HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s premier says there’s “room for us to compromise” in his government’s showdown with the province’s teachers union over education reforms.“We have certain objectives, they have certain objectives,” Premier Stephen McNeil said after a meeting Monday with Liette Doucet, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.“We won’t agree on everything but I believe there is definitely room for us to compromise, so I said we would meet again.”Doucet agreed the discussion was positive, in that both sides are willing to continue talking. There was no immediate word on when the next meeting would be.“We want to make changes in the classroom and we want to make sure the changes are positive for our students, said Doucet. “We really need to work together to develop trust with the government and that’s what we are looking to do.”In a vote last week, more than 80 per cent of teachers endorsed strike action to protest the province’s decision to largely endorse reforms contained in a report by consultant Avis Glaze, including the removal of 1,000 principals, vice-principals and supervisors from the union.The Glaze report also recommends eliminating the province’s seven English-language school boards and creating a provincial college of educators to license and regulate the teaching profession.Any strike would be illegal — and teachers could face fines of up to $1,000 a day.McNeil said he met alone with Doucet and discussed point-by-point all of Glaze’s 22 recommendations.McNeil said the government intends to pass legislation this spring based on the Glaze report, but it wouldn’t be introducing a bill when the house reconvenes Tuesday. The premier said he doesn’t know when a bill might come.Doucet wouldn’t say whether teachers would strike if the legislation includes the removal of school administrators from the union.“We have to wait and see what the legislation says,” said Doucet.McNeil said his discussion with Doucet also touched on an upcoming report on classroom inclusion.Classroom composition, and inclusion of students with special needs, was a major issue that was seldom discussed publicly during a 16-month contract dispute that saw teachers walk off the job for a day and stage a protest outside the provincial legislature one year ago.The Liberals eventually passed legislation which imposed a contract and also ended a work-to-rule job action.McNeil said the report would be an opportunity to signal to teachers that the government is serious about providing classroom support.“That’s the report (inclusion) that is important to me,” he said. “Our budget will reflect a commitment to this report even though we haven’t seen the final product.”Monday’s talks followed a meeting Friday between Doucet and Education Minister Zach Churchill.
TORONTO – A published report suggests the Ontario government is poised to reduce Toronto city council to just over half its current size.The Toronto Star, citing unnamed sources within the Progressive Conservative government, reports that legislation will be introduced “as early as Monday” to reduce the number of council seats to 25 from 47.The report comes on the eve of a deadline for candidates to register for the municipal election on Oct. 22.Premier Doug Ford has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, just hours before the 2 p.m. deadline.Mayor John Tory will also speak to the media Friday morning to discuss the reported plan. Tory told television station CP24 that he had a “very animated conversation” with Ford Thursday night and would have “much more to say” in what he called a major statement.Tory declined to comment directly on the Star report, saying he wanted to collect his thoughts and choose his words carefully before reacting, but added he is concerned about anything that “affects the wellbeing of the people of the City of Toronto.”Reaction from other politicians was swift, with Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath saying Ford “cooked up a backroom plot to use his new power to meddle in municipal elections.”In her statement, Horwath said Ford wants a smaller number of councillors “to make it easier for him to control Toronto city hall.”Toronto city councillor Joe Mihevic posted a tweet calling the reported Ford plan a “destructive attack on local democracy” while fellow councillor Joe Cressy tweeted that Toronto’s residents “will suffer because of this back of a napkin plan.”Councillor Janet Davis weighed in by calling the reported move “a gross misuse of power” while former Ontario premier Bob Rae labelled it “chaotic and disrespectful.”Once councillor, however, spoke in favour of the reported plan. George Mammoliti told a Toronto TV station that the city needs to start getting its fiscal house in order “and the way to do that is with a smaller city council.”The newspaper also reported that the Ford government will cancel planned elections for regional chair positions in two Greater Toronto Area communities — Peel Region and York Region.Such a move would put a damper on the political redemption hopes of Patrick Brown, whom Ford replaced as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.Brown, who stepped down as Tory leader in January amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, had thrown his hat into the ring to become the chair of Peel Region.Horwath said reports that Ford is cancelling those regional elections “are deeply chilling.”Representatives for the Progressive Conservative government did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, August 15, 2017 – Nassau – Executives of Club Med North America paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday. Club Med North America Vice-President Xavier Mufraggi, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Minnis in photo.(Photo/OPM Media Services) Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp