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Zeitgeist

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Zeitgeist last won the day on April 4

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  1. I'd like to think that we can all get back at it without seeing a rise in cases, and we'll do what we can, but we may have to accept the Swedish model. Good public health hygiene and good physical health has allowed Sweden to keep its schools and economy open while having a lower death rate than some jurisdictions that shut everything down, such as Quebec and the UK. We can reopen schools, emphasize fitness, enforce public hygiene, get most people back to full-time work, and wrap up the CERB and wage subsidies if we get tough about the right things. That would end the debt hemorrhaging.
  2. I can only speak for Ontario, but I have to say our provincial government has been very focused and effective on the COVID front, but as I expected, there's incredible constipation on the reopening front. We've reopened so far in a quite responsible way, but the most important economic factor will be the return to school. If we can't get students back to school on a daily basis, I don't think we can return the economy to capacity. If people can't work and young people can't learn in a serious way, our economies will limp on and our debt will skyrocket. We need close to full participation of the labour force in largely full-time work to manage all this debt and provide the services which we value, including the dole for those who need it. It would also be nice to have restaurants, theatres, sports, and the range of entertainment options we enjoyed. People need to work to have the funds to participate in the marketplace and to provide the revenue businesses need to survive. We need permission to have a marketplace and to find a safe way to function in the midst of COVID-19 because it could be with us for years. The virus won't disappear any time soon, but much else could if we're not careful.
  3. Occupy whose land, the land that their ancestors took from someone else? The real issue is policies like the Indian Act that create two-tier citizens. Either we all pay taxes, have title, and live under the same laws with the same rights and freedoms or we have systemic institutionalization and inter-generational dependence, which is what the reserve system is about on both sides of the border. The sums given to Indigenous Affairs are staggering. Representation without taxation is just as bad as taxation without representation. We need to be invested in our society because our shared interests supersede racial distinctions. Are your business and government leaders apologizing every morning for the Indian Wars? Are the descendants of the Loyalists who fled to Canada seeking reparations for the land they left behind? These are perhaps other topics, but they relate to our debt because we have a PM who doesn't know how to make hard choices and spend hard earned tax dollars responsibly. Billions to infrastructure and no projects to show for it. Millions in inquiries and new regulations with only canceled resource development projects and protests to show for it. Inquisitions of political correctness and empowerment of the ignorant are the hallmarks of this government. I guess we got weed to help us forget.
  4. True. Did you see this? Singh says Trump is better than Trudeau on systemic racism. Be careful what you wish for, Singh. https://globalnews.ca/video/rd/ceccae22-c127-11ea-88e9-0242ac110003/?jwsource=cl
  5. For two weeks it impacted a few sectors, yes. How's Keystone coming along?
  6. Ha ha, to wrap itself in a flag signifying a more violent history? Too much...
  7. Central and Eastern Canada, as well as B.C. were growing despite the Alberta commodity slump before COVID.
  8. Cite evidence. You started the off-topic move.
  9. Ha ha, you mean it was benignly settled as opposed to taken by force in the spirit of Manifest Destiny as in Murica? Is it better to move into land that no one contested at the time it was settled or to take it by force from people who saw a reason to defend it? Curious as to your opinion.
  10. After three months of distance learning that saw low student participation and put parents in the impossible position of teaching their kids while trying to work from home, the Province of Ontario is now proposing three options for September: return of all students to daily school with careful health hygiene, 100% distance learning, or a hybrid that divides all students into two cohorts that attend on alternate days/weeks. While it looks like 100% distance learning is off the table unless there's a big surge of Covid-19 cases or a local outbreak, the hybrid model seems to be the one being promoted by the Province. I believe this would be disastrous for both education and the economy. There's no way to get workplaces up and running on a full-time basis if parents cannot do their work without having to take care of their children at the same time. A part-time return to school would put working parents, including educators, in a very compromising position, having to either watch their children for half of the work week while trying to do their jobs or scramble to find daycare at the same time as thousands of other parents. Such a plan would not be safer than full-time school for students, as many of these children would be in daycares with students from multiple schools, presenting a greater health risk than having students attend one facility with the same children all week. The poorest families with the most precarious employment would be hardest hit by a part-time school schedule, having to pay for daycare or make the choice of risking losing their jobs in order to take care of their kids. We know that a learning model that is exclusively distance-learning from home is bad for student engagement, socialization, and education outcomes. We also know that having everyone return to school in a safe way than includes the necessary social distancing is a challenge without reducing class sizes and ensuring there is additional classroom space in schools. However, this can be done without substantial new hiring or budgetary increases. We need to accept a few conditions in order to make daily return to school possible. I propose, for staffing reasons, that non-classroom teachers (librarians, planning time teachers, French as a second language teachers, and a proportion of special education teaching staff) become regular classroom teachers throughout the remainder of the pandemic, so that class sizes can be reduced. While this may reduce the number of special education teachers available to provide segregated classes for special needs students, we were moving to a more inclusive special education model and classroom teachers will be better positioned to support special needs students with smaller class sizes. In order to have this kind of schedule, certain curriculum will have to be provided online, such as FSL. However, it would protect on-site learning for the core curricula of literacy, numeracy, science, and even geography and history (Social Studies). Phys. Ed would be taught within the classroom or outside where possible. This schedule requires that teachers take their planning time at home, as teachers would not be getting their own planning time coverage from non-classroom planning time teachers during the school day. The planning time and FSL teachers would teach regular classes. This schedule would shorten the school day, not only because of the planning time teachers would be taking at home, but also because this shorter school day eliminates the need for an afternoon recess, and for safety reasons, the lunch hour should be shortened, probably to 30 or 40 minutes. Unstructured periods like recess provide too much opportunity for breaking social distancing guidelines. Reducing recess time doesn’t impact instructional time. Shorter recesses could be taken in the regular classroom. Teachers could take their classes outside as long as classes don’t combine. Another sticking point for having all students in elementary schools at the same time is lack of space for social distancing, especially if class sizes are capped at an arbitrary number of, say, 15. If non-classroom teachers’ rooms are freed up (libraries, gyms, conference rooms, etc.), there will be additional spaces available for classes. There should not be an arbitrary class size cap, but rather a formula of students to square footage, so that social distancing is maintained no matter the class size. For example, a class of 28 students could easily be accommodated in a library or gym. Most elementary schools would be able to safely social distance all of their students if all of their available school spaces were used and non-classroom teachers took regular classes. In exceptional circumstances, some classes would have to be relocated to other schools, board-owned facilities, or leased facilities (adult-learning centres, high schools, banquet halls or sports facilities that cannot open until the final phase of reopening, etc.). School boards are able to implement such measures if they are given some basic criteria to follow, and they can do this without increasing budgets, as long as there is flexibility in allocations. If parents were shown such a plan and assured that social distancing and the necessary cleaning and safety measures will be taken, most students would return to school on a full-time basis, albeit with a shorter school day. It's also advisable for staffing purposes to get a short-term commitment from parents as to whether or not they intend to send their children to school, for a time frame of say 2-3 months at a time. That way schools will have a firm basis upon which to divide students and staff classes. It’s only fair to ask this commitment from parents for budgeting purposes. Such a plan would be sustainable if the pandemic continued for many months or even years. It could be flexible and adjusted for periods of distance learning if there are surges or local outbreaks of Covid-19. It's important to have a clear process for return to school that maximizes safety while returning as many students to school on a daily basis as possible, so that students are not robbed of opportunities and families are not put under unnecessary additional stress, financial or otherwise. Thoughts?
  11. Trump's Mt. Rushmore address was significant and powerful. It was underreported but may be remembered as an important rallying cry making the case for the idea of America. It was drowned out by accusations of divisiveness, but his emphasis on the importance of respecting American heroes, including Americans of colour, is a very important message when we see the mindless kind of behaviour that destroys statues of abolitionists. Anarchy and nihilism are real threats right now.
  12. Systemic racism cannot be evidenced through individual actions unless there's a high prevalence of such individual acts or racist policies. If an organization's policies are anti-racist, as well as its communications, and the vast majority of members are not acting in a racist manner or exhibiting racist attitudes, then it's false to ascribe systemic racism to said organization. However, when we see a high prevalence of such incidents in certain police forces, it's fair to call that out and try to discern the sources of such attitudes and behaviour, to provide better training, and weed out the bad apples. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that some neighborhoods do have more crime than others for a host of reasons. Some neighborhoods have a dominant ethnic makeup. I think when police share the ethnic background of the community they police and when they bother to get to know the local people's stories and challenges, they're better positioned to address both crime and social problems, because they are more understanding and helping to improve people's lots rather than catching them out and throwing the book at them just because they can.
  13. Dialamah's views above generalize and paint people into a race-based identity. Whites, blacks, hispanics, Indians, and so on, are just individuals who can only be understood by their words and deeds. Painting any race as a type is the source of our racial tensions today. We've moved from seeing only colour to attempting a form of colour blindness to a new kind of race-based identification. It's sold as appreciating differences, but it can play out as accentuating differences over what we have in common. It's a new search for racial purity, just in the other direction, as some blacks compete to show their blackness and some whites try to prove their alliance with blacks. In truth most people are just trying to get along with the people around them. We're seeing kids who didn't think or worry much about race being told that they are black and should be worried about this fact. We're telling kids of different colours who may get along very well about racial conflict. While racism does exist, I'm not sure how much this racial awareness campaign reduces or perpetuates racial tension. It would seem forced and awkward to inject a lot of discussion of race into my conversations with friends of different racial backgrounds, not because I think we should avoid important dialogue that makes us uncomfortable, but because it brings the richness of our friendship to the level simply of race, which is an incomplete characterization of people and that which makes people friends. Of course I want to prevent racism and protect friends from racism, but constantly reminding everyone of their respective races and colour seems retrograde and even racist.
  14. Anyone with a smidgen of sense knows how blessed they are to live in Canada. I'm also a dual citizen with Britain, but my first allegiance is to Canada, a very dynamic, safe, harmonious, and free country relative to most others. We're not staring in the rear view mirror imposing a class system or getting mired in conflict and violence. There's much to appreciate.
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