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Your election fever will just have to wait

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Winnipeg School Division still has not set a date for the Ward 1 byelection to replace Joyce Bateman, who resigned her school board seat upon becoming a Tory MP for Winnipeg South Centre.

You’ve got to think that time has pretty much run out to get this done in June.

A July byelection would get maybe 17 people out to vote, 25 tops if it were raining and there were nothing else to do.

There’s not a lot of school board business done over the summer, but putting it off until the fall has its own issues, particularly the Oct. 4 provincial election. Who’s likely to care about a school board byelection during a provincial campaign? And what’s the likelihood people who’d work for a school board candidate, and the candidates themselves, are the type of people most likely to be involved with a provincial party’s campaign?

Moving along...

I’ve told you before about Couch Surfers, the online organization we joined because child the elder used it so extensively on his recently-concluded bicycle ride around the U.S.

We’re getting several Couch Surfers over the next little while.

First up are three young women, two Canadians and a Dane, tenting and hitch-hiking their way across the country. They’re supposed to reach Thunder Bay this weekend. The two Canadians are from Trent University in Peterborough, and only after they called up our profile did they realize who we are, they having been in the same year as child the elder.

What are the chances, eh?

Later in June, a 60-year-old guy is coming from Ireland — yes, a young guy — who’s going to do some photography and go fishing in northwestern Ontario.

We had to decline one intriguing family of three from China, who wanted to spend three days with us, and who wanted us to show them the city and tell them all about life in Canada before their son enrols in Grade 10 at St. John’s-Ravenscourt School. Alas, they were unaware of the Labour Day weekend, or of cottages, and we wouldn’t be around to host them.

They’ve booked into a hotel, but the mother still wanted to ask me which Canadian medical school I’d recommend, and what high school courses her son needed to take to get into a Canadian medical school. Of course, not knowing anything about a subject never stops me from being an expert, but I thought it preferable to make her aware of the existence of Peter Brass, SJR’s student services guy and the only full-time university advisor of whom I’m aware at any Manitoba high school.

Off to other topics...

While child the elder is briefly at home, he went back to Grant Park this week to present to five classes about his bike trip, taking his bike along. He had a great time.

So on Thursday, I was chatting to two of his former teachers while I was at the Manitoba Teachers’ Society convention. And several people came by, warning them not to talk to me.

I had to tell one teacher with whom I was having a nice chat that not all of them were joking, that some people at the convention openly despise me. One teacher walking by told one of the GPHS teachers not to talk to me, and told him, "You tell him one thing, he reports another thing," I can’t for the life of me recall what I ever did to her.


Which reminds me, I made reference in a blog a few months ago to the actions of a Mr. Z. I should make it clear that Mr. Zed is an obstreperous parent in a school division other than Winnipeg S.D., and I was definitely making no reference to Mr. Zee, an immensely popular teacher at an unnamed River Heights high school with which our family has some history.

My attention span wavers...

Speaking of MTS, the union has given the OK for its banner to be displayed at the Pride parade a week Sunday.

What else?

I’m saving up my soccer rants for a standalone soccer blog, but I must admit I’ve been wondering about having entered a parallel universe, there’s been so little grief thus far this spring. OK, now I’m cursed, this evening’s 16-year-old girls’ game will be a nightmare.

Speaking of parallel universes, that was some season ending for Fringe. Peter can’t really be wiped from the memory of everyone in two universes, can he? At least Fox has renewed the show for a fourth season.

Not so with Chicago Code, whose last two episodes I have PVRed. It’s not often I start watching mainstream network shows, and I can’t believe something this good is getting cancelled.

I’ve been piling up taped shows to watch, the last couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and The Borgias included. Like The Tudors, time seems to move very quickly in The Borgias, with no indication that people and messages took forever to get anywhere back in those days. Someone says something in Florence, it seems that the Pope played by scenery-chewing Jeremy Irons hears about it in Rome an hour later, and dispatches someone who arrives in Florence an hour later. And speaking as a history major, re: both Tudors and Borgias, I don’t recall anything in my courses about those incredible dental plans they all have.

I like that Canadian cop show King, though it’s not meant to be taken seriously. Thanks to, I knew that I’d seen King somewhere else, and darned if she doesn’t play Wysocki’s wife in Chicago Code. And her slovenly second-in-command and scheming rival for command on her Toronto police squad, he looked so familiar, and darned again if he wasn’t Sir Francis Bryan on The Tudors, Henry’s eyepatched, sword-wielding buddy and royal assassin, an all-around rogue who was my favourite character.

Is anyone still reading this? I mentioned having been a history major, so it counts as education stuff.

I promise I’ll get back to full-time education stuff next time, maybe finally sharing some of my stories about covering university and college convocations with you. Talk about cliffhanger endings...

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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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