"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday, 26 March 2012

Foreign Travel On The Public's Dime

Christopher Watts has a post this morning on the significant foreign travels and expenditures of public school board staff and trustees.

The separate school board has set up a school in Italy. I'm hazy on the details. It's a few years since I read about it.

The real prize for foreign travel should probably go to York Region.

They've been doing it since the Region was created. Millions will have been spent by now. Just last month, the Economic Development Committee heard about regional staff being in Las Vegas to entice business to locate in York Region.

I recall a tour of Europe to determine what they do with garbage over there.That would be in the early eighties.

Nothing much came of it. I would be willing to bet, there isn't a country in Europe sending garbage over their border because the population don't want to deal with their own garbage.

I went to Atlanta once, to a solid waste management conference. We saw videos at the conference. The conclusion there was after everything had been contemplated or tried, properly handled land fill was still the best option.

We still have landfill. But not where we are. We spend millions to ship it to other people's backyard.

A fleet of trucks trundle down the Queen Elizabeth Highway to Michigan every day dripping effluent all the way.

The Honorable Bob Rae, once NDP Premier of Ontario, was the only Premier ever, to identify, after a thorough study of York Region, a suitable site in East Gwillimbury. It would have been separated by miles from the nearest inhabitants.

He was the Premier who suggested public servants take days off without pay to save their jobs in the economic crisis he inherited from the days of the David Peterson, Ontario's Liberal government.

Now...we all know,the price Bob Rae paid for dealing with critical issues. He is still paying it. Harpers Party are plying us with paid advertising of a partial and therefore distorted history every day.

We also know where the blow that felled him came from.

That was the mastermind of Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Umion of Public Servants. They still remember with bitterness the audacity of a Premier trying to save jobs by asking everyone to share a little of the pain.

I went to Sweden once. Paid my own way. Our hosts were teachers and schools. Swedish people have a different attitude towards their government.

While we were there, teachers had recently accepted a drop in pay to assist the government in getting through an economic crisis.

We were on a bus to a place of interest when the teacher told us about it in very simple terms.

Swedish teachers consider themselves privileged to be doing what they do. They view teaching the nation's children and the future of the nation in the same terms.

Schools are beautiful. They have competitive swimming pools.fine cafeterias serving real food.

On the day ofarrival, we were received in a house where students cooked and served a fine meal. Table accoutrements were fashioned in classrooms. Mats were woven on massive looms. Designs were traditional Scandinavian. Th is part of the school was a heritage building.

A high bright room held huge tables where male and female students were cutting fabric and learning the art of designing.

We were with the St Andrew's College band. They were playing and competing with counterparts from Swedish public schools.

From what I observed on that trip, which I paid for myself, Swedes do not identify a separation from themselves and government.They are the government.

It was a memorable trip.


Anonymous said...

"A fleet of trucks trundle down the Queen Elizabeth Highway to Michigan every day dripping effluent all the way."

Not anymore... they trundle down to a huge land fill that is just outside of London in Elgin County. Michigan kicked us out.

Anonymous said...

Sweden is a very socialist country as well. People in this country are not prepared to spend more taxes - especially the way our exisiting taxes are spent!