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Ford Nation: Warnings and Recklessness

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

Ford Nation: Reach For Sensibility, Not Alcohol

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Ford Nation And Teachers This Week: Where To Begin?

Oh, Doug Ford, you've got to do some research before making broad statements that simply aren't true.

Regarding your statement to the media that teachers have three months of holidays: in short, nope. There are several hundred teachers - if not thousands of us - who spend a good lot of our summers working by teaching summer school, marking EQAO tests (did I mention those should be scrapped already? No?), attending workshops about how to help our underprivileged and struggling students, and taking additional qualifications in order to help kids more effectively. Some of us are even actively engaged supervising students as they undertake projects like films so they can get into film school one day, or we are busy writing curriculum. I'm not saying we don't take days off - we aren't superhuman - but to state that we have three months of holidays is a lie.

Also, the last I looked, school ends at the end of June and starts up again in early September, which means your argument that teachers have three months of holidays is already fallacious just because of your poor math skills. July and August make two months, not three, sir.

I also take exception to the use of the term "gig." Teaching is a career, if not a lifestyle choice, and believe me when I say we do not make anywhere near what today's rock stars make. Is it a great job? Absolutely - there's nothing like the feeling that comes with realizing that students are understanding concepts that they have been struggling with, and there's nothing like the feeling of seeing that smile a student gets when they realize their own hard work - and a teacher's encouragement and guidance - got them to where they are today. It is not a "gig" - it's a career path that endures a lifetime for both student and teacher.

Then there was your warning that teachers shouldn't strike. You said, again, that teachers have declared "war," but I would suggest that perhaps it is you who have threatened war on the education system in choosing to decimate the education system the way that it appears you are poised to do. I am not suggesting that there aren't cuts to the Ontario budget that don't need to happen - far from it - but the two sectors that any government should keep sacred are education and health care.

An educated public is a strong public, and educators and students alike are fighting for the education students deserve. Increased class sizes, which will ultimately mean fewer teachers to support students, and a lack of support for those with specialized needs is not the way to ensure Ontario's education system continues to be among the most highly regarded.

It's time you actually listened to the people of Ontario and save the education they hold so dear.

Ford Nation And The Ambulance Services Merger

Currently, there are 59 operators of emergency and paramedic services across Ontario. These are scattered throughout the province and help ensure that the people of Ontario in any community, regardless of size, can get emergency services when they need them, and fast.

The Ford government announced on April 16 that these 59 operators would be consolidated into 10 services across the province, a move that was apparently hinted at in the budget, according to CBC, but not formally announced until April 16. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario was reportedly shocked by the announcement, and so was the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs, who called an emergency meeting.

As they've done with teachers, the Ford government has promised that no paramedic would lose their job.

However, the move to merge 59 services into 10 is deeply concerning, as no one is currently sure what the merger will look like and could put the Ontario public at risk in spite of the hard work by paramedic services across the province.

The concern is, as it should be, about response times. If these 59 providers are merged to 10, the concern is that response time to an incident could go up, not be "modernized" as Ontario minister of health and long term care Christine Elliott suggests. NDP leader Andrea Horwath suggested that the public would be put at greater risk because of the merger proposed by the Ford government.

"Local knowledge helps dispatchers send first responders quickly and more accurately to locations. Directing ambulances through regional hubs is likely to increase response times, leaving people waiting for life-saving services and putting their lives at risk," Horwath said, according to CTV.

Again, there are areas of the Ontario budget that should be cut - say, in the salaries of our government officials, who already make six figures annually and whose benefits are outlined here - but health and education should not be. Our lives could depend on it.