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Hansard is like a box of chocolates

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The possible end of police in schools really jumped out at me from the voluminous pages of Hansard.

Tory education critic Kelvin Goertzen was grilling Education Minister Nancy Allan during her estimate hearings, and wanted to know if it was true what he’d been hearing — that funding for school resource officers is in doubt beyond June of 2014.

Allan said all sorts of things about what a great and growing program it is, but passed the buck by telling Goertzen that the program is now the responsibility of Child and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief.

Why these things move around so much, other than to keep bureaucrats busy...but I digress.

So I asked Chief’s staff, and here’s the response from yet another ubiquitous aide to the minister: "In the last election our government committed not only to continue funding for the school resource officer program, but to add additional officers. We’ve already made progress towards meeting our commitment and we’ll fulfill it by the end of our mandate. We’ll continue to fund school resource officers past June 2014 and we’re working with school divisions to ensure we maximize the effectiveness of resources as the program grows."

In other estimates news....

The good stuff, you’ll have to wait to read that in the dead trees edition.

Meanwhile, at one point Allan was boasting about all the schools the Selinger government is building, and on the list she provided were two new high schools in Steinbach.

Gosh, how had I missed that earlier?

So I inquired further, and one of Allan’s ubiquitous aides to the minister sent me a news release from back a ways about major capital work.

Yes, I replied, but isn’t that a huge expansion of Steinbach Regional Secondary School, not construction of two new high schools?  When the dust settles, how many high schools will Steinbach have?

And came the reply, still just the one.

Over at Advanced Education Minister Erin Selby’s estimates, Tory critic Stu Briese (Agassiz) tried to save the beleaguered taxpayers a few bucks by moving that Selby’s salary be reduced to $1.08. Fortunately for Selby, the N-Dippers had a majority of committee members present, and the motion lost.

Off to other stuff....

So, as we were just saying about the provincial math curriculum’s getting back to the basics...

Here’s a real-life incident, that certain math profs we’ll hypothetically call Anna Stokke of UW and Robert Craigen of UM may want to read.

An old person was disregarding the provincial medical officer of health’s heat advisory the other day, running around in the sun for 80 minutes. OP, leaving for home afterwards, notices that there’s a place he can buy a cold drink, hustles over...or as much as a decrepit OP can hustle after running for 80 minutues.

Young people were staffing the business outlet, which had neither a cash register nor a calculator. Drinks are $1.50 each.

OP:  I’d like two diet colas, please.

YP: Two diet colas, sure.

OP: Can you change a $20 bill?

YP: Yes

(YP counts out two fives, four toonies, and a loonie.)

OP: That’s too much

YP: ??????

OP: You gave me back $19, it should have been $17

YP:  ?????

OP:  Here, take back one of these toonies

YP: OK, thanks

OP: Old People learned to do that in their heads in the 1950s

YP: ?????

Moving right along...

I called the premier’s media office, looking for someone with whom I deal on pretty much a daily basis, and often several times a day.  Person who answer wants to know who I am and why I’m calling.

OK, I say who I am and repeat whom I’m calling. She wants to know why. I really don’t like that, I’m media, the person I seek is media relations, we’ll discuss what I’m calling about as empowered adults. But telephone-answerer insists I provide a further explanation to her, so I gave a terse and rather general answer about my subject of the moment, and she responds, demanding to know why I would want to talk about that subject with the media relations officer, aka the ubiquitous aide to the minister.

At which point I said I’d email the aide to the minister.


And, finally...alas, I have no new Mike Babinsky stories to least not so far today.

Oh, wait, don’t whine, I hate it when you whine, here’s something. This isn’t really a Mike Babinsky story, but years ago when I was running in the marathon events, probably the half marathon by then, I blogged that someone in the crowd had hollered out, "Mike Babinsky says hi!"

And I looked, and whoever it had been was far behind me by then in the crowd, such a blistering pace was I setting, the officials timing me with a calendar rather than a stopwatch...but I digress.

But it all stayed a mystery, until last week, when the individual self-identified.

No, I won’t give a name.

Not today, anyway.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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