OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats have been looking for a boost and they’re hoping to get that on Sunday, when leader Jagmeet Singh presents the party’s policy vision for the upcoming election campaign.
The party will be announcing what it calls “A New Deal for Canada,” which it bills as a plan to make life more affordable, protect public services, fight climate change and create “good jobs.”
Singh plans a speech about the plan at a convention of Ontario’s provincial NDP in Hamilton.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is also set to deliver a keynote at the convention over the weekend.
Horwath and Singh worked very closely when he was the deputy leader of the provincial party before he left for the federal scene.
Since becoming leader in October 2017, Singh has faced questions about the state of his party, including its lacklustre fundraising, especially as it heads into a federal election cycle.
The Canadian Press
School board defends book pictured on principal’s desk after online uproar
A Toronto-area Catholic school board says an online firestorm that erupted after a book on how to teach black students was photographed on a principal’s desk stems from a misunderstanding over the book’s contents.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board says the book, titled “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys,” has a provocative title but is actually a helpful resource on tackling racial and cultural oppression in education.
Michelle Coutinho, the board’s principal of equity and inclusive education, says such materials are a particularly useful reference given how diverse the student population is in the district and at that specific school.
The controversy emerged this week after a Brampton, Ont., high school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, posted a photo of its new principal on Twitter.
The photo, which shows the book on her desk, set off heated debate, with some suggesting it was a sign of racism or incompetence, or a prop meant to bolster the school’s image.
The image was also shared on instagram by 6ixBuzzTV, a popular account with roughly 1.2 million followers.
“LOOOOL. No principal should make it this far while subsequently needing a book like this,” one person wrote on Twitter. “She a bad principal,” wrote another.
Some defended the book, however, and the principal’s efforts to educate herself. “She’s making an effort to connect with her students, it’s more than most principals do,” another tweet read.
The board said it was surprised by the uproar and hoped people would look up the book before jumping to conclusions based on its title.
The principal intends to address the photo in a public announcement and invite any students with lingering questions to see her, said Bruce Campbell, the board’s spokesman.
The book, written by three researchers and published in 2017, aims to improve outcomes for black students by helping teachers create learning environments in which they feel nurtured and engaged. The title references the fact that white women make up the bulk of the teaching force in the U.S.
Coutinho said the book asks educators to challenge the biases they may bring into the classroom.
“We know that we’re steeped in a colonized kind of world view and how do we break out of that in our everyday practices?” she said, noting it has been used in the board’s anti-oppression training in the past.
Cardinal Ambrozic’s new principal was involved in a book study at several schools that delved deeply into the text last year, Coutinho said.
“If we’re going to make any changes to the education system, we have to start talking about these things and talking about them openly and honestly without shame or blame.”
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Ottawa paid $75M for veterans’ cannabis last year, could pay $100M this year
OTTAWA — The federal government shelled out a record $75 million to cover the cost of medical marijuana for veterans in the last fiscal year — and it is on track to spend nearly $100 million this year.
The figures from Veterans Affairs Canada come despite the government having cited rising costs and a lack of scientific evidence about the drug’s medical benefits for cutting how much cannabis it would cover for veterans.
Unless a veteran gets a special medical exemption, the government will reimburse veterans for a maximum three grams of medical marijuana per day, which is down from a previous maximum of 10 grams.
While the change in November 2016 reduced the government’s costs the following year, those savings were shortlived as more and more veterans turned to the government to pay for their medical marijuana.
Yet even as more veterans are using medical marijuana, Jason Busse of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., says its medical benefits remain unclear.
The federal government is putting money into more research, but Busse says it is concerning that more and more veterans and non-veterans are turning to the drug when there are so many unanswered questions about it.
The Canadian Press
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