Archive for November, 2012

Classroom. Image: Labpluto123

Ontario Teachers’ Strike Actions May Escalate In December

The “strike actions” that teachers are taking in Ontario may escalate in December.

In this case, “strike actions” refer to things the teachers and their union are doing to bring attention to the issues that are important to them.

In order to get that attention, many Ontario teachers have already chosen to not participate in extra-curricular activities as well as other things on certain days of the week.

by · November 29, 2012 · News, Politics
Mark Carney in 2010. Image: Ww2censor

Bank Of Canada’s Loss Is England’s Gain

On Monday, Mark Carney made news when he announced that he was leaving his job as Governor of the Bank of Canada to become the Governor of the Bank of England.

The governor of a country’s central bank watches over the country’s money, and sets interest rates for borrowing or lending money to governments and others.

The governor also has to make sure there is enough cash in government accounts to cover all the programs it runs.

The central bank’s governor sets policies and rules for money matters at the highest level.

Carney told reporters that he took the job with the Bank of England because it will be a challenge.

He meant that he wanted to see if he could do a harder, or different, job than what he is doing now.

England is part of the United Kingdom, which is a member of the European Union.

Right now, the European Union is facing big decisions to make sure Europe’s financial future is strong.

Carney will have to help England to make those decisions.

by · November 28, 2012 · News
Ukulele. Image: Wemba.

Introducing Ukes To Youths

The kids at one elementary school in eastern Toronto get to play ukuleles every week.

The ukulele lessons are thanks to Melanie Doane and James Hill, two musicians who helped launch the Ukulele in the Classroom program, an ongoing teacher-training program and ukulele teaching method.

A ukulele is a small string instrument that looks like a mini guitar.

It has a long neck and a hollow body, but instead of having six strings like a guitar, a ukulele only has four.

Making music with a uke is a good way for a big group of people to learn about and experience music.

“It’s a springboard into music,” says Doane.

A uke is small and affordable, so people of all ages can learn the basics of how to play, like plucking and strumming the strings.

From there, groups of ukulele players can learn how to play together to create harmony and layers.

After only a short time, even beginners can create melodies. “Because you can make music, it is so exciting,” says Doane.

by · November 27, 2012 · Kids, News
Rob Ford when running for mayor in 2012. Image: Shaun Merritt

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Removed From Office

A judge has ruled that the mayor of one of the largest cities in North America has to step down.

Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, has been removed from office–in other words, forced to stop being the mayor.

The judge’s decision takes effect two weeks from now. That’s when Ford must be out of his office.

Ford was elected in 2010 and had another two years to go, in his term as mayor.

Ford was found to have violated “conflict of interest” laws.

That’s because when Ford was a councillor, he raised some money for the football team he coaches, using City Hall stationery.

The city’s integrity commissioner — the person who advises elected officials about ethics — told Ford he had to give the money back. Ford refused.

When he became mayor, Ford asked council to reverse the decision.

In other words, he asked councillors to vote to let him keep the money and not have to give it back. Ford also voted in that vote.

The judge said that the mayor voting in this way was a conflict of interest.

by · November 26, 2012 · Breaking News, News, Politics
Jason is the mascot of the Toronto Argonauts; Image by Joyce Grant.

A Celebration Of Canadian Football

On Sunday night, Canada celebrated a great game and a big anniversary.

It was the 100th anniversary of the football championship that decides who takes the most important prize in the Canadian Football League — the Grey Cup.

Across the country, and all over Toronto, Canadians were cheering for the Toronto Argonauts or the Calgary Stampeders.

At noon on Sunday, fans converged on Varsity Stadium in downtown Toronto for a “fan march,” a big parade of Canadian football fans.

The Argos’ mascot, Jason, bounced around the crowd giving people high-fives.

The Stampeders’ mascot, Ralph, made his way through the mostly Toronto crowd.

But it didn’t matter who you were rooting for–the real celebration was about the game itself.

“The only play is the next play,” the coach for the Argos told his team before the big game.

At the same time, in the other dressing room, the coach for the Stampeders reminded his team that, “one word — team — is why we’re here.”

by · November 25, 2012 · Sports
The Grey Cup. Image: Roland Tanglao

Canada Gets Grey Cup Fever, Toronto Hotel Gets A Visit From A Horse

Excitement is building as Canadians everywhere are getting Grey Cup fever.

The fever is particularly high in Toronto. Not only will the game be played there, but the Toronto Argonauts are one of the teams vying for the championship.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup championship, which decides which Canadian Football League (CFL) team is the best.

It is played between the winners of the CFL’s East and West Divisional playoffs.

The Toronto Argonauts are set to play the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.

The winner will take home the trophy known as The Grey Cup.

Toronto was the site for the first Grey Cup, back in 1912.

The 2012 game will also be played in Toronto, at the Rogers Centre.

It’s unusual for the city hosting the Grey Cup to also have their team playing in the Grey Cup.

The last time Toronto won the Grey Cup while playing at home was in 1952.

by · November 22, 2012 · News, Sports
Turkey Map. Image: Captainblood

PEN Gives Support To Jailed Writers In Turkey

In some countries, people aren’t allowed to say anything bad about their government. They don’t have “freedom of expression.”

Some writers who have spoken out against their governments have been put in jail by those governments.

Fortunately, there is a group called PEN International, which defends freedom of expression. PEN International fights for the rights of writers around the world.

Last week, PEN International went to Turkey. The group was led by Canadian author John Ralson Saul, the president of PEN International.

They met with Turkish President Abdullah Gül to show their concern for writers and journalists in Turkish prisons.

PEN asked the Turkish government to consider shortening jail time for prisoners before their trials. This period can often last for years.

Another problem is that prisoners aren’t able to see their lawyers quickly. According to one report in The Toronto Star, one man has been kept from talking to his lawyer for over a year.

by · November 21, 2012 · News, Politics
Le Magasin Walmart? French Language Laws Under Dispute In Quebec

Le Magasin Walmart? French Language Laws Under Dispute In Quebec

In Quebec, Walmart could be known one day as Le Magasin Walmart (The Walmart Store).

French is the official language of the province of Quebec.

While other languages including English are, of course, spoken there, the Charter of the French Language says that “the name of an enterprise must be in French.” (By “enterprise” the charter is referring to “businesses.”)

The problem is that the word “Walmart” isn’t French.

by · November 20, 2012 · News
(Left to right) Brian Burke, Arlene Dickinson and Chief Bill Blair.

Celebs Sleep Outside For Homeless Fundraiser

Celebrities can usually afford a nice home, a comfy bed and tasty food.

But last Thursday, Arlene Dickinson and Brian Burke slept outside on the ground in only sleeping bags.

That night, the temperature dropped to 0-degrees C.

Dickinson is one of the “dragons” from TV’s Dragon’s Den, a show in which wealthy businesspeople invest in new businesses.

Burke is the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team.

Both of them have plenty of money and can afford nice accommodations.

They were “sleeping rough” to help raise money for Covenant House, which provides shelter and services to homeless kids in Toronto and other big Canadian cities.

by · November 19, 2012 · News
Image: Toronto Blue Jays Media

Proposed Blockbuster Trade Could Put Blue Jays In Contention For World Series

The Toronto Blue Jays stunned and excited their fans last week when rumours surfaced about a blockbuster player trade.

The trade is not finalized yet, and it still has to be approved by the Commissioner of Baseball.

If the trade goes through it would be, arguably, the biggest trade in Blue Jays’ history.

Twelve players are involved: seven going from the Blue Jays to the Miami Marlins and five going from the Marlins to the Blue Jays.

by · November 18, 2012 · Sports