Ontario gvmt sets “dangerous precedent” of bypassing Catholic boards in teacher contract deal
By Thaddeus Baklinski
TORONTO, July 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what has been called a “dangerous” precedent, Ontario’s Liberal government reached a key contract agreement on July 5th directly with the pro-homosexual Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) after the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) left the bargaining table late Wednesday night. OCSTA, which represents all Catholic school boards in the province, negotiates the contracts with its Catholic teachers, with the Ontario government acting as a go-between, but was stunned to find the province took over without any consultation.
Kathy Burtnik, vice-president of OCSTA, said negotiations broke off over concerns the deal on the table “did not represent the best interest of students.” She stated she was not aware that negotiations were under way between the government and the OECTA union after other unions representing elementary, high school and French school teachers walked away from the talks.
“At no point were we informed or was it even intimated that a potential agreement could be made between OECTA and the ministry, and we are absolutely opposed to any agreement made without our involvement,” Burtnik said, adding that cutting the school boards out of negotiation sets a dangerous precedent.
“We are dismayed at the dangerous precedent this agreement sets,” said Burtnik.
A spokesman for Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) said the agreement between the McGuinty government and the Catholic teachers’ union is an undemocratic attempt to make board trustees, who are the elected representatives of parents, irrelevant.
“By cutting out local government, that is the local boards of education, McGuinty has perverted democracy,” CLC’s Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews. “This move represents a hostile takeover of the education system by big government, and McGuinty is making the role of elected school officials totally irrelevant. The contempt McGuinty has for democracy is astounding.”
Noting that one of the concessions OECTA made was a 2-year wage freeze, Fonseca pointed out that, “While economic conservatives may applaud finally getting a union to agree to a wage freeze, and I don’t disagree, there is a larger, more important principle at stake relating to liberty.
“This has frightening implications for parental rights and democratic freedom. After all, the trustees are the legal representatives of parents. The closer McGuinty gets to making trustees irrelevant, the closer he gets to eradicating the authority of parents within the education system. Is that his objective? There is a psychological repercussion of having teachers basically reject their employer (the school board), to sign a deal directly with the Liberal government. In essence, it makes McGuinty their employer and the school board trustees nothing but window dressing,” Fonseca stated.
Kathy Burtnik told the National Post yesterday that, “The precedent this sets as to who the employer is, as far as labour relations go, is quite confounding,” adding that, “I saw that the minister [Ontario education minister Laurel Broten] made a comment today about the importance of working with their education partners and how good that can be. Well, one of their partners does not know what has been agreed to.”
Minister Broten said, “Many people thought that this day would never come, that we would never agree, that we were too far apart. But this agreement demonstrates the value of partnership,” according to a Globe and Mail report, and stated that the deal with OECTA will act as a “road map” for bargaining with the other unions.
The Catholic teachers’ association issued a media release late Thursday with highlights of the deal, which include a two year wage freeze for all educators and principals, three unpaid professional development days in 2013-14, and reduction of paid sick days from 20 to 10, which can no longer be accumulated.
“We continued discussions, even when other unions left the table, because we believed that negotiating was the best way to secure a fair and reasonable agreement for our members - and we believe we have achieved that goal,” said Kevin O’Dwyer, OECTA president. “This agreement mitigates the impact of the government’s original parameters, protects younger teachers from having to make larger sacrifices and achieves significant gains for our members on key non-monetary issues.”
Reaction from local Catholic school boards across the province was consistent with the surprise and dismay expressed by Burtnik.
Barbara Holland, chairwoman of the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, told the Windsor Star, “We were a little dismayed,” noting that school boards are teachers’ employers. “We had not been given any indication they [OECTA] could sign with the province.”
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board director of education Greg Reeves expressed shock that the provincial government and the teachers’ association reached an agreement without the involvement of the representative of the school boards.
“That’s a very dangerous precedent this agreement sets,” he said in a Peterborough Examiner report.
A Progressive Conservative MPP, Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton), waded in saying the Liberal government’s actions infringe upon the school boards’ rights. “They feel usurped,” MacLeod said, according to the Toronto Star.
Jack Fonseca pointed out the connection between the Liberal government’s “power grab” from the boards, and “the homosexual agenda of Bill 13 which McGuinty rammed down the throats of unwilling parents.”
“More than ever before,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews, “Catholic teachers will perceive the provincial government as their boss, instead of the school board. It’s reasonable to assume that as teachers are unmoored, little by little, from subservience to trustees/parents, the more they’ll shift allegiance to the government. After all, who wants to upset the boss who signs your pay cheque.”
If OECTA’s agreement with the government is to act as a “road map” for the other unions, as Minister Broten has stated, Fonseca warned that “they had to feel they were benefitting from their pal once again.”
“As far as the optics of the ‘concessions’ made by OECTA, I don’t trust them,” Fonseca remarked.
“OECTA is 100% in favour of McGuinty’s radical gay agenda. In the 2011 election, OECTA was part of the Liberal election campaign, raising millions to elect McGuinty. There’s something we don’t know. In time, I’m sure the details will surface.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty
Email: [email protected]
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association
Kevin O’Dwyer, OECTA president
65 ST. Clair Ave. East, Suite 400, Toronto, ON M4T 2Y8
Toll Free: 1.800.268.7230
Email: [email protected]
Ontario Minister of Education, Laurel Broten
900 Bay Street, 14th Floor, Mowat Block
Toronto ON M7A 1L2
Email: via website
Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association
Kevin Kobus, Executive Director
P.O. Box 2064, Suite 1804, 20 Eglinton Ave. W Toronto, ON M4R 1K8
Phone: 416-932-9460 Ext. 222
Email: [email protected]
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.