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Wooing me as a senior-in-training

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Nothing grabs me as a voter these days more than seeing the magic word senior in the party’s promise.

Less than two years away now....

So when Premier Greg Selinger announced that he’ll rebate seniors’ education property taxes, that got my attention, and not just because I cover education for a living.

Alas, details are still to be worked out, and, of course, there’s the little matter that Hugh McFadyen and Jon Gerrard and James Beddome haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.

I wondered, what happens if one spouse turns 65 but the other is not yet a senior, what happens to our tax money then? Or what happens when you turn 65 during the course of the year, is it calendar year or fiscal year, and does your rebate get pro-rated from the day you turn 65, or what?

None of those details has been worked out. Only one thing is clear, the province will cover the cost and school divisions won’t be out of pocket.

Moving right along....

Having failed to convince candidates in other elections, I’m open for bids on my provincial vote if any party wants to promise to install clean port-a-potties at every soccer field in and around Winnipeg. Don’t worry about how it can be sold as provincial jurisdiction, just promise to do it.

Maybe you could refer it to the privy council.

Sorry.

In other matters....

My frequent correspondent from Winkler, atheist activist and substitute teacher Tim Wall, says he’s gotten nowhere in his attempts to get Morden-Winkler Tory candidate Cameron Friesen to promise publicly to enforce provincial rules on prayer in public schools to Wall’s satisfaction, if elected.

Friesen taught music at Morden Collegiate.

Wall says he’s now asking Tory leader Hugh McFadyen to speak publicly on where he stands on enforcing provincial department of education rules on school prayer.

Good luck with that, Tim, I’m not holding my breath.

After all, the NDP position on maintaining secular schools amounts to that old Robin Williams line: "Stop! Or I’ll yell stop again!"

And now for something completely different....

One of child the elder’s former teachers asked me to moderate an all-candidates’ election panel at Grant Park High School, and I was glad to do so, as I’ve done in three city council elections and byelections.

This is the teacher who taught child the elder’s law class, and played some inspirational role in his now being in law school. But I digress.

Tory Marty Morantz and NDP Dan Manning and Green Elizabeth May Cameron all agreed to the town hall, says the teacher.

But the teacher says he’ll likely have to scrap it, because one candidate, Liberal leader Jon Gerrard, has not responded to a series of requests. I have an inquiry in to Gerrard’s media staff, but I haven’t had a response either.

Meanwhile....

I got a last-minute appeal urging me to attend the school board meeting in Louis Riel this week.

It was the same issue I wrote about in 2008, but now a new group of students and parents. Parents in Island Lakes and other parts of Southdale want the division to provide busing to take their junior high kids to industrial arts classes at Glenlawn Collegiate.

Three years ago, the parents talked about sending their kids on public transit to Glenlawn for shop as though they were dumping their kids into downtown Detroit at 2 a.m., likely never to be seen again.

The issue now seems to be that a transit bus went by one morning absolutely full, leaving the kids at the bus stop.

You can read the story that I wrote almost three years ago here: http://www.fpinfomart.ca/doc/doc_display.php?key=ar|3218539|wifp|20081208|62989187

Back to other things....

I don’t know how I get on these email lists, but I’ve been offered a glorious opportunity to interview a doctor who can tell me how to get firmer, more youthful-looking buttocks in two 45-minute painless treatments, using the Brazilian Thread-Lift method (No, sorry, you’ll have to Google it).

I can think of all kinds of puns that would be considered tasteless on a family website.

This doctor is in Dallas, no word about how much he charges.

Barack, there’s obviously still work to be done on your health care system. And I’m sure hoping this email also gets to Jon Stewart.

Speaking of emails....

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society says it still hasn’t received a response from McFadyen. The union wanted to know why it hadn’t heard from the Tory leader before McFadyen announced a Conservative government would form a teachers advisory committee to give it wise and learned counsel on education issues.

Um, I can think of a few reasons, such as, a big chunk of the NDP caucus holds MTS membership, the teachers’ union is probably the Selinger government’s most ardent fan club, the Tories might prefer to pick and choose which teachers were appropriate to have a Conservative government’s ear.

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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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