I THINK WE'RE ONLY
GOING TO BE ABLE TO BUILD
UPON AN ALREADY GOOD PUBLIC
EDUCATION SYSTEM.
IF THE CONSERVATIVES GET
THEIR WAY, IT'S GOING TO
BE DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT.

Steve says FOR SOME, HAVING THE
CONSERVATIVES GET THEIR WAY
WOULDN'T BE SO BAD.
LYDIA LOVRIK RECENTLY
GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL
AND SAYS MAYBE TEACHERS
NEED TO BE SHAKEN UP.

Lydia Lovrik reads a piece of news on a newspaper under the title "Full marks for Mike." Lydia is in her teens with long black hair.

Lydia says I THINK THEY'VE GOTTEN AWAY
WITH HAVING IT SO GOOD FOR
SO LONG THAT NOW, YOU ASK
THEM TO EACH AN EXTRA
MINUTE, AND THEY WANT TO
KNOW HOW MUCH THEY'RE GOING
TO GET PAID FOR IT.
I THINK REALLY THEY
NEED TO RE-EXAMINE THE
ENTIRE SITUATION.
AND WHEN OTHER PEOPLE ARE
GETTING LAID OFF AT JOBS, OR
JUST THANKFUL TO HAVE A JOB,
I THINK THEY HAVE TO JUST
RECONSIDER BASICALLY HOW
GOOD I THINK THEY HAVE IT
RIGHT NOW.

The clip ends.

Steve says LOTS TO TALK ABOUT WITH
TWO PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPENT
COUNTLESS HOURS TRYING TO
MOVE THE YARDSTICKS CLOSER
TO THEIR VISION OF WHAT OUR
EDUCATION SYSTEM SHOULD BE LIKE.
HERE'S ANNIE KIDDER WITH
PEOPLE FOR EDUCATION.

Annie Kidder is in her mid-forties with shoulder-length auburn hair. She wears glasses, patterned gray and lilac cardigan over a light shirt.

Steve continues AND MARTHA HARRON IS HERE.
SHE'S A FORMER VICE CHAIR OF
THE ONTARIO PARENT COUNCIL.

Martha Harron is in her late forties with short brown hair and bangs. She wears a black blazer.

Steve continues WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.
NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.
WE DID THIS A COUPLE OF
YEARS AGO, AND IT'S ABOUT
TIME WE HAD YOU BACK.
ALSO, OUR QUEEN'S PARK
OBSERVERS FROM THE OTTAWA
LAW FIRM, FRASER MILNER,
THERE'S RICHARD MAHONEY, A
PAST PRESIDENT OF THE
ONTARIO LIBERALS.

Richard Mahoney is in his forties, clean-shaven with gray hair. He’s wearing a black jacket, blue shirt and dotted gray tie.

Steve continues FORMER NDP CABINET MINISTER
RUTH GRIER.

Ruth Grier is in her sixties, with short white hair. She’s wearing a green blazer over a white shirt and patterned colourful scarf.

Steve continues AND GINA
BRANNON, FORMER TORY
POLICY ADVISOR AND LAWYER.

Gina Brannan is in her forties with shoulder-length blond hair. She wears glasses and a striped black jacket.

Steve continues THAT WAS ABOUT AS PURE AN
INDICATION AS YOU CAN GET,
THAT SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE
TEACHERS AND JANET ECKER TO
INDICATE THAT THE TEACHERS
AND THE PROVINCE ARE NOT
COMMUNICATING AT
ALL THESE DAYS.
HOW DISTRESSING, ANNIE, IS
THAT FOR YOU FOR SOMEBODY
WHO HAS GOT A COUPLE OF
KIDS, WHO I PRESUME YOU
HOPE ARE GOING TO BE IN
SCHOOL COME NEXT SEPTEMBER?

Annie says IT WOULD BE VERY NICE
IF THEY WERE IN SCHOOL
IN SEPTEMBER.

The caption changes to "Annie Kidder. People for Education."

Annie continues I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE
AREN'T COMMUNICATING WITH
THE PROVINCE, OR
THE PROVINCE ISN'T
COMMUNICATING WITH
A LOT OF PEOPLE.
I FEEL DISTRESSED AT ONCE
AGAIN HAVING TO FACE A
STANDOFF, A CRISIS, A WHATEVER.
BUT I THINK IT
COMES DOWN TO MONEY.
I THINK WE'RE STILL FACING
CUTS ALL ACROSS THE PROVINCE
IN BOARDS ALL
AROUND THE PROVINCE.
AND THIS GOVERNMENT SEEMS
BENT ON CUTTING MORE MONEY
OUT OF THE SYSTEM.
AND THE BIGGEST, BEST WAY
YOU CUT MONEY OUT OF THE
SYSTEM IS YOU CUT TEACHERS,
AND THAT'S WHY IT ENDS UP
BEING A CRISIS BETWEEN
TEACHERS AND THE PROVINCE.
WHAT'S WORRYING ABOUT THAT
IS THAT ENDS UP BEING SO
POLARIZING, KIND OF TAKING
ALL THE ATTENTION, AND YOU
MISS ALL OF THE STUFF THAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE MIDDLE.
ALL OF THE LITTLE TINY
CUTS THAT ARE HAPPENING TO
PROGRAMS AND THINGS THAT
PARENTS CARE ABOUT FOR
THEIR KIDS WHICH ARE
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

Steve says MARTHA, YOU THINK IT'S
STILL ALL ABOUT CUTS?
YOU THINK THAT'S WHAT JANET
ECKER'S AGENDA, AT THE END
OF THE DAY, IS
REALLY ALL ABOUT?

The caption changes to "Martha Harron. Former Vice-Chair, Ontario Parent Council."

Martha says WELL, THEY HAVE A PROBLEM
BECAUSE BOARDS HAVE TO
NEGOTIATE COLLECTIVE
AGREEMENTS, AND THEY
HAVE NO LEVERAGE.
THEY HAVE NO ROOM
TO MANOEUVRE.
AND THEY'RE LOOKING FOR ROOM
TO MANOEUVRE BY SAYING,
LOOK, WE CAN PAY YOU MORE
IF THERE ARE FEWER OF YOU,
AND ALL OF THAT.
I HAVE TO SAY, I FELT FOR
JANET ECKER, BUT I THOUGHT
THE TEACHERS DID A
BRILLIANT THING.
I THOUGHT THAT MOMENT OF
SILENCE SPOKE VOLUMES
AND IS INFINITELY PREFERABLE
TO ALL THE SCREAMING.

Steve says WE DIDN'T EDIT THAT.
THAT WENT ON FOR ABOUT
A MINUTE AND A HALF.
ABSOLUTE SILENCE
IN THAT ROOM.
NOBODY TALKING.
AND THE TWO SIDES JUST
FACING DOWN ONE ANOTHER.
AND EVENTUALLY
THE MINISTER...

Martha says IT WAS VERY
EFFECTIVE TELEVISION.

Gina says EFFECTIVE TELEVISION,
BUT POOR ROLE MODELLING AS
FAR AS I CAN SEE.

Steve says MEANING WHAT?

The caption changes to "Gina Brannan. Former PC Policy Advisor."

Gina says WELL, YOU KNOW, BOTH THE
GOVERNMENT AND THE TEACHERS
ARE IN POSITIONS WHERE
THEY ARE TO ROLE MODEL.
AND HERE ARE KIDS SITTING
WATCHING THIS, WATCHING
THEIR TEACHERS HAVE A
STANDOFF WITH THE PURSESTRINGS.
I MEAN, AS FAR AS I CAN SEE
THAT DOESN'T MAKE A WHOLE
LOT OF SENSE TO
ME ON EITHER SIDE.
I THINK THE TWO SIDES HAVE
GOT TO COME TOGETHER IN THE
BEST INTERESTS
OF THE STUDENTS?

Steve says RUTH.

The caption changes to "Ruth Grier. Former NDP Cabinet Minister."

Ruth says THAT'S ALL VERY WELL TO SAY,
THAT IT'S NOT A GOOD ROLE MODEL.
HOW IS THE MINISTER BEING A
ROLE MODEL FOR TEACHERS...

Gina says EXACTLY.
I SAID BOTH SIDES, RUTH.

Ruth continues I AGREE, I THOUGHT IT WAS
A GOOD WAY OF EXPRESSING
THEIR FRUSTRATION.
BUT FOR ME WHAT IS MOST
WORRISOME IS HOW UNENDING
THIS PLETHORA
OF CHANGES ARE.
IT'S TIME TO TAKE A
VALIUM, AS THE MINISTRY IS
SOMETIMES WONT TO SAY, AND
JUST HAVE SOME STABILITY
IN THE SYSTEM.
THEY MADE THEIR FIRST
CHANGES, DISAGREED WITH
WHAT THEY WERE DOING,
THEY'VE CUT BACK.
LET'S LET THAT SETTLE DOWN.
SEE WHAT THE
IMPLICATIONS ARE.

Steve says BUT THEY FEEL THERE
IS STILL SO MUCH TO DO.

Ruth says THEY KEEP ON PUSHING,
THEY KEEP BEING IN THE FACES
OF THE TEACHERS.
I MEAN IT'S MANDATORY
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,
IT'S MORE TIME IN THE
CLASSROOM, IT'S WE'RE GOING
TO BE TESTING YOU.
WHAT'S THEIR PRIORITY?
WHAT DO THEY
REALLY WANT TO DO?

Gina says WHAT'S
WRONG WITH MANDATORY
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?

Richard says FIRST OF ALL, IT'S
TOTALLY UNENFORCEABLE,
UNLESS THE MINISTER IS
GOING TO ABOLISH SCHOOL
BOARDS AND HIRE HUNDREDS OF
PEOPLE WHO WILL THEN HANG
AROUND AFTER SCHOOL TO SEE
WHICH TEACHER IS DOING WHICH
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY.
IT'S RIDICULOUS.

The caption changes to "Richard Mahoney. Ontario Liberal Advisor."

Steve says WANT TO JUST
EXPLAIN A BIT ABOUT IT...
HANG ON A SEC.
LET'S EXPLAIN
HOW THIS WORKS.
GO AHEAD.

Gina says TAKE THE SUMMER OFF...

Gina laughs.

Steve says HANG ON,
HANG ON.
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,
AT THE MOMENT, ARE SORT OF
DONE ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS
BY TEACHERS AFTER SCHOOL.

Richard says NORMALLY
AFTER HOURS, YES.

Steve says AND THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT HAS SAID, IF YOU
DON'T PLAY BALL WITH THE
CHANGES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT,
WE'RE GOING TO MANDATE
BY LAW THAT YOU DO IT.

Annie says BUT IT'S A
BARGAINING TACTIC, RIGHT?
IT'S THE ONLY THING TEACHERS
HAVE TO BARGAIN WITH
BESIDES GOING ON STRIKE.
AND PEOPLE HATE THEM GOING
ON STRIKE... EVERYBODY
INCLUDED, I THINK.
AND ALL THAT HAVE TO
BARGAIN WITH IS THAT.
SO IT'S REALLY JUST ABOUT
MONEY, AND IT'S JUST
ABOUT BARGAINING.
AND THEY ARE BOTH
BARGAINING RIGHT NOW.
AND I'D RATHER THEY
DID IT SOME OTHER WAY.
BUT EXTRACURRICULAR, IF YOU
TAKE AWAY THEIR RIGHT... IF
YOU SAY THEY ARE MANDATORY,
THEN THEY CAN'T BARGAIN
WITH THAT ANYMORE.

Richard says I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE
TEACHERS FOR NOT SAYING
A WORD TO HER.
WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT, WE
TALKED ABOUT LAST WEEK WITH
THE MINISTER HERE, IT IS THE
GOVERNMENT PLAYING POLITICS.
THEY HAVE NOW ON TWO
ELECTIONS THAT I CAN
REMEMBER, PARTICULARLY THE
LAST ELECTION CAMPAIGN, AND
TWO STRIKES BEFOREHAND,
BAITED THE TEACHERS.
THEY WANT THE TEACHERS TO
GO ON STRIKE BECAUSE THEY'D
LIKE NOTHING BETTER...

Gina says THEY'RE NOT BAITING
THE TEACHERS, RICHARD.

Richard says LET ME FINISH.
I LET YOU FINISH.
THEY WANT THE TEACHERS
TO GO ON STRIKE.
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY
WANT THE TEACHERS TO DO SO
THEY CAN COME IN AND MAKE
ALL THE CHANGES AND SAY
WE SOLVED THE PUBLIC
EDUCATION CRISIS AGAIN.
THAT IS EXACTLY
WHAT THEY WANT.

Gina says NO, NO.
DON’T BE RIDICULOUS.

Steve says MARTHA, YOU
WANTED IN.

Martha says WELL, BEFORE THIS WHOLE
SUGGESTION TEACHERS SHOULD
BE FORCED TO WORK
EXTRACURRICULAR, PERFORM
EXTRACURRICULAR DUTIES, IF
YOU THINK ABOUT IT FROM THE
CHILD'S POINT OF VIEW, DO
YOU WANT YOUR KID OUT ON
THE PLAYING FIELD AT SEVEN
IN THE MORNING WITH A
TEACHER WHO DOESN'T
WANT TO BE THERE?
WHAT I THINK IS GOING TO
HAPPEN IS THE GOVERNMENT IS
GOING TO END UP HAVING TO
THROW MONEY AT THIS CRISIS,
AND END UP OFFERING
TO PAY TEACHERS FOR
EXTRACURRICULAR DUTIES.
THAT WOULD BE VERY IRONIC.
WE HAD A SYSTEM THAT WAS
WORKING ON A VOLUNTEER
BASIS, AND THEY'RE GOING TO
END UP PAYING FOR SOMETHING
THAT WE WERE
GETTING FOR FREE.

Gina says NO, I'LL TELL
YOU WHAT'S REALLY SAD.
TEACHERS WHO STAND IN
FRONT OF US WHO TELL US,
WE LOVE TEACHING.
WE WANT TO BE
THERE FOR KIDS.
WE WANTED THIS, WE WANTED
THAT, AND WHERE ARE THEY

Richard tries to interrupt her. She turns to look at him and says JUST A SECOND,
IN THE MORNING, AND WHERE
ARE THEY AFTER SCHOOL?
IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL
SYSTEM, THE EXTRACURRICULAR
ACTIVITIES...

Richard says THEY'RE IN SCHOOL.

Gina continues THEY AREN'T IN SCHOOL!
AT 3:30, THE BELL RINGS,
SOME TEACHERS ARE THERE,
AND SOME...

Richard says I’M SO TIRED OF THIS.
MIKE HARRIS
FAILED AS A TEACHER,
AND THEREFORE IS ANGRY
AT TEACHERS THEMSELVES.
AND THEREFORE HAS TO

DERIDE THEM ALL THE TIME.
Gina says RICHARD, I WANT
TO MAKE 60,000 A YEAR.

Richard says TEACHERS DON'T
MAKE 60,000 A YEAR.
THEY DO SO.

Richard says TEACHERS START AT
28,000 DOLLARS A YEAR.
YOU KNOW THAT.
YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
BETTER THAN THAT.

Gina says THERE ARE TEACHERS
MAKING 60,000 DOLLARS A YEAR.

Richard says THAT'S AT THE
TOP OF THE SCALE.

Gina says AND THEY GET THE SUMMER OFF,
THEY GET A WEEK IN MARCH,
AND THEY GET THE
WEEK IN DECEMBER.
WHERE DO YOU GET
TEN WEEKS VACATION?
WHERE?

Richard says FIRST OF ALL, YOU TAKE
TRAINING IN THE SUMMER.

Gina says OH, EXCUSE ME, JUST A
SECOND, TEN PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT DAYS
DURING THE YEAR.

Steve says IF I MIGHT
JUMP IN FOR A SECOND...

Martha says FIVE.

Gina says IS IT FIVE NOW?

Martha says YES.

Steve says CAN WE HAVE SOME
DISCUSSION HERE ABOUT
INSTRUCTIONAL TIME?
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE NUB
OF THIS UPCOMING CONFLICT
IS ALL ABOUT.

Annie says YOU SEE, I'M BOTHERED
BY THAT BECAUSE I DON'T
KNOW IF IT REALLY IS
ABOUT INSTRUCTIONAL TIME.
IT REALLY IS ABOUT MONEY.
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T CUT PREP TIME,
YOU DON'T CUT TIME, THAT'S
NOT WHAT DISAPPEARS,
TEACHERS DISAPPEAR.
SO IT'S REALLY
ABOUT SAVING MONEY.
IT'S NOT REALLY TRULY A
DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT'S
BETTER FOR KIDS.
BECAUSE ALL KIDS GET ARE
TEACHERS WHO HAVE MORE KIDS
TO TEACH.
THEY DON'T GET MORE TIME IN
THE CLASSROOM, THEY DON'T
GET MORE TIME WITH
THEIR TEACHER.

Steve says IS IT WRONG, ANNIE, FOR THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO
WANT THE TEACHERS TO BE IN
THE CLASSROOM MORE AND HAVE
LESS TIME TO PREPARE?

Annie says THAT'S NOT
WHAT THEY WANT.
THEY WANT TO PAY
FEWER TEACHERS.
THAT'S ALL THEY WANT.
THEY'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT
THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION,
OR A DIFFERENCE IT'S GOING
TO MAKE, THEY JUST WANT TO
BE ABLE TO PAY FEWER
TEACHERS TO MAKE UP FOR THE
FACT THEY JUST ANNOUNCED
FUNDING THAT WAS ACTUALLY
A CUT LAST WEEK BECAUSE
IT'S NOT GOING TO COVER
ENROLLMENT, INCREASE
IN INFLATION.

Gina says YOU'RE RIGHT ABOUT
THAT AND THAT'S WHERE THE
GOVERNMENT'S WRONG.
BECAUSE IF THEY WANT TO TAKE
THE HARD STANCE THEY TAKE
WITH RESPECT TO TEACHERS,

Richard gestures no.

Gina continues THEN THEY'RE GOT TO PUT THE
MONEY IN THE SYSTEM THAT'S
GOING TO REDUCE THE
STUDENT-TEACHER RATIO.

Richard says WHICH THEY
HAVEN'T DONE.

Gina says WHICH THEY HAVEN'T DONE.
AND I'LL GIVE YOU THAT.
THAT I WILL CONCEDE.

Steve says LET'S GET
RUTH IN HERE.

Ruth says WHAT WAS REALLY FRUSTRATING
IN TALKING TO THE MINISTER
LAST WEEK WAS HOW MUCH
SHE CAN JUST BLANDLY SAY,
IT'S A BETTER SYSTEM.
THERE'S MORE MONEY IN IT.
YOU'RE WRONG WHEN YOU
SAY WE'RE CUTTING MONEY.
AND THE PARENTS AND THE
TEACHERS KNOW THAT IT IS
NOT, IN FACT, A
BETTER SYSTEM.
AND YOU SAY, IS ANYTHING
WRONG WITH A TEACHER
SPENDING MORE TIME IN THE
CLASSROOM, DON'T EVER
FORGET THAT THE RESULTS OF
THE WAY THEY ARE DOING IT IS
THAT TEACHER IS GOING TO
BE TEACHING A MUCH HIGHER
NUMBER OF KIDS EVERY DAY,
DOING THE MARKING, DOING
THE RESPONSIBILITY, HAVING
LESS TIME FOR EACH KID, IN
EFFECT, WHETHER IT BE IN
THE CLASSROOM, IN THE
MARKING, OR IN JUST
INFORMAL ACTIVITIES.
AND THE VOLUNTARY
ACTIVITIES, LET'S GO BACK
TO THE EXTRACURRICULAR.
WE CALLED IT VOLUNTARY, BUT
EVERY TEACHER KNEW THAT AS
PART OF THE JOB YOU GAVE
SOME OF YOURSELF AFTER
SCHOOL, AT LUNCH TIME,
TO DO OTHER THINGS.
AND WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENED
TO THE SYSTEM IS THE
TEACHERS ARE NO LONGER
PREPARED TO DO THAT.
AND I THINK THAT'S
A BIG SADNESS.

Steve says BUT THE
POLITICS BEHIND IT.
MARTHA, YOU HAVE
A QUESTION HERE...

Martha says I FELT VERY STRONGLY
THAT THE TEACHERS' UNIONS
HAD NO BUSINESS TELLING
TEACHERS THEY WEREN'T ALLOWED
TO PERFORM
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.
SIMILARLY, THE GOVERNMENT
HAS NO BUSINESS TELLING
TEACHERS THEY
HAVE TO PERFORM
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.

Ruth says IT HAS TO BE
SOMETHING THEY WANT TO DO.

Gina says THE UNION AND THE
GOVERNMENT WITH THE TEACHERS
AND THE STUDENTS
LEFT IN THE MIDDLE.

Martha says THE CLASSROOM
TEACHER IS CAUGHT IN THE
MIDDLE, BUT THEY REALLY
HAVEN'T BROKEN THE BACKS OF
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM IN THE
FIRST PLACE, WHICH WAS TO
GET AWAY FROM THE TRICKLE
DOWN ECONOMICS OF EDUCATION,
WHERE YOU POUR THE MONEY
INTO THE SCHOOL BOARD
AND IT TRICKLES
INTO THE SCHOOL.
NOT, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, HAS
ONE OF THOSE SO-CALLED
EDUCATION CENTRES, THOSE
BIG GLOSSY BUILDINGS WITH
NO STUDENTS IN THEM
BEEN CLOSED IN TORONTO.
THE MONEY IS STILL... WE
HAVEN'T HAD A REPORT CARD
YET FOR SCHOOL BOARDS TO
SEE IF THEY REALLY HAVE
RESTRICTED THEIR SPENDING
ON ADMINISTRATION.

Gina says THOSE BIG GLOSSY
BUILDINGS WERE BUILT WHEN
THE NDP WERE IN POWER.

Gina smiles.

Ruth says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
REALLY FRIGHTENS ME IS THAT
GIVEN OUR SCHOOL TRUSTEES
ARE NOW EXPECTED TO BE
VOLUNTEERS FOR A MINIMAL
AMOUNT THAT DOESN'T EVEN
COVER THEIR EXPENSES EVERY
YEAR, AND FOR EXAMPLE IN
TORONTO, THE TRUSTEES HAVE
A BUDGET OF ABOUT 2.1
BILLION THEY'RE
RESPONSIBLE FOR, IT'S THE
ADMINISTRATORS AND THE STAFF
WHO ARE, IN FACT, MAKING
THE BULK OF THE DECISIONS,
AND WHO'S ACCOUNTABLE
FOR THIS SPENDING?
WE'VE LOST SCHOOL BOARDS,
BUT ONLY AS A SCAPEGOAT FOR
THE MINISTRY TO SAY, THAT'S
UP TO THE SCHOOL BOARD.
THE SCHOOL BOARDS, IN FACT,
WHEN YOU GO TO THEM WITH A
PROBLEM SAY, SORRY, WE'RE
ONLY DOING WHAT THE
MINISTRY TOLD US.
AND NOBODY IS ACCOUNTABLE
FOR VAST AMOUNTS OF
SPENDING, AND
THEY'VE CUT MOST.

Richard says HARRIS SAYS THE TEACHERS HAVE TO
BE ACCOUNTABLE.
HARRIS AND ECKER HAVE
TO BE ACCOUNTABLE, TOO.
RUTH'S RIGHT.
THEY'VE TAKEN POWER AWAY
FROM SCHOOL BOARDS TO THE
CENTRE, TO THE GOVERNMENT,
YET HIDE BEHIND THE SCHOOL
BOARDS WHEN THEY SAY
THESE THINGS AREN'T DONE.
UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S ONLY
EVER FOUR YEARS WE'RE GOING
TO ACTUALLY GET TO HOLD
THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO SAY YOU
DIDN'T MAKE THE CHANGES IN
EDUCATION THAT WE NEEDED
YOU TO MAKE, OR THAT WE
PROMISED YOU TO MAKE.

Gina says MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR
BOARDS OF GOVERNORS, AND
SCHOOLS, AS RUTH AND I WERE
TALKING ABOUT BEFORE THIS
SHOW, SHOULD WE BE RUNNING
EACH SCHOOL AS ITS
OWN LITTLE FIEFDOM?
I DON'T KNOW.
I DON'T KNOW.
I'M THROWING IT
OUT ON THE TABLE.

[all talking at once]

Annie says IT'S ALREADY
HAPPENING ANYWAY.
WE'VE BEEN TRACKING THE
EFFECTS OF ALL THE CHANGES
ON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, AND
WE CAN SEE A REAL INCREASE
IN PARENT FUNDRAISING AND
A PARENT VOLUNTEERS IN
SCHOOLS SO YOU END UP WITH
SOME SCHOOLS WHERE THERE
ARE PARENTS WITH EITHER
MONEY OR TIME, LOTS OF
MIDDLE CLASS MUMMIES LIKE
ME WHO CAN GO IN THERE AND
RUN THE LIBRARY, AND OTHER
SCHOOLS WHO DON'T HAVE
THOSE SAME MUMMIES, THEIR
LIBRARIES ARE CLOSED NOW
BECAUSE THERE'S
NO LIBRARIANS.

Steve says WHEN YOU HEARD JANET ECKER
ANNOUNCE LAST WEEK THAT SHE
WAS GOING TO SPEND 190
MILLION DOLLARS MORE OF TAXPAYERS
MONEY TO "IMPROVE THE
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM,"
WHAT DID YOU TAKE FROM THAT?
BECAUSE CERTAINLY SOME OF
THE INITIAL ANALYSIS HAS
BEEN WITH THE ENROLLMENT
INCREASES, AND WITH THE
FACT TEACHERS HAVEN'T HAD
A RAISE IN SEVEN YEARS,
THAT'S WHERE ALL
THAT MONEY IS GOING.

Annie says AND THERE'S INFLATION.
LET'S NOT FORGET WE ACTUALLY
HAVE INFLATION RIGHT NOW,
SO YESTERDAY ON THE NEWS IT
SAID IT WAS 2.7, BUT GAS DOESN'T
COUNT, SO THE MONEY SHE
ANNOUNCED COVERS HALF OF
ENROLLMENT INCREASE
AND INFLATION,
SO IN FACT IT'S A CUT.
IT MEANS THAT, AND SHE SAID,
THIS MONEY IS FOR THESE
PARTICULAR THINGS.
IT MEANS THAT MONEY CAN FLOW
TO THOSE PARTICULAR THINGS,
BUT IT'S ALL GOT TO COME
FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE.
AND SHE SAID IN LATER
INTERVIEWS THERE'S MORE,
BASICALLY, FAT TO COME OUT
OF NON-CLASSROOM EXPENSES.
AND THEN WE'RE BACK TO
THEIR INCREDIBLY NARROW
DEFINITION OF WHAT
A CLASSROOM IS.
AND THAT'S WHERE
THE FUNDING GOES.
AND EVERYTHING ELSE
THAT ISN'T A CLASSROOM,
LIKE MY PRINCIPAL.

Richard says ANNIE'S RIGHT.
INFLATION, SINCE THE LAST
TIME TEACHERS' GOT A RAISE,
EFFECTIVELY IS A 14 PERCENT
CUT, PART OF WHICH WILL
PRESUMABLY BE MADE UP WHEN
THEY GO THROUGH THEIR
NEGOTIATIONS THIS YEAR.
BUT IT'LL BE A ONE OR
TWO PERCENT RAISE, NOT A
14 PERCENT RAISE.
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS
ABOUT EDUCATION, WE ALL
FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT IT
BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE KIDS IN
THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM,
OR MANY OF US DO, SECONDLY,
WE'RE ALL PRODUCTS OF
THE SYSTEM OURSELVES.
WE ALL HAD TEACHERS.
WE THINK WE KNOW
A LOT ABOUT THIS.
AND WHEN PEOPLE LIKE GINA
AND I GET INTO PASSIONATE
ARGUMENTS ON THESE THINGS,
IT'S BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL
BEEN THROUGH THIS.
THE TEACHERS THEMSELVES,
NOT THE UNIONS, GINA, BUT
TEACHERS THEMSELVES FEEL
ABSOLUTELY SET UPON.
THE GOVERNMENT IS
MOVING TO TEST THEM.
WHEN I WAS ADMITTED TO
THE LAW SOCIETY OF UPPER
CANADA, I DON'T HAVE TO
TAKE A TEST EVERY THREE
YEARS, A WRITTEN TEST.
WHAT WOULD THAT
TEST MEASURE?
THE GREATEST TEACHERS I HAD
INSPIRED ME TO LEARN AND
HAD AN IMPACT ON MY LIFE
BECAUSE THEY MADE ME
INTERESTED IN SOMETHING I
WASN'T INTERESTED IN IT BEFORE.
IT WASN'T BECAUSE THEY KNEW
SO MUCH ABOUT THAT SUBJECT,
IT WAS BECAUSE THEY KNEW
HOW TO EXCITEMENT ME.
AND HOW ARE WE GOING
TO MEASURE THAT?

Steve says LET'S PURSUE THAT.
THE CATHOLIC TEACHERS'
ASSOCIATION HAS ALREADY SAID
IT WILL BOYCOTT THIS TEST,
THIS COMPETENCY TEST THAT
THE PROVINCE WANTS
THEM TO TAKE.
NOW, THE PROVINCE HAS COME
BACK AND SAID, WELL, IF YOU
DO THAT, WE'RE GOING TO
DO SOMETHING ELSE TO YOU.
THEY HAVEN'T BEEN
SPECIFIC ABOUT THAT YET.

Gina says TAKE AWAY SEPARATE
SCHOOL FUNDING.

Steve laughs and says I DON'T THINK
THEY SAID THAT.

Laughing, Gina says I DON'T KNOW.
TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT WHAT TO DO.

Ruth says WHY DON'T WE
SUGGEST PERHAPS THIS?

[laughing]

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK, MARTHA,
ABOUT THIS COMPETENCY TEST?
SHOULD THE TEACHERS HAVE TO
TAKE THEM, OR SHOULD THEY
BOYCOTT THEM?

Martha thinks and says WELL, I WOULDN'T BE
SURPRISED IF THEY BOYCOTTED
THEM.
I WOULDN'T BE OPPOSED TO
THEM BOYCOTTING THEM.
THE PROBLEM IS, SPEAKING
AS SOMEBODY WHO'S BEEN A
MOUTHY PARENT ACTIVIST
FOR DECADES NOW...

Steve says AND PROUD OF IT.

Gina says I LOVE HER
ALREADY, I TELL YOU.

Gina laughs.

Martha continues IF YOU FIGHT LONG ENOUGH,
HARD ENOUGH, THE SYSTEM
WILL EVENTUALLY GIVE IN,
BUT IT WILL GIVE IN IN A
WAY THAT MAKES YOU WISH YOU
HAD KEPT YOUR MOUTH SHUT
AND STAYED HOME.
WE WANTED... EVERYBODY
KNEW THERE WERE GROSSLY
INCOMPETENT
TEACHERS OUT THERE.
AND WE WANTED SOME WAY OF
HAVING THEM EITHER FORCED TO
TAKE SOME KIND OF TRAINING,
OR GET THEM OUT OF OUR
SCHOOLS BECAUSE WHAT WAS
HAPPENING IS THEY WERE JUST
BEING TRANSFERRED ONTO THE
NEXT UNSUSPECTING SCHOOL,
AND WE WANTED A
COLLEGE OF TEACHERS.
THE UNIONS LEGITIMATELY
PERFORM THE FUNCTION IN THE
MARKETPLACE, THE MERCHANT
FUNCTION THAT JANE JACOBS
TALKS ABOUT.
WE HAVE A GUARDIAN FUNCTION
THAT NEEDED TO BE FULFILLED.
AND THE IDEA WAS THE ONTARIO
COLLEGE OF TEACHERS WOULD
BE THE GUARDIAN
FOR THE CHILDREN.

Steve says WHICH WE HAVE NOW.
AND WE HAVE THAT NOW.

Martha continues YEAH, BUT UNFORTUNATELY,
WHAT I KEEP HEARING FROM
PARENT REPRESENTATIVES WHO
ARE IN THE COLLEGE, AND
FROM PARENTS WHO HAVE
BROUGHT COMPLAINTS FORWARD
IS IT'S NOT HAPPENING YET.
MAYBE WE NEED TO
BE MORE PATIENT.
I MEAN, IF A TEACHER MOLESTS A
CHILD, YOU CAN GET RID OF THEM.
BUT IF A TEACHER IS GROSSLY
INSENSITIVE, LIKE THE PHYS ED
TEACHER WHO TOLD A CLASS
I KNEW A CHILD IN, MALE
PHYS ED TEACHER SAID A
MAN SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE
FAITHFUL TO A FAT WIFE.
NOW, I IMMEDIATELY
PHONED UP AND COMPLAINED.
BUT THERE'S NO WAY TO GET
RID OF THAT PERSON UNLESS
HE TRIES SOMETHING
PHYSICAL.

Steve says ANNIE, WHAT DO YOU
WANT TO DO ABOUT THESE TESTS?

Martha says SO THE COLLEGE
HAS TO FULFILL ITS MANDATE,
AND I DON'T SEE THAT.
BUT TESTING EVERY
TEACHER IS ABSURD.

Ruth says IT'S WHETHER YOU DO
A WRITTEN TEST ON HOW TO
TEACH, OR WHETHER THERE'S
AN EVALUATION AS SCHOOL
BOARDS HAVE ALWAYS DONE.
NOT AS EFFECTIVELY AS THEY
MIGHT, BUT THEY HAVE DONE
SOME SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION.

Steve says HANG ON, LET
ME GET ANNIE IN.

Annie says IT'S NOT... I THINK
THEY ARE TWO SEPARATE ISSUES.
AND TEACHER TESTING HAS
BEEN SOLD TO US AS THAT,
A WAY OF GETTING
RID OF BAD TEACHERS.
WHEN IN FACT, WHEN HARRIS
ANNOUNCED THAT WE WERE GOING
TO TEST TEACHERS, IT'S LIKE
ANOTHER PUNISHMENT FOR TEACHERS.
IT'S ANOTHER KIND OF YOU
GUYS ARE BAD AND WE'RE...
NO, BECAUSE THERE ARE METHODS
OF EVALUATING TEACHERS.
AND AS YOU SAY, YOU'RE NOT
NECESSARILY... SOME PEOPLE
ARE REALLY GOOD AT WRITING
TESTS, THEY COULD BE REALLY
CRUMMY TEACHERS.
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE
HAVE TO LOOK AT AND GO,
IF THERE ARE BETTER WAYS OF
EVALUATING THEM, AND BOARDS
DO ALREADY EVALUATE THEM,
OR LOOK AT THE ISSUE OF
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE
ARE SOME TEACHERS WHO ARE
TERRIBLE AND
SHOULDN'T BE TEACHING.

Richard says I'M SURE WHEN MIKE HARRIS
WAS A TEACHER HE WOULD HAVE
DONE VERY WELL ON
ANY WRITTEN TEST.

[laughing]

Steve says YOU POSED AN
INTERESTING QUESTION A
SECOND AGO WHICH JIM COYLE
IN
THE STAR
WROTE ABOUT
WHICH IS THE FACT THAT
HARRIS IS A QUOTE UNQUOTE FAILED
TEACHER IS HAVING SOME
KIND OF INFLUENCE ON HOW
HE MAKES POLICY
DECISIONS ABOUT THAT.

Ruth says BUT IS IT FAIR
TO SAY FAILED TEACHER?
HE WAS NOT FIRED BY
THE SCHOOL BOARD.

Steve says NO, HE WASN'T.

Ruth continues HE MAY HAVE BEEN INCOMPETENT,
BUT WE DON'T KNOW BECAUSE
THERE WAS NO TESTING.
WE JUST KNOW HE
LEFT TEACHING.

Annie says I THINK PEOPLE HAVE
A LOT OF WEIRD FEELINGS ABOUT
TEACHERS, THOUGH, ANYWAY.
I ACTUALLY AGREED
WITH JIM COYLE.

Ruth says I'D RATHER SOMEBODY WHO
WAS NOT A GOOD TEACHER
LEFT THE SYSTEM VOLUNTARILY
AND NOT CONTINUE AS A TEACHER.

Gina says GOOD LUCK!

Richard says AND BECOME PREMIER.

[laughing]

Gina says WHY WOULD YOU
WANT TO LEAVE A JOB WITH
TEN WEEKS VACATION?

Steve says MARTHA'S
GOT THE FLOOR.

Martha says I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT
KIND OF TEST WOULD TELL US
SOMEBODY WOULD BE A GOOD
GRADE ONE CLASSROOM TEACHER
OR AN OAC PHYSICS TEACHER?
THERE IS NO TEST.
AND WHAT HAPPENS IS YOU END UP
WITH SOMETHING LIKE THE EQAO.

She raises her hands as to create the idea of a monster.

Steve says YOU BETTER
SAY WHAT THAT IS.

Martha says SORRY.
THE EDUCATION QUALITY AND
ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WHICH
IS IN CHARGE OF
PROVINCIAL TESTING.

Ruth says THERE IS HUGE
BUREAUCRACY CREATED
BY THIS GOVERNMENT.

Martha says YOU WISHED YOU'D
KEPT YOUR MOUTH SHUT
AND STAY HOME.
THAT WAS ONE EXAMPLE.
WE COMPLAINED ABOUT THE KIND
OF TEACHING TRAINING THAT
TEACHERS WERE GETTING AT THE
FACULTY OF EDUCATION, AND
THEY SAID, NO PROBLEM,
MAKE IT TWICE AS LONG.
WE COMPLAINED WE WANTED
SOME TESTING FOR STUDENTS
BECAUSE KIDS WERE COMING
OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL UNABLE
TO READ AND WRITE.
INSTEAD, SUDDENLY WE HAD
TESTS THAT TOOK TWO WEEKS
TO CONDUCT, AND THIS GIANT
STATISTICAL SYSTEM IS
BUILDING UP WHERE THE
PURPOSE OF THE CHILDREN IS
TO PROVIDE STATISTICAL
DATA FOR THE SYSTEM.
THE WHOLE THING IS
TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.

Steve says LET ME GET INTO ONE MORE
THING HERE, WHICH IS A BIT
OF THE POLITICS
BEHIND THIS.
WE REMEMBER AROUND THIS
TABLE 15 YEARS AGO ONTARIO
DOCTORS TRIED TO GO ON
STRIKE AGAINST THE THEN
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT IN
THE HOPES OF GETTING THE
GOVERNMENT TO PULL
ITS EXTRA BILLING DAY.
BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY,
DOCTORS REALLY WANTED TO
HELP THEIR PATIENTS, AND
THEY COULDN'T REALLY
ORGANIZE A VERY
GOOD STRIKE.
AND I'M WONDERING IF THE SAME
PHILOSOPHY IS AT WORK HERE.
AT THE END OF THE DAY,
TEACHERS LIKE THEIR KIDS.
THEY WANT TO BE WITH THEIR
KIDS, THEY WANT TO DO THE
EXTRACURRICULARS, AND AT
THE END OF THE DAY THE
GOVERNMENT IS COUNTING ON
THEM FOLDING BECAUSE OF THAT.

Annie says BUT I THINK THEY COUNT ON,
AS YOU KIND OF GO DOWN,
THEY COUNT ON PRINCIPALS TO
COVER UP ALL OF THE KIND OF
DEFICIT THERE IS NOW IN
SCHOOLS, AND MAKE IT WORK.
SCHOOL BOARDS TO WANT
TO MAKE THINGS WORK.
PARENTS END UP DOING THINGS
THEY REALLY THINK THEY
SHOULDN'T BE DOING LIKE
FUNDRAISING FOR TEXTBOOKS
BECAUSE IT'S FOR THEIR KIDS
AND THEY WANT TO MAKE IT WORK.
AND I THINK THEY COUNT
RIGHTLY ON TEACHERS GOING
I CAN'T REALLY
BARE TO DO THAT.

Gina says DOCTORS CAN'T...
JUST CAN'T DO IT.
THEY CAN'T DO IT, THEY'RE
NOT WELL-ORGANIZED, AS FAR
AS I'M CONCERNED, NEVER
HAVE BEEN WELL-ORGANIZED.

Ruth says THEY DID IT IN
SASKATCHEWAN AGAINST
THE NDP WHEN MEDICARE
WAS FIRST PROPOSED.
VERY EFFECTIVELY.

Gina says DOCTORS AGAINST THE
LIBERALS, I MEAN, IT WAS
LIKE WATCHING, THE BOY SCOUTS
COULD HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB.
BUT THE TEACHERS, AS FAR AS
I CAN SEE IN THE LAST FEW
STRIKES THEY'VE HAD, THEY
ARE DEDICATED TO THE
POSITION THAT THEY'VE TAKEN.
THEY'RE COMMITTED TO THE
POSITION THEY'VE TAKEN.
AND WHILE THEY CARE ABOUT
THEIR STUDENTS, NOT ALL OF
THEM, BUT MANY OF THEM, CARE
ABOUT THEIR STUDENTS, THE
FACT OF THE MATTER IS
THEY'RE GOING TO GO AND
FIGHT FOR, AS YOU SAY,
IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY.
AND IF THE PRESENT
GOVERNMENT DOESN'T SIT DOWN
AND UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S
ALL ABOUT MONEY, AND IF THE
TEACHERS DON'T UNDERSTAND
THAT IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY,
AND FORGET ALL THIS
NONSENSE AND THIS RHETORIC,
AND LET'S MOVE IN OUR
PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO LOWER
STUDENT TEACHER RATIOS,
WHICH REQUIRES MORE MONEY,
WE WILL GET THE COOPERATION
OF THE TEACHERS WITH
RESPECT TO THEIR...

Steve says QUICK
LAST WORD TO RUTH.

Ruth says GINA, THE ALTERNATIVE
BUDGET GROUP WHICH IS NOT
A GOVERNMENT GROUP, HAS
DEMONSTRATED THAT 1 BILLION
DOLLARS HAS BEEN CUT FROM
EDUCATION IN THIS PROVINCE
BY YOUR GOVERNMENT.
SO HOW DO YOU EXPECT...

They talk at the same time.

Steve says OKAY, LET ME JUMP IN.
I'M GOING TO USE MY HOST
PREROGATIVE HERE TO CHANGE
THE TOPIC FOR JUST A COUPLE
OF MINUTES WE HAVE LEFT.
AND MY APOLOGIES TO
EVERYBODY AT THIS TABLE,
EXCEPT FOR BROTHER MAHONEY.

Gina says NO, MA-HONE-EY.

Steve smiles and says NO, THAT'S NOT HIS NAME.
WHO I NOW GET TO GRILL
ABOUT WHAT HE WAS DOING
A WEEK AGO TODAY.

Ruth says WATCHING
4th READING.

Gina says IT'S A BOOK CLUB.

[laughing]

Steve says HANG ON A SEC, DON'T
KILL THE CLOCK FOR ME HERE.
THIS BEING THE IDES OF
MARCH, WE KNOW BROTHER
MAHONEY WAS ASSEMBLED AT
THE CONSTELLATION HOTEL
WITH 20 PLUS MPs FROM THE
LIBERAL CAUCUS, AND YOU AND
JOHN WEBSTER AND HURLEY
WAS THERE, TOO, I GUESS?

Richard says SO I READ IN THE
STORY LAST NIGHT.

Steve and Gina laugh.

Steve says YOU SHOULD KNOW.
I HEARD YOU CHAIRED
THE MEETING.
WAS THIS, GIVEN THE HISTORY
ON THE IDES OF MARCH OF
CABALS AGAINST GUYS
WITH THE INITIALS JC,
WHAT WERE YOU UP TO?

[laughing]

Richard says SAMPLING THE FINE
CUISINE AT THE REGAL
CONSTELLATION HOTEL.
ONE OF ONTARIO'S GREAT...
THEY MUST BE GET MORE
PUBLICITY FROM THIS.
I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO
WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
AT THE MEETING.
WHAT HAS BEEN REPORTED IN
THE STORIES IS NOT ENTIRELY
INCORRECT IN THE SENSE THERE
IS A LOT OF CONCERN AMONGST
A NUMBER OF MPS IN THE
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT OF THESE
STORIES OF PAUL MARTIN
LEADING TO GO HEAD THE IMF,
THIS WAS GOING TO
IMMINENT AND SO FORTH.
THE MEETING WAS CALLED IN
REACTION TO THAT CONCERN.
I ACTUALLY KNOW MANY OF
THOSE MPs BECAUSE THEY ARE
FRIENDS OF MINE.
I WAS PAUL'S EXECUTIVE
ASSISTANT LAST TIME
HE RAN FOR LEADER.
I MET WITH HIM MANY TIMES
BEFORE, I'LL PROBABLY MEET
WITH HIM AGAIN.

Steve says WAS IT A STRATEGY
MEETING TO FIGURE OUT
WHAT TO DO AT THIS
WEEKEND'S CONVENTION?

Richard says NO, IN FACT, THE ONLY
DISCUSSION THEY HAD ABOUT
THE CONVENTION WAS THE
CONVENTION WOULD BE A
RALLYING POINT FOR THE
PRIME MINISTER, AS IT
ALWAYS IS, AND THE
CONVENTION ITSELF, IS ONLY
PURPOSE OF A CONVENTION
IS USUALLY TO DO POLICY
AND SO FORTH, AND THERE'S
NO LEADERSHIP REVIEW
AT THESE CONVENTIONS.

Steve says ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT
HOW TO GET PAUL MARTIN TO
STAY ON, GIVEN THERE
WAS A LOT OF SPECULATION
HE WAS LEAVING?

Richard says CONCERN ABOUT THAT FROM
PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN
WORKING WITH PAUL, AND
ARE FANS OF PAUL'S AND
SUPPORTERS OF PAUL'S.

Steve says WAS IT A CABAL?

Richard says NO.

Ruth says YOU WERE JUST COOLING
THEM OUT AND SAYING
DON'T GET EXCITED.

Gina says DID ANYBODY COME UP
AND SAY ET TU, BRUTE?

[laughing]

Steve says NASTY, NASTY.

[all talking at once]

Richard says FOR LIBERALS TO MEET IN
MEETING ROOMS, THIS IS
A FREE COUNTRY, LAST
TIME I CHECKED.
IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN,
IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE.
EVERY PERSON WHO'S ACTUALLY
EVER ASPIRED AT LEADING A
MAJOR POLITICAL PARTY, HAS
BEEN, WHEN THAT TIME CAME,
READY FOR THAT.
JEAN CHRETIEN WAS READY FOR
THAT, AND JOHN TURNER WAS
READY FOR THAT, AND BOB
RAE WAS READY FOR THAT,
NO DOUBT.
RUTH, I WOULD DOUBT YOU
WERE EVER PART OF A CABAL.

Steve says I'LL LET YOU
OFF THE HOOK THERE.
RUTH, SAY WHAT
YOU WANTED TO SAY?

Ruth says I WANTED TO SAY
HAPPY St. PATRICK'S DAY.

Steve says WELL SAID,
WELL SAID.
THANK YOU FOR
WEARING GREEN.
ONE MORE THING
WE'VE GOT TO DO.
GERRY, GIVE ME A
COUPLE OF SECONDS HERE.
WE HAVE, I DON'T KNOW IF OUR
VIEWERS KNOW THIS, BUT WE HAVE
SISTERS OF TWO FAMOUS SHOW
BUSINESS PEOPLE HERE.
WE KNOW ANNIE KIDDER, LET'S
HAVE A TWO SHOT OF THE GUESTS.
ANNIE KIDDER, OF COURSE
MARGOT KIDDER'S SISTER.
AND ON THE LEFT, MARTHA
HARRON, AND CAN WE HAVE THE
SHOT HERE, LOOK ON THE COVER
OF ELM STREET THIS MONTH.
THERE'S MARY HARRON,
WHO'S DIRECTED AND WRITTEN
AMERICAN PSYCHO,
THE NEW
MOVIE THAT'S COMING OUT SOON.

He shows the cover of a magazine with the face of a woman.

Steve continues SO THE QUESTION THEN
BECOMES, WHY DO SHOW
BUSINESS SISTERS GO INTO THE
EDUCATIONAL RADICAL BUSINESS?
THAT'S WHAT I
WANT TO KNOW?

[laughing]

Richard says PASSIONATE
ABOUT EDUCATION.

Steve says WE'LL SAVE
THAT FOR ANOTHER DAY.
THAT'S ANOTHER DISCUSSION
FOR ANOTHER DAY.

Gina says I SEE A NEW
MOVIE COMING OUT.

Steve says MARTHA HARRON, ANNIE
KIDDER, AND TO THE THREE OF
YOU, MANY THANKS, AND WE'LL
DO IT AGAIN NEXT TIME.
AND THAT'S
4th
READING
FOR THIS WEEK.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
HOPE TO SEE YOU
AGAIN NEXT WEEKEND.

Music plays and the end credits roll, as Steve and the rest continue the conversation.

Queen's Park Bureau Chief, Susanna Kelley.

Producer, Bret Ballah.

Editor, Paul Colbourne.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2000, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Show #189 "Classroom Battleground"